Updated: Dec 16, 2018
Hello my name is Kathleen Ebbs and I started the smoothie bowl shack inmy last year of high school when an idea spurred into action. I’ve decided to write a little blog post about this story, the obstacle’s I faced throughout the process and tips on how you can start something of your own too!
Lots of us don’t do the things we want to in life because we fear failure and listen to peoples advice on whats “right & wrong”. This hold’s us back! Don’t let fear and opinions stop you from living your true life- one full of adventure, success and most importantly… failures (or as I like to call them, “learning experiences”).
SO HOW DID THE SMOOTHIE BOWL SHACK START?
I use to go to Sydney’s Glebe Market’s a lot when I was in high school.I loved heading their for all the second hand bargains you could get from people selling their old clothes - yes I have always been a recycled fashion gal haha! The last year of high school for me was the year I began getting into health and wellness. I went from a notorious chocolate and pizza eater to a conscious vegan (at the time). I really started to find my groove with what it meant to enjoy healthy eating. At home I was OBSESSED with making smoothie bowls- I legit would sometimes have 3 a day (still do haha). Because of this whenever I was out on the weekends I was always scouting the best health food hubs and vegan options to eat.
This particular weekend at Glebe markets me and my sister were getting lunch. My sister ordered her tacos and I started scouting for the healthiest food stall option around. I was cut short, there wasn’t one! So I went across the road, got myself a fresh mango and said something to my sister along the lines of, “man wouldn’t a smoothie bowl go down so well, I would seriously love that right now”… BING! LIGHT BULB MOMENT. Wait, why don’t I just do one?! and so it began….
As I was in my last year of high school it was a slow process before the Shack got up and running. It was the “HSC” year- for all you guys that don’t know what that is, its like your final exams of high school that help you get into a university if you decide to take that path. I wasn’t much of a school studier and felt like I wasn’t being nurtured with other things I might enjoy doing after school. I liked being able to have all this time to learn but nothing was sticking and I seriously just felt as though I was wasting my time a lot.
After I had decided I was going to try and run my own food stall at Glebe, I started to have this sense of purpose. I began to feel I was using my time in the classroom wisely. I would sit at the back of the room on my laptop applying for the markets, getting food safety certificates, permits and just pretty much learning what it was going to take to start this thing!
BIG DISCLAIMER!! I am in no way shape or form saying to stop listening to your teachers in class or that you shouldn’t go to uni after school or that you shouldn’t study for exams, no no no no !! BUT if you have no desire for it, find it extremely difficult to conform to the “one size fits all” school system or feel as though your going to “achieve nothing in life” because your really bad at exams then what I am giving you is hope and the power to shape your own future instead of getting caught up in societies stigmas.
Being educated is awesome and is one of the most powerful tools we have! but education comes in many different forms and it is important to acknowledge and nurture all of them! I wasn’t school smart and always thought I was going to be screwed after it because of that. In till I realised I had the power to do what I wanted in this life and no teacher or social norm was going to take that power away from me. Going to university is awesome, getting a high score on your exam is awesome and starting your own business during school is also awesome! Whatever path you choose, is the path that is right for you- remember that!
Lets continue… After months of research, saving for things I needed and understanding how this whole “small business” thing works, I was ready to go. I had been on and off the phone with the owner of the markets and after much convincing he decided to let me have a go at this thing!
Looking back on that first week is a laugh. Me and my sister Emily had no idea what we were getting into and I seriously just think “what the hell were you doing Kath! hahah”. I had one mix and go blender, but manage (…only just) to pump out a fair few on it - it was a hit! When you look back on that day, I really start to understand what it means to chuck yourself in the deep end and grow in that process. Comparing that first day to now just shows you how much you evolve and get smarter the more you do something. You also make life easier for yourself once you get the hang of something! - Its like the first week of a new job, compared to when you’ve been working there for a while. As they do say, practice makes PROGRESS.
My dad later jumped on the bandwagon and really helped me grow the business to a more systematic way of operating. I saved up through my other job I had and got myself three proper blenders, legit signage and suppliers to make the whole organisation process easier.
Things have just keep going from there! We now run out of Glebe Markets every single Saturday (we are located across from the coffee if your looking for us hehe), have done countless markets all around Sydney, have traded at some big music festivals like Splendour in the Grass and Falls festival, opened up a pop up shop in Bondi! and have so many more exciting plans/projects for the future.
And thats pretty much the long story short of how The Smoothie Bowl Shack came about!
The reason why I’m telling you this?
To show you that things in life don’t happen over night, and not without a little bloody, sweat and tears. Everything we decide to do is an experience, an experience you may learn from or one that may even change your life! Never not do something because your worried about the outcome. Always weigh up your options and try to give everything a go!
So now that you know the story of how the Shack became, The shack! Its time for some of my personal tips and tricks in how to get your own project started at a young age…
FIND A MENTOR
My mentor came later on in my experience but man oh man, I am so grateful for it! I was lucky enough to have a dad who is very hands on, loves big projects and has experience in business. He was my mentor and was a huge part in shaping what the Shack is today. Although I was lucky enough to have my dad on hand, you can find a mentor in anyone you trust and who is willing to help. Find a relative, family friend or local business owner to help you get your vision off the ground in the smartest way possible.
A mentor helps you access everything from the outside and gives you ideas you never even thought of - especially when being new to the experience. When you start something your really passionate about, you can get lost in that passion and forget about what it means to create a profitable business with an easy system. A mentor is that person who can mould all your creative ideas into a smart practical way.
Sometimes you just need a fresh set of eyes to look at everything and make sure your on the right track instead of getting lost in it all. An example of this for me was thinking back to that first week before my dad jumped on board to help. I was making everything 10 times harder for myself without even knowing how much simpler it could be with a few minor changes. Im sure over time I would of came to these conclusions on my own, but that fresh set of eyes speeded up the process 10 fold!
So step one, get a mentor!
DON’T TAKE ON OTHERS OPINIONS AT THE START
This is especially to all my young friends reading this. I was in school when this project floated into my head. As soon as I voiced it, everyone thought I was very silly for starting a business at such a young age, especially still being in school and that I should wait in till I was older to do it. Imagine if I listened to that? Well for starters I wouldn’t be writing this blog post!
People love to put their two cents in on anyone starting something new- especially business wise. Sometimes these opinions can be very beneficial, don’t get me wrong! But its important to listen to them instead of taking them on. If we consume what people tell us all the time we will live a life that isn’t ours. People opinions matter but not as much as your own! You need to do things for yourself and in all honestly- Follow your gut!!
Listen to peoples advice but know everyone has there own agenda when giving it. Make decisions that are your own and if you wanna do something, you do it!
When beginning a passion project no need to go all in guns blazing! Sometimes we can get flooded with excitement and enthusiasm that we end up losing sight of the practicality of the situation. I reminded myself of this tip recently when clearing out my laptop. I found the first ever menu I created for the Smoothie Shack and was like wooohhhh this girl needs to chill. The food and drink ideas on it were sick but would of been way too much to start with! Before I handed in that copy to the markets I showed my dad, he told me to try just start with three simply smoothie bowls and work my way up from there- best advice I have ever been given. Always use the KISS principle in life! Keep it simple, stupid…
If we go too big, too quick we end up scaring, overwhelming and quite possibly shooting ourself in the foot! Taking smaller steps towards your end goal is way more effective! The whole process becomes more fun, less daunting and you also give yourself some room to grow. You may think you know what you want but if you let the process unfold naturally without controlling it, you could end up in a different but even better place you thought imaginable.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO GET HELP
Lets not be stubborn people! When you have an idea, a lot of us want to own that idea and be a super crazy amazing adults, therefore we must do everything on our own! … News flash, it doesn’t make you weak getting help! There is no way I would be where I am today in ALL aspects of my life without the help of others.
A lending hand is necessary when trying to get something off the ground, wether it be practically asking for physical help or asking for someones advice or third party opinion on an idea. Whatever it is, its always okay to ask! Yeah some people will say no or ignore that text you sent them two weeks ago but the people that truely love and care about you will be down to contribute to your passion!
Never be scared to ask and never think your any less for getting help with something!
DON’T LET FAILURE STOP YOU FROM LIVING
This comes in at number one for ANYTHING you do in this life!! Too many of us let failure define us and dictate the way in which we choose to live from then on. Failure does not define success but the way in which you recover from failing, does!
If I let the times when stuff went terribly wrong (which happens, more than you think) lead my path in life, there is no way I would still have my Shack or my blog for that matter. Black and white, having something not turn out the way you planned fricken sucks!! But we should use these moments as lessons, and with these times you become one step closer to where your actually meant to be.
If you reading this because your keen to get your passion project underway but your too scared of it not working out. I am telling you now to throw that ideal out the window! This idea you have will either be an amazing opportunity your missing out on or an even more amazing learning curb. Life sitting around in the comfort zone will end up getting really boring. You never want to be one of those “I could of” “I should of” “I wish I had..” people in life. So if you have a fear of failure, it’s time to start failing!