If you haven’t heard of Natural Harry, then you ought to. Natural Harry is a Geelong’s local wellness ‘it girl’. She is a wellness blogger, author and business owner based in Wallington, Victoria. A fearless innovator, striving to change the world through healthy living.
Until recently, Harry, and partner Fraser ran the successful pop-up food van, Natural Harry. Creating beautiful, organic smoothies for Geelong locals.
The van business will sadly not continue this year. I met with Harry to chat more about this and her future plans. She also shares her top tips for balancing business and creative passions with economic realities.
In her early twenties Harry decided to abandon a fashion career in Melbourne, move back to the coast and study Integrative Nutrition. Since then she has slowly grown a little organic wellness empire. She has a self-published book of plant-based summer recipes, (I own it and love it) and has run a successful raw desert business on the side as well. To top it, she is an absolute gem. Down-to earth, generous and funny – and she would give her left arm to help a friend.
Wellness gurus have had a bad wrap lately. With the demise of wellness publisher/scammer Belle Gibson, people are hurt and a little disillusioned by what the wellness industry actually has to offer. The constant debate on the theories of people like Pete Evans and Sarah Wilson, also makes us question what will give me real health benefits and what is fad and hype?
What’s different about Harry is her willingness to be open about her flaws and her true character. She wants to create an authentic brand, because her brand is herself – and she is only human. It’s so refreshing to know a wellness expert who doesn’t pretend that they are in perfect health all the time. She also bases her advice on real science whenever possible, and feels very uncomfortable being put on a pedestal. She just wants to live well and share that passion with others.
I met with Harry one winter’s evening to share some ginger tea and have a real D&M about life as a wellness expert and how she came to the difficult decision to end the Natural Harry smoothie van.
So, Harry let’s get the hard question out of the way. Why did you decide not to continue with the smoothie business?
The main reason was that Fraser needed to return to his trade, building and carpentry, and the business wasn’t sustainable without him. He was free labour for 16 hours + per day for 6 months of the year for 3 years not to mention the other work he put into making the van. But he is also an incredibly talented building designer and carpenter and needs to focus his passion for sustainable design.
To hire someone to take over his position just would have been too costly for the business. I was not willing to compromise on the quality of our product or raise prices further, so we had to bring it to an end.
Tell me about a day in the life of Harry:
No two days are ever the same in my life and that is the way I love it.
At the moment Natural Harry is three days a week for me as I am working two at a fruit and veg store called Organic Mojo.
I have to admit, unlike other wellness entrepreneurs I know I don’t tend to have a strong routine. I do have some complete non-negotiables, they never take the same order. My routine also changes as the seasons do. This is the current one:
When Frase leaves for work at 6.30am, I get up and work on the computer. Tumeric latte in hand, I answer emails, text, blog, do accounts, video editing etc.
I then make myself a big brekkie. This is a ‘non-negotiable’ for me. I cannot skip it! In the winter breakfast is a huge bowl of porridge with maple syrup and almond milk or fruit.
Mid-morning I head out for a bike ride. Exercise is my other non-negotiable. It is my meditation, creative juice, stress relief and relaxation all rolled into one. I find if I miss it, my day is never as good.
After a shower I head out the door to deliver books and a few coffee meetings. I head home to create a quick healthy salad or for lunch.
I work some more in the afternoon, shooting pics, writing the blog or veggie gardening.
Dinner is usually healthy, quick and easy. I use this time also, to experiment with recipes for the blog and book. People are time poor these days and want to be able to access healthy, fresh food fast. I am no different.
I spend my evening chilling out. We don’t have a TV. Pottering, chatting, playing with our dog, Freddie is more our thing.
If you had a list of ‘best-kept secrets’ [websites, books, coaches] you’d recommend, which would you include and why?
- Big magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
- Daring and Disruptive – Lisa Messenger
- Eckhart Tolle – The power of now
- Make peace with your plate – Jess Ainscough
- Forks over knives
- Food inc.
- Food matters
- Hungry for change
Amellia Williams at Nurture and Shine. I studied with her and she is lovely!
What wellness/ecopreneur tips can you recommend that you’d only share with a close friend (and everyone reading this blog)?
1.Follow your intuition every step of the way. If it feels wrong, don’t go in that direction. Know the difference between gut instinct/intuition and fear.
2.Go with the flow as much as possible. Be organised, work hard be diligent but let go of control where appropriate.
3.Don’t resist change. Change is good.
4.Find what helps you switch off the most. Be that surfing, dancing, chatting with friends. Whatever it is for you. When you have your own business you are “at work” 24/7. Give yourself time “off work” as much as possible. It will keep your passion for your work alive.
What are three hard-to-spot pitfalls of starting a business that are critical to avoid?
1.Entertaining the thought process that you can “do it all”. Delegate what you can. Accounts keeping, cleaning. Whatever it is for you. Time that you can save on tasks that are not your skill base is time you can spend on developing.
2.Neglecting your social life and spiritual health. This may sound a bit “woo woo” but it is a big one. You need to keep your sense of fun and a grounded, balanced mind as much as possible.
3.Taking other advice as gospel. This is huge. Especially if you are an impressionable person as I am. Just because you are new at this does not mean you don’t know best. Everyone will want to put their two cents in. Some will give sage advice and some won’t. Follow your intuition here. Sometimes your new, inventive way of doing things will be the best way!
Looking out 3 to 5 years, beyond the obvious trends, what do you think will be the next big change in your industry?
I think the focus will swing toward whole foods and move away from super foods and “miracle cures”. People are becoming much more cluey and can sense when being fooled with diet fads etc.
I see health going much more in a DIY direction. People will become more educated and self-aware. Wellness is much less complicated than the media makes out. Maybe we will see a shift towards science and information rather than fancy branding and PR.
Giving up the van and re-thinking the Natural Harry business must have been difficult. What are three things you’ve told yourself that kept you going during your darkest hour?
Thinking back. After all the deliberation, I reminded myself of all the great work we have done and what we have created. This was, I have say, a bit of a double-edged sword. I was also sad and disheartened that we might be ending something people loved.
I reminded myself that this is reality, and sometimes facing reality is cathartic. I also believe in the old adage, that when one door closes another opens. This kept me going. I also have gratitude that I can take a break, while waiting for that opportunity to present itself.
What is next on the horizon for Harry?
I have a whole lot of ideas forming in lots of different areas. I still have a love for design following my stint in the fashion industry.
I want to make a big change in this world and would like to bring a whole lot of aspects together. Not just food. I wish I could give you a crystal clear answer.
I am working on a new recipe book which will be slightly different from the first, with the same values but also a stronger focus on ease and affordability.
It will be strange not seeing Natural Harry on the block this summer. But I have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of this local treasure.
Do you love Natural Harry as much as we do?