Some seeds of business ideas are sown thanks to a pain point, some thanks to passion. For premium organic tea brand Ovvio, it was certainly the latter.
“I had a pretty successful naturopathic practice but helping clients one on one was not enough for me,” Ovvio founder Anthia Koullouros tells Collective Hub. “I had this burning desire to create a greater platform to reach more people and offer more of what I knew was needed and helpful.”
Not content to just treat ailments and keener still to work with clients to help prevent them, Australian entrepreneur Anthia began expanding her reach in the wellness industry after creating her own line of organic teas off the back of her naturopathy practice, which had been operating successfully since 1994. Ten years after the establishment of said practice, she evolved the brand by opening Ovvio: The Organic Lifestyle Store & Naturopathic Clinic, with Anthia working seven days a week at the store (and, unbelievably, consulting after hours too). From there, the newest extension was developed: her own range of organic teas, launching in 2012 to a clearly enthusiastic customer base – the teas even made their own red carpet appearance at last years’ Oscars, being served to the stars in the green and dressing rooms during the prestigious ceremony. She’s since kept in stride with her customers, developing seasonal blends and cleanses that reconnect and reenergise mind and body for her clients. As always, any brand iteration was formulated in a way to connect with clients when she wasn’t necessarily accessible.
“I have many clients who I see one on one, however I can only see so many clients each day,” Anthia explains of the upcoming summer cleanse. “I wanted to create a program that was accessible to more people so they too can experience the joy of great health that comes from eating well and taking care of yourself.”
Alongside each new development and extension has been a personal mirroring, where Anthia has absorbed her own learnings about business, leadership, sticking to her guns and getting out of her own way when it comes to accepting company growth. Here are a few of things she’s learnt about:
The pitfalls of perfectionism
I worked day and night. I was able to churn out a lot of work but it greatly impacted my personal relationships. I went through a marriage break up. It was very tough. I’m quite an emotional and passionate person. I had to and continue to learn to let things go, move on, fail fast and learn fast. I also had to learn to think bigger, share more and trust others to do the work. As I mentioned I am a perfectionist. I like things just so. It was faster for me to do what I needed to but I soon learnt that this is not a way to grow a business. I now try to find team members, who are better than me, who see themselves as a brand within a brand, who strive for absolute excellence but at the same time don’t let perfect get in the way of good, who can work fast and efficiently and adapt to growing pains.
The early challenges and making mistakes
The hardest part about this process was working with designers and the capital investment required for design and new packaging. These were very difficult times. I had to borrow money from my parents at the time. I wasn’t drawing a wage and we were breaking even. Through inexperience, I made plenty of costly, very costly mistakes. I was fortunate enough to have a couple of great business mentors that would say there is no business degree to teach you these lessons. Every mistake I made was a lesson. I had to learn to roll with the punches. Very hard for a perfectionist like me that likes things just so.
Growing a customer base (while sticking to your guns)
I was approached by a friend who owned a cafe and [supplying top restaurants] stemmed from there. I also sent our tea to chefs who were interested in the provenance of food and high quality, well-sourced ingredients. I was very good friends with a well-known Sydney chef who endorsed my brand. I think the timing was right for a high quality, well sourced, bespoke, delicious organic tea and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time with an excellent product. I also said yes a lot and gave away a lot. I was trusted by my industry and consumers for being very particular and considered in my approach to business, the sourcing of ingredients and ability to supply. I did whatever I needed to do while at the same time I stuck to my core values and beliefs.
Keeping the brand authentic
As we grow, having a sustainable supply of certified organic ingredients becomes increasingly challenging and we now have staff dedicated to ensuring we have a sustainable supply of high quality ingredients. Building strong relationships with our key suppliers and farms is crucial in maintaining this ongoing supply. Simply being certified organic is not always enough, we want the best quality certified organic we can source, and we taste every product and sample that arrives to ensure a consistent, premium quality of our tea blends.
To find out more about Anthia’s The 21-Day Summer Cleanse Program and Ovvio Organic Teas visit www.ovvioorganics.com.au.