This is the first blog of many in the ‘Sassy in Business’ series where I’ll be sharing the behind the scenes stories of my business and my tips and tricks to hopefully help you build your own. This first blog is the story of how Naturally Sassy first began, the very start.
I’ve been fortunate enough to create a job that’s diverse, varied and includes all my passions, growing and changing as I do. Sculpting your own career doesn’t always seem like a possibility, and it certainly doesn’t happen by chance, it takes determination and the confidence to be the driving force behind your business.
My business came into fruition in 2013. I was training 8 hours a day to become a professional ballerina, with little time or interest in other things. The training was all encompassing and at the time rather unhealthy for me mentally. I was injured badly and spent a lot of time sitting on the sidelines while my peers continued to train, and get stronger. I found food was a way to control the situation, keep my body in shape and feel like I was still in the running to get to where I needed to be. I realised after time that this outlook on food wasn’t helping but hindering me, and I needed to make a big change to get my physical and mental health back in check. Alongside this I’d been suffering with terrible eczema, that coincidentally came to a head at that same point. The combination of my weight, energy and skin suffering was enough to make me stop and find the tools to make a change.
This change came through understanding, learning and appreciating food in it’s whole form. Looking beyond low fat labels and sugar free but additive filled foods to enjoy ingredients in their most natural form. This drove me to start cooking from scratch, which soon developed into a passion for creating new, healthy, exciting dishes – it was a stress free escape from my long days at the studio and brought me a lot of satisfaction.
My sister Sadie, who is truly the epitome of a girl boss, had just launched her online magazine Hip & Healthy at the time. I saw an opportunity for me to contribute and after a little convincing I launched their recipe section. The year I spent as the food editor at Hip & Healthy was eye opening, I understood from watching Sadie how to start, run and operate a start-up, pitch ideas for promotions and secure clients. I was emailing top brands, negotiating partnerships and creating recipes for big marketing campaigns; I loved the hustle, and the final result. I was only 15 years old at the time, but that never seemed to feel like a limitation.
Sadie showed me that to drive a business forward you have to innovate, and gave me the tools to pitch and create a Recipe Ebook for Hip & Healthy, a big project to take the rains on. It was a lengthy process and took the best part of 12 months from start to completion. It was a full time job, alongside my very full time training. I spent hours recipe writing, testing, photographing and re-testing. We worked with a wonderful photographer and graphic designer on the e-book which gave me the added experience on hiring and collaborating with other artists, something I do on a daily basis with my business now.
It was at that point with Hip & Healthy that I started using social platforms to market my recipes and myself as a cookery writer. I spent hours understanding what the audience that followed me wanted, I listened and always tried to fulfil the requests. Over the next few months my following grew far more than I could have possibly imagined.
The amount of content, recipes and ideas I had inspired me to create my own online space, my blog, Naturally Sassy. It was a hard decision leaving the comfort of a company to be the face of my work.
Going into the website development I knew I wanted to launch with something special, I used the profit from the Ebook to invest in building a bespoke website. I took meetings with fantastic web developers, until I found the perfect fit for the project. I launched Naturally Sassy with 100 recipes, a free e-book, multiple blogs, city guides and a video series – it was a mad rush to pull it all together, and a huge learning curve.
Naturally Sassy launched in May 2014, and the adventure really started. The one thing that is clear to me reflecting back is how essential naive teen-like optimism is to starting a creative business. There are so many obstacles and people who will encourage you to take the safer route, but take a chance, invest in what you want and go out and get it!
Sassy In Business:
This is the first part of the Sassy In Business series – I’ll be sharing what happened next for Naturally Sassy including my debut book deal, Naturally Sassy Snacks, supermarket deals, giving up Ballet for Naturally Sassy and everything that happened in between. If you have anything you’d like to hear about, message me @Naturally.Sassy on Instagram and ask me your question! #SassyInBusiness