Meet The Makers Behind Matcha Maiden
Since starting Matcha Maiden just over a year ago, Sarah Holloway and Nic Davidson have built a popular brand of matcha (stone ground green tea) that you’ve surely seen popping up in the trendiest of cafes all over Melbourne. Their Japanese Organic-Certified matcha, can easily be blended into literally anything like smoothies, snacks, desserts and of course, lattes for that delicious green tea flavour.
When it comes to couples starting businesses together, it’s the dynamic of these two that proves being a couple can be your biggest asset. Sarah and Nic complement each other so perfectly both in skill set and personal values, which is why we're sure this is just the start of really big things to come.
To support this month’s deal of 20% off Mix N Matcha, we wanted to let you in on the makers behind the matcha and share their personal story. We hope you fall in love with these two as much as we have!
What are your "roles" in the business?
SARAH: We have very different backgrounds and skillsets, so we are lucky to have quite a clear division of roles within the business. I think this has made the transition from life partners to business partners much easier, because our responsibilities are delineated and it is always clear who has the final call on a particular topic. Nic has his own creative agency and is a seasoned entrepreneur, so all our web, tech, design, and the nitty gritty things like COGS, margins, payment terms are his domain. I was originally a lawyer so I did all the initial structuring, admin and finances and also adore both food and social media, so that also fell within my area.
NIC: While we are both founders… Sarah spruiks herself as the cooler half… anyone that’s met her knows she’s a dork and clearly lying. Sarah runs the day to day operations while I tend to focus on more of the behind the scenes due to my other ventures.
What was the first thing you remember about when you two met?
SARAH: How many strange, coincidental things we had in common, so much so that my Mum laughed to me about how gullible I must be to believe all the things he was parroting back to me. Turns out, it was all true and that we just happened to be an alarmingly compatible couple. In our past lives, we shared a physio when Nic was an athlete and I was a dancer, having been treated in the same studio at the same time on many occasions obviously without realising. Our families both have Tasmanian connections, our last dogs before our current baby were pugs, and the best of all, I am adopted from Korea and Nic’s Mum was also adopted from Asia and was in fact the first Asian baby adopted into Australia – WEIRD!
NIC: Well when we first met I was facilitating her getting into nightclubs faster, so it’s hardly romantic… However prior to her giving up alcohol, her drunken dance floor moves are forever etched into my memories!
How do your personalities complement each other, both personally and professionally?
SARAH: Our very different professional backgrounds make us a great team in any situation, because between the two of us we have most practical skills covered. It means we have so much to learn from each other but also never feel like we’re stepping on each other’s toes.
From a personal perspective, we balance each other out quite nicely and have both had such a positive impact on each other over our 6 years together so far. Where Nic is endlessly spontaneous and open-minded, I’m more of an anally retentive painstakingly organised planner. He has become more organised and forward thinking and I have become more adventurous and easy going. The things we have in common are also very compatible – family values, a love for travel, a passion for health and wellness and an endless amount of energy and ideas. The only unfortunate common denominator is our stubbornness and perfectionism – we both hate to be wrong so that sometimes causes a tiff! But we always get over it pretty quickly – arguments are a silly waste of time.
NIC: I’ve always been an entrepreneur, and never worked as an employee in a corporate structure, so Sarah’s experience there was fantastic to add structure and follow strategy. My experience with numbers and creating business strategy helped a lot - we don’t really cross over on much and do separate tasks generally. Then Sarah is a gun with the legal and regulatory parts, while I develop all the websites and packaging designs. The best business partners are those that have complementary skill set; that’s why it works.
Personally we have a lot IN common which is what makes us work!
What is one thing you love about working together on Matcha Maiden?
SARAH: I love that now our successes are shared, whereas before they were completely separate. While we were both very proud and supportive of each other’s careers before we started Matcha Maiden, it is a wonderfully rewarding experience to actually be working on the same thing together. We had long periods beforehand where we were both working long hours and hardly saw each other besides a quick exhausted chat before we passed out in bed. Now, we spend much more time together even if it’s spent working, which is such a nice change of lifestyle.
NIC: I love that we built it together from day one. I also love that it’s been able to pull Sarah out of her boring 9-5 and into a world that she is more suited to. It has also helped her understand my world of startups better, and the pros and cons that go with it!
How has being the owners of Matcha Maiden changed your life?
SARAH: How has it not changed my life! I don’t think my life could be any more different to how it was before. Not that there was anything wrong with my life before, I was very lucky to work for a great firm that allowed me many amazing opportunities including lots of overseas travel and great mentors. It just wasn’t my true passion and didn’t fulfill me like this does. The subject matter, location, flexibility and industry of my work have changed. The structure, timing, people and purpose of my life have changed. Everything is better than I ever thought it could be. The one thing that hasn’t changed is me working myself into the ground and forgetting to take breaks, but at least now it’s because I adore the work!
NIC: Having our life being so engrained in the health industry has really helped make us a lot healthier and have a more holistic approach to fitness and life. My other work is primarily in tech startups which has quite a different approach to health and fitness.
Other than Matcha (of course!) what's your current food obsession?
SARAH: Almond butter. I have ALWAYS been obsessed with almond butter and it never changes. I could (and do) eat it with a spoon or lathered onto a banana or apple pieces – yummmmm! I have also recently gotten on to caramelised buckinis – obsessed! I sprinkle them on everything.
NIC: I’ve got an unhealthy obsession with Chobani - I’m that guy that empties the fridge at Coles. It’s kind of awkward…
What's your favourite thing to do to take a break from Matcha Maiden?
SARAH: We love walking our dog, Paul, without taking our phones with us as it’s such a nice way to unwind and actually have a proper conversation together. I also LOVE watching silly television shows because they distract me from work and make my mind concentrate on something else for a while. Current favourites are The Big Bang Theory, Downton Abbey and House.
NIC: We are travellers, and have been to around 35 countries together (and over 50 on my own) so any chance we get we travel. Besides that I’m a gym and yoga junkie and love a good surf, play with our hyperactive golden retriever or a game of golf or tennis.
What's your philosophy for leading a healthy and active life?
SARAH: I think the most important thing is that a healthy and active life looks different for everyone. It might even look different for you at different times of your life. I’ve been through lots of different phases in my life where my nutrition, energy, health, physical and mental wellbeing needs have changed, so even I have no bright line rules for myself. It’s important to listen to your body and work from there rather than trying to make your body listen to everything everyone else is saying.
NIC: Consistency is key. I grew up playing a lot of sport and was a professional athlete when I was younger. Whether you’re aiming for the Olympics or just general fitness it’s all about consistency and structure. You also have to enjoy it.
Who inspires, challenges or motivates you to be the best version of yourself?
SARAH: My family (which includes Nic). They take such joy in my successes and success is so much more rewarding when it’s shared. I do everything I do to make them proud and also to create a life for us all full of excitement and adventure. I’m also inspired by every person who has ever said anything encouraging to me or who has ever gained anything from something I’ve done. I love to do things that make people smile or make people feel positive, because life is so short and it’s meant to be enjoyed.
NIC: I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to say Sarah here. I’ve also got a great network of friends and mentors that motivate me and support my different entrepreneurial ventures.
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