Teresa Faley

Teresa Faley

Founder of Letterbox Brownies

Here at Letterbox Brownies, we know the importance of making people feel appreciated!

Tell us about the venture/ business/ initiative you have started...

Letterbox Brownies is a service that allows you to send brownies with a personalised gift message to friends and family, anywhere in the UK

What is your definition of success? What advice would you give to your younger self about "success"?

I try not to measure success by how much money I'm making or how many products I'm selling, but instead by how much progress I'm making and how much passion I have for what I'm doing.

I would advise my younger self that if you want to be successful, keep the passion for your project alive, and always look for ways to keep improving - don't get complacent.

What challenges have you encountered on your journey and how have you overcome them? Is this a common challenge in your industry? How can we tackle it?

The main challenge I have faced with Letterbox Brownies has been perfecting the packaging - it is still a work in progress! It's come a long way from the first prototype, but for me there are still some points that could be better that I am working on.

Product packaging is a key area for the gift industry, and it's important to find your USP and make sure your packaging stands out from the crowd.

Have you ever experienced imposter syndrome? If so, are there any examples you can give and tips you can share with other women on how to overcome it?

Yes - I often find it hard to accept compliments or praise about my business, I think this is partly because it is still in relatively early stages! For example, I recently won the Harrow Business Den competition and that truly surprised me, despite extremely positive feedback from the judges and members of the audience, part of me felt like I didn't deserve it.

If I ever start to feel like an imposter, I just try to remind myself that the success I've experienced so far has been achieved through hard work and I shouldn't downplay my achievements.

Are there women you look up to? Who are they and why are they inspirational to you?

I know quite a few women who have set up their own businesses that are truly thriving and I really look up to them and love to talk to them about their journey, the obstacles they've faced, achievements they've had etc - they are inspiring to me because they have grafted hard to turn their passion into their profession and they never give up.

What are your thoughts on work-life balance? Do you apply any techniques to achieve work-life balance?

Finding a work-life balance has been difficult for me, and I definitely wouldn't say I've achieved the right balance yet! I've started doing little things such as setting a time to turn off my work phone each day - it doesn't necessarily mark the end of my work day, but it creates some structure knowing that calls will only be accepted until a certain time.
I'd like to eventually give myself set working hours so I can completely switch off at a certain time.

How did you know it was the right time to start your own venture/ initiative? How would you advise someone who is just starting out with a project outside of their regular 9-5 job?

Since leaving university I just knew I wouldn't be truly happy career-wise unless I was working for myself, but I knew if I wanted to create my own business I would need a sum of money to get it started.

So I worked in a number of jobs for a few years, whilst growing the business bit by bit on the side - eventually I got to a point where I knew it was a matter of taking the plunge, quitting my job and devoting all my time to the business.

I had saved enough money to have a 'safety net' for the first 4-6 months, and had built up a client base that I could rely on for some income. Ultimately I knew if I stayed in my 9-5 job, I would never have enough time to take on more orders and without more orders the business would not develop - so I made the choice to leave...and I haven't looked back!

What have you learned about leadership, entrepreneurship and mentoring others?

I've learnt that you never stop learning!

What mistakes do you see people make when they first start their own venture/ intiative/ business and what advice would you give to women so that they can avoid making these mistakes?

I'm not sure about others, but I know I've certainly made mistakes in my business journey so far!

I would say the main thing with hindsight I would have done differently would have been to make a better business plan at the beginning - in all honesty I kind of made it up as I went along, which has had it's ups and downs - I'd advise others to start off with a clear plan, including goals, forecasts, predicted problems, monthly or quarterly reviews etc - this will give you a better vision of what you are hoping to achieve.

Are there any resources/ books you would like to recommend for the women who read your #AspiringWomen article?

There is a book called 'The One Thing' which is helpful to those, like me, who find themselves getting overwhelmed with all the tasks they have to do and not knowing where to start - this book helps you work out how to prioritise and focus on one thing at a time.

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