Getting to know you: Sharleen Cobourne

What do you currently do?
I am the CEO of First Fruit which is an exclusive provider of luxury fruit and vegetable buffets. Our aim is to offer an elaborate healthy, seductive buffet which makes any event memorable. All our produce is sourced within 24 hours of the event to ensure optimum freshness.
All our buffets, arrangements and bouquets are prepared with care and attention to detail as customer satisfaction is paramount.

Our signature buffet, the fruit mannequin, sets us apart from all other fruit suppliers.

We endeavour to create an amazing multi-sensory experience for each and every client.

We like to stimulate all the senses and create a feeling of wellbeing as people interact with our creations. All I need now is a helping hand to reach out to event managers, venues, and bridal occasions indeed anyone looking for something completely different for their special events.

What is your inspiration in the business?
What inspires me is my children. As a single mother to four boys they motivate me every day to keep going and aim higher. My mission is to lead by example and demonstrate that all things are possible when you have faith in your own abilities.

Who do you admire?
I admire those who manage to get up after they have fallen, for me that’s the definition of success.
Donald Trump comes to mind as he is someone who’s had many ups and downs but in his own words he says ”what I have learnt will always bring me success.” I relate to this on many levels and that’s why the greatest investment you can make is on your own self development. In general I admire those who are not afraid to stand out and be seen – blending in is so boring!

Looking back are there things you would have done differently?
When I look back at this business I can honestly say no, I had a vision and I just stepped out in faith and it’s been an amazing journey so far. However I realised I was unemployable about 10 years ago and I’ve had many businesses since. If I had been as courageous then as I am now I’d probably be living on my own private island like Sir Richard Branson! I’m a firm believer in embracing the process so I try not to live in regret or what ifs.

What defines your way of doing business?
My aim is always to make connections with people not just contact them for business. I’ve found that most of my success is attributed to opening up to someone, allowing myself to be a bit vulnerable. Not to make the other person uncomfortable but to let them see I’m human. Sometimes people can come across as rigid and untouchable but I find being authentic and honest is fantastic currency.

What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Network, network and then network some more!

Connect with as many people as possible because you need people to help realise your dreams. It doesn’t matter if you have all the resources you still need people. Collaboration is key to success ‘I’ never gets further than ‘we’.