Yoko Inoue knows a thing or two about turning a passion for healthy eating into a thriving, profitable business. The lack of healthy baby food after the birth of her daughter and an unexplained illness turned out to be the catalyst for her to start Shokuiku, a Melbourne café and online business specialising in organic, raw food cuisine.
Organic is now a serious business and the growth in consumer demand for healthy food is growing with market analyst company IBIS World predicting the value of the organic industry could be $1.2 billion by 2022.
Drawing from her own experience, Yoko has identified five ways other businesses can profit from healthy eating habits.
1. Find your place in the market
Whether it’s a new delicious product, a new way of preparing food or a new technology, find your place in the market and be the best at it. When establishing her business idea, Yoko identified an untapped niche in the local holistic wellness lifestyle industry. “Organic raw food cafes were doing really well overseas but there was nothing similar in Melbourne and many of the raw food products I wanted to buy myself were not available either. I knew then that I was onto a good business idea,” says Yoko.
2. Share your knowledge and tell your story
Never underestimate the importance of telling your brand’s story – it’s one of the best ways to connect with your customers. Communicating your brand’s story can lead to direct and indirect marketing opportunities, some you may never even had considered! So, build your database and communicate with your community through multiple channels including Facebook, Instagram and online messaging. Yoko believes being authentic and sharing your story is vital for creating a loyal business community.
3. Diversify what you are offering
By diversifying and branching out into other products or services you can build your database and protect your business from industry changes by minimising the impact of a decline in any one part of your business. Shokuiku started as a café and has since diversified into an online store, raw food classes, hosting community events and catering. The café’s regular cooking classes teach people how to prepare wholesome raw and living food and the events are now crucial elements of the business which allow for additional revenue and community connection.
4. Get online
There are multiple ways to take your business online and reap the benefits. Set up an online store, create online programs and capitalise on online advertising and collaboration opportunities. “I started blogging and sharing my life and recipes and didn’t really have a vision of where it would eventually take me. Blogging soon evolved into a small home based business supplying raw vegan truffles at the local markets which then grew into supplying a few health food stores in Melbourne,” says Yoko.
5. Live the lifestyle
Yoko is adamant that to be authentic and gain the respect of the community you are in or wanting to enter, it is vital to live the lifestyle you are promoting. “If you are getting into the industry because you think it is profitable and not authentically living the lifestyle, customers can feel it. You won’t be able to share your experiences and talk about what you offer with authority unless you live the lifestyle you are promoting,” she adds.
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