What drew you into food and nutrition? What was the pathway to becoming owner of a raw foods company?
When I realised how much food made an impact on my life, not just physically but mentally and emotionally too. When I ate strictly raw (for around 2 years) my entire life changed and put me on a path of holistic wellness and nutrition. When I started eating raw, I had so much more energy, clearer eyes, better skin, I felt happier, had better relationships and just felt generally awesome, like I could do anything. I also started meditating which played a big part of it. When I began to take this further by studying Nutrition, I started the business on the side. As my knowledge of food and wellness grew, I had to find an outlet to share it with the world somehow.
What one thing has been most critical to your success?
There are probably a few, but yoga and meditation plays a big part in keeping me grounded, creative and energised. It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day stresses of running a business, but being able to take a step back and see the bigger picture is really important. Keeping focused on the goal, not letting yourself get distracted and making decisions that clearly align with that goal helps to move things forward.
How did you get funded to start up the business?
I initially started the business whilst studying and working part time. As business picked up I was able to leave my part time job, and eventually I left uni - which was very scary! I increase business by setting up a stall at the local weekend markets, pushed wholesale business and committed to a bigger kitchen. After a while I had enough to open the Ponsonby cafe.
Other than deciding to work for yourself, what was the single most important decision you made that contributed to your success?
There are a few - but I think an important one as staying true and genuine to your own beliefs, and remember why you started. Getting out there and meeting people, being yourself and making contacts is essential, especially New Zealand, to help you grow as a person and as a business.
Who has been your greatest mentor?
Looking back, what’s one thing you wish you had understood about the business before you got started? If you could go back and advise the younger you, what would you tell her?
Trust your gut, always!
What are your future goals for yourself and the company?
At the moment I am about to release a summer edition of my cookbook which I'm really excited for - it has a new cover and a fresh look which I think people will love. I'm also working on opening a new The Raw Kitchen site at City Works Depot in time for summer, which will be really fun..
You are a studying to be a nutritionist, a business owner, a speaker at wellness events and a contributing author and author of your own Raw Foods book? How do you manage to balance work/life?
This is so important to me! When I stop looking after myself (I.e. don't take time out/stop exercising/yoga/meditation etc), it is reflected in all areas of my life. I know that in order for everything to keep ticking along nicely - I must set time aside every day to look after me. As hard as that is as a business owner, I have learnt the hard way that it is essential. Now it's a daily ritual.
Where do you do your best thinking?
Usually during the morning is when I'm feeling most creative, where most of my ideas come. Sometimes whilst I am exercising (during a run) or after a meditation is when I experience most clarity and become inspired.
What is one piece of advice for anyone reading this who is starting out on their journey of following their dream and turning this into a business?
Just go for it! Don't let anything stop you. Yoga and meditation are really helpful to maintain both a creative and focused mind.
You can follow Olivia's journey on