Starting a business can be daunting. Starting a business in the middle of a global pandemic takes courage, determination and support. The Fermentation Station has done just that and following a huge surge in business at Christmas, owners Amy and Sam are now developing hands-on workshops and a bounty of Spring products.
The process of fermentation has been around for centuries and is practised around the globe. You've probably heard of sauerkraut and kombucha, but there are so many more healthy, vegan, dairy and gluten-free products on offer.
Liverpool-based business The Fermentation Station (TFS) was established in 2020 with support from The Women's Organisation and Enterprise Hub. Specialists in creating probiotic food and drink which are healthy, delicious, diverse and sustainable, we caught up with owners Amy and Sam to find out more.
Drawing on previous experience, Amy and Sam were able to manage some of the basic aspects of setting up a business. Having registered with Companies House, they contacted The Women's Organisation which connected them with Enterprise Hub and a dedicated business advisor for additional support.
"I have had a number of different support points from the Enterprise Hub through The Women’s Organisation. I have had access to a business advisor and also virtually attended a number of support event with them including, social media strategy and business planning.
"All of which have been helpful in establishing TFS, but I’ve found being able to ask my business advisor any queries particularly helpful."
The Fermentation Station start up process wasn't all plain sailing. Amy and Sam faced a number of barriers that affected them both professionally and personally.
"The greatest barrier for any business is the growth vs money dichotomy. My business partner is also my life partner and so we are currently running a household on limited income and the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic is very real for us all right now. We are having to adapt as the landscape dictates."
I think everyone juggles many different responsibilities. I run a home with a very energetic working dog in it who requires a lot of time, attention and exercise. In addition, prior to Christmas 2020, I was a carer and granddaughter to Nan, who was 95 and lived with a genetic eye disorder which left her blind. Unfortunately, we lost her in December 2020, so we are all currently functioning and living with our grief."
The Fermentation Station is currently run from home with additional kitchen facilities located at a family members home, where the duo manufacture their products.
"Here at The Fermentation Station we believe in showcasing the diversity of fermented foods through traditional and sustainable methods. Educating, inspiring and connecting communities to create positive health outcomes and food waste solutions."
"Fermentation is what we call 'Ordered Chaos' and we want our products to be fun from start to finish. From the love and creativity we put into our ferments to the delicious dishes and drinks our clients make with them."
There are many things that are unique about the business. The Fermentation Station is at the forefront of a new trend in the food and beverage industry that is set to grow. We have a number of unique aspects of our business model too, including our seasonal sustainability, subscriptions, social conscious and collaborations.
As COVID-19 measures took hold, The Fermentation Station was unable to sell at as many venues as markets as it planned. However, positives include an increase in social media activity and 'phenomenal' sales in December.
The business is going well. There are many positives to running your own business. The biggest one is being your own boss, having the autonomy to decide the direction of your business and what your values are.
I’m proud of us, our determination and our ability to do this in the middle of a pandemic. Starting a business is big and scary at any time and being able to reach the level of success we have so far and given the challenges I am immensely proud."
Get in touch if you are thinking of starting a business in the Liverpool City Region or have a new business under three years old. You can speak to our team via firstname.lastname@example.org or 0151 706 8113.