Pictured: Emma Buckley, Co-Founder & Director of Nutrition, GourmetFuel
Emma Buckley is Director of Nutrition and Co-Founder of GourmetFuel, a door-to-door healthy meal plan provider that aims to help nutrition-conscious professionals.
What was your first job?
My very first job was with Pamela Scott on Grafton Street. I was in 5th year and as green as grass. I had to quickly learn the ropes and be productive, or else I’d be surplus to requirements. Although it can be a tough job in many respects, retail is a terrific place to learn valuable life skills around customer care, team work, being proactive and getting out of your comfort zone. I always love when I see retail experience on a CV.
What pushed you to pursue a career in this field?
Loving food since I was a child! Academically, science – and in particular human physiology – was always my area of interest and when I realised I could actually have a career as a nutritionist, I was all in! I first went to UCD and graduated with a Chemistry Degree and then later went back to study nutrition in my early 20s.
What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?
Oftentimes, I walk through our office and production facility and see new faces, a hive of activity, people busily going about their jobs and I think, ‘Gosh, did we create all this?’ That’s definitely something I’m very proud of. That said, I think our greatest business achievement has been successfully repaying our investors this year, on time and with a healthy ROI.
Career wise, would you do anything differently?
Maybe I would have believed in myself more and not compared myself to others. However, I also believe that whatever route I’ve taken, I’m grateful for the people I’ve met and experiences I’ve had along the way. I’ve learned from some very talented and wise people and that continues to stand to me.
In one sentence, how would you define success?
Loyal customers and happy staff, because that means you’re offering a great service, product and place to work.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Oh, I have received many great pieces of advice over the years. One of the earliest was, “Know your worth and don’t be afraid to name your price”. Another was, “Know your strengths and your weaknesses” but my most used one, is asking yourself, “To what end?” That cuts through the haze pretty quickly!
How do you motivate yourself and your staff?
I’ve always been pretty self-motivated and tend to hire people who are too, so that helps. I’m a big goal setter. I love a good plan to keep me focussed and, as a team, we set our weekly and monthly goals. We all work hard and have a super work ethic of not letting each other down.
I’m a big believer in the carrot versus the stick approach and want my team to be the best they can be for themselves and for our clients.
How do you handle adversity?
Breathe. And know, this too shall pass. Then I tackle whatever the problem is, and break it down into what can and can’t be done to help the situation.
I’m a problem solver and always try to find a positive in adversity. I lost my mother in my 20s and I can hand-on-heart say, if I can get through that, I can get through anything.
How do you relax?
I’m a total homebird and I’m all about quality time with my family. The minute I get home I run straight upstairs and change into my cosy clothes, leaving the outside world behind me. It’s then that I feel I’m really home. After that, it’s pretty much all about food and “What will we eat?”!
During the week, we have our GourmetFuel meals at home, which allows me to spend as much time as possible relaxing with my husband and son. At weekends, I have more time to cook at home or visit my family, but it usually all revolves around food!
What are your aspirations for the future of the business?
Now that we have built an eCommerce platform that makes ordering and delivering food very easy, throughout Ireland, our website has the technology to offer companies a virtual canteen service too.
Just like our existing customers use our platform to order for themselves, we can work with companies and enable employees to order meals from themselves too.
Companies can subsidise the price and allow employees to eat better meals, choose from office or home delivery options and improve their health and well-being, at much more affordable prices.