Her goal is for Wilder and Hunt to be THE New Zealand convenience health food company – and founder Amy Gibson is well on her way to achieving this.
In what some would describe as an overnight success story, the 29-year-old started her health food business 14 months ago and now has two Auckland stores in St Heliers and Ponsonby, and a team of 18 staff.
“Wilder and Hunt specialises in convenience health food which is nutrient dense, so no grain, sugar, or artificial anything,” Amy says. “I want to introduce New Zealanders to real food and lure them away from the processed junk.”
She says the ethos underpinning the business recognises that the human body demands a high plant-based and fat/protein diet for optimal health.
“We love ingredients your body can recognise. Before mass food production introduced grains, legumes, and refined sugar to the human diet, people largely ate what they could hunt and forage for,” she says. “We only source products that add value to your health, ensuring our suppliers are not only ethical, but offer products that nourish your body.”
Ingredients include free range meat, sustainable seafood, and where possible, local organic produce all served in recyclable packaging.
Along with the three chefs and one baker working full-time in the kitchen, Amy says brainstorming for new products is a team effort.
“All of our staff are passionate about coming up with and developing products we know customers are asking for.”
The mother-of-two says the initial idea came after becoming fed-up with the lack of nutritious convenience food on offer at mainstream outlets in Auckland.
“Having grown up on a farm, I was confronted by the difference between real food and the mainstream diet when I moved to the city.”
So, on a very limited budget, Wilder and Hunt began.
“My father lent us money to get started and from here the cash flow generated from the business has helped it continue to grow.”
Amy believes part of the business’ quick success is the fact that people are starting to understand more and more how important their health is and what a huge part eating real food plays.
“Coupled with this is having a very strong brand that people can relate to and trust is important.”
With many a string to her bow, Amy’s colourful career before her business venture included working as a trained chef and completing a Masters in Marketing.
“Having marketing experience has also really helped grow the business,” she says. “I know there is a whole lot of noise in today's market and to connect with people you have to invite them on a journey and show them the way, not force your ideals and products on them. You’ve got to know how to listen to people and understand their needs.”
For her, the business, products and core values come naturally and something she is incredibly passionate about.
“I know that good health is the only way to success – success in family, business and future. My passion in life is to see people succeed and be the best version of themselves.”
When asked what the biggest ingredient is in creating a successful business, her answer is simple and straight-forward: vision.
“If you get caught up in the day to day operations and forget the bigger vision you will drown in overwhelm.”
And as for competition in the New Zealand healthy food market, she says it’s not a problem at all.
“Everyone in the health food industry is helping each other out as we are all trying to spread the same message and grow the market. We are trying to take business from the sugar and grain pushing companies not each other.”
So if you’re in the neighbourhood and feel like a non-processed nutritious top-up, stop in at one of the Wilder and Hunt stores and taste the difference.