Changing the world one rice paper roll at a time

In the third installment of our young entrepreneurs blog series we catch up with Ang and Katherine, the brains behind Paper Plains. The best plant-based rice paper rolls going around...

What was it that inspired you to launch Paper Plains?

It came about from a few different things- the rice paper rolls food side of it from my backpacking trip and the social enterprise part of it through realising, first-hand ,the lack of belief and support young people had when trying to start something this extravagant and off the beaten life-path.

When I was couchsurfing, I made rice paper rolls with my host as a way of saying thank you for letting me crash on their couch. I didn’t realise it was going to be such a hit- we’ve done it as kids with our family (and still do it) so it’s pretty normal for us, but to see how much fun others had when making them was pretty special. Because we were rolling in Germany, Spain, Italy etc, it meant that we had to compromise on the traditional ingredients and be a little bit more creative and use local ingredients- hence the wacky menu now!

In terms of the youth movement, with Katherine being a high-school teacher and me being just your average joe young person/student we see first AND second hand how limited young people are in having the opportunities, belief and support in building their own thing. Usually it’s because we’re stereotyped as too young, naïve, inexperienced, lack finance etc but people forget that we are creative, motivated, driven and so incredibly fearless! So we started a business, built by young people for young people.

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What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your business so far?

Charging people any amount of money!

If was about us, we would give rolls for free all day every day- we have a crazy problem with feeling bad for taking people’s money, even though we know that that’s what a business is and how it works (I know, crazy)! It’s even harder that it’s our own business because WE make the decisions. This is what led to the biggest challenge for us- understanding costs and profit margins and finances for a viable business. Having never worked in hospitality or the food industry to the depth that we are now, we have absolutely no idea about what to charge people- we sometimes even had to have our friends give us proper figures because we would always give such conservative prices and forget things like labour costs or travel or even little things like the tray! We always remind ourselves that we exist as a social enterprise though and everything we do is greater than ourselves and whatever we make is to make a difference for youths in entrepreneurship.

If you could turn back the clock to when you were just launching Paper Plains, what’s one piece

of advice you would give yourself?

Print off the menu. And don’t rush the process, but hustle when you need.

Our first every event was such a mess (in the funniest way possible). We had everything in place, logistically, but forgot about the smaller details ie the menu! We spent the first hour at our first event writing directly onto our trailer (you can actually still see the marks haha). We then realised it was so illegible so we had our other sister drop by officeworks for a big sheet of poster paper which we wrote on and then stuck onto the trailer with ugly metallic silver duct tape. Ha! Presentation was so on point.

For the 4 months leading up to the launch, I was trying to rush everything and push our mates at The Little Caravan Company to get the trailer done. This I realised was pretty selfish because everyone has their own agenda and business to run as well. Katherine was great in it, she understood the process and just let it happen in it’s own time. Now looking back, I’m glad it took it’s time because we were able to build our business before it even got out through little catering events and social media. It meant that we could figure out SOME processes and logistics before it was go time.

What's your morning routine?

I don’t wake up with an alarm and just let my body wake itself up because if I wake up with an alarm, I know I’m in for a sluggish morning and day! The first thing that moves is my bowels (is that TMI haha!) and then that’s when I make the decision to do a morning workout or not-I like to listen to what my body says/how it’s feeling. If it decided it’s up for a workout, it’s usually an at home HIIT 30min workout or 25 min fartlek/sprints session followed by a 10 minute core session. Breakfast then follows- it’s usually a big bowl of green oats (matcha, spirulina, spinach, cinnamon, maca powder, banana mixed in) with frozen berries or a home-made big breakfast with an almond milk matcha latte and then probably something else straight after- I’m a pretty big eater haha.

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We're all about keeping healthy here at Cuzzie, what's your number one health tip?

SLEEP! Everyone also knows how important sleep is to me- I’m such a grandma. Getting to bed early and rising with the sun is how I like to do it- leaving your blinds open and waking up naturally seems to be the best way for me to have enough energy to smash out the day. It also helps with my hunger hormones- you know I’m tired if I’m eating my meal, your meal and then the person behind us’ meal.

How do you balance friends, family, your health and running your own business?

Efficiency, multi-tasking and prioritisation.

When uni exams are on, everything else slows down and uni is the priority, when we have a huge event to prep for, I’ll try to make sure that I’ve caught up on uni weeks in advance to not fall behind. It’s about being prepared and smart. I love efficiency and if I can ever kill two birds with one stone, I will. It’s one of the reasons why I don’t have a car and choose to cycle everywhere- it’s SO time efficient! It gets me to where I need to be AND I’m subconsciously exercising at the same time (it’s also faster and lets me control what time I arrive #punctualpatricia). For anyone that knows me, knows that it’s normal for me to have grease on my leg and a helmet in hand- if I don’t, something’s up!

What's the best part about being your own boss?

The best part is definitely being able to make your own rules and decisions. If we feel like giving out free rolls or an extra roll here or there we will (which also doesn’t always work in our favour haha). Same goes with giving discounts, picking and choosing events, having creative freedom with the menu and writing extremely bad Instagram captions- there is so much freedom. It also makes us feel pretty cool.

What was your first job and what did you learn?

My first ever job was at a small, local pizza shop about 50m from our house (cash in hand and when I was 13- so totally not legit ha!). It was a small pizza shop but throughout my childhood, our family saw about 4 different pizza shops try to grow there and miserably fail. The managers when I worked there were the first ones to be able to tackle the market and build a successful, viable business. They indirectly taught me how to build loyalty through looking after your customers as if they were family or good friends. People need to feel like that they are important and loved- that’s something that we think is also important, because in the end, without them we are nothing!

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How has social media played a role in your business?

Social media is our ONLY source of exposure and is actually where we get the majority of our enquiries and gigs. We put heaps of importance on it, mainly because it’s a smart and extremely effective way of sharing information, connecting with people and getting our name out there. It’s pretty much our whole business!

In 25 words or less sell the Paper Plains dream...

To change society’s perspective on youths AND to support the youths of today because they are the success of our tomorrow… with rice paper rolls.

What's your one tip for people thinking about launching their own business?

Do it.

Don't forget to follow Paper Plains on instagram to find out where you can get your hands on their delicious rolls!

Meet the brains behind Golden Grind

In our second installment of our young entrepreneurs blog series we catch up with Tahli, Sage and Ren, the gorgeous team behind Golden Grind. Changing the world one turmeric latte at a time...

What was it that inspired you to launch Golden Grind?

Wanting to 1. Be our own bosses 2. Work remote 3. Have no limits to financial earning capacity 4. So we could work together and with our family and 5. To make the world a better place by playing our role (donations to charities, offering people a genuine health product, non-mainstream, supporting small and local businesses and using organic and fair trade products).

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your business so far?

So many. Probably time though. Balancing time so that you you still have time for very important other things but also having enough time to do what we want. We feel like we are always chasing out tale and yet we also feel we have sacrificed a lot to make more time for GG. This is best fixed with 1. Knowing your why and sticking to it 2. Having good time management. 3. Being able to say no and 4. Great communication and lists.

Turmeric - why is it so good for us?

Turmeric really is a wonder spice. It’s been used for thousands of years by Eastern medicines but is only now gaining a lot of attention in western cultures due to the abundance of scientific studies proving its benefits. The main benefits include its ability to help with anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and digestion. Curcumin is the main active ingredient within turmeric and its known to work wonders inside the body. It is also a strong anti-microbial, and aids the body with functions like immunity, cell division, and more. This combination means turmeric is a great natural way, to help the body work to its potential and fight off disease and illness. It also a natural pain reliever for females at that time of month…

If you could turn back the clock to when you were just launching Golden Grind, what’s one piece of advice you would give yourself?

Don’t rush things and spend time being thorough. We have made some costly mistakes (like ordering 5000 or the wrong spoon size off Alibaba) and sometimes the rush jobs, shows.

What's your morning routine?

We all walk our dogs (our babies) in the mornings and then make a big wholesome brekkie prior to getting into our offices around 7.30am each day to combat emails before more start pouring in. Sage and Ren still have full time employment elsewhere so their office is not the GG office…

We're all about keeping healthy here at Cuzzie, what's your number one health tip?

Know what you eat. Be aware of your food consumption and your body. So many people don’t understand food and wrongly/over consume. We could write a thesis on this but that’s all we will say for now…Apart from that stay active in a way that you LOVE and then it’s easy….

How do you balance friends, family, your health and running your own business?

Not going to lie – we find this super hard. Just ask those close to you to be supportive if that means less frequent catch ups and doing business with your loved ones makes it easy too 😉

It is important to learn how to switch off though and know this before you start your own things.

What's the best part about being your own boss?

There are a lot of perks – working from anywhere (thanks to the net), using your own creations, controlling your pace…

What was your first job and what did you learn?

We have learnt from every single job we have, even if at the time we hated it!!! Be patient and trust you need an abundance of skills to run your own show so take everything in and be good a networking.

How has social media played a role in your business?

It has helped build our brand quickly and effectively so that’s a huge bonus. We try not to be too consumed with it though because that doesn’t necessarily mean sales

In 25 words or less sell the Golden Grind dream...

Golden Grind is an easy and fun way to use and consume and benefit from the wonders of turmeric every day.

What's your one tip for people thinking about launching their own business?

Sorry we have 7….

1.      Have a unique idea. Ideally a solution based product to a problem or gap that you yourself found

2.      Don’t copy – or if you do – find some really important points of difference

3.      Know and understand YOUR WHY

4.      Do your research

5.      Prepare to sacrifice (aka work so hard).

6.      No matter what, in this competitive market place, we truthful, honest and genuine. It will shine through.

7.      Get your head around BAS and the tax system and be sure you want to face these prior to starting….

Don't forget to jump head over to www.goldengrind.com.au/ to get your hands on some golden goodness!

Meet the lady behind Chelle's Soulfoods

Cuzzie Performance was our very first real business venture - deciding to take the chance and open our doors was scary, exciting and full on. Since opening in November we have crossed paths with so many young people, who just like us, are taking a punt and going into business for themselves. It was guys and girls like this that inspired us to bring Cuzzie Performance to life and so we decided to share their stories with you! Hopefully, hearing the stories of other young entrepreneurs can inspire you to take a leap of faith and start building your own business.

In the first installment of our Young Entrepreneur Series we chat to Rochelle Hayes from Chelle's Soulfoods (whose delicious raw slices you'll find stocked in the Cuzzie Performance fridge).

What was it that inspired you to launch Chelle's Soulfoods?

I have always lived a healthy lifestyle and loved cooking. I started making raw desserts for myself, and my friends and family also loved them. So I decided to take it further and start to sell them at local cafes.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your business so far?

Biggest challenge would be keeping up with competitors. The raw food and health industry is growing rapidly and there are a lot of new businesses making similar foods. It can sometimes be challenging to have time to run the businesses daily tasks while continually producing new products.

Raw cakes - why are they so good for us?

Raw cakes are full of wholefoods. They are completely gluten, dairy and refined sugar free. We only use natural ingredients that are good for your body. Most raw desserts are made using a lot of nuts and coconut products, which are full of protein and good fats so are a healthier option rather than pre-packaged snacks full of sugar and other nasty ingredients your body doesn’t require.

If you could turn back the clock to when you were just launching Chelle's Soulfoods, what’s one piece of advice you would give yourself?

I would tell myself to be patient. Everything falls into place when it needs to, if you continue working hard.

What's your morning routine?

Most mornings I wake up at 6:00am and have a few glasses of water while getting ready, then I head to Pilates or out for a run. After I work out, in winter I usually eat oats with banana and berries and a herbal tea, or in summer I go for a smoothie bowl with nuts and fruit. Then I shower, get ready and it’s off to the kitchen for a 8-9am start.

We're all about keeping healthy here at Cuzzie, what's your number one health tip?  

Always stick to real foods- plenty of veggies and wholefoods. Avoid packaged ones as much as possible! And always make sure you’re eating- don’t skip meals or your body will pay for it!

How do you balance friends, family, your health and running your own business?

Health is number one priority. You can always make time to go for a half hour walk/run somewhere in the day, whether that be getting up a little earlier or pushing back your dinner time, it is always worth it. My weekly schedule is pretty busy so I try to see family or friends over dinner or on the weekends, luckily I’m surrounded by a pretty great bunch of people so they understand time is limited while running a business!

What's the best part about being your own boss?

Making your own hours is the best! Although my business does have a time limit as to when the desserts need to be made, I can always start early or work late and fit extra things in during my day.

What was your first job and what did you learn?

My first ever job was at a pizza shop in customer service. I learnt that even though you may not agree with them, it is always better to work towards the customers needs as best you can to make everyone happy in the long run!

How has social media played a role in your business?

Social media is simply AMAZING! I still am beyond amazed each day of how many people you can reach and share your products with. Probably 95% of my customers that order birthday/celebration cakes say they found Soulfoods through Facebook or Instagram. It really is a great business tool that you can use in so many ways to expand your business.

In 25 words or less sell the Chelle's Soulfoods dream...

A wholefoods café by the beach in Melbourne. Completely vegan, gluten, dairy & refined sugar free. Smoothies, juices, raw treats, takeaway meals. The ultimate dream!

What's your one tip for people thinking about launching their own business?

Just go for it! It is so scary but so rewarding. Number one tip would be keep believing in yourself, if you put in the hard work you can get anywhere you want to.

Follow Chelle's Soulfoods on instagram and Facebook to keep up to date with all her delicious treats!