Today I wanted to share something a little different, and introduce you to two of my old consulting clients. Indulge me for a second, and let me explain.
Lauren and Anna are incredibly successful and inspiring businesswomen who created respectively the first plant-based food business academy known worldwide and an online workout app counting over 20,000 users.
I looked at them as two clear examples of resilience, grit, and overall business acumen — so I thought I’d introduce them to you.
By working with them on their marketing strategy, I learned a lot about what it took for them to build successful businesses.
Lauren is a food entrepreneur and creative, inspiring passion through plants.
She is the founder of Plant Academy, working with brands and individuals to bring their dreams to life through showcasing and sharing the best in plant-based food talent, knowledge, and sustainable visions.
The ‘why’ for everything is about bringing the conversation of mental health to the table.
Sharing how by pursuing your dreams, eating well, and having a community together we can move mountains and make a positive impact on the world.
Anna is a mama of 2 and Founder of Boxx.
She started her career as a Chartered Accountant: ‘When I was on maternity leave with my first child, I came up with the idea for Boxx so left accountancy to pursue my dream of having my own business.” She recalls “Boxx aims to make Boxing workouts inclusive and accessible to all via our online and studio-based workouts.”
“If you go out into the world it will come back to you. It can be so easy to be head down when starting a new business. Stay open, keep exploring.” — Lauren Lovatt
Form Lauren Lovatt, it all started with the need of building a sense of community: “When I moved to London, I was freelancing and had no idea how I was going to make it work, with funding a new project and paying the bills all at once. On a whim, I decided to launch a supper club that was all about inspiring better mental health through food and telling the story of my food journey through the menu.”
Like in all the best stories, everything seemed to happen for a reason. Within a week she sold 50 tickets, the dream venue presented itself and people volunteered to help: “I saw how if you put out something you so passionately believe in anything was possible.”
The main offer from the Plant Academy is a course called Plant 123.
This class goes from plant food fundamentals to expressing your essence through food and making an impact on the food system: “As soon as people across the world started getting in touch without even marketing I knew we are onto something great.”
Being able to validate the idea by assessing the reception of their core offering gave Lauren the motivation to keep on going: “Over the last year seeing people travel from the other side of the globe to come and literally saying it changed their life has proven for it to become a venture with a much greater impact.”
“Without sounding like Nike, Just do it! You can plan/research/procrastinate forever, the best thing you can do is to just start!” — Anna Samuels
Anna Samuel's eureka moment happened when her daughter was 6 weeks old.
“It suddenly dawned on me that I wasn’t going to be able to go to a studio to do boxing classes for a long while, so I began looking online.” Samuels explained “However, all the workouts I found were dull and couldn’t seem to find any boxing ones. I finally stumbled across a boxing workout in a book so I decided to give it a go. I love it BUT working out from a book wasn’t ideal so I thought why don’t I take this online. So I did, that’s when Boxx was born.”
Samuels and her business partner worked out a format for the workouts, found a production company, filmed the videos, built a website, and launched: “ We only started with 6 videos but quite quickly we realised that people were really loving the concept and from there we grew and haven’t looked back!”
Pivoting towards an online space
Like most businesses with a strong offline presence, Lovatt decided to pivot her company and reposition her courses to embrace a more remote way of learning, as part of the new normal.
“The academy will be going online from there and I feel we will have much more fluidity in what we can do” explains Lovatt “I’m excited about more collaborations and connections constantly moving towards a more sustainable, creative, and delicious future of food.”
In the past few years, Samuels has seen the fitness industry rapidly growing, which made it an exciting industry to be involved in.
The global pandemic has shaken everything up and forced everyone to rethink their businesses and how they operate: “We have definitely welcomed this change. The past few months we have been working super hard on some really exciting plans, which we can’t share just yet but are looking forward to when we can. So watch this space”
Try it for yourself: how can you bring a fresh new take to your current business and products?
Collaboration over competition
Her attitude and perspective of work are very simple: “I see so many looking around at what everyone else is doing and worrying they will be copied. For me collaboration is key.”
As an entrepreneur, she is action-focused and believes that by going out into the world will come to you. You can’t wait for it to happen and by connecting and sharing the passion magic happens. “Don’t give up, don’t take anything personally and always embrace and believe.”
Try it for yourself: Think about who out there inspires you. If your brands resonate why not join forces and create magic?
Jump before you are ready
The journey with Boxx was definitely a busy one.
In 2018, when Samuels was heavily pregnant with her son, she tried to raise investment but were unsuccessful. This was largely due to the process being rushed to secure funding before her due date, but also in hindsight, it was definitely not the right time.
“I am grateful to have gone through the process, as all investors were impressed with what we had achieved despite our limited resources which definitively boosted my confidence.” Samuels shares “What’s more is they gave us direct feedback on what we needed to improve on, which will no doubt prove invaluable for our future fundraising plans.”
Try it for yourself: What can you do to get yourself out there? Can you ask a mentor or someone you admire out for a coffee to get their wisdom?
The power of social media
When it comes to new opportunities, social media, specifically Instagram, is everything. All of the international projects she began are through this channel: “I recently co-created the food concept for HOY, Paris’ first plant-based hotel. People just find me and endless opportunities come about.”
Having a visual portfolio visible to the world is a fantastic way to express values and skills and can also be useful to look back, check-in and remember how things were and how they have progressed, Lovatt adds: “ I can always tell from my feed how I was feeling at a certain time and what it led to.”
For Samuels, social media has been a way to create a connection with her online customers from the get-go.
“Social media has been key to help raise awareness of our brand giving us the flexibility of how and when we allocate budgets.” Samuels explains “Not only that, as an online business, we don’t get the chance to meet our customers face to face, so social media has been amazing in allowing us to connect with our customers and build an online community.”
Try it for yourself: Think about how you can use social media to foster collaborations and community. Are there any partnerships you can encourage within the platform?