Plataran Ubud was my third stop in Bali. My first impression was that of a comfortable, relaxing hotel that you can retreat to and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. A welcoming and warm place that feels easy to stay at. It is much bigger than some of the other places I’ve experienced with 51 rooms plus one residential accommodation and one villa. There are also two pools, a gym, a big reception area with a restaurant opening up to the street (you’ll find afternoon tea here), and another restaurant at the back of the hotel where they serve an amazing and massive breakfast buffet.
After a couple of days at Prashanti, Panca, Korurua’s manager picked me up from Ubud’s town centre. Once we arrived, only a short 10 minutes ride North of the centre, Panca showed me my villa, “Koru Classic” - classic and high end. Korurua is a family owned retreat, designed to blend in with the beauty of its surroundings, combining traditional Balinese culture with luxurious and contemporary touches, all in a peaceful setting. They only have seven individually designed suites, overlooking the green Bali countryside of Junjungan village and Korurua’s own garden.
I arrived in Bali at 3am in the morning. Prashanti, the first place I stayed at, had organised a driver for me to pick me up from the airport. Once we got to Ubud and close to the location of the hotel where the car couldn’t go any further, someone from the hotel came to pick me up on a scooter to take me down the small path between rice fields, packing my suitcase in the front, me at the back.
No business prospers on its first day. Some go beyond prospering, and develop into urban movements. How do you go from zero followers, money or sales to having it all - fans’ and bloggers’ love, queues and huge profits? We wondered too, in fact we asked around. Below is a story about a big business based in a small country. There’s so much to learn.
A little while ago I reached out to Emma at Love Tea, a tea company based just outside of Melbourne, designing and selling natural teas inspired by Naturopathy. Love Tea has always been a favourite of mine since my first few days in Melbourne. The first blend I bought was their Raspberry Leaf tea, which I knew would support my cycle - I couldn’t find many other options for cycle support out there and so I kept coming back to Love Tea.
A day in the life of a startup follows a business from its early stage steps through growth pains and new opportunities to a sustainable, independent enterprise. We go back every few months to document the change happening to provide useful insights and inspiration, sharing direct and real learning opportunities, and empowering entrepreneurs and people wanting to make a change.
From Nelson we went on a day trip to Abel Tasman National Park. We instead spent some time by the beach, reading and relaxing. After a week traveling, a lot of time spent in the car, and sleeping at camping grounds, we actually really felt a lot like relaxing and not doing much at all.
Almost at the Pancake Rocks - the night before was spent in Greymouth, a place where not much is happening. Of course we were craving our usual morning coffee at a nice cafe though, so we started the search through little Greymouth downtown. And we found it.
Franz Josef and Fox glacier are surrounded by rainforest. We didn’t explore the glaciers, but went for a long walk in the forest instead. I loved being in this deep green jungle, it feels exciting and so calming at the same time, especially after rain.
We arrived in Queenstown. It was a beautiful day spent by the lake (a little bit further South that was quiet and with pretty much no one around), relaxing, sleeping, finding stones, soaking up the sun.
The next few posts to follow will be picture heavy - mainly photo stories of my trip through New Zealand when my mum came over to visit this March/April. I love New Zealand - always have. Anyone who has ever been will probably agree with me. It's such a beautiful country, one of the best places to go on a road trip.
I found Tom when I first moved to Melbourne. I've always been a lover of unconventional hairdressers, avoiding traditional hair salons. Tom's very interesting to talk to. Maybe I'm naturally drawn to unconventional thinkers, but I knew from our conversations that there was a lot of valuable knowledge and interesting insights to be covered.
Of course I did some research and spent quite a bit of time on Pinterest searching for cool Tokyo coffee shops and vegetarian places before travelling there. However, on the day I went to have lunch and coffee at one of the places I found online it was actually closed. So I kept walking, being freezing cold and desperately in need of a hot cup of (good!) coffee and some heartwarming food. Having your camera out all the time in winter isn't exactly what your hands and fingers long for either. I was lucky when I came across this cute little place called Itonowa.
Another day spent wandering the streets of Tokyo, this time exploring the old suburbs, which felt very much like going back in time ( - back to what I imagine communist times might have felt like). I loved the feel of these streets, being surrounded by weird, random things. So many little alleyways to explore with so many little details.
Tokyo really is crazy, it’s true what they say. There’s a shop called Don Quixote, a discount store that spans 4 floors (Shibuya store). I found a simple list of what you can find on each floor online.
I spent a few days in Tokyo at the beginning of this year - exploring, trying to find the best vegetarian sushi, and navigating my way around the city. Here are some of my captured impressions of this crazy, crazy city where everything seems to be happening all at once all in one place.
It’s always exciting when you come across a new, young brand that’s totally aligned with your values and that you instantly feel connected to. That’s what happened with rhoeco, a newly established tea company from Greece that produces organic herbal teas to promote well-being while preserving the Earth. rhoeco aims to promote zero waste, choosing ethically sourced goods, and staying away from pointless consumerism.
To start off The New Artisans I talked to Zev Forman, professional bagel baker and founder of 5 & Dime. Zev started 5 & Dime mainly out of frustration with a lack of ‘real’ bagels in Australia. Having grown up in New Jersey in the States he knows that the saying ‘if it ain’t boiled, it ain’t a bagel’ is true. The fact that the bagel is a very labour-intensive worker’s bread with humble beginnings also played a big role in making it an attractive entrepreneurial journey. 5 & Dime is possibly the best example of a sustainable business that’s based on a quality product made by hand, sold fresh every couple of hours - bagels made for people by people. ev tells us more about the process of baking bagels, the early beginnings of this type of bread, and the importance of systems.
Vyom Sharma does a lot of things. He creates magic shows, spends hours working as a doctor, writes for medical magazines and has been published in various newspapers. Sometimes when you’re working so much you forget to put your ego aside and ask “why”, which is what this interview is all about. There are deeper motivations behind the things we do every day, and if we look closely and dig a little deeper we can all benefit from them.
Who Gives A Crap gives 50% of their profits to charity to build toilets and fund sanitation projects for those who really need it. I talked to Who Gives A Crap’s co-founder Danny about business models that create positive change, overcoming obstacles, and becoming an entrepreneur.
We produce around 6 million tons of coffee waste worldwide each year, most of which ends up in landfills. Australia itself contributes an estimated 75,000 tonnes to that number, and it’s constantly increasing. You just need to do a quick Google search to find that Melbourne’s right at the top of the list for the best coffee in the world, so no wonder we love our coffee. Instead of just drinking it to fuel us in the morning though, we can make even better use of those beans and do good for the planet at the same time.
Start the story five years ago, when a guy who got lost on a stag do ended up at a random bar by himself. That’s where he met another guy, about 20 years older, a lecturer from Melbourne who was visiting the city. They start talking, feel like they’re made of the same stuff, stay in touch. They don’t see each other for the next five years. Fast-forward to August 2015 when they meet again, this time in Sydney. The lecturer knows another friend he hasn’t seen for a while who lives in Sydney. That guy (let’s call him guy number three) invites the lecturer to come see him.
Sophie started Grain & Knot, her wooden kitchenware company, just over a year ago. She hand carves each spoon, knife and board from reclaimed timber, keeping her hands busy whenever possible, putting her love for the wooden goods before splinters and cut fingers. According to her own website, “she always searched for new and exciting artistic outlets” after graduating and wanted to get away from the constant glare of the computer screen.
esse is one of a kind. He’s the kind of person you call ‘a character’ - pink shirt, denim jacket, purple shorts, a blue and a yellow sock. It pretty much sums up his personality. He’s torn between loving and hating new ideas. He can’t be put in a box. He builds genuine relationships with people that are real. That’s it, no business vs personal life distinction. He’s ambitious about smiling, green dinosaurs, and magic jumpers - you’ve just got to love him.
met Victoria a while ago, a few months maybe, a time that doesn’t feel very long. I got to know her very well over the period of just one or two months, it’s been a journey of getting closer and sharing a lot of personal stories, experiences and adventures, late night cups of chai tea, and some fluorescent face paint.
If you’re in London chances are you’ve heard of Pact Coffee by now. Either because I’ve told you about it, enthusiastically trying to get you to buy their coffee, or because you’ve seen ads offering £1 fresh, high-quality coffee on the tube, Facebook, or on a billboard. And if you haven’t come across Pact before, you might be looking it up by now. Coffee for £1 sounds pretty good, right?