The most successful companies are based on true passion. For four Tauranga women who started their businesses from their home kitchens, limited space hasn’t limited their ambitions.
Hannah Mellsop – Real Rad Food
The woman everyone knows for the big smile and the most Instagramable raw cakes only started her business 18 months ago. Today Real Rad Food is an honored guest at any Tauranga market and its cakes are sold in trendy cafés such as Heath Street, Luca and No Bull Fuel. The secret of Hannah’s success? The taste (of course) and Instagram!
The marketing and social media side of her project were a cornerstone for Hannah from the very beginning, and while she had to learn a lot about taxes and accounting, she never struggled with making cakes that looked great in photos.
“I’m passionate about producing really beautiful food that catches the eye before it enters the belly. We eat with our eyes first so it naturally led me to the visual platform – Instagram. I’ve put a ton of effort into making a product that people not only want to eat, but want to share on their social media accounts,” says Hannah, who has an impressive 12K followers.
It took Hannah two months to relocate Real Rad Food from her own kitchen to a community one: “I am doing the markets, so I need a big space for a deep freeze. The one at home is too small!”
Sian du Plessis – Nomad Nutrition
Sian’s cleansing journey started back in 2007, when she first discovered the power of fresh juices for stress and hormonal management. Being a health coach and a yoga teacher, she bought Nomad Nutrition to have a foolproof platform from which to help others. Her husband Matt happened to be a qualified organics wholefood chef, so they are now creating new flavours and nutritional combinations together.
“Most beverages on the shop shelves are full of added sugars and can sit there for months before being consumed. Our juices are raw, not HPP’d (High Pressure Pasteurization is a technology that inactivates bacteria in juice without introducing heat or chemicals), or processed in any way.”
The couple produce fresh cleanses weekly and deliver them door to door for the best experience. “This business has taught me to stay focused on our core values.” For Sian that means protecting the Earth, supporting local suppliers, keeping a seasonal approach to their range and even tailoring cleanses to meet specific dietary requirements.
Mila Arena – V on Wheels
While looking for a job in 2016, Mila had enough free time to cook her favourite dishes for flatmates. After satisfying their taste buds, she started a Facebook page to let others try her food and that’s how the first fully vegan meal delivery service in New Zealand began!
It wasn’t until a job interview at the Mount Bakery that she realized her hobby might turn into something really big. “The interview went great. I was sure the job was mine,” she recalls. “But the owner called me the next day saying, ‘I would love to give you a job, but V on Wheels is going to be successful, go fully for it! And by the way, can I order some meals?’”
The idea behind V on Wheels is to offer a different menu every week. Mila admits she rarely cooks the same dish twice. What remains the same is that they are all hand-made (‘old school’, as she calls it), freshly frozen and ready to eat. And she still cooks and delivers everything herself!
Photos: Cynthia Qiu
Janine Collins – The Black Kettle Co.
Just like most New Zealanders, Janine loves good coffee. But her inability to metabolize it sparked a new idea. She created a range of caffeine-free, plant-based blends which entered the market just in time for the current health and wellbeing movement, and grabbed the attention of local health mavens. Janine’s idea was supported by Wild Earth Organics, The Nourished Eatery, Flaveur Breads and Revive, who were all delighted to add these wholesome organic lattes and frappes to their menus.
“I think most people in Tauranga love supporting a local producer or manufacturer and the community vibe is strong,” says Janine. She prefers to keep her business hand-made within her home kitchen, utilizing the goodwill of family and friends during the busy periods. She spends two days each week blending and mixing Zesty Matcha, Up Beet, Dandelatte and other mouthwatering flavours. The rest of the week she saves for discussing new blends with a microbiologist and studying health and wellbeing. She is also a busy mum of three children.