How to Run Sustainable Businesses in Ways That Really Matter with Chloe Van Dyke & Florence Van Dyke, Chia Sisters

April 9, 2020

Chloe and Florence Van Dyke are the real-life sisters behind Chia Sisters, producers of New Zealand’s most nutritious and sustainable juices and seeds. In this episode hear how they grew from Chloe producing juice in her own kitchen to being leaders in the sustainable business movement in Nelson NZ and beyond.

“We always considered ourselves to be an environmentally friendly company, but we realized we had no idea. No idea at all how to even begin combating the biggest environmental issue of our time, which is global warming. We know that businesses are the major contributor to this. We realized that we must also be a contributor, and that we needed to do something to be a part of the solution.”

In this episode:

  • How Florence and Chloe went from working in the law and neuroscience to bottling healthy drinks in a solar-powered juicery
  • What led Chloe to start creating chia drinks 
  • Why New Zealand is a really good place to be doing business 
  • Recognizing that business are a major contributor to environmental issues
  • The steps Chia Sisters are taking to ensure their business practices have a positive impact on the environment 
  • How SheEO has shifted Chloe and Florence’s mindset towards supporting women-led businesses 
  • Exclusive contracts and how they hinder small business growth 
  • Extending sustainability values to the team, including paying a living wage

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Show Notes

Transcript

Florence:

We have put a lot of effort done to planning a really positive team culture, and we feel like our sustainability values really extend to how we treat our team as well. We are Nelson’s first living wage accredited employer, which means we pay everyone, including all the staff on the bottling line 25% above the minimum wage, and that’s the amount that’s needed to not only have the necessities of life, but an independent body who’s [inaudible 00:30:32] citizen and society.

Florence:

We also take a lot of effort to nurture each of our employees … our team members, and figure out what they actually want, not only from their job, but from their life. Are they looking to be on this job forever, or is it a stepping stone for their dream job? Whatever it is that they want or … do they want more time with their family, or more time for becoming a world-champion mountain biker? Whatever it is, we look at that how we can help them reach those life goals.

Vicki Saunders:

Welcome to SheEO dot World, a podcast about redesigning the world. I’m your host, Vicki Saunders. In each episode, you’ll hear from SheEO venture founders, women who are working on the world’s to-do list. These innovative business leaders are solving some of the major challenges of our times. Sit back, and prepare to be inspired.

Chloe:

I’m Chloe, founder of Chia Sisters. We create nutritious, sustainable and innovative beverages from a solar-powered juicery in Nelson.

Vicki Saunders:

We also have Florence, co-founder, with her today.

Florence:

My name’s Florence, and I work alongside Chloe to bring the most nutritious beverages to New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

Vicki Saunders:

Welcome. We are so excited to have you both on the podcast today. You are our first sister-preneurs. Co-founders of Chia Sisters, which is so exciting.

Vicki Saunders:

Let’s talk a little bit about your journey to starting your company. Florence, you want to just start with did you always want to be an entrepreneur? How did you get to co-founding this company?

Florence:

Yeah, absolutely. I always wanted to be a lawyer, ever since I was little, and I studied law at university, and got a job at a really good corporate law firm up at Auckland, the biggest city in New Zealand, straight out of university. I was working there for around three years, and I just started looking around me and realizing that this wasn’t what I want for my life.

Florence:

I’ve always felt really strongly about sustainability and equal values, growing up, and I started realizing that moving huge amounts of money from one company to another wasn’t something that I wanted to be doing. I also looked around and saw the work hours that some people were putting in. To succeed at this corporate law firm, you needed to be working nights and weekends, which was just something that I didn’t want to be doing.

Florence:

At the same time, Chloe had been creating a nutritious health drink made with chia seeds. I’ll her talk about that bit afterwards. I realized that I wanted to be doing something I was passionate about, and something that I had a bit of a “why” for.

Vicki Saunders:

Yeah. Tell me a little bit more about a “why”, in case people aren’t really up on that.

Florence:

It comes from a book by Simon [Finnock 00:03:21], and he says a lot of people know what they’re doing at work … most people know how to do it, but not many people know why they’re doing what they’re doing. I realized that I didn’t know why I was shifting huge amounts of money from one company to another, often international companies buying out small New Zealand companies and land, and it just didn’t sit right with me. I realized I wanted to be doing something that I was passionate about. Shaping up the beverage industry, which is known for producing a lot of plastic and a lot of sugary drinks was something that I really felt I had a why for.

Vicki Saunders:

Chloe, tell us about your journey here. You’ve created something that never existed before, so clearly you didn’t really have a role model for that. How did you get into this business?

Chloe:

Going right back to our childhood, we were brought in an entrepreneurial family. Our parents sold possum fur hats, which helps save the forest of New Zealand, which are being decimated by pests. We had sort of that entrepreneurial upbringing. But I didn’t study Business or Marketing or anything related to business, really. I studied Neuroscience. I was fascinated by how the brain works, and so I got a Bachelor of Science and Neuroscience, and then did postgraduate research in Alzheimer’s disease.

Chloe:

Then, I became very interested in using natural plants and their benefits on the body. I got a diploma in herbal medicine. Then I was in Nelson, and I realized that …. well, there weren’t very many opportunities in neuroscience, and at the same time, Florence was a national triathlete, and my dad was a world champion age group swimmer. They were looking for something healthy to fuel them with their training.

Chloe:

However, everything that was on the market at the time … so, this is going back seven years … all the health foods promoted themselves by what isn’t in them. No artificial ingredients, no added sugar, no fat. Lots of things that are really important, but I felt that what’s not in your food can’t actually make you better, because it’s not there.

Vicki Saunders:

That’s a very good point, isn’t it?

Chloe:

Exactly. It’s important to exclude things, but actually, what’s going to make you healthy is the nutrient content. That’s what fuels you to have energy, to have focus, to feel that healthy vitality that we all want to feel. At the time, my dad was hydrating chia seeds just in water as part of his training with a swim squad, just down at the local pool. I started looking into the seeds, and they’re full of Omega 3, magnesium, calcium, iron, electrolytes and fiber, which happened to be a lot of the nutrients we tend to need more of in our diet. It doesn’t taste very good just in water, but it does need to be hydrated in water to absorb the nutrients.

Chloe:

I ended up mixing them with some local fruits we grow. Lots of blackcurrants here in Nelson, which have lots of antioxidants in them, and lots of Nelson apples as well. So, we blended those together, me and dad. He started using it, and Floss started using it. Then, we took it to the local café and supermarket, and found out that it wasn’t just athletes that want to feel good and healthy. It turns out that lots of people want to be their better self, through choosing healthy foods.

Vicki Saunders:

It’s so interesting to me. I love stories of entrepreneurs where they literally kind of stumble upon … they’re solving a problem in their own life, which sounds like that’s exactly what happened here. Having not trained as an entrepreneur, probably a good thing these days, and having a fresh approach … you went to local cafes. And then how did this kind of blossom into … did you have a bigger vision really quickly? Has it just kept organically growing? How did you get to the next level?

Chloe:

I then went to another city, and took it to cafes and supermarkets there. I think that’s when I quit my day job, which was just working in a health foods store at the time, and realized I had to go full time because that was occupying all of my time. It really did just grow organically and quickly from there, and I think at the same time, the market was changing and wanting more healthy and innovative foods.

Chloe:

It went from first going to a supermarket and them saying, “What is this? This is pretty weird,” to the following six months later, asking what else I had like it. Yeah, evolved from there.

Vicki Saunders:

So, when did you quit your job to join Chloe? How did that work? What’s it like working with your sister?

Florence:

It’s good. I quit my job at the end of 2015, and Chloe had been really successful with launching Chia into local supermarkets and cafés. When I came onboard, we took the next step and really pushed into some big sport market, got the arranging and national supermarkets across the country. That was really exciting in my first year. I hadn’t really known what to expect, going from this very corporate lifestyle to literally working out of a garage. There were a few speed bumps to get over, but we had a really fantastic first year.

Florence:

We love working together. I think we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses really well, so we understand how far we can push each other. We have quite different personalities and quite different skill sets, so we’re really good at knowing who should be doing what task, and what’s going to work for one person that’s not going to work for the other.

Vicki Saunders:

That’s super helpful in a partnership, right? To tell each other which-

Florence:

Yeah.

Vicki Saunders:

I guess you’ve been used to.

Florence:

We’re very honest with each other.

Vicki Saunders:

That’s good. You need to be, right? You really do have to tell the truth. If you just sort of skirt around things, things go sideways all the time.

Vicki Saunders:

I have a question around … did you start bottling at home? How did you get started with the manufacturing part of this?

Chloe:

So, we did our first production run out of a local brewery. It went really terribly.

Vicki Saunders:

Okay.

Chloe:

Basically, because we’re designing something completely different, and it just has a delicate nature to it, it didn’t fit through any of the small tubes that you would normally put a liquid through, and just shot out all over the place, and was a complete disaster.

Chloe:

The next step, we had to actually go forward and design our own equipment, to be able to handle the product, and from there, we used our own equipment and someone else’s facility, until we got to the stage where we could then take over that facility.

Vicki Saunders:

Can I just stop you for a sec, because this is one of the things that … this is not how I think. I feel like I could start so many companies, but manufacturing of stuff seems so hard. We have a venture in Canada who created breathable food wrap, [Abega 00:10:47]. She was doing this by hand, and then she literally hired engineers to make a machine, which I think is like, “What?” Seems so strange to me.

Vicki Saunders:

So, how did you … when you’re like, “Oh, so it didn’t fit through the tubes, so we just designed something,” how did you do that? How did you figure out how to do that?

Chloe:

We worked with Callaghan Innovation, which helps support companies doing innovative and new things. Then, we also worked with an engineering company and a university. Brought all of those things together.

Vicki Saunders:

Oh my gosh. Basically, you’re like, “We need to do something,” so you just … did you go out and start talking to people? How did you find them?

Chloe:

Yeah, I think New Zealand’s a really good place to be doing business, because everyone wants to help each other out. We literally went to the best people that we knew of, who create the manufacturing equipment for Frontera, which is New Zealand’s biggest company, and said, “Hey, who can we chat to?” And they said, “We’ll do it.” Callaghan Innovation, which help out with innovative new designs of anything. They’re the first of their kind in the world, so they will you out as well.

Vicki Saunders:

Amazing.

Chloe:

Got the university onboard, so it was real collaborative effort, but it did hit some hiccups. It didn’t work perfectly the first time, which [inaudible 00:11:59]

Vicki Saunders:

You started with the brewery, it didn’t work, you went to work with innovation people to help you figure out how actually get it bottled, and then … so, where’s it manufactured now?

Florence:

We were put in quite a difficult situation last year. We previously had our own equipment, and someone else’s factory. They were making it for us, and we just had to do all the sales and branding work. Then, they went into liquidation really suddenly last year. We were in this really difficult position. We had to decide whether we literally closed down our business, because we can’t make our product anymore, and we asked all over the country and no one had capacity to bottle our drinks for us.

Florence:

Or, we could take over the factory, which was made for a company probably 10 or 20 times our size, move in and do it all ourselves, which involved hiring bottling staff, hiring a production manager, doing a safety plan, cleaning to a food grade standard. There were so many changes in our business, and at the same time we were having … a key employee that had been with us from the start had left, and whole lot of in-fill disasters … It was a really difficulty time.

Chloe:

I had a 10-month old baby at the time, so I hadn’t slept for 10 months.

Vicki Saunders:

Oh my God. So, 10-month-old baby. You had to take over a factory that was going into liquidation. Go into all these elements of business, right? Which is just-

Chloe:

Yeah. As you said, manufacturing much more difficult.

Vicki Saunders:

Help us with that. How did you get through that? I love that deep pause. “I don’t know. We’re still in it. What do you mean, “how do we get through it?”?”

Chloe:

What I think we did that was … one thing that we did … we realized, “Okay, if we are moving into a factory that’s made by a company 10 times our size, the first thing we need to do is increase our production. We need more sales, so that we’re not just wasting money all this stuff, and all this equipment sitting here.”

Chloe:

We launched a new range of fresh-pressed juice, made entirely from local fruits, and we lined the new factory with solar panels, which was really in line with our sustainability values. But we called this new fresh-pressed juice “bottled by the sun”, to celebrate that shift to solar power. It’s been our most successful range. I think it’s a really good example of when you come across a barrier and you’re forced to think outside the square and do things a bit differently, take some huge risks, and luckily for us, it’s come out really well.

Vicki Saunders:

I love the term “bottled by the sun”. It’s really beautiful. I have this little sticky on my computer right now, which says, “what would nature do?” And I think about this with almost all of my decisions these days, because I think we’re so extractive in our mentality, and we need to be regenerative. So, how do we actually figure that out?

Vicki Saunders:

Let’s talk a bit about sustainability. You said this really matters to you, and hear that you were recently … you went zero-carbon, recently. Tell us a little bit about that. How it happened, why this matters, how you’re leading in New Zealand, around this.

Chloe:

We always considered ourselves to be an environmentally friendly company, but we realized we had no idea. No idea at all how to even begin combating the biggest environmental issue of our time, which is global warming. We know that businesses are the major contributor to this. We realized that we must also be a contributor, and that we needed to do something to be a part of the solution.

Chloe:

We broke it down into four parts. First of all, we measured how many of these warming greenhouse gases we were producing. We got on a local company called Ecos, who was able to look at how much CO2 emission we were producing through all the different activities that we were doing, such as through freight, through transport, through power, through waste. A bunch of different criteria. Then, once we had that footprint, it could tell us the problem areas that we needed to focus on. I think this is the key to this … to moving forward in this space, because without understanding the problem, how are you supposed to solve it?

Chloe:

The next step is that we went through the process of reducing wherever possible, and do that by creating renewable energy, such as through solar power, by reducing waste by using electric vehicles, and also just talking about smarter transport solutions.

Chloe:

Thirdly, we offset by contributing to sustainable native forests in the Nelson region, which is the region we’re from. Those are forests that our communities can also enjoy. We offset by 120%, which means that we … the overall activities of our business are reducing CO2 from the atmosphere, so having a positive impact on the environment.

Chloe:

Then, lastly, which is so important, is adding that cost to the balance sheet going forward, so that every single decision we make, in every area of our business, includes the true cost to the environment.

Vicki Saunders:

That is amazing. I mean, this is the one thing that everyone leaves outside their economic model, and then they just offset and don’t think about it. Adding that cost in … was it hard to figure out … to measure? A lot of people have a hard time measuring, but is your business fairly straightforward that way?

Chloe:

Working with the people … your suppliers, so we would go to our electricity company and say, “How many kilowatts did we use in the past year?” Or to the waste company, “What is the weight of the waste that we put out in the last year?” And they have all that information. Certainly, there are some areas that need improvement, with freight and different suppliers that haven’t got easy ways of calculating it, takes a bit more time.

Chloe:

But the encouraging thing was everyone I spoke to said, “Wow, this is the first time I’ve been asked this question, and I know that I’m going to get asked this question again and again, so I need to think of a way to be able to provide this information and this data better to my customers.”

Vicki Saunders:

Amazing. Are you seeing more businesses starting to take this up? I know that you talk about this, and you get some media locally. Are you starting to see movement towards this? Are you leading in your space?

Chloe:

Yeah, absolutely. I think there’s two huge ones, in terms of we’re seeing … one is businesses. Since we’ve come onboard, just through word of mouth and different workshops and talks that we’ve done, between 20 and 30 more businesses locally working on this process for the same company, Ecos, to become carbon zero.

Chloe:

On top of that, I think the biggest shift is in consumers, over the last year, especially. I think this is at the forefront of consumers’ minds, and they’re willing to make purchases based on environmental decisions. I think that climate change is at the forefront of people’s minds at the moment. Not only are we seeing our suppliers and people we’re working with coming onboard to become carbon zero, but we’re actually realizing that’s a really profitable way of doing business, because people are looking for it.

Vicki Saunders:

So, people are drawn towards your product. It’s a marketing benefit, essentially?

Florence:

To add to that, we’ve gone a step further and created little zero carbon company shelf toppers or wobblers that sit in supermarkets, and we’ve gone round our local supermarket as a trial, and put them up on all the companies, not just ourselves … but all the companies that have gone through the process of becoming a zero carbon, to help it get all the way to the consumer awareness. From that, we’ve had lots of other supermarkets now requesting it as well. In the not too far future, we will have all supermarkets throughout New Zealand labeling zero carbon products, which would be really exciting.

Vicki Saunders:

That is incredible. And is … did you make up this certification, or does it exist somewhere? How does that work?

Florence:

We’re working with a company that certified us, but that’s called Ecos. We went to them and we said, “Hey, we’re going to make up these little fliers. Do you want to be involved?” And they said, “Yes,” so we’re working with a certified body.

Vicki Saunders:

I love it. That’s really amazing. I mean, that really just shows the ability of … like, when you’re passionate about something and you do the work to get through it, dividing that up into the four parts of measuring what you’ve got, and then looking at renewable energy sources, and then offsetting, and then adding it to the balance sheet. That’s a really simple process that you could put out there for others to follow. I think it’s kind of cool.

Vicki Saunders:

You mentioned workshops. Are you teaching other people how to do this as part of your … on the side of running your business?

Florence:

Yeah, it’s really exciting. We have just realized the momentum behind this with other businesses locally. A few bodies, like Bank of New Zealand, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise have asked us to do workshops alongside Ecos, to show how, when you break this down, it’s not that difficult. It’s about the four steps Chloe talked about. Calculating, reducing, offsetting, and putting into your balance sheet. If every business did that, it would change the world, and we think that Nelson is perfect place to start, because of the uptake among [inaudible 00:21:22].

Vicki Saunders:

That’s just incredible. Tell us, where’s Nelson in New Zealand, for those who are not geography mavens?

Chloe:

It’s at the top of the South Island of New Zealand, and it’s also New Zealand’s sunshine capital, which is one of the reasons why we decided to go solar-powered, as well.

Vicki Saunders:

Bottled by the sun, cool. So, how did you get involved with SheEO? How did you find out about this organization?

Florence:

I actually can’t remember the first time we heard about it. I feel like we’ve known about it since it existed, somehow. But we do have an amazing connection here in Nelson, Chris [Woodless 00:21:54] who works Teresa [Ginning 00:21:56], and she’s been one of our biggest supporters right from the start.

Florence:

We first … I think we first must have heard about it from her, and then seeing the likes of Dot from CNE, their SheEO joined the year before us, spurred us to become a part of it.

Vicki Saunders:

It is amazing to see the connection. Yes, when Chris heard about you, I remember her sending me an email going, “I have such an amazing venture who’s applying. I’m so excited about them.” One of my favorite things about the network that we’re building is that we have activators, women who contribute capital to fund your businesses, out there kind of scouting. Looking around their communities. They might not have thought about women-led businesses before, and now, because of this model, are starting to really look.

Vicki Saunders:

Can you tell me about exporting within this model, and how that has supported you, if it has?

Chloe:

So, we are currently exporting to Australia and Singapore and Hong Kong. The fantastic thing about Australia, which is our biggest export market, it is also a place where SheEO ventures are selected, and [inaudible 00:22:56] the SheEO model. So, what’s been really great is we’ve been connecting with SheEO activators in Australia, who helping connect with distributors and buyers, and all sorts of connections over there that are really helping us with that Australian market, because it is so much more difficult outside your own country. You’ve got to have those connections to make your business fly.

Vicki Saunders:

It’s one of the things that we’ve designed into the model, but to actually see it happen is really cool. When I was in Sydney, we went into the grocery store and saw your drinks on the shelf, and it’s … I’m like pulling out my cellphone and taking a picture and sending it to you. I’m like, “Oh my God, it’s one of our venture [inaudible 00:23:40],” like so exciting.

Vicki Saunders:

We’re so proud of you, and it’s amazing to be able to support incredible sisters like yourself. As you’re out in the community and building your business, can you tell us a little bit about the sisterhood that’s developing? Do you have a lens of looking for and supporting other female entrepreneurs out there in your community?

Florence:

Yeah, absolutely. I think that SheEO has completely shifted our mindset, just because we’re aware of some of the statistics around how little support women-owned businesses can get from the start. So, just having that awareness, and having that understanding of the SheEO model makes us want to support women-led businesses more. We’ve had some fantastic women-owned businesses in Nelson, which we’re supporting, and also we feel so connected to this amazing group of women activators across the country, who are supporting us.

Florence:

So, we’ve had help from them for everything from speech writing to taking samples to your local café, to PR. It’s really been incredible.

Chloe:

We gave a talk. It was called “Women of Influence”. So, we were speaking to a whole room full of women about our journey. What was special about it was that one of the SheEO activators, called Elizabeth, helps with speech writing and the storytelling process. We’d worked with her to really formulate our speech, and then when we gave it, we felt really confident, and it went really well. Then, there was Chris in the audience, who was bringing on more activators as the evening went on. It just felt like such a supportive network, that was really functioning, you know? It was really achieving the support that it set out to achieve.

Vicki Saunders:

Yeah, it’s very exciting to start to see people … part of our thing of people have voted for you, they’ve contributed capital to help you grow your business, they’re making introductions, they’re talking about it. It makes us all feel like we’re a part of your success, which is really fun.

Vicki Saunders:

After the retreat, I remember … so, all of our ventures get together, when they’re selected, in the country, and get together for a weekend. Then, afterwards, we have a little WhatsApp channel, and I was laughing, thinking of how you’re helping each other. Someone walks into a store and goes, “Hey, I walked into a grocery store where there’s no Chia, and I told them that they need to get it, and they need to call Florence, or they need to call Chloe.”

Vicki Saunders:

It’s like, how we can really help each other. Walking into a store and going, “How come you don’t have this?” And the person at the store is like, “What do you mean? What is that?” It’s just the way that we can support each other. It’s amazing.

Chloe:

It makes such a difference, just that small comment of, “Oh, I would love you to stock this product,” can be the difference of getting it in the door or not.

Vicki Saunders:

That’s one of the things we can do. If you are in New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, or Hong Kong, please go into your local store, and ask them why they don’t have Chia. Or if they do have Chia, say, “Thank you”. It’s one thing.

Vicki Saunders:

Are there other asks you would have about your business?

Florence:

I think anyone that has connections to café chains or … anyone. Supermarkets, restaurants, anyone willing to stock our drinks. Something that we’re really struggling with at the moment is our sales are growing all the time, but we feel we’ve hit a roadblock, where [inaudible 00:26:43] corporates, and also government bodies, like schools, hospitals, and universities, and those organizations have contracts with Coca Cola and Pepsi, which means that we are blocked from doing any trade with them.

Florence:

I think it is something that’s going to change. I think social [inaudible 00:27:02] an opportunity of the future. But at the moment, it’s still really hard for us to get through these exclusivity contracts, multiple of which have been going for decades and decades, from a really established company.

Florence:

If you are the owner of a café chain, or you know someone that is, just touching base within [inaudible 00:27:25] and making sure that they realize that there’s local, sustainable, ethical companies that would happily match Coca Cola’s price to be switched out. Would be a huge help.

Vicki Saunders:

I don’t think a lot of people really know about this. Can you explain just what this means?

Florence:

I think it’s hard to explain, because it’s such as … something that we’re so … in. It’s kind of our business every day. But basically, an exclusive contract means that an organization … one example is Christchurch City Hospital, has an exclusive contract with Coca Cola, which means that, in this case, 80% of the sales of all beverages from Christchurch hospitals have to be Coca Cola.

Florence:

That means you’ve got hundreds of other small companies or big companies like Pepsi fighting for that extra 20%. In this case, Christchurch Hospital is one of the biggest accounts at Coca Cola in this country. They’re moving a huge amount of volume. Because the government has chosen to support Coca Cola, we are blocked from selling our drinks, unless we can fight for that small 20%, and often there’s further requirements around that. For example, you can’t be in a Coke fridge, or you can’t be in the biggest café. That type of thing.

Florence:

It makes it really, really difficult to do business on that bigger level. I guess, on a smaller level, as well, every time their Coke fridge or a Pepsi fridge or a Charlie’s fridge, that’s owned by a Japanese company Asahi … that means that we are not allowed to be in that fridge, and neither is any other local beverage company. It’s an automatic block from doing business.

Vicki Saunders:

This makes me crazy. This is exactly the kind of stuff that’s wrong in the world, right? There’s a lockdown of globalization, in removing the opportunity for all of us to be able to sell the new, innovative products coming along, and how hard it is to break through.

Chloe:

Exactly. We’re not asking to be the only company being sold. We just want it to be a level playing field, where we’re allowed to have a shot, and the consumer can choose which product they like, rather than only being sold one brand.

Vicki Saunders:

Wow. That’s awesome. Well, I am so, so grateful to both of you for the amazing leadership that you’re showing, by helping all of us to figure out how to become carbon neutral, but also how to run sustainable businesses in ways that really matter.

Vicki Saunders:

Just before we end, can you talk to us a little bit about your workplace environment and the culture that you’re creating with your organization, and what that looks like? I’m thinking, Flossie, if you’re moving from having to work weekends and nights and always on, what kind of culture are you creating?

Florence:

I still feel like I’m always on, unfortunately, but we have put a lot of effort done to planning a really positive team culture, and we feel like our sustainability values really extend to how we treat our team as well. We are Nelson’s first living wage accredited employer, which means we pay everyone, including all the staff on the bottling line 25% above the minimum wage, and that’s the amount that’s needed to not only have the necessities of life, but an independent body who’s active citizen in society.

Florence:

We also take a lot of effort to nurture each of our employees … our team members, and figure out what they actually want, not only from their job, but from their life. Are they looking to be on this job forever, or is it a stepping stone for their dream job? Whatever it is that they want or … do they want more time with their family, or more time for becoming a world-champion mountain biker? Whatever it is, we look at that how we can help them reach those life goals.

Vicki Saunders:

That’s amazing. This is one of the things that I really love about being an entrepreneur, as well, is that you can create whatever culture you want, right? We chose not to join these companies and to do our own, so please don’t follow what everyone else does. The sky is the limit in terms of what you want to create. I’m sure you have flexibility for your own swimming and workout approach.

Florence:

Yeah.

Vicki Saunders:

That’s great. Well, thank you very much, both of you. Thank you Chloe, thank you Florence, for joining us today. Nelson, New Zealand. Check it out, people. We will put your website up. Is it … do you want to just tell us how we can reach you, if people want to reach out?

Florence:

Yeah. It’s “www dot chia sisters dot co dot NZ”. You can also follow us on Facebook, Chia Sisters, or Instagram, Chia Sisters.

Vicki Saunders:

Chia Sisters. Well, thank you very much Chia Sisters. We’ll see you soon online.

Chloe:

[crosstalk 00:31:54]

Vicki Saunders:

Thank you for listening to the SheEO dot World podcast. If this conversation resonated with you, please share it with a friend and subscribe on your favorite podcast player. If you’d like more information about SheEO, please visit us at “SheEO dot World”. That’s S-H-E-E-O dot world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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