From kale smoothies to business owners : Julia & Libby talk business, books and haters

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What’s better than an incredible kiwi woman thriving in business, releasing their second wholefood recipe book, and on the brink of launching two other businesses? Well, two of them. Julia & Libby are two incredibly hard-working entrepreneurs from our BizDojo Parnell community who prove that social media can catapult your business, yet isn’t what it used to be. Are you following?


Getting started on the business path 

From the early days of studying business, Julia knew it wasn’t all gravy. Her sister, Libby, was in the mix of studying nutrition and was enriched by the effects food has on your body. Understanding the need for a well-balanced diet, Julia was already up to making new vegetarian options that had her friends wanting more. She soon followed suit and partnered up with sis, to bust out some recipes that brought both worlds together.

It started with a kale smoothie that went viral - unintentionally. Back in the day, social media was simply an easier way to get information out to friends and families faster than email. It was a place for easy posting - something mum and dad could use. And today, it’s become another necessary tool for business, with a negative stereotype.
 

Success can bring it's own pressures 

Julia & Libby have often been asked “what was the key to your success on social media?” or “how did you get so many followers? What’s the trick?”. Questions the sisters both sigh at. Yes, their “social success” has supported their business and the two will be the first to tell you they wouldn’t be where they are without it. However, it isn’t what they’re about. They are passionate about how food makes you feel, how to elevate your healthy eating options, and growing a business. Not the number of likes, followers, or posting anything you don’t believe in. The key to social success is simply, authenticity and passion.

you can’t make everyone happy
— Julia & Libby

When asking “what was one of the hardest parts of launching a business?” the girls explain it was definitely the “haters”. As many businesses introduce social media marketing during a product launch or when a marketing budget exists, this business started with it. Dealing with these haters quickly became an emotional obstacle in which these sisters now overcome with the timeless saying “you can’t make everyone happy”. Knowing that if they continue on with their passion and being true to themselves, they will in turn make so many other people happy. And that voice speaks volumes louder than any cyber bully.
 

Books unlock business success 

So how does a kale smoothie turn into an award-winning business between two sisters? Knowing early in the game they needed to take their online service-based content into a product, the sisters launched a recipe book. Already having received paid requests for recipes, content, and product, the sisters knew it was time to go all in. To launch a business, and create something concrete to solidify their brand. In 2016 ‘Julia & Libby’s Wholefood Kitchen’ recipe book was born.

It is without a doubt that these sisters know how to stay on trend. And we aren’t just talking about their outfits and social engagements. Keeping on trend with recipes is essential to keeping this business alive. Knowing what food is hot right now, what everyone is craving and what their audience needs, contributes to the growth of their brand and their creative masterpieces. No need sending out a survey or researching market needs - this is where their social success comes in handy. Where do they find the inspiration for fresh content? The sisters are quick to answer “our audience tells us what they want”. That makes business easy and is what soon became a second business. “Our audience is always asking us what we suggest for our favorite protein powder. It became so constant that we knew it was something we could make and sell ourselves, with all of our go-to ingredients.” Boom, Two Islands was born.

The name behind Two Islands Co comes from the heart of these kiwi sisters. Knowing it represents their NZ background, it also brings the sisters together as Libby is now living abroad with her bae in Minnesota. The sisters have more exciting product in the works as they are also launching a gender-neutral baby clothing line from their latest inspiration, Maxwell, Libby’s first born. As Libby decided to not find out the sex of their baby, she found it close to impossible to find gender-neutral baby clothes that were affordable and luxury - another business idea.

It is clear that these sisters mastered reading an audience - finding a need and turning it into a business. Even after winning the top social media awards in Food & Nutrition, these girls know how to remain humble, authentic and passionate about what they do. They are grateful for the opportunities their social success has created, however, prove that running a business includes rolling up your sleeves and making sh*t happen. That demand can turn into ideas, that food can turn into fuel, and that passion can turn into reality. And that, fills our bellies and our soul.


Passionate about wellness, community and women in business and leadership, Jessica Gasiunas is one of our talented Community Managers. Meet her and the rest of our awesome community at BizDojo Parnell.