This week’s Ambassador Feature is with Sandy Abram, Wholesome Hub
2019 AusMumpreneur Sustainability Award, Gold winner
Following a diverse career from Nursing to Asia Pacific Marketing Manager for a global software company, Sandy started her first organic business in 2005 after being diagnosed with severe endometriosis. Determined to go down a natural path of healing, an organic lifestyle became Sandy’s non-negotiable and with the help of an inspiring naturopath, within 12 months, Sandy was fully cured.
Passionate about wanting to help other people live a healthier life on a happier planet, Sandy launched Wholesome Hub, an organic, ethical and eco-friendly marketplace, two years ago. Wholesome Hub makes it simple and second nature for people to make healthier choices whilst shopping responsibly and sustainably.
Sandy is Mum to two beautiful nine year olds. She is happiest exploring nature with her family, pottering in her garden, cooking and enjoying a family battle of Yahtzee and Cluedo.
Tell us the story behind why you love what you do and why you’re so passionate about sharing your message.
When I was diagnosed with severe endometriosis, I was given a bleak outlook of drugs, nasty side effects and surgery. Not comfortable with the path that lay ahead, I decided to seek natural treatments and through an organic and healthier lifestyle, within 12 months my endometriosis was cured.
As someone that has personally experienced the positive impact that an organic lifestyle can make on their health and wellbeing, I wanted to share the benefits with others. The more I researched, the more I became hooked, and the more I came to realise that everything is interconnected. Choosing an organic lifestyle and living more sustainably wasn’t just better for me, it was better for our planet too.
Today, and now more than ever, we can use the power of our choices to create change. We can help tackle many of the challenges our world is facing such as pollution, loss of biodiversity and climate change but simply making better choices. Inspiring and helping people to do this, is the biggest gift of all.
Tell us a story about a challenging time you faced, how you overcame it and what lesson/lessons/wisdom this experience has taught you about life and business.
My partner and I chose to stay at home with our children until they started school. This meant that for the first couple of years, I was rarely in the office and that after that, I was only in the office for one to two days each week.
During these times and being so absent, I really relied on our team to ensure the business was running smoothly. I put an enormous amount of trust into each person and let them work autonomously. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until it was too late that we realised that one particular staff member was very disgruntled and bitter and had become very toxic. They had managed to create a very unhealthy workplace by creating a lot of negativity, asking other staff members to do things that were unethical, whilst they themselves copied all our customer and financial data so that they could use this for a new business they were starting up, on our time and amongst other things.
Being physically absent from the business and exhausted looking after baby twins, it had never occurred to me that something like this could happen. In the end, the staff member left, but not before handing over their work phone, implicating all the other staff members through text messages left on the phone. It left us no choice but to ask the whole team to leave. Essentially overnight we lost our whole team except for one person who was genuinely regretful for their actions.
This experience really taught me the importance of maintaining a healthy work place and managing staff. It taught me to put in place processes that protected our company and data, to establish regular staff reviews, to create a Code of Ethics, to use our company values as a platform for ensuring each team member was working in a way that was aligned to our expectations. It also taught me the importance of addressing the first sign of any staff issues early, the importance of recruiting not only based on skills and experience but how someone may integrate into the company culture and finally, it taught me to never take your eyes off the ball, regardless of how sleep deprived you might be.
What are 3 pieces of advice you would give someone starting out in business?
1. Love what you do and find your purpose. Starting a business is, apart from parenting, one of the most challenging journeys you can embark on. It can be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling, however at times, it can be extremely challenging and tiring. It is this genuine love, passion and belief for what you do and what you’re trying to achieve, that will provide you with the fuel you need to keep going during those difficult days and challenges.
2. Understand your uniqueness, what makes you special, who your customer is and how your business seeks to serve your customer. Intimately knowing your customer’s dreams, their fears, what they read and hope for, what their world looks like, will help you put yourself in their shoes and will enable you to ensure your customer’s needs are the driver behind every marketing and business decision you make.
3. Learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. Feelings of fear, doubt and imperfection can paralyse us into inaction. Nothing is perfect and it is better to try new things, to take a risk and to learn from our mistakes than to live your life wondering “what if”. It’s also important to remember that there is no such thing as perfect and being completely ready to ship. It’s only through our ability to push ourselves beyond our comfort zones that we can grow as individuals and as a business.
What is your proudest business achievement? Why does this mean so much to you?
Apart from still being in business after 14 years, this year I had the great honour and privilege of being chose to attend Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Program and to become a Climate Reality Leader.
I got to spend three days with Al Gore and an amazing group of scientists, researchers, First Nations people, industry leaders and change-makers who all shared a similar vision and desire to protect our planet, to take action against climate change and to do whatever we could we ensure our children and future generations could enjoy the life we’ve been privileged to have. This program has also enabled me to take on a more leadership role in our community and to help make change happen in every day moments.
Image credit: Alexandra Anderson, Jam on Your Collar
What’s next for your business?
At Wholesome Hub we’re committed to being a voice for our planet. More than ever today, we need to think about the impact we are making on our environment and the future we’re creating and leaving for our children.
Right now we’re super excited about becoming a B Certified Corporation and partnering with 1% for the Planet. Using our business as a force for good, we’ll be donating 1% of all sales to non profit organisations in Australia that are working towards creating positive social and environmental change such as protecting our Great Barrier Reef.
We are also looking at new ways we can help inspire and educate people to live more sustainably. We are working on resources and training materials that people will be able to use in their home, at work, share with friends and families which will help them create changes easily and live more lightly on our planet.
If you could change the world, and money was no object, what would you do?
Right now, a third of all the food we produce globally is wasted. This is an extraordinary waste of land, water, hours of labour, transport, energy and resources, not taking into consideration the greenhouse gas emissions being created along every step of the way.
If I could change the world and money was no object, I would somehow find a way to divert all the food being wasted to the millions of people around the world that are currently suffering from hunger and lack of food. We live in a society where so many children and adults sadly go hungry each day and yet, all around us, for every three shopping bags of food brought home, one is going straight in the bin. There is a great injustice in this that is fundamentally wrong.
Reducing food waste has also been found to be the third best way we can tackle our climate change problem so reducing our global food waste is the problem I would want to solve.
Finally, what do you believe is the secret to success?
I believe the secret of success is to be brave and courageous. To be willing to dream, to stand up for what you believe in, to put yourself on the line and be prepared to be judged, scrutinised, and knocked down, time and time again. In saying that, I also believe the secret to success is the ability to cope with those challenges. To not listen to the critics, to not allow others to make us feel unworthy or fall into the trap of judging ourselves too harshly.
Success is not an easy or comfortable path. It requires strength, resilience, determination and the ability to show up, every single day. There needs to be a willingness to work harder than ever before and at the end of the day, still be able to smile and have fun.
To learn more about Sandy and Wholesome Hub, please visit :-