Ever since I launched INDAH Inspires there's been one woman, in particular, I've always wanted to interview, and that's Sarah Holloway.
If you love all things wellness, then you'll know who this chic is. If you don't, then you need to know because this world-shaker isn't going anywhere. I had the pleasure of divulging all her "foodie, frolicker and funtrepreneur" secrets, how she does it all and still keeps up with her day and workouts of choice up on the priority list. It's all here - put down that cookie because you're about to be catapulted into INPSO overdrive.
Oh and while I was writing this interview up, Sarah has just been announced Lululemon Emporium Ambassador - now that's INDAH-inspiring! Go Sar!!!
Although it feels like a lifetime because we’ve packed so much in already, I’m a relative newbie to the business world. I started off as a mergers and acquisitions lawyer and spent a few years at an international corporate law firm, so I’ve undergone a pretty drastic lifestyle change over the past 18 months! Law was a great place to start my professional life – it taught me so much about business and gave me wonderful opportunities to travel and grow. But I knew from pretty early on that, while it satisfied my nerdy side, the creative side was getting heavily neglected so I started looking around for a new creative outlet or side project. When the idea for Matcha Maiden hit us, it couldn’t have been more perfect. Nic, my partner, has always been an entrepreneur and we’ve always wanted to do something together. We’re both passionate about health and wellbeing (Nic was a former athlete and I was a ballerina, so it’s part of our conditioning) and I’m a die-hard foodie, so it’s been the most perfect fit for us both. We had no idea what we were doing at the beginning - Nic’s business experience has never extended to food, retail or product based e-commerce and I had no experience at all – so we were “winging it” for a very long time! But that’s the best part – you learn so quickly when you throw yourself in and take a risk! We started growing far quicker than we ever imagined and when we locked in our first US contract 6 months in, I left the law firm and have been working full-time in matcha land ever since.
Her food and diet secrets:
Balance is everything. I’m not particularly great at moderation, but I think balance is incredibly important in your diet. Being too rigid or too focused on particular ingredients/styles of eating isn’t good for anyone. And being too obsessive can take over your life – so just making sure to stay balanced is something I prioritise. The other thing is to listen to your body. We are so flooded with so much conflicting and confusing information these days that it’s basically impossible to know what to do. Looking outwardly is obviously beneficial to be educated and aware of your nutrition, but it really comes down to what your particular body needs. Listening to other people and tuning out the messages your own body is sending you is tempting but dangerous. I used to try lots of different types of eating styles that fell into particular categories i.e. high fat, low fat, high protein, low carb, Bulletproof, paleo etc. But the best I’ve ever felt has been since I stopped trying to follow anything particular and started listening to what my body feels like at any particular time. That changes throughout the year depending on seasons, my level of activity, my goals etc. It’s taken me a while to tune in to myself, but I’m much more conscious of it these days and I feel so good!
Taking care of business:
It’s definitely challenging sometimes to strike the right balance, especially since I feel like my life is my business. I love our work and live and breathe what we do but, while I don’t think there’s anything wrong with passion and I know that is part of why we’ve grown so fast, I too easily forget that there are other things in life i.e. rest and play! Particularly going from a career that I wasn’t in love with to now being able to live my dreams every day, I don’t actually want to stop working. But I did that for a year and found I was often run down, got sick easily and was running a health-oriented business without taking care of my own health. I’ve since made a more concerted effort not to lose myself in the business and incorporate more down time into each week (and each day!) I meditate more, actively schedule in time for exercise and “no-phone time”, and we’ve just come back from our first holiday in a long time where we limited ourselves to an hour of wifi a day! It’s an ongoing challenge but I think we’re improving every day!
Her exercise theory:
Like I said, I don’t do it as much as I should but have recently started to be stricter with myself in terms of unwinding. I LOVE yoga as I find it helps me unwind both physically and mentally. When I don’t have time for a full class, sometimes I just meditate which I also find incredibly powerful. Walking the dog without my phone is also something I love to help me relax. When I feel like something a bit more challenging, I’ll do a HIIT class, reformer pilates or boxing (when I’m having a particularly stressful day). And when I’m too lazy for exercise, there is nothing I love more than trashy TV to take my mind away from work – the less realistic and more stupid, the better!
Does simplicity mean anything?
Absolutely! Obviously, how simple you can live is influenced by what you want to achieve in life. Wanting to run a global business means that we can’t go as simple as we otherwise would, but in another universe, I would strip things back and live as a minimalist. Humans aren’t designed to do a million things at once and it takes away from our full enjoyment of each moment. We overcrowd our minds and lives with so much unnecessary baggage. I love holidays especially for how much simpler your life becomes and how much my brain and body responds positively to that.
Nic and I have been lucky enough in our lives to experience true simplicity and it was one of the most liberating, eye-opening and fulfilling periods of my life. We spent a month in remote Rwanda in Africa living extremely simply and it was incredible how much more you appreciate each moment, the things around you and the people you are with. Once you come back to normal life, things start to get more multi-layered and complex pretty quickly but I try to keep things simple where I can. I’ve started to do this mentally (i.e. uni-tasking and focusing on one thing at a time more) but also looking for simplicity in other areas too like my eating and skincare – stripping back all the unnecessary and added ingredients of modern life and going back to what’s natural. It’s amazing!
Sarah is slowing down...or not:
We’ve had a pretty full on year moving into year two of Matcha Maiden and opening Matcha Mylkbar. With all the craziness, I’ve sort of been flying by the seat of my pants so I think the next step is to get on top of my routine again and maybe slow down for a little while to give myself a chance to catch up on everything. Having said that, I’m sure that won’t last long – my brain is already buzzing with ideas, so we’ll have to see!