Finding the Market Gap - Ulu Hye - amandahunter.net

AMANDA HUNTER

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Finding the Market Gap – Ulu Hye

AMANDA HUNTER

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In this episode…

We’re chatting with Heidi, from Ulu Hye!

Heidi shares with us, how she and her business partner Vasia, wanted to create a product that was not only better for our health, but also better for the environment.

Identifying a gap in the market of what people both wanted and needed, but weren’t aware of yet (which is a whole another story in itself!), the team at Ulu Hye created the world’s first homemade nut milk base and have prevented more than half a million cartons from entering landfills in the process!

So let’s dive in!

Listen in on:




LINKS AND RESOURCES

Here’s where you can find Ulu Hye!

Website: https://www.uluhye.com.au/

Instagram: @ulu_hye

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/uluhye/

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Transcript

] Amanda: [00:00:00] Welcome to episode 16 of the Heart Driven Hustle podcast, We’re your hosts, Amanda and Kingsley.

And in this episode, we’re chatting with Heidi, from Ulu Hye. Heidi shares with us, how she and her business partner Vasia, wanted to create a product that was not only better for our health, but also better for the environment. Identifying a gap in the market of what people both wanted and needed, but weren’t aware of yet, which is a whole another story in itself. The team at Ulu Hye created the world’s first homemade nut milk base and have prevented more than half a million cartons from entering landfills in the process, which is pretty cool. There are little bits of gold scattered throughout our chat and some pretty cool lessons in there too, which we know you’ll love.

So listen in.

[00:01:00]Hi Heidi. I’m so excited to have you on the show. I’d just love to say welcome.

Heidi: [00:01:35] Thank you so much for having me.

Amanda: [00:01:36] First of all, I have to ask you and I’m sure you get this question all the time. Now the pronunciation of Ulu Hye… have I got it right for starters.

Heidi: [00:01:46] Got it. Bang on. Yeah.

Amanda: [00:01:48] Awesome.

Heidi: [00:01:50] Ulu-Hye.

Amanda: [00:01:51] Ulu-Hye. And where did that come from?

Heidi: [00:01:53] Well, when starting a business these days  just because I guess everyone has a side hustle. You need to find a [00:02:00] business name, like an ABN, a domain, social handles, everything that’s available. And that’s really, really tough. So just decided to make something up.

Amanda: [00:02:10] I love it. That’s so smart!

Kingsley: [00:02:13] Can get the original for, every single platform that was ever out there. It’s all yours..

Heidi: [00:02:18] securing anything,

Kingsley: [00:02:20] No,

Amanda: [00:02:21] Just on the flip side, you are spelling it all the time to everyone.

Heidi: [00:02:25] but I’m hoping that it makes it more memorable.

Amanda: [00:02:28] Exactly! And I know it certainly has for us as well. Once I got the pronunciation right. I certainly remembered it. That’s for sure.

Heidi: [00:02:37] Yeah. Ulu-what?

Amanda: [00:02:39] Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. So tell us a little bit about your business Ulu-Hye. What exactly is it and what does it look like today?

Heidi: [00:02:47] So, Ulu-Hye was created to help bring sustainable alternatives to products that are already available on the market, and just driven to reduce our overall carbon footprint. so we launched in [00:03:00] 2017 with our hero product called nutmilk base. And now today we are a family of nine, which is really lovely.

Amanda: [00:03:09] congratulations. That’s brilliant.

Heidi: [00:03:11] Yes, we’ve got the four milk-base flavors. We’ve got a DIY condiment range, which still is the same concept as the milk bases, but instead of just adding water and blending, you’re adding an oil as well. And it’s four flavors of those. And then we’ve got cocoa dust, which is a healthy alternative to Milo.

Amanda: [00:03:31] Nice. Yeah, you can never go wrong with a nice warm chocolately drink.

Heidi: [00:03:36] Oh, yeah. And just, chocolate’s just an all around winner.

Amanda: [00:03:40] definitely. Oh, brilliant.

So, well, that’s what it looks like today. Now Heidi take us back to the very beginning. Like how did life look like before you started this business?

Heidi: [00:03:49] Yup. So both of Vas, Vasia is my business partner. Both her and I were living in Melbourne and she was practicing natropathy and I [00:04:00] was working in the sustainability sector. And it became apparent to us that long life cartons weren’t easily recycled and only a very small number of them were actually being recycled.

Amanda: [00:04:12] Yeah. And just on that point, it’s very funny because they quite often say that they’re recyclable, but that’s just not the case?

Heidi: [00:04:17] No. And a lot of states actually don’t accept them in their recycling bin anymore. Like only a very few states do. So what happens is because there’s, it’s essentially a cardboard box. and you know, obviously when water hits cardboard, it goes soggy and then there’s, and there’s layers of Elementum and LDP plastic to keep the milk from leaching out.

So when you’ve got all these layers and then when you recycle them, then the layers need to be separated.

Oh they

Amanda: [00:04:45] go okay.

Heidi: [00:04:46] in your recycling bin, your recycling sort of get sorted. And then all the long life cartons get heaped together. And then they have to then get transported to a special, like a water mulching facility where all the layers are separated and then those individual [00:05:00] layers are then sent to their respective recycling home.

Amanda: [00:05:04] Far out, that’s a lengthy process.

Heidi: [00:05:06] Yeah really lengthy process. So yeah, I think, and this is old data, but like under 10% were actually being recycled.  so I had just converted my husband off dairy onto milk, and together we were going through about a litre a day and I was just watching how often I was heading to the recycling bin and sort of putting these cartons in.

and then we just realized that we had to find a solution. I don’t have the patients with the time to make my milk from scratch I’m afraid to say so. Yeah. We just saw that there was a gap in the market and an opportunity for us to develop an alternative and help change things.

Amanda: [00:05:46] Yeah, that’s beautiful. And how did the two of you meet?

Heidi: [00:05:50] We went to high school together.

So we grew up

in country, Victoria. normally we’ve always been very close. but at the moment she’s just North of Byron and I’m still [00:06:00] looking at pages of Sydney. So it’s the first time in a long time that we’re not just like one song away from each other.

sort of, yeah. How we calculate the distance was how many songs

Amanda: [00:06:14] I love that. I thought that was just a saying that you you’d come up with, but no, it’s actually the, the measure of time.

Oh, that’s amazing. So you’ve mentioned that your idea for starting was that your husband and yourself were just starting to convert to, plant based milks. And then you saw the gap in the market for a need to move away from the recyclable products  which weren’t actually being recycled. So

how did you come up with those four products that you have at the moment? Did you start with just one and then you diversified from there? what was the first step?

Heidi: [00:06:48] So first was we had this idea that we had to make sure that it would work. so we went through a number of months developing the product and, working with different food techs, that sort of thing. And then [00:07:00] it was a matter of getting a flavor. So because my husband was still very into the taste of dairy milk, we sort of developed the taste of nut milk, to his liking.

So we went through a lot of different trials until he sort of gave it the big tick of approval. That’s why it’s a blend of cashews, macadamias, and almonds. So it’s quite an unusual flavor and it’s really high in like it’s a fatty nuts, so it’s really creamy nut, so that’s the easiest one to convert people from dairy.

And then we had one was original, so Nut Mylk base original. And then there was Nut Mylk base unsweetened, and the original had agavi syrup in it unrefined agavi syrup, but we soon dropped that skew and we’ve made all of our bases just unsweetened because we found that most people just prefer to choose their sweetener if any, when they were making milk and they would just add it in

Yeah. So we sort of, give the, you know, the power back to the consumer to be in [00:08:00] control of that, which yeah, that was definitely requested. So we dropped that and then we added in Hemp Mylk base, almond mylk base and hazelnut mylk base.

And that’s all the four milk basis. Yeah.

Amanda: [00:08:13] Oh, that’s beautiful. And you mentioned about involving food technicians to help you along the journey. How did you know where to start? Did you have a,  had you had some experience in this or was it just going out on the internet and trying to sort it all out for yourself? Or did you have a mentor or someone to guide you.

Heidi: [00:08:30] No, a lot of trial and error. I mean a family friend of mine, of my parents. He’s a food tech, but for a very different industry for the dairy district, actually. So I did approach him to ask him if he had any contacts who could assist us, but, you know, obviously not in the dairy industry. and so that was how, how we eventually found a few that we would work with.

So, what we sort of learned really early on in business is the people that you need, that you really need can not be found online. You [00:09:00] really need to get referred and to speak to anyone and everyone about your idea, to, to get the advice that you need.

Amanda: [00:09:08] Yeah, that’s such an important point , you don’t necessarily have everyone in your immediate network and it’s about speaking and expanding that. So it’s not just about sort of sitting back in there. I can do this all on my own, because if you do that, you’re going to suffer overwhelm.

You’re going to find that you get stuck and you hit against a wall and go, okay, well, it’s not working. I’m gonna throw in the towel, that’s it. But it’s, it’s stepping outside your comfort zone. Isn’t it. It’s putting yourself out there.

Heidi: [00:09:33] It is. And that’s the beauty of having a business partner because, you know, at times when I’ve just be completely deflated, like after hitting sort of, you know, hurdle after hurdle, she would be the one who’d be like, you know, come on, we’ve got this, we can do this. And vice versa when she’d be sort of down and out, you know, we both, weren’t allowed to have those feelings at the same time. It’s always,

Amanda: [00:09:54] Of course,

Heidi: [00:09:56] that’d be really hard on your own. It’d be very daunting.

Amanda: [00:09:59] It [00:10:00] would, and I know Kingsley and I find the same thing. The two of us being in business together is that we can lean into each other. Cause like you say, someone’s going to have a down day and then you, you just need the other person to lift your spirits, remind you why you’re doing this and to pull you out of that, that humph.

But when you’re on your own it’s yeah, it’s, it’s hard.

Heidi: [00:10:18] And motivation is not always there.

Kingsley: [00:10:19] Yup.

Heidi: [00:10:20] So that would be tough.

Amanda: [00:10:22] Yeah. Yeah, definitely.

Kingsley: [00:10:23] while you talking about food technicians and, for everyone listening at home, I’ve had to leave the, leave the room because we’ve had a crying baby. So I’m back now. And you may have talked about this before, but what goes into your nut mylk versus what’s in a nut milk on the shelf.

Like I know you talked about sustainability and that’s the, that’s the kind of the cornerstone of your business, but, can you talk about what is in your product and  what other products are like as well, because  we talk about health and about business and I think, that also plays a big part [00:11:00] in your business as well.

Heidi: [00:11:01] Yeah, for sure. So it’s more what isn’t in our product because we don’t have the element of water we don’t need preservatives.

So as soon as you add water to anything or you need to preserve it. So this is more down my business partners avenue. She does all of R&D and that sort of thing.

So try to answer it the best I can. We also, also, so yeah, so it’s more, what’s not in there, so we don’t have any emulsifies. We don’t have additives, preservatives, numbers, sugars, anything like that. It’s all raw. it’s also, there’s no oil as well. So our manufacturing process is really quite unique. so the oils can’t be released from the nuts because as you know, water and oil don’t really mix. Removing the water means that we can keep it as clean as possible.

and then we’ve added in a couple of different elements, just to [00:12:00] increase, I guess, the nutrition of the milks as well. So there’s Mesquite in all of them. Which is really high in fibre and helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and then macrobiotic sea salt as well.

Kingsley: [00:12:10] Excellent.

So a lot of people that listen may not know the different types of nut milk and there’s a lot of products out there where they, they put a lot of vegetable oils and stuff in there just to, and all it is, is to add some kind of texture. So it’s a little bit thicker, like a cow’s milk.

So, you know, it feels close to home I suppose.

Heidi: [00:12:31] cause it leaves a film in the, in the pallet. So it leaves you. And so therefore your, you think that the mix is a lot thicker than what it is, but it also helps baristas, in stretch the milk.

Amanda: [00:12:43] Ah, okay. Right. So it’s got a purpose, but it’s not necessarily for your health.

Heidi: [00:12:51] It’s got a purpose but manufacturers and, you know, most businesses, they. You know, the bigger, the end goal is to make a lot of money. So the [00:13:00] quality of oil isn’t necessarily, a, you know, at the forefront of,

Amanda: [00:13:05] Yeah, it’s not a good quality cold pressed olive oil or anything like that. It’s just the yellow vegetable oil.

Heidi: [00:13:13] Yeah.

Kingsley: [00:13:13] Yeah, Yeah, which I think, yeah, it can be misleading because if you go in with the best intentions of getting a healthy, well, what you think is a healthier version of that cow’s milk or whatever.

And then you come out with, you know, a vegetable oil, what product.

Heidi: [00:13:30] Sure. And if you’re used to drinking the long life carton milk, you don’t even realize, but a big portion of the tastes that you’re experiencing is the plastic, the LDP lining of the inner of the carton.

Amanda: [00:13:40] wow.

Heidi: [00:13:41] And so when you start drinking our milks or making a milk at home, and then you go back and you have a cup or have it in your cereal or whatever from a carton, all you can taste as the plastic

Amanda: [00:13:51] Wow,

Heidi: [00:13:52] Yeah. So that’s just because we’re so used to it.

that’s the taste of almond milk to us. Is this plastic component.

[00:14:00] Amanda: [00:14:00] Yeah, you associate that with it, but it’s not the almond milk itself. It’s the plastic. It’s the packaging. Oh, wow. It really makes you think twice.

Heidi: [00:14:09] But you know what up until, you know, up until we sort of launched this, there weren’t many options, so it’s not that people were choosing a bad option. It’s just now that there is a better option

That

Amanda: [00:14:20] was it. Yeah, exactly.

So you started back in 2017 and when you first looked into what was on the market, was there anything like your product at all

Heidi: [00:14:30] No, As far as we know, we created a new category in the health food in the FMCG

Amanda: [00:14:38] Yeah. Yeah. That’s absolutely amazing. And have you seen any seen any people starting to try and enter the market now with a very similar product?

Heidi: [00:14:47] Yep, we’ve got a few. There’s actually one in New York who’s pretty much copied everything.

like from the label to the name, to the ingredients, to the jar.

Amanda: [00:14:59] Oh no. [00:15:00] Right. How do you differentiate yourself then? So, I mean, competitors always going to be around and that’s in any business at all, but when you’ve got someone that comes in and blatantly copies, everything you’ve done. How do you differentiate yourself from, from that?

Heidi: [00:15:16] well I guess being in different countries that helps. but I guess it just sort of reiterates the importance of solidifying yourselves, ourselves in the market and trying to retain that market share that we have, through our values and our ethos and by continuing to produce really high quality premium products, with a small business feel because at the end of the day, we are a small business.

Amanda: [00:15:41] Yeah. Yeah, that’s so true. And I think if you are genuine and authentic like that, then people are going to recognize it and they’re going to want to support you. They’re going to see that there is a big corporation that’s come out or you hope so, but I think there’s definitely a shift these days that people are wanting to support local and they are wanting to support small, [00:16:00] especially in the realm that you’re operating in as well.

So people who are going out and they’re buying the alternative plant based milks, they are generally the people who are a little bit more conscious. And so I think they’re going to be more aware and they are going to support local and support the original and yourselves like that.

Heidi: [00:16:16] Definitely. And like we’ve got, you know, we outsource a lot of components of our business, just where our strengths are and also so that we can retain the small business customer service. So, you know, whenever there’s a customer inquiry or, you know, any questions, that sort of thing, it’s, they’re going straight to Vas and I like, we, we won’t outsource that, I pack all of the orders so I can, you know, do personalized notes, and try to keep that to us as much as possible, just because it’s sort of reiterates why we’re doing this as well

with every order and, you know, with every email and every, every thank you and all that sort of thing, it’s just really, it just makes our heart smile and it’s just so nice and, so definitely keeping that [00:17:00] aspect, is really important to us.

Amanda: [00:17:01] Yeah, that’s beautiful and you’ve touched on there about that’s part of your reason why that you’re doing this, and this is what makes your heart sing. And I think when people do create their own, what might start out as a side hustle and then become much more than that, that is why they’re getting into it.

It’s about having that connection with someone it’s about putting themselves out there and really doing something that makes them feel good while helping others as well. So the fact that you’re holding onto that aspect of it, I believe is, is such an important part of the business. And that is something that is going to differentiate you as well from others out there.

Heidi: [00:17:32] Thank you.

Amanda: [00:17:34] So there’s yourself and Varsia or your business partner. Is there anyone else in your team?

Heidi: [00:17:39] No, we do have, a, we’ve got a business development manager, Lauren, who is just amazing. And then we outsource a lot of components of the business. So we’ve got a great, web team who, you know, we speak with sort of every single day and they’re continually working on the backend to make sure that our site is really [00:18:00] functioning as fast and, and all that sort of thing.

We’ve got a great graphic designer who works for us. yes. So we’ve just had an amazing manufacturer who we couldn’t do anything without.

so they definitely do make up though the Ulu-Hye team, but just not directly under the Ulu-Hye.

Amanda: [00:18:18] And how, at what point did you decide? Okay, well, this is bigger than us. We do need to start seeking that outside. Help. Was it something that you did from the get go?

Heidi: [00:18:25] no, it was a matter of… It was a matter of being honest and saying where our strenghts and where are our weaknesses and is it worth me fumbling around, you know, on the backend of the website to work something out and getting a subpar result, you know, and taking four hours or finding somebody who can do it in 10 minutes and actually produce, you know, a good quality, finish.

So it was a matter of being able to openly admit where our strengths were and where our weaknesses were and how we can help improve the business through the help of other people.

[00:19:00] Amanda: [00:19:00] Definitely playing into your strengths. And I think with yourself Vasia as well, you have such two beautifully complementing backgrounds is that you can do that. And then you can start to incorporate more into the team as well

Heidi: [00:19:10] Oh, and it’s so good because we, because we’re so very, very, very different. We don’t ever have any discussions or disagreements about any roles responsibilities, because I can’t do what she does and vice versa.

Amanda: [00:19:24] Yeah.

Heidi: [00:19:25] Yeah,

It’s a hard though. If you know, one of us has sort of sake or that sort of thing.

Amanda: [00:19:32] that’s good to jump in and pick up the Slack and you go, Oh, okay.

Heidi: [00:19:38] If you saw how my food looked, you’d be appalled.

I’m not aware

Kingsley: [00:19:45] actually, I did say some of those are recipes pop up on your website. They look amazing by the way.

Heidi: [00:19:51] I am the taste tester, well, I used to be the taste tester. but yeah, I cannot, perform like she can in the kitchen and she’s really talented.

[00:20:00] Amanda: [00:20:00] It sounds like the two of us – I’m the taste tester. He’s the cook! I’m the taste tester. I like to think I can cook and I take about three times as long with a subpar result.

Heidi: [00:20:11] Well, that’s all strategic.

Amanda: [00:20:15] It is really, I’m a fantastic chef and I just don’t want that my secret to get out. Otherwise I’ll be in there all te time. Oh, that’s so true.

So Heidi, in the business, were there any challenges that  you had along the way you had to overcome?

Heidi: [00:20:30] Oh, my goodness. So many challenges even up until today. Always challenges. Yeah. I don’t think, I think that’s part of business, I think. Well, unless we’re doing things really wrong, but I don’t think businesses ever. Smooth sailing. I mean, there’s a lot of wins and a lot of exciting things that happen, but there’s always something in the background trying to overcome or define a work around or deviate from.

but from like just sourcing a good [00:21:00] manufacturer has been really difficult. Again, they’re not. They don’t have websites. So it’s

talking to anybody and everybody, and then there will be, nobody also wants to give you the manufacturer because they’re like gold. So,

Amanda: [00:21:14] Yeah. It’s like that’s mine.

Heidi: [00:21:16] so really, really hard to find a good manufacturer, but we’ve got one now.

So just sourcing really good quality, raw materials and being in the industry we’re in, you know, obviously nuts and produce have seasons. They’re not readily available with long best before dates. So it’s a matter of getting ahead of our forecasting for the following year to make sure that when, you know, we’re ordering in the harvest times and, and doing manufacturing runs, you know, just after harvest so that we can get the best before dates and then finding a supplier who can, who can satisfy those, quantities and then like challenges.

Facebook banned us for 18 months.

[00:22:00] So Facebook and Instagram. Yeah, because of our hemp milk base, because they deemed us to be  they said that they don’t support businesses that trade in illegal substance.

Amanda: [00:22:15] Oh, dear – that nut milk!

Heidi: [00:22:17] Oh, that was awful. So we actually couldn’t promote anything to, with our business and our reach was severely impacted. So, for example, if we had 5,000 followers, they would reduce outreach. So that only 50 people would see our posts and we couldn’t do anything about it. It was really hard.

Amanda: [00:22:33] And was that early on or was that sort of a recent thing?

Heidi: [00:22:35] That was as soon as we launched hemp.

So that was like Saturday, 2018. And we got it lifted end of 2019.

Amanda: [00:22:44] That’s crazy. So you were still in quite your formative stage of launching a business and they’ve goned and done

Kingsley: [00:22:51] that.

I assume it was actually legal as well.

Heidi: [00:22:54] Totally legal! 10 countries in the world. Hemp isn’t [00:23:00] legal. So it was just sort of a blanket ban and because, you know, being the size that Facebook is, it’s not like you can just pick up the phone and speak to a consultant and say, well, hang on a minute. It’s actually just a milk and then they lift it. So again, it took two years of speaking to people and finding people who had connections to somebody who worked for Facebook, who could, yeah, it was, it was a process, but we finally got there.

So yeah.

Amanda: [00:23:26] I’m glad you got there in the end.

Heidi: [00:23:28] Always challenges.

Amanda: [00:23:30] It is. It’s almost like a, every level that you get to. There’s another devil. So when you’re just starting out the challenges that you face they’re appropriate for where you’re at, and then you have become those and you grow and you stretch and you get to the next level.

And then it’s a harder challenge because all of a sudden, it’s almost like the universe knows that you’re ready for it? I’m going to throw something else in your way to make you stretch and grow again.

Heidi: [00:23:54] That’s why I’m going to celebrate the wins because it puts you on a high. So then you can like handle a few [00:24:00] more challenges and then just spending a lot, all

Amanda: [00:24:03] Yeah, life exists in duality. So you need to have the wins and you need to like say you need to celebrate them. And I think that’s something so often people don’t do. They simply just go yep. Tick done onto the next thing. And so when they do get faced with those challenges or that adversity that comes along, they take that as a hit rather than just, okay, well, that’s evening things out and so that, because they’re not celebrating a win, they’re getting hit with the negative.

Heidi: [00:24:28] You also got to get used to getting knocked down a little bit. Like I remember early on we’d get so upset or just being very overwhelmed with challenges. when now it’s sort of a given like it comes with, okay, how do we deal with this rather than why is this happening?

Amanda: [00:24:45] yeah, exactly. We found the same thing that the rejection in the beginning, it’s

Heidi: [00:24:49] In a negative way, but yeah,

Amanda: [00:24:52] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Any rejection that you faced early stages is such a, it’s a gut wrenching thing. You think? What have I done? And you take it to heart, [00:25:00] but it’s not you,

Heidi: [00:25:01] No,

Amanda: [00:25:02] not right. For someone at that particular point in time.

That’s all it is.

Heidi: [00:25:05] I don’t think it’s just business. Yeah.

Amanda: [00:25:08] Yeah. It’s so true. Definitely. So what did you attribute your, your early success to? Is there anything that you thought, okay, well, looking back, we did this really well?

Heidi: [00:25:17] Definitely finding a gap in the market. I think a good portion of our success. you know, whilst this hard work and developing a great product, et cetera, it’s finding a gap because you’re not having to deal with, you know, against your competitors.

So.

That helps. but then there’s

Amanda: [00:25:35] Doing your market research.

Heidi: [00:25:36] but then there’s also challenges with that because you need to educate people around a new concept.

So whilst that helped us gain a lot of momentum and a lot of our early success, it’s also still, what’s really hard component of our business is still the education around it. So,

Amanda: [00:25:53] you find that you’re still there at the moment still trying to educate people as

Heidi: [00:25:56] Oh,

Amanda: [00:25:56] what?

Heidi: [00:25:57] yeah.

And just educating around the product so that people are still [00:26:00] a little bit taken aback and a bit overwhelmed by it.

And they’re like, so I do what? And you’ve got to go over it. You know what I mean? Sometimes when you see something or you read something and it’s so simple that you’re like, no, no, no, It’s gotta be a lot harder

Amanda: [00:26:13] This is a trick.

Heidi: [00:26:14] Yeah. That’s a lot of the feedback is not an actual, it’s not this easy.

You don’t just mix the base with what I’m blend like…

Amanda: [00:26:22] Yeah.

Heidi: [00:26:22] surely not, and then they do it. Wow. So, yeah, so definitely finding a gap in the market and, through community. So both Vas and I, you know, do follow a plant based diet and we have for a number of years now. so just a couple of. Posts like in different Facebook groups, like the day we launched and just the community around that, just sort of, they were so supportive and excited and tagging people.

And within a week, I think we had about 20,000 organic views of like our promotion

video. And then the following week we got [00:27:00] picked up by a distributor. And then within a few weeks, I think we were in over 500 stores. So we grew at an alarming rate.

Amanda: [00:27:08] Yes. Prio to being picked up from the distributor were you just selling online yourself. Is that what happened or did you have a strategy in place as to how you were going to get into those stores?

Heidi: [00:27:18] but that’s the thing. Like we had a, we had a business plan, but it it’s quickly changed. Like You know, it’s really hard to have a business plan and to, well, in our, in our case anyway, and to follow it to a T because we didn’t expect that kind of, That’s kind of result or feedback from the general public.

It was so lovely, but we didn’t expect to sell out within a couple of days. Yeah. So a lot of, you know, a lot of our challenges were just trying to keep up. So they say don’t bite off more than you can chew. But we said a lot of more than you can chew and then too, like crazy.

we just felt like we would do it.

Yeah. [00:28:00] Yeah. Yeah, we didn’t really plan for that. That was, that was every community and luck and just finding a gap.

Amanda: [00:28:10] Yeah, I think that’s such an important point that you’ve made though about having a business plan, but being flexible. You need to adapt, you need to change and move with what the environment is around you. And you certainly saw that you didn’t anticipate that you’re going to get picked up and all of a sudden to be landing that many stores so quickly.

So it, it really was just about adapting to what was happening around you at the time.

Heidi: [00:28:30] Yeah. Yeah. And just being flexible and, sort of letting, I don’t say the universe guide us, but just sort of letting our consumers guide us as to which way we went,

Amanda: [00:28:42] Yeah, being

Heidi: [00:28:43] we were in the early stages, we were adamant we weren’t going to release almond milk base. Just because almonds are not in a very fatty nuts, so the milk’s just not so creamy.

And, it was just so readily available. We just thought that people would prefer other options, but [00:29:00] then the general consensus was people really, really wanted us to release an almond milk base. And so we released it really shocked and sort of, you know, just sort of waiting to see, see how it would go. And it went really, really well, but had it been our decision, we would have never released it.

Amanda: [00:29:17] Right. That’s so interesting listening to what the consumers want and then making decisions based on that too. Yeah, I think probably part of it is people are so used to almond milk. When you say to someone what’s a plant based milk, quite often, they will jump to almond milk as being that’s the first one that they start with.

So it’s that familiarity?

Heidi: [00:29:35] even if you think, you know what people want, you need to be, you need to be willing to accept that you don’t. And if people don’t want something, you know, like the nut mylk base original being okay with, like, it’s not failing. If, if you know, you, discontinue aligned, but just, just adapting and being okay with change and, and, and listening to your audience as to what they want,

[00:30:00] rather than just trying to push your agenda onto them

Amanda: [00:30:04] Yeah. So often get caught up with this internal ego that we have and that we, we think that we’re right and we know everything. And if someone challenges it. You can, you’ve got two decisions or two options. You can either sort of step back and go, okay, I’m going to listen and see what other people have to say.

Or if you put up the wall and say, no, I know I’m definitely right then that can sometimes set you up for failure because in the longterm, it’s not going to lead to. to what others want and it’s not gonna not going to lead to your success in the end. So I think that’s, it’s a tough decision to, to go.

Okay. Yep. Let’s discontinue something, but it’s also a very smart business decision as

Heidi: [00:30:41] well.

Yeah. And that’s where, I guess both Vas and I are really okay with accepting that something’s not working. Maybe it’s cause we’re reading it. We’re both got each other. So it’s sort of like a team decision rather than, you know, looking at it as a failing at something [00:31:00] that’s just sort of deciding

Amanda: [00:31:00] Yeah. It becomes a business decision rather than a personal attack.

Heidi: [00:31:04] definitely.

Amanda: [00:31:05] Yeah. Amazing. Well, what does the next chapter look like? Ulu-Hye .

Heidi: [00:31:08] Oh, wow. just honestly, it’s just continuing to create awareness around our brand and our products, and the detrimental effects our current options are having on the environment and it just to continue creating alternatives for products already available. so just again, not only looking for gaps, but looking for, I guess, a need and a want for for those products as well.

So definitely always open to new ideas. but yeah, so just really creating awareness and hopefully in time to be able to help other businesses start out and sort of do not throw them in the deep head or have them feel like they’re sort of thrown in the deep end when starting out. So being able to somehow guide people in, you know, the steps it takes and what’s involved in starting a

Amanda: [00:31:58] Yeah, I love that. [00:32:00] Almost like a little business mentorship. Is that something you see has been a formal arrangement or another avenue of the business, or just a informal you want to get out there and help the business community and guide some other people in their startups.

Heidi: [00:32:12] definitely would just love to help. I mean, and just being around people and just providing, I guess, assistance in any way possible. But yeah, I mean, I don’t really know much more than that.

Amanda: [00:32:25] Just a little idea in the background. That’s amazing. So I know we’ve kind of touched on some of these, but what are your top three tips for someone who is starting out in their own site hustle?

Heidi: [00:32:35] definitely do your research just because you think you’ve got a winning idea, or you know, a delicious product or anything like that doesn’t mean that you do so definitely do your research, make sure that people want it, make sure that people like it, you know, be it food or apparel or anything.

so definitely that’s a do your research. probably too, when starting out [00:33:00] choose one or two things and do them really well, rather than choosing 10 or 20 and spreading yourself too thin. and prob probably know your why, so why, why are you doing this? And sort of let that be your guide to all the big decisions as well.

So if it doesn’t fall in line with your why or your value or your ethos to say no, and sometimes that’s saying no to some really lucrative deals, but it definitely helps. It helps guide you when you know your business plan and everything else is ever changing.

Amanda: [00:33:38] Yeah. And that’s such a big one for us as well. We always talking about knowing your why and staying true to yourself. Like you’ve mentioned there. It does mean saying no to certain things that come along and they may seem. In, in the first instance, they may seem like they’re going to be something that’s fantastic and it’s going to propel you forward.

But if it doesn’t feel right, if there’s that feeling of something’s a little bit [00:34:00] icky, it’s not truly who I am or aligning with my values, then consider that. And maybe it’s not the right decision in the long term.

Heidi: [00:34:07] And Vas and I were really lucky from the start. We said, if one of us just feel really strongly about something and we don’t know why, and you know, we can’t sort of explain our reasoning around it. We just have to go with it. So if Vas’ gut says no to something. It’s just, no questions asked.

We just don’t.

Amanda: [00:34:26] Trust your gut. It’s so powerful.

Heidi: [00:34:29] And we’ve pulled that a few times that we’ve been really close to monitors to be like, I don’t want to do this and I can’t explain why, but just know, and we just back away and even if I

Amanda: [00:34:38] Oh, that’s fantastic. Yeah,

Heidi: [00:34:41] So we made that

Amanda: [00:34:41] that’s good that you’ve got that relationship that you can just not have a proper reason or a logical reason behind it and go yep. Just a gut decision and got a gut-feel

Heidi: [00:34:52] Yeah. It’s hard sometimes when. You don’t but yeah, we’re really, re worked really well like that.

So, yeah.

[00:35:00] Amanda: [00:35:00] Yeah. That’s amazing. Well, is there anything else that you’d like to mention Heidi

Heidi: [00:35:05] think I

Amanda: [00:35:06] about?

Heidi: [00:35:07] don’t really, I feel like I’ve

Amanda: [00:35:09] No,

no, you have an amazing getting to your story, but it’s, yeah, we’ve really enjoyed the journey and understanding what Ulu-Hye is all about and where you came from and how you entered the market and just, yeah…

going from a very sort of small, new business, creating awareness to. Straight out of the gate. There you are. You’re flying absolutely flying!

So how can people find you? Where can they find your products? How can they find you online.

Heidi: [00:35:37] Yeah. So we have an online store just by our website. so definitely recommend to jump on there. Just learn more about our story and our products and sort of, I guess the why behind our products. and we’ve also got. A huge amount of retailers as well, which can be found online through our stockist search.

So you can plug in your postcode and [00:36:00] then you can get, you know, all the stockists like around your area. It’s like, well, everything is yeah. By the website.

Amanda: [00:36:07] Yep, you are one of the  things we can find online! So I’m going to pop all those details into the show notes as well, so that people know your social details, your website, and they can know exactly where to find

you.

Well, it is amazing. I’ve loved having you on the show. We’ve loved having you on the show.

It’s been great. Having a chat, hearing all about your stories. Thanks, Heidi!

Heidi: [00:36:30] Thank you. Bye!

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