Food supremo gives lesson in business at university event
February 11 2015
ONE of North Wales’ best-known entrepreneurs gave a masterclass in how to do business with integrity and passion at a Glyndŵr University networking event.
Margaret Carter, self-proclaimed Chief Excitement Officer at Patchwork Traditional Food Company in Ruthin, headlined the popular GEM (Greet, Eat and Meet) forum at the University’s OpTIC Centre in St Asaph.
One of the region’s most active and inspiring mentors, Margaret has built up several businesses over the past 30 years and given support to dozens of young people starting out in a vast array of industries.
Her talk - The truth of my entrepreneurial journey – was sponsored by Chester-based law firm DTM Legal, whose director Duncan McAllister also spoke on the day.
Addressing more than 30 business people from across the region, Margaret – who suffers with chronic dyslexia - gave an insight into her early days, when she moved from South America to the UK and started up a knitwear company.
She then relocated to Wales and began producing chutneys, before stumbling upon a pathway to pâté that led to her becoming one of the region’s top independent food producers.
Shunning supermarkets, and proving the school teachers who called her “thick” were very wrong to dismiss her, the serial award-winner says her success is down to waking up every day and being “brilliant”.
“My dyslexia wasn’t an issue for me, not like it has been for other people, especially when I was a child,” said Margaret.
“On a scale of one to 10 it’s a 12 but I never allowed dyslexia to get in my way. I was called ‘thick’ at school but was born with a can-do attitude and that’s held me in good stead throughout my life.”
Focusing on the importance of soft skills in the workplace, the role of tenacity and determination in garnering success, and non-traditional routes to employment, Margaret - a keen artist and member of numerous business and mentoring organisations, including the Prince’s Trust, the Welsh Government’s Dynamo role model scheme, and I Am Woman business club in Cardiff – explained how positivity will get you a foot in the door.
“If a prospective client asks if you can do something then say ‘yes’ and then make sure that you can deliver,” she said.
“You can do whatever you want to do in life with the right attitude so don’t let opportunities pass you by.
“None of it just fell into place; as a single parent I had to push the passion and work hard but when push comes to shove people buy from people, and I’m a people person.”
Margaret added: “Many have tried to copy our recipes and replicate our success, and they still try, but there’s magic in what we do and that’s why people keep coming back for more.
“Nobody can get their hands on the ingredient that makes our business so special.
“We’ve gone from producing pâté in a room in my house to a 10,000 sq ft factory, and I’m writing a book as well. It’s been an incredible journey and at 72 I’m still hungry for more.”