Behind every successful brand, there is a successful team pushing the boundaries and working tirelessly to make it a hit!
But what is the secret formula for the perfect team? Passion, dedication, creativity, drive…
These are just some of the words that could be used to describe the dynamite power couple behind Nestar, a brand that has taken chocolate to a whole new level.
Sitting down with Issy and Liz, it wasn’t hard to see why Nestar, and their vegan chocolate brand Miss Sweetie, have become such a success – their commitment to the brand, ability to be creative, and non-stop passion shines through immediately.
In a world that is so fast paced, I was fascinated to know the story behind the success and how they keep life in balance.
How did the concept of Nestar come about?
Liz: When Issy & I had our Design studio, one of our partnerships was a brand for savoury nuts – from that Issy & I created Nestar, a macadamias & fine chocolate brand.
Coming from a background of Modelling and Advertising – what made you take the direction of confectionary?
Liz: Modelling just kind of found me, I never perused it as my strength has always been design and creative, conceptual thinking. In this way, our brands get to enjoy both of my talents, as the brand ambassador and as its creator – and why chocolate?
It was a combination of events that lead us that way, but I am also a HUGE chocoholic and eat our chocolates most days of the week!
I must say, chocolate inspires me! It’s sheer sexiness when it flows warm & melted, its aromas… that are so irresistible and not to mention the finished product, a fine brand I’m so proud of.
Issy: My background is Finance & Marketing and after 3 or 4 years of having a design studio/branding firm I wanted to have a business where I had more control.
So, when the opportunity came to buy a manufacturing plant, I welcomed learning chocolate making and adding it to my skills, I really enjoy it, as so do our many customers.
What is the best and what is the most challenging thing about working together?
Liz: The best thing about working together is we think alike and are determined to see our brands succeed as Australia needs locally made quality chocolates.
But the best part of it all is Issy makes the perfect espresso for me to get the day started : )
He’s not only the best chocolate maker, he’s also an amazing coffee maker.
Issy: The challenging side is we are both creative, ideas can overflow and there is just so much more we want to do we have to pace ourselves.
The combination of work & lifestyle has blended well as we both enjoy similar things, except for jogging around the Tan and tennis club, Liz prefers more relaxing exercises like shopping & coffees.
What inspired the Miss Sweetie vegan range?
Liz: As part of my long term philanthropic initiatives I offered to partner up with Animals Australia a number of years ago, and together we created our Vegan ranges.
As we have vegetarian diet too, it has been highly rewarding to focus our brands in something we feel so strongly about, animal welfare and our foot print on the planet.
So, look out for more vegan lines in the pipelines!
Isssy: We wanted to create a brand that was predominately aimed at our biggest customers, ones living a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle, and were looking for something that looked & tasted amazing.
As we all know most people find vegan chocolate bland & tasteless – so we wanted to change that, and I believe we have, as most people that try our flavours keep saying “I can’t believe the chocolate is vegan!”
Tell me a little about your passion for animals?
Liz: My love for animals goes back as far as I can remember. When you learn about animals’ lives, how much nature and humans are against them – life can be hugely unfair to them with no one to help them.
Also, being aware of how similar their feelings are to ours, really opens up our eyes to how we can make this a world with more justice and better treatment, especially for those born for human consumption.
This is why my goal has always been to create a brand that gives back, by creating revenue, fundraising, collaborations, donations & partnerships with organizations and charities. To the average person animals are not a large priority, so every little donation matters.
What drives you every morning?
Liz: Oh where to start? For one thing, owning my own chocolate brands and manufacturing premises sure makes it a sweet day every day! I am hugely inspired through my contribution to our brands and there is always something nice to create, to share, an exciting place to be, great people to meet and a growing team of staff to bring together, nurture & inspire.
Getting closer to reaching new goals and succeeding is a big driver. Not to mention the excitement of always being involved in new ventures, concepts, brands, new flavours.
I am currently working on a new fantastic concept brand with a great vision that’s aligned with one of my biggest passions, so that’ll be coming out in the next couple of months, very excited!!!
What is your favourite flavour in the collection?
Liz: ooh that’s a hard one, we have about 18 different ranges and as a true chocoholic preferences do change, right now, Miss Sweetie Vegan Apricots and Nestar cranberries…
What advice would you give anyone wanting to start their own business?
Issy: An idea is great, but what makes a business work is the research that you do to see if that idea or vision has a viable market. Far too many people have ideas, it’s what you do behind the scenes to establish its future success.
Put simply, research your idea, determine if there’s a viable market, and then plan your roll-out (marketing/sales) to succeed!
Liz: This is a topic to be discussed at length over a coffee, I have spent much time advising females thinking of starting their own businesses. I’ll try to briefly distil my answer. I’d say first of all find out within yourself what type of business person you are and what kind of business would give you the greatest sense of achievement.
Some people are born entrepreneurs, naturals at starting up ideas, building them up, selling them & moving on.
Others may prefer to follow their passion & spend every day doing their ‘hobby’ and getting payed for it. While others may choose to create a comfortable ‘lifestyle business’, one that gives you a long term comfortable life with freedom and flexibility.
They are all good so find out what would best suit you and chase that dream, try and never give up, because if you really, really want it, it WILL happen…
Truth be told, as a blogger, I could of gone on with these two forever! Their wisdom, compassion, drive and pure kindness makes it a truly #goals moment.
If you haven’t tried the delicious range from Nestar and Miss Sweetie – you are missing out. Every flavour is delicious, but my personal favourite has to be the Rosella Macadamia…delicious!