Meet our latest Local Love Sarah Holloway – the lovely, super-talented and super-hard-working co-founder of the wondrous product taking the health & wellness industry by storm! Sarah tells Twosixmag the story behind Matcha Maiden, how she brings balance into her life and the best ways to enjoy her product. We are so thrilled to welcome Sarah and the Matcha team to the Twosixmag Community!
Can you please tell us a little about Matcha Maiden?
My partner, Nic, and I started Matcha Maiden late last year as a bit of a creative side project. Little did we know it would grow into such a beautiful global matcha family in such a short space of time! Matcha Maiden is all about spreading the magic of matcha powder, which conveniently for us seems to have become “the next big thing” in the health food space! Matcha has been around for centuries but its incredible health properties are not as well known in the mainstream market. Our matcha mission was and continues to be to make matcha more accessible and appealing to a wider audience, so that everyone can enjoy its amazing benefits and delicious flavour!
Where did it all begin?
Nic and I were both working full time – I was a mergers and acquisitions lawyer in a big commercial law firm and Nic had his own creative agency – so we weren’t exactly sitting around twiddling our thumbs. We had both enjoyed matcha for quite a while though and got hooked on it again when I was living in Hong Kong last year. When we came home, we were surprised to find that Australia was a little late to the matcha party despite it otherwise being a very progressive health food market. Matcha was around but it was either prohibitively expensive ceremonial grade powder or, at the other end of the spectrum, it was not labeled in English, not organic and not very well branded. We wanted to find a nice middle ground that was well priced without sacrificing quality and also supported by vibrant and exciting branding. We’d unknowingly stumbled upon a gap in the market and decided to give it a shot. We had always wanted to go into business together and I was looking for a creative outlet anyway, so in November our matcha mission began!
5 health benefits of Matcha?
Matcha sounds complicated and fancy but you’re probably more familiar with it than you expect. It’s just pure green tea leaves ground into powder, so you consume the whole leaf instead of throwing them out and only drinking the brewed water. So the main benefits of Matcha are simply the well-known benefits of green tea but in higher concentrations – matcha has up to 137 x the antioxidants of regular green tea! The 5 main benefits are its effects on metabolism, energy, immunity, skin and overall wellbeing. It makes a particularly good alternative caffeine source – it has less caffeine than coffee but also a different quality of caffeine. As it has a unique amino acid called L-theanine, the caffeine in green tea is released slowly into the blood stream so you don’t get the “jitters” or crash associated with coffee. This means it can also be used as a great pre or post workout!
Was it something particular that attracted you to the health food industry?
Since we sort of “fell” into the whole thing, it was really a conscious choice. But coincidentally, it’s probably the industry we would have chosen anyway. We’re both very health conscious and I ADORE food (healthy and not so healthy), so it’s a wonderful area to be working in. It’s so nice to know that what you do has a positive impact on people’s health and wellbeing, I find it truly rewarding and fulfilling.
Has health always been important to you?
Definitely! I have certainly had my fair share of ignorant years, scoffing my face with junk and thrashing my body with bad habits. But health has always been in my mind – I used to be a ballerina and Nic was an elite athlete so we both learned about nutrition and anatomy very early on in life. Staying fit and healthy has always been important to us both, and it has only become more so as we have moved further into the industry.
At home. I ADORE travelling – we are both such wanderlusters – but I am also a homebody at heart and love nothing more than to snuggle up in bed with a trashy TV show and a yummy snack. I’m always out and about and I love meeting people and doing things, but I always feel whole again when I get back home. I enjoy working from home too and having Nic and my dog around me, even if not in the same room. It’s a place where I regroup and recalibrate, before I’m ready to go out and face the world again. The bath especially is one of my favourite ways to reset.
At Twosix, we have found there is a change towards a more conscious way of living, people in Australia are starting to take note of their health, do you agree? What changes have you noticed?
Definitely! It’s almost become fashionable to be healthy. Healthy options are increasingly prevalent in eating establishments, fitness options are popping up everywhere and the craziest, innovative ways to exercise are emerging and booming! Health ambassadors are leading the way and making a life out of health blogs. The industry is positively exploding showing how strong the demand is, it’s wonderful!
Is social media the key to getting a healthy message out there?
I think social media is extremely powerful in the health and fitness space, purely because so many health and fitness enthusiasts use it regularly. Because it’s become such a strong community, new things spread like wildfire and there are no great costs or geographical boundaries, so it’s just a dream for a new business!
What’s the best advice you give your 16-year-old self?
Get over yourself! Teenagers mope so much and everything is so dramatic all the time. I was such a brat! The world does NOT revolve around you 16-year-old Sarah!
Now to your amazing product, what are some of the best and unique ways to enjoy your product?
Smoothies are one of the best ways to enjoy matcha since you can add it to any recipe really and either enhance or mask the flavor depending on your taste. They’re easy to make, delicious and super healthy (if you do it right!) As for unique? Our followers are AMAZING, I couldn’t choose just one! Face masks, organic toothpaste, green curries, raw Oreos! It’s amazing!
What’s your favourite Matcha Maiden Recipe?
My favourite is probably green tea ice cream. I am a SUCKER for it, I could eat it for days. Not so healthy though… My favourite healthy recipe would be bliss balls or a green smoothie.
What are your plans for the future of Matcha Maiden?
I don’t think we’ll expand into other products, since I’m quite prone to spreading myself too thin and getting distracted. I think there’s much to be said for just doing one thing properly and since it’s going well, why dilute our energy across lots of different things? I think we’ll be putting our efforts more into Matcha Maiden’s global operations. We’re getting bigger overseas now, so the aim is to just keep building momentum as we did here and replicate our MM AUS family in other key areas.
We feel it’s extremely crucial to support local industry? As a growing business, what are some of the simple ways people can get behind businesses like Matcha Maiden?
Agreed!!!! We had so much support from other local businesses when we were starting out and definitely believe in paying it forward! Collaborating is a wonderful way to support each other, especially with like-minded businesses who are likely to have many customers/followers in common. Sharing knowledge and experience is also invaluable – even things as simple as which printer you use!
Who are your favourite 5 instagrammers that you are following at the moment?
That is a VERY hard question for us – I have so many! I honestly don’t think I could limit it to 5! My dear friend Brooke is doing incredible things with her blog @aconsciouscollection. I love eating out for breakfast, so I also love @melbournebreakfastdiary (who is another dear friend). The lovely @changeroomfoods is another foodie friend of mine and her photos are always beautiful. The beautiful @lisacouturing is the most fabulous fashionista going around (yep, another friend – I am TOTALLY biased). I’ve also discovered some amazing bloggers overseas through the matcha mission who I love interacting with – @stephanie.h.park has incredible creations and I hope to one day meet her in person on the next trip to NYC! I could keep listing forever!
And lastly, where can we get our hands on your delicious product?
We have an online store at www.matchamaiden.com but also an increasingly long list of wonderful stockists both within Australia and overseas. The list is also up on the website for your perusal!