Episode 22

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Episode Notes

Bharti Radix (Founder of BloomsYard) shares details of tensions and struggles in childhood. Bharti found herself being ‘trained’ for a life as a housewife and mother. She made a decision to go to university which left her homeless. Determined to define her life, she grew from strength to strength. As a consequence, Bharti found the love of her life, motherhood and enjoyed a wonderful career. She is now the owner of BloomsYard, a place for all things delicious and nutritious. 

You can find Bharti here: 


Instagram: @bloomsyard


[Roksana] Hello! Today I am joined by a very special guest. Her name is Bharti Radix. I got speaking to Bharti just as the pandemic was unfolding in 2020, and it’s taken me months to get the episode ready for release. Bharti if you’re listening, please accept my sincerest apologies. Now for my listeners, I have a question for you: what are you meant to do when you have to sleep with a broken heart? If you know that the very people, your caregivers, don’t or can’t support you, what do you do with that pain? I realise that’s a loaded question and there’s probably hundreds of different answers because for so many people it’s their reality. Today Bharti gives us all a masterclass in what it means to believe in every fibre of your being. That you deserve more. She is a fierce lady and I for one am honoured to hear all her stories of bravery and courage, her relentlessness to just keep aiming high and making sure that the pain of her past is energised into creativity and solutions to make her life better year on year. Enjoy our conversation. Welcome to the show Bharti.

[Bharti] Hi, thanks for having me.

[Roksana] You’re welcome, it’s a pleasure to have you. Now Bharti I’d love to go into your backstory to bring my listeners up to date with what led you to the point in your life where you left home.

[Bharti] Well it’s a bit of a long story but I’ll try to explain. You know people talk about their childhoods, I often say that I don’t feel like I had the childhood that I hear from other people you know from their experiences. My life growing up in the Asian Indian culture in the UK meant that actually from the age of 10 years old it was almost like I was being trained to be the perfect wife for the future. So, you know my life at home was about cooking, preparing dinner, cleaning the home and doing all of that with my mum. I wasn’t allowed friends outside of school, that was my how my dad said to me that you know friends are for when you’re in school then when you leave school you come home and that’s what I had to do when I was at home.

[Roksana] How old were you roughly? Are you talking primary school age in terms of being involved in the housework?

[Bharti] Well I mean from 10 years old pretty much so you know. My mum was going to work as well so when I came home from school you know I’d have to, either she may have started some of the cooking in the morning to be able to finish off when she came home, or that would be up to me or you know for me to be like doing the cooking and cleaning. I even used to go to my grandad’s house on the weekends and clean his house. Being the eldest daughter of the eldest son in the family that job was for me so you know every Saturday morning at 9:00 o’clock I’d be driven to my grandad’s house to clean his house, and then I’d come home after that and clean my family home as well.

[Roksana] Did you have a say in that or was it an assumption that that’s what you would do?

[Bharti] There’s no way that I was asked if I wanted to do it so now I don’t, I don’t think I had a say it was just it was just assumed that that’s what I would do and it was my job to do it so I just did it because it’s what I had to do.

[Roksana] Interesting, if you think about 10 year olds today, asking them to not only clean your actual house, the house they live in, but also go and clean your grandparents house. I can’t imagine having that conversation with my 9 year old daughter.

[Bharti] Yeah well I mean you know my grandad’s house I used to probably do you know a couple of years after that, maybe from 14 15 onwards but yeah certainly all of that and when I look back on it now, I feel like it was my parents getting me ready for what my future life, married life would be that’s why I always think it was about.

[Roksana] So you were also cooking at home most days, cleaning around the age of 10.

[Bharti] Yeah and of course I was going to school and school for me wasn’t that easy either. I grew up in Leicester but I was on the kind of side of Leicester where at my school there weren’t that many Indian people. That was quite difficult because seeing what other children or hearing about what their lives would be like and what they were doing was so different to mine but I just always thought that that was because I was Indian and that’s what we do so that’s how I kind of accepted it because I was Indian, this is what life is like, it was different to you know other cultures of people that I was going to school. It’s not actually until I then went to kind of high school and college I then started mixing with other Asians and other Asian girls and then hearing that their stories were not matching back to mine and then that’s when I started feeling the unfairness because like, well how come they don’t have to do that? Why am I treated in this way? Why are they allowed to go to each other’s houses after school? Why are they allowed to – you know you’ve been at school all day, calling each other on the phone and talking in the evening, well I wasn’t allowed to do that you know I wasn’t allowed phone calls or being able to see my friends because remember that friends were at school and then when school is finished that was that.

[Roksana] So why do you think your dad had that just wrong opinion about friendships being compartmentalised in that way?

[Bharti] If I had to guess I’d say you know maybe it was because he just didn’t want me to get any other ideas other than what he was kind of teaching me, in the way that he was bringing me up, that would be my guess. I mean I have never asked him or never been able to ask him why. Even if I did ask him, I don’t think I would get an answer. I don’t think I’d get a straight answer, so I don’t think I’ll ever really know, but that would be my guess.

[Roksana] So you’re a teenager, you’re noticing that your friends are having lots of social interaction with each other outside of school or outside of college: how are you feeling inside?

[Bharti] It’s just unfairness really. You know, what’s so different about me that I can’t be like them? That’s what went through my mind a lot even when talking about friends, my dad would never allow me to have boys that were friends. That was a really big thing you know, even from a really young age. And and I talk about primary school now and I remember a time when I was invited to a birthday party of a boy that was in my class and you know, the whole class was invited, very young primary school age, and I took the invite home and showed it to my dad and he was like is this for a boy? I was like yeah, he’s in my class, and he just thought it was so strange that I was invited to a boy’s birthday party first of all, but it was a boy that lived on my street as well. He let me go but you know my mum had to come with me and it was primary school so parents are still going to birthday parties so I was allowed to go, but it was just that I was questioned about it like, why was I invited to his birthday party? And certainly if I later on if I did have other boys in my class in my school that were my friends, there was no way I was allowed to talk about them at home. I just it was like a taboo I wasn’t allowed to talk about the fact that I might have boys that were friends but I also remember a time when, this is at college so you know I was doing my A-Levels, and there was a boy in my class in a few of the same classes as me and you know we were friends. And obviously I wasn’t allowed to talk about him but tragically, he got meningitis and he died. You know, I saw him every day. I spoke with him every day. In fact the day before he died I was with him and we were at college together, and I got home and his picture was on the front of the local newspaper and I was devastated. This was somebody that I knew and spoke to every single day, and my mum had come to me, she’s like what is up with you? I said my friend died, and she was like, the boy on the front of the newspaper? And I was like, yeah. She’s like, you better put yourself together before your dad gets home otherwise you’re going to get yourself in trouble, so I had to hide what I was feeling because it was a boy. I had to pretend and I couldn’t talk about it because it was a boy.

[Roksana] Oh my days. That’s just left me with goosebumps. So I mean, I guess we’ll never get to the bottom of why your dad was so protective and shielding you from the company of boys and from outside influence, if you like. I’d love to know how that left you feeling about apart from feeling like this is unfair, what were your desires then? What were you thinking, what kind of normal did you want to create for yourself?

[Bharti] Well actually, you know when you’re that age, well for me I was curious I wanted to know. I wanted to talk to boys even more to be honest, not for any kind of other relationship than to just be equal to them. To talk to them, to be friends with them, to hang out, to hear what they had to say. You know it made me want that even more and I wanted to rebel against the unfairness I was feeling.

[Roksana] I can imagine as a teenager as well you’re going through so much soul searching in terms of who you are and your identity and already, you know, teenagers notoriously feel misfits, feel like we’re not who we want to be or where we’d like to be, or satisfied with ourselves. And then on top of that to have this kind of idea that you can’t even feel the feeling that you want to feel because they’re not welcome, that must have been a really hard time for you.

[Bharti] And also the other thing about you know the culture that I was brought up in is that you know not just not talking about feelings or about boys, it’s just not talking about any feelings or anything that’s going on. You know that was a- I remember growing up and you know, if somebody had gone through depression, or was feeling depressed, that was something that wasn’t talked about which is the worst thing if you’re in that situation. That is the worst thing that can happen, to not talk about it, for it to be like in taboo in society, and you know and, then actually when I was kind of between the ages of 16 and 17, I lost- we lost three of my grandparents you know, three grandparents died within three months. That’s quite an ordeal to go through when you were close to all of our grandparents, the extended family, and actually that wasn’t really talked about and how we dealt with that as a family and that great loss within a short period of time and actually I was like kind of going off the rails because, and I think now looking back on, it’s because we didn’t talk about it. Because we didn’t discuss what was happening and how we felt and how to deal with it. I stopped really trying at school, well I was doing my A-Levels, you know I was predicted an ABC. And actually on results day, I came out with 3 Ds, and my dad said to me that you know, I wasn’t going to be anything and there is no point me even thinking about going to uni because all I’d be be good for is to be a dustbin woman. That’s what he used to say to me. So things were pretty bad by that point, anyway, and then you know I was determined because I was ambitious you know. I wanted to get out into the world and I wanted to see and learn and be a different person than I was back then.

[Roksana] I know you made a conscious decision to go to University against your father’s approval. Talk us through what happened there, and what was the big consequence that came out of that decision for you.

[Bharti] I wanted to- I’d done A-Level French and got quite into that language, and I desperately wanted to do this course. This degree; European Business with French, and it meant that you did four years and the third year would be out in France, and I just thought it was just the most amazing thing. I wanted it with all of my heart but you know, the course wasn’t in Leicester either so I had to be away and then the third year be away even further and he wasn’t having any of it, to the point where he was like I’m not paying- “I’m not spending my hard-earned cash on your tuition fees”- and it’s not like he couldn’t afford it, but it’s just that he didn’t want to spend that money on me.

[Roksana] What do you think his reasons were around saying those things? ‘Cause that’s quite harsh, isn’t it, to say I’m not spending my hard-earned cash on your tuition fees? Where do you think that was rooted from?

[Bharti] Well, you know, there’s that belief in the Indian culture and this is totally what he believed, that when a girl gets married she is not part of your family anymore. Again this is what I think, it’s not that I know it, but it wasn’t an investment worth having I guess. You know, because in his mind you know maybe at the age of 19 or 20, if I hadn’t gone to University he wanted me to work for a year and then get married, have an arranged marriage, and then I wouldn’t be part of his family anymore. So that’s what I think was going through his head, that’s what I believe, but anyway so I was- I couldn’t do what I wanted to do and we were arguing all the time. You know there was always something, I wanted to go out, wanted to go to cinema with my friends, I wanted to go to uni, all of my friends went away to uni from college, but the only way that I could do was to stay in Leicester. I had a look at what Leicester had to offer and they have Business Studies, again a four year course with the year out and the third year, and he’s like, “No, you’ve got to choose a three year course,” because if I was gonna go and I was really fighting for it, then it had to be the shortest possible. So then I had to pick a three year course and also then I had to apply for student loan to be able to pay for the fees, so then I had to pick Business Administration. I started that course. From starting that course in September there was so much friction. He didn’t want me to do it and I was still going ahead with it. We were arguing day in day out, there was nothing – there was nothing left of our relationship really, and it was really difficult and I just knew, I just knew something had to happen. I knew something had to give because I didn’t think I could carry on living like that. It was just not worth it for me, it was like I was trapped and actually there was one day where he came home for lunch and my mum came home for lunch with just the three of us, and we argued again. And then he just told me to get out and he didn’t want me to live under his roof anymore because of the things that I wanted. You know, if I wanted those things and if I wanted to live that kind of life, I couldn’t live under his roof anymore. Then with that he just said- he told me to get out and then just as he was leaving to go back to work after his lunch break, he turned to my mum and was like, “She better not be here by the time I get back,” and left and my mum was there and was like “What are we gonna do?” and I said, “I’m ready to go.” I mean I didn’t want to go, not ‘cause I didn’t want to leave my family home, I didn’t want to leave my family full stop. You know I was brought up believing that family was everything but he told me to go and I was desperate to live my life in a different way, so she rang up her work and said, “I’m not gonna be back after lunch,” and we made a plan. And so my grandad passed away, a number of years before, and we still have the keys to his house and this is  January by now so I’ve done this one term at University in this course I didn’t really want to be doing and she was like, well you know here’s the keys to grandad’s old house, go there. So that’s what I did.

[Roksana] So you’re how old, 18? Feeling about time, so you’ve been thrown out of your family home.

[Bharti] It’s almost like- it’s almost like I wanted it in a way, because I just knew that something had to change. Something had to give because I was- I was determined to be a different person to live my life in a different way. I was angry that he’d say that to me and make me do that but at the same time, I was almost like, “Oh my God, is this my chance? Is this my chance to have what I want?” Because there’s a point at which you know, I could have just been like “Oh no, sorry, I’m so sorry dad, I didn’t mean it,” – it wouldn’t have been true if I had said that but, you know, I could have decided at that point to forget that dream then just to go back and do what he wanted me to do. But I wanted more. I wanted to like- I wanted to get out into the big wide world you know all the stories and things I’ve heard about and seen and read about and you know I wanted to go and experience that. I mean I didn’t want to not have my family because of that but this would be only way I could see of being able to have that chance.

[Roksana] Were you able to maintain a relationship with your mum at this time when you when you went to leave home?

[Bharti] Well he made it very difficult for everybody. He was the eldest in family and actually said – so he threw me out on a Wednesday, and it was snowing and it was January, it’s freezing and what happened was the next day he sent my mom and my brother round to come and tell me that if I wasn’t living under his roof that I also couldn’t live under his dads roof. So this is now Thursday, I had to be out by the weekend, so he wasn’t allowing me to stay there. And then also on the Sunday of that week he called all my uncles and aunts and cousins and everybody and he told them that he disowned me and that none of them should speak with me anymore. That was him cutting me out of everything and at the same time you know, he told my mum that she wasn’t allowed to talk to me and my sister and everybody basically, that they weren’t allowed to see me or talk to me or have any relationship with me going forward.

[Roksana] And did they listen to him?

[Bharti] It was difficult because you know, he was the head of the family, he was the head of the entire family, you know extended etcetera. My mum- it’s really difficult for my mum. You know she’s always lived that life where he’s been in charge and what he says goes, you know she doesn’t have a say but we used to meet back then in secret and talk in secret. Meet when we could but talk in secret, but it really was secret because if we had got found out it would just be you know the worst thing ever and I also wasn’t allowed a mobile phone or anything so how is anyone going to contact me then? How did anyone know where I was? I managed to get myself pay-as-you-go and then one of my- a couple of my aunts got a hold of the number and contacted me just to see if I was alright but you know, they’d also been told not to talk to me so it was limited  in what support they could give me. So they can call me to see if I was alright but that was about it and then I had to get out by the weekend. So I then next morning marched my way over to the accommodation office of De Montfort University which is where I was studying, and I told them my story and I was like, “I need somewhere to live but I need it quick but I’ve got no money”, ‘cause of course you know he was so controlling I didn’t have any of my own money and have a job or anything. So the accommodation office found me some emergency halls of residence, they called there and it a the dorm of 12 girls sharing two bathrooms and a kitchen, but it was a roof over my head and I took it and she said this is what the deposit is, like “I’m so sorry, I’ve literally got no money.” So the Students Union offered to pay my deposit. Yeah it was amazing, I look back on that now and just can’t believe how lucky I was that the union was ready to help me and then actually I got myself a job that same the next weekend working for Next Directory on the phones, and they trained me, and it was because I was willing to work any and every hour that I possibly could. I was then working 8 hours every Saturday and every Sunday with uni in the week. After about three months I built up enough savings to pay my rent and to be able to buy myself a TV, so that was a big plus for me at that point. And at the same time changed my course because you know I was doing this course I don’t wanna do, the uni now wasn’t offering the European Business course I wanted but at least I could change to Business Studies so I then swapped over my course to Business Studies and I took the year out for the third year, and I studied and I worked and I just started building my new life.

[Roksana] So you graduated from uni, you’ve been working and studying for the last few years, and you finally have that certificate to go off and create a new life.

[Bharti] Well I certainly, you know having lived in Leicester all of my life to that point, I didn’t really fancy going to London which is so strange to say now, but you know at that point you know I still only kind of lived in Leicester and I, yeah. I heard from people that London was expensive and it was busy and you know all those kind of things so I was looking for a graduate job, and you know I had kind of done that Business Studies degree and I kind of concentrated on the finance side of that course, so I wanted to get a finance graduate programme or something along those lines. But actually you know, I was in Leicester and there weren’t that many really great ones to come by, and I’d got a job actually that started off in Birmingham so I was ready to move to Birmingham which was exciting because actually my sister was then at University in Birmingham because after me, things changed for her  and she was allowed to go away to uni. So she was living in Birmingham, so all of a sudden I got a job that was starting off in Birmingham, so you know I could be in the same- I actually managed to get a flat on the same road as my younger sister which was, yeah, which was amazing for me I was so excited

[Roksana] Had you stayed connected with your sister over the years?

[Bharti] Yeah me and my sister had always been close. She was so young man, you know if I was 18 she was 15. She would come see me in secret and she would always stay in contact with me and she had her own issues with him as well. I mean yes I’d broken down that barrier in you know, she was allowed to go away so that was great for her. She was also allowed to study any subject that she wanted so anyway, I went and got this job in Birmingham and then they said they were moving to London and after four months I kinda found myself in London and I wasn’t really expecting it. Once I was in London, that was it. I didn’t want to leave. It was like a whole new kind of chapter, always something going on, always something to do, always something new to see and experience, and I was like my mind was blown and I couldn’t believe how different it was and how different people were and just  you know trying new things. It was a whole new world to me.

[Roksana] I think London’s a great place to find yourself, and to explore all the different aspects of yourself in a really safe, anonymous way.

[Bharti] Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more on that statement. I kind of started in this role and it was you know, an accountancy role and it was all going well but you know, I wanted more. There was- it was working in like a postal distribution business, which wasn’t particularly interesting but you know, it got me- got me on that first kind of step on the ladder and brought me into London, so then I started looking for another job after I’d been there for about 18 months. And I got a job working in the music industry as a financial accountant in an amazing building in Golden Square and I – and it was just like almost like what dreams are made of, because it was like entering into this like wonderful place and having a job in in a music company which is all exciting and actually, that’s where I met my husband, my now husband. We met at work at this music company and he worked there for like, he’d been there for a number of years anyway, and we didn’t start dating straight away but we’d got to know each other and are now married. Anyway so I was working at this music company and it was great, but I still wanted more. I got my ACCA, that was back in 2008, went for this interview and it was this chef, he’s got a restaurant and I didn’t really even know who it was. I mean I looked him up before I went for my interview and it was Jamie Oliver, and I almost went in with my eyes closed in a way but you know by this point he probably had got a couple of books out, he done one TV show so far, so I went and I got the job.

[Roksana] Wow, that’s amazing.

[Bharti] Little did I know at the time what that mean, and who he was going to become. And you know so I started right at, you know right at the beginning of that journey with him and I worked there for five years and I kind of progressed. I started his Senior Management Accountant then I got promoted quite quickly to Financial Controller and then I became Head of Finance and Head of Finance was the number one finance role in that business, reporting directly to the group CEO. And in that time you know, he’d gone to from 1 to 44 restaurants, you know these were- these were the amazing explosion days of his empire. We were opening restaurants. When I started, Jamie’s Italian was no such thing, neither was you know Barbecoa which was an amazing kind of meat and wine restaurant in Saint Pauls, and also I worked a lot on his international franchise business which is the side of the business that does really well even today, even if the rest of his restaurants are closed down, and that’s where I found my love for the hospitality industry. Well, because when you work for someone like Jamie, and you know you see like as you know it was a small business you saw him every day then and you’re learning about what’s healthy and what’s good for you what’s not good for you and actually I think back to my childhood and you know, when I used to come home from school if I was hungry for a snack, we had this mini deep fat fryer on the counter and I just got some chicken nuggets from the freezer and deep fry them for us all to have a snack. You know when we come home and I used to eat like two or three packets of crisps at a time and like it’s disgusting when I think about it now, you know when I was growing up nobody really told me about what was healthy and what was not so I didn’t really think about it. And actually I was quite overweight when I was younger you know, probably at the age of like 11 or 12, I was a ladies size 16. I had one aunt that used to call me ‘Miss Piggy’, and it used to  upset me so much but you know I didn’t really know the importance of exercising, eating well and eating healthily back then, and now that I know what I know, I look back at it and I just can’t believe it. I soon learned because the comments about my weight was so hurtful back then I kind of you know, I lost the weight sometime when I was younger but you know I wish that my parents had known more and I think it’s just ‘cause they didn’t know not that they didn’t want to teach me that. I think my mum just didn’t know probably. I think about my children now, I got 2 girls I check what they eat you know. They’ve never drank Coca Cola. They’re six and seven years old, and I’m very careful about you know what goes into their bodies

[Roksana] I think there’s been a massive shift in education and I think Jamie Oliver’s actually spearheaded a lot of it hasn’t he? In terms of sugar intake with children and even through bringing healthy nutritious foods to our television screens and showing us all how to cook and eat in a fresh wholesome healthy way has helped all of us to eat better, and I think the fact that you were sat round the table with him and being able to learn from somebody who’s so passionate about food and nutrition must have been amazing. I just imagine that you know, yourself at this table and the little girl in you is probably thinking, “I can’t believe I’m here!”

[Bharti] Yeah and it’s true and also you know, just there was so many like you know my parents at home would never ever have eaten half of the things that I was like sudden- you know suddenly kind of opened up to. Like raw fish- sushi! You know like different types of kind of just seafood, different types of vegetables, you know there’s no way we’re eating anything like butternut squash or asparagus that when I was growing up you know almost like well what is that? Here I was learning and working for the guy that was opening up these restaurants and serving up all of these new ingredients, new to me, in a delicious way. I have learned so much, I’ve learned so much about nutrition and I’m so excited to be able to pass that down you know to my children but also like being able to talk about it with other people you know. I eat quinoa and I you know, I’ve never heard of that- like, what’s quinoa?

[Roksana] Actually a lot of these foods are actually relatively new in the last 10 to 15 years. We’ve kind of discovered foods from all different parts of the world and in a way that we just didn’t before. I think when we were growing up there were there was a limitation on what you could get hold of and what was widely accepted as mainstream food and I think- but it’s amazing that you were in this privileged position where you were at the forefront of somebody who has convinced an entire nation to eat healthily.

[Bharti] So that’s really where my love for hospitality came from and when leaving Jamie, so like five years later this must have been about 2013, I was- my heart was then set on only working in the hospitality industry. That’s all I wanted, still in the finance world absolutely, but you know being Head of Finance and I just wanted to- I wanted my first FD role. I wanted to be a Finance Director and that’s why I went for an- even though it was really scary because could I be a finance director? Did I know what I was doing? And actually looking back on it, no I didn’t, but I was willing to learn and if someone was willing to give me the chance I was gonna do it. So I then landed myself a job as finance director so I did a bit of contracting inn between working for various different wine and champagnes and spirits company, and then I kind of got this job as my first finance director role working for the Draft House which is a premium pub company, with sites mainly in London. And the chairman of the Draft House was Luke Johnson. He’s quite a fierce and aggressive businessman but has invested in loads and loads of hospitality businesses, so basically he knows his stuff, and he’s- so that was quite scary coming into that. I mean you know I wonder sometimes how I managed to get into these roles but I must have just been so convincing in my interviews. So there I was having board meetings, eight of us round the table. I was the only female. I was the only non white person as well, and I was sitting in these board meetings being Finance Director for a business. When I started they had three pubs and three and a half years later, we built that business up to 16 pubs, all doing really well, and then BrewDog came along and said we want to buy you so when- yeah we knew it was gonna happen, but probably sometime down the line, and they were quite persistent in their offer so then you know kind of we went with it after some negotiations. And you know we’ve got bought out by BrewDog and I exited the company then, and I was like wow that was an experience and a half! And whilst I was recruited into that role as an inexperienced FD, what it gave me the chance for was in that time you know, we’d open other pubs, we bought smaller businesses within that time, and now had also done the transaction of the sale, is it really built up my skills, my knowledge, and it certainly wasn’t easy because there’s a lot of stuff that I didn’t know I had to kind of just learnt on the go and just get it- just get it done because you know, we won’t- we weren’t messing around. It was real and I had to do my job.

[Roksana] I just would love to know- so while you’re sat in the boardroom having exited working with Jamie Oliver after having helped him and his companies to evolve and develop, within a new company and there as the financial director, what are you feeling about yourself in those moments? I mean obviously there was a lot of learning you were doing now, but you are winging a lot and you were figuring a lot and you were kind of going with the flow- but how are you feeling about yourself? What was it doing for your confidence?

[Bharti] There was so many feelings at the time because number one; I just couldn’t believe that I was now a finance director. The founder of that business who had interviewed me, he believed that I was the person to help him run and grow that business, so that was massive, massive boost for me, but then there was like the other side of me that was really scared coz like, “Oh my God do I know what I’m doing? Can I actually do this job? How am I gonna perform?” and actually, I just put my blood, sweat and tears into that business as I do kind of with all of the jobs that I’d had because you know, I really believe in the brands that I’ve worked for and I just gave it my all and I was like- I’m so determined. I just wanted to succeed and I just wanted to be like actually, that’s what I’m all about. I can do it for myself and I am going to do it. You know, I really believe that if there is something that you want that’s out there and you want it so badly, you’ll do anything and everything that it takes to get there, and I think start that was my driving my determination. I wanted to be that person, and I wanted to be successful, and I wanted to use my brain and build a business again as I had done with Jamie’s and it was- it was a rollercoaster, absolute rollercoaster, but I loved every minute.

[Roksana] So lets fast forward to a few years ago. You had an idea to set up your own company.

[Bharti] So yes, then after Draft House I then worked for Coffee Company and I was CFO there and was only there for about 11 months, but actually you know, that was a really tough eleven months. And in that time again, I put my all into this business, I’m doing all of this and I’m- I’m building for somebody else: what would it be like if I did that for myself actually? And all the time overall of the years I always had my own opinion for the businesses I worked for and worked within, and I’d always think it would be better if they did it this way or did it this way, but of course it’s up to the founder of that business. I’ve always had that kind of desire to build something of my own so after working for the Coffee Company and getting through you know, I’d worked in restaurants, pubs, I was like well I want to give it a go myself. I’m not quite- I’m not quite sure yet but I just thought if I if I don’t give it a go now I might regret it forever that I didn’t try this, also I thought well, if I give it a go now and it doesn’t work out I could probably still get back into like a Finance Director or CFO role if I had to, but what do I really want? And I thought what I really want is to do it for myself. So over the years I thought, wouldn’t it be great to have a café, or even a nightclub and a bar? And you know all of those kind of thoughts are going through my head but nothing had ever really kind of worked out. I’d never really taken it much further but then you know at this point in my career I was like well you know I’ve kind of ticked those boxes and I’ve got this far I’d like to give it a go at being an entrepreneur. So my idea came about by bringing a few of those things together, using the experience of places that I worked at and BloomsYard was born from all of those ideas and BloomsYard in non-lockdown times should be a cafe and wine bar, where you can get speciality coffee, wellbeing teas like matcha tea etc., good infusions, delicious wine. So you know, I was like there, I love all three of those things- tea coffee and wine- that’s what I’m going to go. But lockdown happened, and BloomsYard is just an online shop for now.

[Roksana] You plan to have premises.

[Bharti] Yeah one day for sure, I mean that’s what I really want in my heart. I want BloomsYard to be a physical site where people can visit. For now it’s just an online shop but you know it’s a place where you can start having a try of what BloomsYard is about and at the point where life gets back to some kind of normality I think it’s definitely gonna be a place that you can visit and coming- you know you could be a BloomsYard customer and come in in the morning for your coffee, maybe have a meeting in the afternoon with a cup of tea, and even come back if you loved it that much for a glass of wine in the evening. Kind of like an all-day affair.

[Roksana] Sounds lovely. Sounds like it’d be a treat for all of us when that does open up. So, where are you today in your life? How are you feeling about yourself; your hopes for the future, and just generally how are you planning to navigate the next few years?

[Bharti] You know it took it- took a really long time to accept what had happened to me. You know it wasn’t easy to make the decision to keep going, you know and I had many, many ups and downs over the years but actually I’m now at peace with what’s happened. That’s actually the only reason why I can talk to you about it now, because I’ve accepted, you know, that my dad didn’t love me enough to allow me to be my own person, and the only way that I could be myself was to go through this but actually it’s made me 100 times better person than I would have been if I just stayed there. I now have like 2 beautiful daughters, a very loving husband who supported me the whole way through, you know we have a great life. I’ve kind of built up my career and I’m still going I just- you know I’m continuously looking to improve and I think you know the start of BloomsYard now is another new chapter for me and I’m excited. I can’t wait for it to be, you know the physical site where I can welcome BloomsYard guests all day long, and I think it’s going to be fantastic. I’m just waiting for lockdown to properly end and people to feel confident about going back out and you know for this virus to be gone or whatever the new- I don’t know what it’s gonna be like, and going forward you know maybe we’ll find a vaccine, and you know things might get back to some kind of normal that we knew, but I am really excited, and I’m just- I’m just, you know, I had to go through a lot to get here but it was worth it, it has been worth it.

[Roksana] I can tell. I mean your story is so inspiring and fascinating and the thing that runs throughout, it’s almost littered with this constant- these pivots in your life where there was just as constant belief, this relentlessness to be better, to do more, and you haven’t said it but it’s almost like this belief somewhere in your heart that you deserve more and I feel like it came up time and time and time again and you kept aspiring and moving forward to create a life for yourself. That year was a bit better than the last few years and you felt that at every point and every juncture in your life and I know from conversation that we’ve had before and today that I don’t see that ever ending for you. I think you’re somebody who will continue to evolve and expand and grow your potential.

[Bharti] It is, it’s just, it’s wanting more and wanting better and not just accepting that this is what it is. Believing that there is more out there for me or for any of us you know, coz by me sharing this story, I want people to know that they can be who they want to be and you know, nothing should stop them, you know it hasn’t stopped me and I now live a really happy life with my little family at home, and I’m doing those things that I want to do and I just want everyone to know that they can be the same.

[Roksana] Thank you for your time, Bharti, it’s been amazing.

[Bharti] Thank you so much and I just hope that that people do feel inspired by it. So yeah, see you one day at BloomsYard.

[Roksana] Definitely. I’ll make sure all the links for BloomsYard are in the show notes for all my listeners, and it’s been a pleasure.

[Bharti] Thank you.