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If you’ve been anywhere near social media in the last few months, you’ll have been bombarded by my over-sharing and will already know all about the “matcha mission”. Just in case you missed it, my partner and I started a small business, Matcha Maiden, which has been such an unexpected success since launching in November last year that I recently left my corporate law role to work on it full-time. It has been the most incredible journey growing the business to a point where I could make the exciting transition, which has in turn allowed the business to continue growing at an even crazier rate. We are so lucky to be invited quite often to share our experiences with Matcha Maiden and I thought I would collate some of our interviews and pieces (even if only for my own records) to share them here.

The feature list so far is below with links – I’ve limited this to those which take a behind-the-scenes business perspective (but if you’re interested in the product-focused features too, you can find them on the website). In today’s world of instant gratification, I thought it would be useful to pull out some key dot points (I LOVE dot points – you’ll discover that pretty quickly). I’ve listed five major lessons I’ve learnt from an overall business perspective – I could ramble on forever, so I have to impose numerical limits on myself! We also get asked quite often about our social media strategy, as we have grown a beautiful matcha family of almost 40,000 people around the world – we are so grateful to have so many wonderfully loyal supporters and friends. I might dedicate a separate post to that at a later stage, and will also share full versions of some of the more detailed features. In the meantime, if you have any particular questions, please feel free to ask!

PS. If you don’t know what matcha or Matcha Maiden actually is, it is very well detailed in the pieces below that we are so honoured to be featured in. Have a read about it there, so that I don’t overload the people who I’ve already overloaded far too much with any more matcha madness.

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My top 5 Matcha Maiden musings:

  1. Just start – One of our most destructive human tendencies is self-doubt. I heard a quote years ago that has always stuck with me – “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” When you have a good idea, it’s so easy to switch from intense excitement to complete despair. Our minds are prone to identifying and lamenting all the obstacles to an idea instead of focusing our energy on how to overcome them. This often leads us to “self-select out” of opportunities, giving up before we even begin. I experienced those exact feelings, but was lucky to have great people around me and one in particular interrupted my ranting one day and told to just start – “You won’t know if it’s a great idea until you try it”. Genius! I was genuinely worried that we might not make a single sale, but if I’d let that worry overcome me I would have ensured we never did. I never would have known how wrong I was. So don’t ever let self-doubt be the reason you choose not to run with something! Obviously don’t jump into things recklessly, but if you have a good idea just START!
  1. Find your tribe – You can see from above (and will already know) how important the people around you can be. Especially when you’re just starting out with a new idea, it’s so important to surround yourself with the right support network. It can be scary and overwhelming at times, and having people around you to pull you through or to bounce your ideas off makes a world of difference. And a strong support network doesn’t only mean people who will encourage and motivate you – it equally includes people who will provide you with honest and objective feedback. While you do need to believe in yourself and “just start”, it doesn’t all come easily so you also need to research and plan extensively (and be ready to hear constructive criticism which is some of the best advice you can receive). We can all get quite desensitised to our own ideas when we get too close to them and overlook possible problem areas or ways to do things better. We definitely want to avoid self-doubt but we also want to avoid being so sure of yourself that you fail to consider things objectively.
  1. Fake it til you make it – Going back to the initial point about just getting started, there is never a perfect time for anything. No-one is ever 100% ready for anything risky or scary or new. We are all so conservative and risk-averse at times and too often knock back opportunities because “it’s not a good time” or “I’m not ready”. But you’d be surprised at the alarming amount of learning that’s done on the job – at least that’s been our personal experience with Matcha Maiden, for ourselves and for many similar businesses in our network. There are some things you just can’t prepare for or anticipate and there are others you can’t learn without first hand experience. As I’ve mentioned, it’s all about balance – businesses require a lot of preparation and planning but at the same time, you can’t plan for EVERYTHING. If you wait for the perfect moment, you’ll be waiting forever. If you feel like you’re faking it til you make it, you are CERTAINLY not alone. I still feel strange saying “we have a business” – I’m totally just pretending!
  1. Don’t worry about what you can’t change – It’s cliché but there’s a reason – because it’s so damn true. “Shit happens”. Everyone has made mistakes or been affected by someone else’s mistake or even been affected by something that wasn’t anyone’s mistake but just “one of those things”. For us, our biggest hiccup has been our stock cycles. We weren’t prepared for how quickly we’d expand and didn’t get our stock ordering system down pat until embarrassingly recently. Every time, we’d be just that little bit too late and sit twiddling our thumbs anxiously while we waited for the stock to arrive. Once something is in the hands of freight forwarders, there is NOTHING you can do to make it go faster. And yet, the amount of hours we both spent destroyed with anxiety would have taken years off our lives. For no reason! When it’s your first business, it’s a new concept to be so intimately connected to what happens each day so it’s hard not to break down about every little thing. I’ve now realised how unsustainable that is – if you can’t change it, move on. Invest your energy where you can actually make a difference i.e. preparing a strategy for managing any delayed delivery to customers which might occur, because that is something you can
  1. Constantly adapt – Even the biggest and best companies in the world can fall behind in a heartbeat. The world today changes randomly and rapidly and if you aren’t constantly adapting, everyone will move on without you. There have been so many case studies particularly surrounding the age of the smart phone and how the commercial world responded. For us, we have gone from operating in a market with an almost-monopoly to a market that now has an ever-increasing number of competitors. Having a great product was enough at the start, but now there are choices you have to offer more. We had a great head start but what’s the use if you let everyone else catch up because you fail to innovate. We tried never to get too comfortable and always keep thinking of new ideas to engage our followers and improve the customer experience. It’s a constant process, but it’s essential! Even outside of business, being adaptable and flexible is an invaluable characteristic.

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Our Matcha Maiden Q&A features:

Nourish Magazine – COMING SOON

Happiness + Wellbeing Magazine  – COMING SOON

League of Extraordinary Women

The Entrepreneur Club

The Unimpossibles blog –

Breakfast In blog – http://breakfastin.com.au/interview-with-sarah-holloway/

The Relauncher, Podcast – Branding and Personality http://relauncher.com.au/blogs/health/33736964-podcast-branding-and-personality

Smudge Eats, Meet the Maker – http://smudgeeats.com.au/matcha-maiden/

Natural Supply Co – http://naturalsupplyco.com/blogs/natural-supply-co-blog/49100803-meet-sarah-holloway-co-founder-of-matcha-maiden

Kavisha Jega, Q&A http://www.kavishajega.com/qa-with-sarah-from-matcha-maiden/

Food Health and Wealth – http://www.foodhealthwealth.com/sarah-holloway

Just Health – http://www.just-health-blog.com/2015/08/25/m-a-t-c-h-a-made-in-heaven/

Feature image credit: Brooke Meredith of A Conscious Collection.

All other images: yours truly.

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