How To Turn Your Passion Into A Career | sheerluxe.com

How To Turn Your Passion Into A Career

From foodies to fitness lovers, turning your passion into a career can be rewarding and scary. Setting up a business is one of the biggest challenges you may face in life, especially if you’re going it alone or lacking in a career’s worth of contacts behind you. Capitalising on the wellness revolution, we caught up with the women turning their lifestyles into big business. So, if you’re keen to find out more about following your passion, as well as the pitfalls to avoid, these wellness entrepreneurs reveal the secrets behind their success…
 

Rose Lloyd Owen, Peardrop London Catering and Founder of Fare Healthy

Four years ago, Rose Lloyd Owen left her job in media to start up a business making healthy salads for office workers. Today, she caters for some of the biggest names in fashion – from Stella McCartney to Alice Temperley – alongside running Fare Healthy, a feel-good festival of food, fitness and wellbeing that’s taking London by storm.

Tell us about your business...

The first business I started was Peardrop London back in 2013, to deliver healthy lunches to Londoners’ desks, we’ve grown into parties, weddings and larger events now, too. Then, a year or so later, I founded Fare Healthy as people were beginning to take an interest in healthy living.

What’s been the biggest challenge?

Staffing issues. I’m lucky to have a very loyal team at Peardrop who have worked on our events from the beginning and understand the standards required. However, there are still those that let you down at the last minute, or don’t care enough about what they’re doing. It has driven me to try and inspire loyalty and have fun at work at the same time.

So, how do you recruit the right people?

Working with them is the only way for me. With cooking, it’s easy: after an intense few days in the kitchen with someone, it’s easy to gauge their attitude, their palette and their level of skill.

How did you get your name out there?

Both companies have been largely word of mouth but Instagram and contacts have also been vital tools. I’m very lucky to have friends at companies like Stella McCartney and Vogue who’ve got me in the door.

Fare Healthy has been tougher – selling 5,000 tickets to an event is not to be taken lightly!  PR, advertising, paid social and targeted marketing were all essential. It’s important to remember every business model will have its own strategies though.

Does having your own business afford you any freedom?

Without a shadow of a doubt, the best thing about running your own business is the freedom. The ability to work from bed one morning or take Fridays off still fills me with such pleasure. I never feel any guilt because I work really hard, so when I have downtime, I make sure it counts.

Did you always envisage the brand as it is now?

Not at all. When you start, everything is so unknown and you slightly have to respond to what sells. Business is unpredictable and you have to roll with the punches. Who knows where both brands will go – I’m excited to find out, though.

 

Naomi White, Naomi White Communications

Naomi White, founder of Naomi White Communications, has always been passionate about health and fitness. After six years working in the PR industry for some of the country’s top agencies, she decided to go it alone. Fast-forward two years and her company is only just getting started.

Tell us about your business... how did you start? 

I set up Naomi White Communications – a boutique agency – in December 2014 as a fully integrated PR and marketing agency specialising in the health and fitness sector. The clients I work with today are the brands I started with from day one.

What’s been the biggest challenge? 

Finding a work/life balance – when I started out, I worked every second of every day. Now, I make a conscious effort to take some ‘me’ time each week – it helps me to step back from situations and maintain an open, creative mind.  

What difference does following your passion make?

I live, eat and breathe my passion for health and fitness, which is why I find my job so enjoyable and why clients see the added value in working with me as their PR.

And how important is getting your brand online? 

Very. For me, my website is a platform where I can show prospective clients the campaigns I have successfully implemented – I feel it brings my service to life.

Does having your own business afford you any freedom?

While the first two years were very testing on my personal life, running my own business has enabled me to have a second career as a BOOM Cycle instructor, where I teach before and after work.

Any great advice? 

Nothing easy is ever worth it. You will always face challenges and hit stumbling blocks – it’s how you pick yourself up and reach the end that counts and the satisfaction of getting there through pure grit and determination is definitely worth it.

Did you always envisage the brand as it is now?

No. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would own my own business, let alone a successful brand that people recognise and trust. When I was 21 I had a five-year plan to be at a certain level at a PR agency and I now find myself at 26 as my own boss and feel like the world is my oyster.

 

Leah Garwood-Gowers, The Hardihood

Leah Garwood-Gowers launched The Hardihood in 2015 with friend and housemate Daisy Payne, after noticing a gap in the market for beautifully crafted, raw cakes and desserts completely free from refined sugar and gluten. Today, the company – stocked in Harrods, Daylesford and Planet Organic, among others – is paving the way for a new era of raw superfood confectionary that looks and tastes as good as the real thing.

So, how did it all start?

Daisy and I have been friends for nearly ten years and we both decided to give up sugar, but were uninspired by the lacklustre alternatives on the market. We wanted to create a dessert that was not only sugar-free and made from wholesome ingredients but one that also looked and tasted good.  

What’s been the biggest challenge?

Cash-flow – we’re constantly watching our bottom line, which can be frustrating, but it means that we’ve had to get creative and utilise what we do have. Instagram has been amazing free marketing for us and we used to use Zipcar to run our deliveries all over London from 4am on a Friday morning to save money.

And what’s been your most memorable moment to date?

There are too many to mention but publishing our first book was definitely a highlight. I don’t think either of us ever thought we’d be able to add ‘author’ to our repertoire.

How do you recruit the right people?

Making sure the best people want to work with you – and you only – is important. We want our team to feel both valued and challenged.  We look for a positive vibe, honesty and can-do attitude above all else. When you’re a start-up you need to make sure that every person on-board is worth their weight in gold.

How important is social media to your brand?

Very – it was the initial building block of the business. We started sharing images of our creations from day one and this is how people found us. On one particular day, Deliciously Ella shared one of our posts and we got about 25 orders through – that was incredible.

Do you have a mentor?

We’ve had some great mentors – Jeremy Jaffé, former Founder of What On Earth (an organic food producer) has helped us understand the back end of food manufacturing. Additionally, we’ve had some brilliant advice from Propercorn founder Cassandra Stavrou – she’s someone in business who we really look up to.

Best advice you’ve been given?

Do what feels right and trust your gut – believe in what you’re doing.

 

Stephanie Johnson, Pollen + Grace

Aussie-born, food obsessed yogi Stephanie Johnson set up London-based food delivery service Pollen + Grace in 2015, determined to make the capital a healthier place. Driven by frustration at the lack of clean lunchtime eateries, she set out with a wholesome menu free from gluten, wheat, dairy and refined sugars. Today, the company is still growing and can be found on the shelves of Harrods and Selfridges.

What was the beginning of Pollen + Grace?

Things started small, I had an idea, a website, a bike and my kitchen at home, so I used to hand out flyers in the morning, go home and make the food, cycle to the offices to deliver it, then come home to work on marketing and finance.

Has the company changed since then?

Hugely, we originally started as a lunch delivery company, and have since developed into a healthy food-to-go company, stocked in over 40 retailers London-wide including Harrods, Selfridges and Planet Organic.

What has been your biggest challenge?

There’s been many, but the growing pains were a struggle - trying to keep up and stay ahead whilst growing both the team and the amount of produce we’re creating.

Do you remember a turning point for the brand?

Without a doubt the transition from lunch delivery to retail range, and being stocked in Planet Organic in January 2016 – our first major stockist. We also rebranded last summer, updating our packaging, which has, in my opinion, changed the brand for the better.

How important is social media?

With no budget for traditional advertising, social media is an amazing way to not only get the message out about who we are and interact with our customers, but also to support and interact with other brands.

Best advice you’ve been given?

Just start, don’t wait until it’s perfect.

Did you always envisage the brand as it is now?

Whilst the growth has been organic, where we are now is still beyond my wildest dreams. I never could’ve imagined being in a kitchen this size, creating as much food as we do, nor getting to work with as many talented people as I do each day.

 

Inspiration Credits: Instagram.com/PollenAndGrace, Instagram.com/PearDropLondon, Instagram.com/The_Hardihood
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