If you looked back at the health industry just a few years ago, it would look vastly different to the way we see it today. It can be a confusing place to work out how to nourish yourself, without overcomplicated and expensive remedies. What’s clear though, is that one of the more effective ‘remedies’ sweeping the health conscious community at the moment, is matcha. It seems that as a society we can’t get enough of that magical green powder. And where did this matcha revolution come from? Matcha Maiden…
We had time to chat with Sarah Davidson, the co-founder of Matcha Maiden, to talk about all things family business, superfoods and chocolate (yes, you read that right!).
Sarah and Nic – partners in life and business – first discovered matcha during an ancient matcha tea ceremony in Japan. After arriving home, post holiday, Sarah returned to her fast-paced life as a corporate mergers and acquisitions lawyer. It wasn’t until Sarah suffered a “burnout into adrenal fatigue and was banned from coffee”, that she started to research matcha as a healthy alternative.
On the hunt for a quality product that just didn’t seem to be available, their business journey began. ”Matcha Maiden was the accidental business baby born out of frustration when our daily matcha habit was surprisingly hard to satisfy. Ceremonial grade matcha was too expensive for daily use and required special tools to prepare. Ingredient grade was low quality and often diluted by sweeteners. Matcha Maiden is the embodiment of our desire to unite respect for matcha’s traditional roots with affordability, accessibility and ease of use.” Like most businesses, Sarah had no idea where this business would take them, “we thought we’d start Matcha Maiden as a little side hobby to give us a reason to spend more time together never thinking we’d become fully blown business partners shortly after. I went full time six months later and we haven’t looked back.”
Matcha Maiden creates its point of difference from that fact it is sourced from Kyoto, Japan rather than cheaper Chinese blends and is 100% green tea, not mixed with sweeteners, to create a certified organic, pure experience. And for those with dietary requirements, they’ve got you covered, being gluten and dairy free.
The real joy of the product comes in its simplicity and versatility. It can be used as a plain tea due to its premium quality, or added to a multitude of recipes to bring a 21st century, superfood take on classics like pancakes or cacao mousse. With the business success, they have also opened a St Kilda Cafe, Matcha Mylkbar serving up a range of plant-based recipes with matcha as the star ingredient.
With over 80k Instagram followers and a loyal client base, it’s easy to see they have a very popular product. In an article with Sydney Morning Herald, Sarah shared that the early days were a real learning curve for these newbie entrepreneurs. “We Googled everything about how to start a tea business, it was all so DIY. We launched through social media and did a little pre-buildup and it sold out in a week and we were blown away by how much demand was just sitting there.” From then, the business has flourished, “It’s gone gangbusters and I sometimes wake up and think, I can’t believe what has happened with my life.”
Talking with Sarah about the delicate balance of running a business with her partner, Nic, she admitted the early days were difficult to juggle; “I don’t think we took a holiday or had a date night for two years before we realised we’d almost become business partners who were also housemates, rather than a couple who ran a business together.” Luckily, this strong couple noticed the shift in dynamic as it happened and made conscious changes to protect their relationship “We put in place new boundaries around ‘working hours’ and personal time, not working from our bedroom, taking weekends off and booking in regular date nights.” A common issue those in family business can relate to, and something this pair have succeeded in, to create a business where they can talk business and keep their personal life separate.
It’s an inspiring story for fellow entrepreneurs; find something you are passionate about, hustle to learn the business know-how, turn that passion into a business model, and watch it grow. And Sarah’s top advice for other family businesses? “Prioritise clear communication over anything else”. Good luck to all our entrepreneurial readers out there!
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