Q & A with Lucy Mee, Founder of On The Table

by Oct 3, 2023

What do you love most about the brand you’ve created? 

I have always been obsessed with walking into delis and discovering beautiful, authentic and delicious food and drink brands made by real people with a story. Whether it’s an addictive chilli oil made locally, an olive oil that supports female farmers in the chicest bottle, or a gochujang hot honey, I am here for it.

At On The Table, the fact that I get to combine these wonderful wares into a gift box for people to discover, enjoy and become obsessed with like me, gives me so much joy. When I send friends boxes and they say “Wow, the story of that pasta is beautiful”, or “Those beans are addictive”, it makes me really happy to know that I am part of spreading positive food stories to new people.

What’s even better is that all of these brands and producers have incredible missions behind them, so when someone chooses to buy a gift box from On The Table, they are in fact supporting several incredible businesses which is just heaven. 

Have you always wanted to work in this industry?

Since the Jamie’s Italian days (where I worked as a waitress at 18 )and then starting my own street food business a few years after (which is still thriving), I knew the food world was for me. Luckily it has been.

I have only ever known food and have seen it progress massively in the last 10 years. I feel as a society, there has been a big shift to people wanting to know more about where our food comes from and what’s being put in it. It is the solution and the problem for so much and I’m really excited to see where it goes in the next 10 years.  

What are you most proud of? 

The relationships I’ve made with the producers and brands that sit inside our gift boxes. 

What advice would you give to someone keen to start a business but unsure where to begin?

  1. Make sure you are actually passionate about the thing you are doing otherwise it won’t be authentic and you will either get bored or not have the drive to get you through the hard times 
  2. Do something that does good, and not just because you should but because you want to
  3. Take advice from people who have actually done it and who have been in similar shoes. Make friends with other business owners who you can meet up with and exchange stories, ideas and problems with

Who is one of your biggest inspirations – either professionally or personally?

Holly Tucker for her insane drive and passion for independent brands and people. She is also one of the kindest human beings I have ever come across. After agreeing to a 10 minute chat with me, this then turned into a 2 hour Zoom call on a Sunday morning from her kitchen where I met the whole family) and discussed Not on the High Street / Holly and Co

Laura Jackson for her drive, creativity and for not taking everything too seriously – Glassette 

Ruth Rogers for just being iconic and creating one of the most amazing food brands  – The River Cafe 

If you could attribute your success to anyone who gave you your big break?

My boyfriend, Josh. Always championing my work and creativity which keeps me going. 

What’s the hardest thing about your job?

If an order doesn’t come through for a few weeks you take it personally and think noone wants what you do.

Don’t just expect people to know about your brand, go out there and get them and tell them why what you’re doing is so great for them. That is what I am really focusing on this year. 

Which part of your job do you most enjoy?

Two things:

  1. The corporate world is slowly moving towards giving employees more elevated gifts and being a part of this makes me really happy. When companies choose us, they are actually supporting several small brands and producers doing really great things for our food system
  2. Learning about the incredible stories and missions behind the brands and producers we partner with

Do you find it easy to balance work and play?

I do – just because I have always worked for myself so I allow myself that time to rest but then I know I need to turn it on when things need doing.

I am still doing everything on my own from curating, to packing boxes, to keeping things going so I do feel overwhelmed at times, but you have just gotta live, laugh, love yourself through it!

About Emily Eaves

Co Founder and Editor at To Work or Play, Emily has been Freelance Copywriting for over 10 years. She is passionate about food, drink, travel, design and finding ways to keep her two children out of trouble.

With a background in Luxury Restaurant and Hotel PR, Emily moved from London to Dorset in 2019. She now spends weekends at the beach and daydreams about her vegetable garden.