You may have heard of our next blog guest, as her Matcha Maiden Matcha Powder made a very sneaky appearance in our Autumn Box!
However there is much, much more to the vibrant, effervescent and all round lovely human that is Sarah Holloway, so we thought we'd sit her down for a chat as we know she'll inspire you to live with just as much positive energy as she does.
But firstly, a little more about Sarah; not only does she own and run Matcha Maiden with her soon-to-be-husband Nic, she also started Matcha Mylkbar (which is a cult cafe here in Melbourne!), has an incredibly successful podcast - Seize the Yay, and has also created her own very strong personal brand which has lead to numerous high profile speaking gigs, event hosting and much, much more.
Read on to hear a little more about Sarah...
Tell us a bit about the people behind your company
We’re actually quite a tight knit team, so it’s just my fiancé and co-founder, Nic, and myself doing most of the operations along with my Mum on board full time as our wholesale manager and one of our dearest friends, Angelena, doing most of our creative. Everything else is outsourced to keep us agile and mobile, but all with the common goal of helping people discover there is so matcha more to life!
What inspired you to start your company and when did you start it?
It was a very happy accident based on closing a gap in the market for our own selfish needs! Just happened to be the perfect timing in the market and in the digital landscape for it to take on a life of its own very quickly. Nic and I had been on a charitable expedition to Rwanda that was not as completely transformative as you’d expect it to be, but also left me with a parasite on returning home. I lost a crazy amount of weight and ended up mismanaging it to the point of adrenal fatigue, which then resulted in coffee being banned because of the intense effects it would have on my nervous system every time I’d try to drink it. Luckily, I got sent to Hong Kong with my law firm at the time and discovered the marvels of matcha that Asia has been harnessing for centuries – a delicate, versatile healthier form of caffeination that hadn’t really been revived into a modern format for the booming wellness market. Therefore, Matcha Maiden was born as a side hustle and it’s been matcha madness ever since!
What would an ‘average day in the life of’ look like for you?
I absolutely ADORE the fact that there is no longer such a thing as an average day! My corporate life, as stable and secure as it was (which I’m not sure I completely appreciated at the time), was infinitely predictable and consistent. Life today is the complete opposite throwing up all kinds of unexpected and exciting challenges covering the full spectrum of roles you could expect in a business. In among the chaos, I try to keep a basic structure so I start each day with a quick meditation and then take myself out for breakfast to my favourite local café to tackle my emails and work on the day’s to-do list. This really helps me orientate myself and make sure I haven’t missed anything. Some ladies love handbags and clothes, but my budget is reserved for breakfast dates! Then between breakfast and lunch could be anything from meetings to taxes or product shoots to distribution planning. Sometimes it’s visits to the factory or days spent at our café, Matcha Mylkbar. Other days it’s just pure computer admin with some calls in between. Now adding a podcast to the mix, that takes up a lot of time as well but I absolutely soak up every minute of it. I also try to move my body a couple of times a week so I’ll also fit in 2-3 gym sessions whenever I can and maybe a run on the weekend to unwind. Plus walking our beautiful dog, Paul! Weekends are a bit more quarantined these days, since I’ve finally got a hold of the idea that we all need rest! Sundays are phone free for the most part and my inner sloth comes out! Pretty sure I’m a very lazy person in a busy person’s body!
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
People! That’s my favourite part of the work we do – I feel very close to people’s decision making now and the decisions that change their lives for the better whether in a small sense of feeling healthier or a larger sense of starting a project that lights them up. The possibility to impact someone’s journey positively is SO exciting to me and every day I wake up wanting to do work that makes it easier for people to choose happiness and fulfilment.
What is an interesting way of using your products that not many people would know about?
Face masks!!! Matcha’s many incredible health benefits also include topical application to fight free radicals that cause cell damage and aging. So using it in a DIY face mask is a lot of fun and gives it a bright pop of green that I love playing around with! I mix up my own matcha clay mask at home for full detoxification and cleansing and do that a few times a week. We travel a lot so the planes and change of climate etc tend to leave me with a lot of congestion, but the matcha masks have become a ritual!
What have been the biggest trials so far in starting and running your company?
Pacing myself! Going from an environment where you can’t wait to get home after work to a job you love so much that you never want to stop because it never feels like work is the PERFECT recipe for burnout. Suddenly every single part of your effort has visible results for the business and your to do list NEVER ends because the possibilities are literally unlimited. It took me a good few years to break the burn out cycle of just pushing far too hard then crashing and wiping myself out then doing it all again. Now I’ve learnt that speed isn’t everything, baby steps still move you forward. Rest and distance from your business also tends to unlock more creativity and perspective and lead to the best new ideas you’ll ever have. And if you can’t last the distance what’s the point anyway? If you feel crappy and tired the whole time, you might as well go back to a stable, well paid job!
If you weren’t running your company, what would you be doing?
Such a hard question! I kind of love the nature of this modern age that you could literally end up doing something COMPLETELY different in a few months and have no idea of it right now, everything is moving so fast! But if I had no money or time constraints, I think I’d just focus all of my time on the podcast and Seize the Yay AND I’d spend all my spare time learning languages – I LOVE foreign languages and speak a few already, but want to learn them ALL!
What is your favourite way of winding down and taking time out?
I know a wellness warrior would say meditation or yoga or something, but I’m an unashamed trashy TV fiend. It’s my favourite way to pull my brain out of my to do list and truly let the brain cells chill out at the end of each day. Nic and I also love walking the dog and getting outside together to watch how happy he is just sniffing the environment and how simply happiness can really be. When I’m feeling fancier, I can’t go past a good massage or facial.
Here at Retreat Yourself, we LOVE dreaming BIG - what is your vision for your company?
For the first time in years, I’m trying to ban myself from thinking about it!!!! We’re getting married in 10 weeks and realistically nothing big can happen between then and now without distracting us from the pure joy of the lead up, so we’re both trying very hard to just maintain the status quo and not push as hard as we usually do for innovation, growth and novelty!
For anyone out there wanting to start their own business, what would your biggest piece of advice be?
DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT!
And lastly, what does a fulfilled life look like to you?
The one I’m living right now!!!!
To have a look at some of Sarah's projects read on below, and to listen to Sarah's highly successful podcast, type 'Seize The Yay' into your chosen podcast hosting program.
"What the heck is agar agar, we hear you say. It's a
vegan gelatin, kanten, Japanese gelatin or China grass, agar agar is a jelly-like agent that comes from seaweed (specifically red algae)."
Special guest, The Broth Sisters, take us through just what the hell agar agar is and why you want it in your diet.