They have received recognition from Forbes, the SheEO summit, and were Nelson’s first accredited living wage employers; and now the Chia Sisters are dishing out some words of wisdom for other aspiring businesswomen.
The Chia Sisters, Florence and Chloe Van Dyke, (29 and 34), found success through their nutrient-dense bottled chia drinks, while using New Zealand’s first ever solar-powered juicery which they created.
Chloe, who is a neuroscientist and holds a diploma in herbal medicine, started the venture in December 2012 after setting out to discover the world’s healthiest foods. Her younger sister Florence, who studied law, joined the Nelson-based business in 2016.
By 2019 the drinks were being exported to Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia and Florence made The Forbes Top 30 Under 30 list in the Asia category.
This month they won praise once again at the Westpac-sponsored SheEO summit in Auckland as one of the top five female-led businesses for 2019. Along with the accolade, they will receive a share of up to $300,000 of an interest free (crowd-funded) loan to expand their business.
Up until now, the sisters have self-financed as well as taking bank loans when needed. Their ethos is: “We always put everything (financially) back into the company so we can strive towards our goal of becoming the world’s most nutritious and sustainable beverage company,” Florence said.
Florence gives the following five key tips to other women wanting to start a business:
“Fail fast and fail often. It’s important to try new things constantly. Move on quickly from strategies that don’t work and hold onto those that do.”
“Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to reach out and contact your idols, you will be surprised by how often they are willing to help. At the same time keep in mind that you know your brand and business better than anyone else.”
“Bring your personal philosophies and passions into your business. That way you will be motivated when the going gets tough.”
“Know your team. Not just what they do at work but what they want to achieve in life and how you can help get them there.”
“Celebrate the small wins. All too often we focus on the failures but starting a business is rocky so use the victories as motivation to get through the tough times.”
She added that their non-negotiable values are sustainability, innovation and nutrition.
“We strive for sustainability in everything we do, from the way we treat our team, to where we source our ingredients and how we juice the good stuff,” Florence said.
Their next product launch will be a Hemp Plant Protein Smoothie made from New Zealand’s hulled hemp protein and bottled in recycled glass.