lady startup

A flood of tears in a grocery store led these two mums to start their own business.

Starting their own meal delivery business has allowed The Dinner Ladies co-founders Sophie Gilliatt and Katherine Westwood to provide thousands of dinners to time-poor families every night.

But the greatest benefit the startup has provided Sophie, is financial independence.

It wasn’t that Sophie, who started the business with Katherine in 2007 after meeting at the school gate, was particularly strapped for cash – it was her husband who earned their family’s sole income.

Not having her own source of income to contribute to the family budget bothered the mum and made her feel she that couldn’t buy the things she wanted.

In an interview with Mamamia’s Lady Startup podcast, she said she particularly remembers one incident in a greengrocer that left her crying.

Listen to Sophie and Katherine talk about the joy of being financially independent. Post continues below.

“You know I remember before we started the business that once my eyes were filling with tears, I was in the greengrocers and I saw the peas were $5. And I thought ‘I love peas and I can never buy peas’,” she told podcast host Rachel Corbett.

It helped her to realise how important financial independence – even if your partner is earning a decent income – is to your sense of self and self-worth.

“I think financial independence, even when you’re in a happy and stable relationship is still very important. It’s still very important to your sense of self.”

“I know they’re small things but it’s actually important. It’s very important to feel you’re contributing. That’s given me a lot.”


Now that Sophie co-owns a business that produces 12,000 meals a week, she said she buys $5 punnets of raspberries without a second thought.

The Barefoot Investor Scott Pape’s advice for single ladies is also spot-on for those in relationships. Post continues. 

Video by Mamamia

For Katherine, the income from The Dinner Ladies has also improved for her and her family’s life.

“My husband used to work in advertising as a commercial director and he used to make very good coin, as they say,” she explained. “But he’s always wanted to be an artist. His whole life he wanted to be an artist.”

Now, Katherine is able to be the family’s main income earner, while her husband pursues his passion  – a “huge thing” for the couple.

Listen to the full conversation with The Dinner Ladies on Lady Start Up. You can download the episode on iTunes, your favourite podcast app or here.

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