Mental Health at Work Training

#24 Producing healthy food and culture – Emma Welsh, CEO & Co-Founder Emma & Toms (s01 ep24)

Dec 2, 2021

Emma Welsh is the CEO and Co-founder of Emma & Toms. She is also the Country Director - Australia for THINK EQUAL; a NFP global educational program designed to explicitly teach social and emotional intelligence to young children starting in kindergarten. Emma talks about the massive impact that COVID has had on their business, and also the silver linings that came from the pandemic. Emma and business partner Tom believe that businesses should contribute positively to the community which has led them to achieve B Corp accreditation.
"To me caring is a combination of things. But honesty, transparency, and respect are fundamental to it."
- Emma Welsh


  • Managing the issues that arise when you work with your partner
  • Achieving and maintaining B Corp accreditation
  • Silver linings to the pandemic


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Transcript from the interview

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Graeme Cowan, Emma Welsh

Graeme Cowan 00:00

It’s a real pleasure to welcome Emma Welsh to the show. Welcome, Emma.

Emma Welsh 00:14
Hi, Graeme, thank you for having me.

Graeme Cowan 00:16
Our pleasure. Emma, what does care in the workplace mean to you?

Emma Welsh 00:21

I think, for me, being caring is treating people with respect. I think everyone deserves to be treated with respect. And to treat each other with respect. I think people should be valued as individuals. But also, I think they need to be there with, to deliver and to perform. And that needs to be in to be clear. And actually, I think it’s caring to being, to making it clear when they are performing and when they’re not performing. So, to me, it’s a combination of things. But honesty, transparency, and respect are fundamental to it.

Graeme Cowan 01:08

You co-founded Emma &Toms back in 2003. Can you just show listeners? Could you give a bit of an overview of what got you there?

Emma Welsh 01:19

Yeah, so my business partner, Tom, and I, It actually was Tom’s idea. So, Tom had been traveling in North America and drinking green smoothies and thinking they’re absolutely wonderful. And he came back to Australia and suggested to me that there was a business opportunity in creating green smoothies. And so, we started looking at this idea together. And we looked at other examples of companies around the world who’d started these sorts of businesses, and there was quite a few. But there was they’re all small companies that hadn’t, the products hadn’t been developed by the major multinationals that we’re all very familiar with. It was all small companies that have started up. So, we thought, well, maybe there’s an opportunity for us to do the same thing in Australia. And we basically started following our noses and then developing the business. And now 17 years later, here we are.

Graeme Cowan 02:16

And you worked in other companies prior to starting at what were some of the key places you worked out where you learned some important things which are relevant for your own business?

Emma Welsh 02:29

Yeah, I did at university, I did a course called Agricultural Science at Melbourne Uni. And I chose that course, because there was a little bit of everything in it. So, I think I’ve, I am a generalist stuff. I like to do different things. But I decided pretty early on, actually, at the end of that course, that I actually didn’t want to be a scientist because while scientists discover fantastic, amazing things, I found the process, Well, at my experience of being in the soil science lab, so I hadn’t found the process, particularly exciting mixing samples of soil. So, I decided I wanted to be a commodity trader, and I applied to a couple of different commodity trading companies and got my first job with Cargill, as a not as a commodity trader as a Financial Market Strategist. For my first ever job, I was trading the Australian dollar, and basically betting whether it was going to go up or down, which is it as a 20, 24-year-old out of Uni was, I didn’t really think it was a real job, but it was, you know, that was my first job.

Graeme Cowan 03:37

And what was some of the other places you work that, you know, you learned some valuable lessons.

Emma Welsh 03:43

So, Cargill and I actually, I then moved, I did move into the grain trading area, after a while, and that was a great experience. And I traveled all around Australia, Central Queensland, into the Brisbane Valley, buying all sorts of different things and dealing with farmers and learning, you know, that people, the farmers were very similar wherever you went in Australia, and whether they were very successful ones or very, not so successful. You know, they were all at the mercy of the weather. They were all suffering the cost, price squeeze. And learning to talk to different people, I think, was and they were and in my experience was always that, you know, I was a young girl at that time. And I was always treated with respect and then I think it was because I had information that was valuable to them and they were interested in, in what I what I had to tell because I was basically bringing them information about the markets and prices which was relevant to them. So as with Cargill, after Cargill, I went, I was I’d actually been selling grain to Uncle Ben’s, which is part of the mass Corporation in Albury Wodonga and at one stage they asked me if I’d like to go and buy grain for them. And so that started a five-year journey with them and I went wanting to go to Mars because I wanted to get experience in sales and marketing and, and move out of more than the commodity trading area. Because by that stage, I had decided that I wonder I would like to have my own business. And so, I was thinking I wanted to get lots of experience in different areas of business. So, I saw Mars as sales and marketing. And I had a very interesting career at Mars. But because I was sort of a specialist, I didn’t manage to get into the marketing area, which is where I wanted to get into. But I did manage to go into the fish buying area and ended up in Namibia buying frozen fish and Chile and California, Southern Thailand. So that was a, it was a good job. And I was in China in 1992, buying vitamins and amino acids just as they were opening up. So, it was a fantastic experience. And again, you’re learning to talk to lots of different people, different cultures. And understanding how things worked in different parts of the world and learning a lot from different people. I had great bosses at both at Cargill, and Mars. And but after five years at Mars, I decided that I wanted to do an MBA and I applied to a school in university in France called INSEAD. And then went to spend a year doing an MBA there. And after that year, I spent a year as a Strategy Consultant in London with a firm called LEK Consulting, which was an excellent firm and I learned how hard you really have to work as a consultant and do projects at one time. So, the sort of double hard.

Graeme Cowan 06:48

It’s a very big commitment to choose to do MBA, not to mention expense and INSEAD really top place to get the MBA. I’ve heard a lot of management consultants that did it there. Why did you think that was important for you to do at that stage of your career?

Emma Welsh 07:08

I wanted to, I guess, you know, get experiencing. I mean, I’d basically been a commodity trader and on the commercial side, the buying side. So, I just wanted to learn about the other parts of the business, you know, sales, marketing, finance operations. And because I’d work for two American companies by that stage, I decided I didn’t want to go to America. And I thought that INSEAD was the best school to go to in Europe. So that’s why I chose them.

Graeme Cowan 07:38

Yeah. And then you made the decision to start Emma & Tom’s, as you mentioned, it was originally Tom’s idea. Did he give just give you a call and say, I think we should do this.

Emma Welsh 07:52

Pretty much he mainly we’ve been friends. For years, we actually met each other when we were 12-year-old, sort of doing swimming squad at the Harold health pool in Melbourne. And we’ve just known each other for years. And when we were not life partners, people, it’s always the first question everyone wants to know the answer to. But we’d been friends. And we’re used to in London, he was actually living in London at the same time I was in London, and we’d catch up for drinks every now and again and do things together. And yeah, I’d come back to Australia and I was actually working at the National Australia Bank by that stage. And he just rang me up one day and said, I’ve got this idea. And I said, what is it? What is it? And he said, I can’t I can’t tell you over the phone. I’ve got to come and see you. And so, we then met up and discussed it and then drove around Carlton and Paraone and different places, looking at fridges and seeing what they had in the fridge and deciding that there was an opportunity.

Graeme Cowan 08:52

Excellent. And how long was it from that initial discussion to when you bite the bullet and started the business?

Emma Welsh 09:00

It was about a year we thought it was going to be three months. And then it actually took about a year.

Graeme Cowan 09:06

And what were the surprises along the way, like you’ve been with, you know, a number of different businesses in different areas. But starting your own business is, you know, another thing again, ironically, I think Mars is actually a family business in it a bit. But a very large family business. Looking back, what did you not anticipate? What were the surprises for you?

Emma Welsh 09:29

I’m thinking, it’s good to mention that you mentioned Mars because, you know, they’re a massive family business as is Cargill, actually, when I was working for them? I mean, I was relatively junior and then I mean, I met personally, both all of them John Foreston and Jackie Mars and presented to them. So, I mean, that was my experience of business owner, they were hands on. They were hard working. And they were you know; they were interested in the business and they and they If certainly weren’t superior and distant to the business. So, that was that I think that did for my attitude to how a business owner should be. And then the same. I mean, the owners of Cargill with Whitney McMillan was the Chairman at the time. And he was a family member, when I first joined in my first ever year, and I remember standing at a bar, and we were having drinks with Whitney Macmillan. But, yeah, to your question about the surprises, I think, I mean, the disadvantage of having worked in big corporates was that, you know, I wasn’t as in tune with the importance of cash and cash flow and profitability, and I’d been more exposed to division. So, they’re even I’d done an MBA and intellectually knew the importance of it. I don’t think I really, you know, it’s only now that I really, really understand the importance of it. And yeah, you’ve got to have more cash coming in, then you’ve got going out. And also, the decision that as an entrepreneur, everyone makes, and I think, not necessarily makes is deliberately as they probably should, is, you either start the business, in my view now, to be self-funded, and to bootstrap, or you started to be private equity funded, and to be to be high end high growth business. And I think we sort of feel a bit in the middle, we weren’t clearly doing one or the other. And we and if you’re bootstrapping and self-funding it to me, you have to absolutely be single mindedly focused on cashflow, and profitable growth. Whereas if you’re a private equity funded, you’re much more focused on just top line growth. And you’ve got to hit that 35% year on year as a minimum.

Gaeme Cowan 11:55

And when you were, when we were talking, before we started the interview, you mentioned that, you know, you build it up to 50 employees, and how important was building the right culture?

Emma Welsh 12:09

I think, you know, I mean, we’ve, it’s been difficult for us building culture group, because we’ve had teams in, in four different offices around the country. But the thing that was probably the person that was the glue that held it together was actually my husband, Michael, who joined us, after about four years, when we decided to start doing our own distribution and having our own people on the road, because the first few years, we actually just use distributors. But he was that salesperson that just got out travel, travel, travel, knocked on doors, and was the glue that created that sort of family culture. And I think we have created a family culture, but he was the person that was traveling around and spending time with the teams and his approach to leadership is he sees his job is, is a servant leader, they call it a mentor, he sees his role is to help the team. Yeah. And so he would be, you know, be up the earliest be, you know, like, they’re the latest, and if a customer wanted something, you know, he would be the first one to do it. But the difficulty for me in being married, I mean, typically the role of the, you know, the CEO and the Sales Director, which is effectively what we became, is not necessarily an easy one. So, you know, we were a family business, we had a fair family culture, but we also had family type issues as well.

Graeme Cowan 13:39

And it’s, it can be very challenging. I know, my brother and sister-in-law, they funnily enough, started a health food business as well, which was distributed through Coles and was in the various places. And they just found it was very, very difficult to switch off at night, you know, to really go from business to personal and not, you know, let it interrupt too much. Do you find a good way of doing that?

Emma Welsh 14:05

Well, just not to talk about it. Probably, I mean, my preference is not to talk about not to think about it and life first, probably more than talk about and think about it, but we found that we were better not to talk about it. And also to a large way we found was much better to me, you know, he had his area of the business that he looked after, and I looked after my visit my area and we to you know, to a large degree, kept separate but I think from a business point of view, it probably didn’t mean that we weren’t making some of the tough decisions we needed to be because, you know, I’d made a decision right from the start when we started working together that I didn’t want to end up divorced over this so, luckily I’m not.

Graeme Cowan 14:50

And how did you go about the product development side of things, you started off with premium juices was that, that was the main part for a long time?

Emma Welsh 15:01

Yeah. So, the first idea with the business was to create a super-premium fruit juice business or smoothie business. And so, we looked at the products that were around the world. And there was, you know, Happy Planet and innocent drinks in the UK and Odwalla. And there’s quite a number of them and all of them had their recipes on the bottle. So, we could, we could see what you know what the blends were. But Tom and I went to the went to the brown market and bought boxes of fruits and took them home to our kitchens and with our juices and blended things up and made delicious tasting mixes. And so that that was sort of the first stage, but then we had to commercialize it. And so, then we’d go and buy commercial mango or commercial pineapple and make it up to the same recipe and it would just taste terrible. And then we realized that actually, there was, they put a lot of effort into the sourcing of the quality of the fruit because not all mango tastes the same. And it’s how it’s processed. I mean, it was from my Fishbein days, I knew that you know, a fish swimming around the sea’s expression and perfect. It’s how you handle it from catching it. And it’s exactly the same with a fruit piece of fruit. You know, a piece of fruit when it’s ripe and perfect is great, but if you overcook it, or you let it go become overripe or rotten, or it’s not ripe enough. It doesn’t taste any good.

Graeme Cowan 16:21

You had built a business up, you mentioned that you brought it up to 50 people, and you had I think over 3000 outlets, so it would seem like a very, very safe business at that stage. And then COVID happen. And, you know, suddenly, there was a crisis in the hospitality industry. What was it like to manage a business that virtually depended on that hallway?

Emma Welsh 16:47

Yeah, no, it was it. It was a bolt from the blue. I mean, we sort of got a sniff that things were going bad in in January 2020. When yeah, obviously, we could see what was happening in China. But us, I mean, we believe that we had a very risk protected business in that we had a very wide customer base. And we were selling all across the country. So, you know, the way that the industry shut down, so we were basically selling to the food service industry so that cafes, delis, hospitals, schools, corporate officers, a little bit into the supermarket. Convenience fridges, but they were mostly in the CBDs. And so, we mean, basically in March 2020 I mean, our sales went down by around 80% overnight. So, you know, it was just unbelievable. And everyone was saying oh, well, you know, it won’t be long, it’ll just be a couple of months. And we went along believing that but I mean the government the speed with which they introduced the job caper. And the way that was managed and the way they effectively outsource Centrelink to the corporate world was I think a brilliant way of doing it. And I know a lot of people complain that they think the government wasted a lot of money but I think it certainly for businesses like ours it was a lifesaver.

Graeme Cowan 18:20

And we you had you know I guess the two key earners in the same organization how did you handle it from a family perspective?

Emma Welsh 18:32

It’s hard even to think back at the time and I think we were just in such panic mode. But gradually I mean as it sort of became apparent that it was going to be a long road and not just be a matter of few months. Eventually we basically we just we had to reduce our cost so much. And I mean some of our staff you know they were they went home to you know we had one person went home to Colombia some go back to France so people did leave and then the job keeper obviously was supporting people a lot while that was there so they were you know; we could reduce their hours but they were getting paid by the job giver. So, then that was Michael he ultimately, he ended up leaving the business and we’ve got a house on Norfolk Island that is his project that he’s basically busily working away on trying to get it up ready for rental so that’s really his main activity so we use as an opportunity I guess for him to refocus into another area which is he’s passionate about and it just left me running the business and making very thrifty bucks’ thrift really around business.

Graeme Cowan 19:58

Was there any silver lining for you in the whole pandemic, even as it plays out now?

Emma Welsh 20:04

Yeah, no, I think it made us look at the business and run the business much better. I mean, we probably been over servicing some of the customers, we had too many products. We just weren’t efficient enough. And so, we’ve really, we’ve streamlined the business and streamlining and we’ve made it a much easier business to run. I mean, you know, we had warehouses that were just overflowing with stock, and it couldn’t be the thing, we need to pick the warehouses. But in reducing the number of different product lines we had, I mean, our sales haven’t gone down. I mean, we’re selling just as much but selling more of a fewer number of items, which is obviously much better from an inventory point of view. And from the van efficiency point of view, it’s much better because it’s much easier for the for our team members to be getting stock, less numbers that stuck out in the vans. So, it’s just less complicated.

Graeme Cowan 20:59

I read in some of your background that you decided to make your business a B Corp. Would you mind just explaining to our listeners what that is? And why you made that decision?

Emma Welsh 21:10

Yeah, so this was Tom’s passion project. I mean, he really believed in it and, and really led the charge on it. But a B Corp is a beneficial corporation as it stands for. And it’s basically the idea is that it’s corporations that are doing good. So, it’s a not-for-profit organization that was set up in the US. And the idea is to get companies to register themselves, and you have to go through quite an extensive registration process to qualify as a B Corp. And then those corporations look to I guess, do more together and to help each other into and to help the for the world move forward. Particularly around sustainability, but in doing good. So, things like with us, I mean, our bottles square, so that’s a very efficient pack size, we have, you know, recycling collections, all different types of waste that we pay extra for in, you know, our warehouses, so we can collect our soft plastics, and they’re recycled, as well. So, there’s a lot of stuff that we do that in that was all the things that you know, then made us eligible to be a B Corp.

Graeme Cowan 22:27

And how long have you been operating as a B Corp now?

Emma Welsh 22:31

It’s about five years, I think.

Graeme Cowan 22:34

Right, right. Because I’ve heard other people describe that it’s a lot of work to go through the accreditation process. Did you find that? Was there a bit of investment in time to get to that status?

Emma Welsh: 22:47

Yeah. Well, I mean, as I said, Tom was the one who led the charge on that. But yeah, I think it was a lot of work. Yeah. And we were one of the first ones to in Australia to go through the process.

Graeme Cowan 22:59

Does it become easier as time goes on?

Emma Welsh 23:03

What the B Corp registration or business in general?

Graeme Cowan 23:06

Will keeping B Corp, you know, keeping the B Corp status and?

Emma Welsh 23:11

Yeah, I mean, I think once you registered, then it’s just an annual registration checkup. But that’s, yeah, it was it’s the first stages that is the hard one.

Graeme Cowan 23:23

So, it sounds like you played a role, primary role with Tom to help get your group through this very, very stressful time. What are some of the things that you did to help facilitate that?

Emma Welsh 23:39

I mean, because we’ve all been, well, we’ve had sort of two groups of people in the business, we’ve had the people that are doing the deliveries to the cafes, that were open, and, you know, are doing the takeaway. And schools, some were open for a little bit and then shut, so we’ve had the people doing the deliveries, and we had to, I guess, right from the start, think through all the and make COVID plans for all of our operations and make sure that we were keeping people apart to the extent that we could that if we did have anyone get the virus, we weren’t going to send shut down our whole state-based operation. So, there was a lot of practical things that we did. And I think we did a good job right from the start of involving everyone and in thinking through all the things that could happen and having people own different parts of it. So, for example, we had delivery drivers would we scheduled the delivery drivers so that people didn’t come at the same time and when the person in the warehouse who helps them load the van, they would load from opposite sides of the van. So just practical things like that. And then we had people who were working from home who could no longer come to the office. So, we’ve always had a weekly team meeting. But I think talking to me, we’d speak to each other on phone all the time. And, you know, I think and to your, are you okay, I mean, I think asking people, you know, are they okay? And hearing them and we’ve had mostly people, it’s only in the last few months, we’ve had some people starting to really have some quite serious, not so much mental health issues, but particularly family issues, physically physical illnesses with different family members. And, you know, that’s meant that they’ve either had to leave the business or take some very significant sick leave. And we just have to, we obviously have to work with people around it. But we’ve had one guy in Western Australia who we’ve been able to support into a new career in it. He got to the stage where basically this the job that we had wasn’t for him. And so, he’s, he’s now, actually, this week, got another job. But he’s been fantastic. So, he said, I won’t be able to the other job, you can’t start for two weeks, because he is still covering for our manager over there who’s on leave herself. So, I think it’s been a very, there’s a lot of recent positive prosody. You know, he recognizes that we’ve helped and cared for him. And so, he’s helped by, you know, giving us another two weeks before he exits.

Graeme Cowan 26:26

Part of B Corp is you know, what to do to create a better world. And when we spoke earlier, you mentioned think equal, which is something you’re really passionate about. Can you just explain to the listeners how you first heard about it? And what was it that really captured you about the about that charity?

Emma Welsh 26:49

Thank you. Yeah, so Think Equal is an educational program, teaching social and emotional intelligence and competencies skills, 2, 3, 4, and 5-year-old children. So, it’s a program that’s designed to be taught in the kindergarten classroom. And it’s taught through a series of books stories, in three half hour sessions a week, over 30 weeks of the kindergarten year. So, I first came across this program at INSEAD reunion where I met the founder of think equal who’s an amazing woman called Leslie Adwin. And she had been a film and documentary maker. And she had gone to India after the rape and murder of the medical student on the bus in 2012, to make a documentary about what was going on there, and as you might remember all the process. And as a documentary, she said, I’ve got to go over there. So, she managed to get herself into jail, which apparently is almost unheard of for a journalist and got herself into jail and spent 31 hours in jail interviewing the rapist and trying to understand their psyche, white, how can how can people do this sort of thing to another human being? And she came out with the thinking, although they’ve got no compassion, no empathy, they think the girl deserved that they feel no guilt. And so, she said, well, it must be their lack of education. They were they were all very poorly educated. And so, then she went and interviewed the rapists, lawyers, and the rapist lawyers, so exactly the same thing. And one lawyer actually says, on the video on the film, the documentary, if it was my daughter, I would do the same thing, I would do that thing. I would take her out to our farm, I would douse her in petrol, and I would set her light in front of the family. Italy on the film says, you don’t mean that to you? And he says, yes, I do. No mean what the girl had done she, she’d gone to see a movie with a boy. And so, Lesley then decided that well, this is clearly not a lack of education problem, maybe it’s what the education is. And so, she herself is a very intelligent person. And she started researching education, and basically came to realize that there’s no program to teach social emotional skills so empathy, compassion, respect for others, self-regulation, moderation of your emotions. And so, then she, the amazing thing she did is then get together world renowned educational psychologist, neuroscientists, and the neuroscience is very clear that you can you can impact the way a person thinks their neural pathways most easily before the age of five. And so, the time to change people’s ways of thinking is before they fight so 2, 3, 4, 5-year-old, and so they then set about creating a program to teach these skills, his way of thinking so that I’m not scared of someone else. And I have respect for someone else. And I don’t I have the persistence to carry on and the belief so these types of ways of thinking and so I heard this story at my INSEAD reunion. And I went up to her after the after the speech, the lecture and said, oh, you know, what are you doing Australia? And she said, well, nothing yet. And so, I offered to, to help her set up a randomized control trial in kindergartens in Australia, and which we did. So, in 2019, we had 40, kindergarten classrooms, half of which were teaching program and half where we’re the study group. And we taught the program to the children in the in the treatment group. And then we did the analysis and had have now got a paper available for anyone who’s interested, which shows with a statistically significant impact of the program on six of the eight cycle of psyche psychometric measures that we tested for so emotional regulation, emotional dysregulation anxiety. And there’s about eight of them.

Graeme Cowan 30:57

Yeah, and what do you need to expand in Australia? What are the important elements?

Emma Welsh 31:04

So, I mean, the thing with this program, it’s incredibly cost effective. And it’s all cost something like, depending on how it’s done, I think that say a number $400 per, per classroom in Australia, so we could have for less than $10 million, we could have been taught in every single classroom in Australia, probably for $5 million. And when you think about the walker, hunting, shooting range, right? Thing, $5 million. I think, as a taxpayer, and I’d rather have the government, I’d like to have the government think that they can afford $5 million to have pretty much every kindergarten classroom teaching. Think equal in Australia. So that’s my aim. It’s a not for profit. And I’d love to hear from anyone, particularly in government who’d like to help. I must say, Katie Allen is being very supportive. And who’s the member for my local member for Hagen? So, she’s, I’ve been talking to her, and she’s very supportive of it. But I think, you know, it just, it needs some money is what it needs.

Graeme Cowan 32:05

Yeah, it’s a great call out, it sounds like an amazing program to really address some real issues that happen in in schools unconsciously. You know, so many of these things are unconscious. And then I guess that’s what the documentary showed was, you know, there was no insight about the root causes some of these things. Yeah.

Emma Welsh 32:25

And that’s the really amazing thing in the study that we’ve run on with the children. I mean, the change in their behavior is amazing. I mean, there was one little girl who the teacher would gather around in a class and ask them to hold hands. And she looked down at the hands beside her. And if there were dark brown colored hands, she put her own hands behind her back and not hold their hands. Three weeks after doing the program, she’s happy, not looking at the hands happily holding hands. I mean, it’s really small things, but it’s concrete behavior changes. There was yeah, there was one boy who was sitting at the back of the classroom had been that this teacher was the first time he had been in her class. And they did a one of the exercises was drawing a picture, using color to show your emotions, and he did a picture in red. And then they talked about their picture. And he said to the teacher, this is my father, and I’m really angry with my father. And the teacher said to him, oh, are you okay? And he said, he got up from the back of the class and came up to her and hugged her for about a minute, she said, and then sat down. And then after the class and this was the first day he’d been in her class. And so, after that class, she went and talked to the teacher of the other class who the class had been in and this is in May so it’s quite a long way into the year and she said to the other teacher, you know, has this little boy ever talked about his emotions have he has he ever shown any emotions? Has he ever talked about his family? And the teacher said no never now that there was an apprehended violence order against his father,

Graeme Cowan 33:58

Right. Wow. Just stepping back from you know, the not for profit you’re involved there and you the Co-founder of you know, successful businesses had lots of stresses and strains you’re also you know, wanting to make a big difference with Think Equal what do you do for self-care

Emma Welsh 34:20

I’m a great believer in little things make a big difference. So, I mean, you know, I have a morning routine where I get up and I drink two glasses of water and you know, I tried out on the weekend I go through you know, long walks with friends. Now in lockdown, that’s pretty much all I can do. I believe that eating too much is a big problem. So, I am a subscriber to the you know that the 16 hours fast and intermittent fasting I think is a great thing. I think variety is really important, I think too much of anything is not good for us. And I think yeah, and I think the burpee is a great exercise, so six in a row, but I try and do burpees when I’m out working as well,

Graeme Cowan 35:15

Yeah, I eat both my wife and I also practice intermittent fasting, the six-day night, and we’ve even tried a few or a few days on omad one meal a day as well, which is a little bit more extreme. But the surprising thing I found was that eating nothing is easier than any little things little bit because you know, the little bit of food stimulates your insulin, which then stimulates your hunger. And we’ve always found that the very easy to follow them, I’ve been in the hospital holiday and broken loose a bit. You know, it’s always been easy to return to. And so, we’ve all experienced the benefit of that as well.

Emma Welsh 35:57

I agree, but I do. I’m not at all a subscriber. And you’ll, you’ll expect me to say this, but I absolutely believe that, you know, any sugar is the same. And I had an example exactly this week, where we’ve got some builders across the road, who, who around, got a very big construction project, and they’re always bringing us things over to sort of help us feel better. And they gave us some coffee scrolls, and I had this coffee, some of this coffee scroll, absolutely delicious. And I just wanted more. And I thought no, I’m not going to have any more. And I went and got a fruit juice and drank that and then you know, one of my carrot tops and that that put away the craving so there’s something about white I believe white flour and white sugar is just this. I don’t know it’s like catnip to us. But it’s something that once you start eating it you just can’t stop and to me that the one thing to avoid in our diets is white flour and white sugar. And you know, I’m an I don’t worry at all about should natural sugars. But I do think dietary fiber is hugely important. So, for me for lunch, I’ll often just have you know, one of our fruit smoothies, lots of dietary fiber in it. And that’ll keep me I mean; I actually don’t really eat much more than that during the day and then I’ll just have a main meal.

Graeme Cowan 37:16

Yeah, that’s it’s really nice to find a way that sustainable tweets sustainably and in a way that does you know, help you maintain awake, weights and feel better. So

Emma Welsh 37:31

Not be feeling you’re driven by cravings all the time. It’s very much.

Graeme Cowan 37:36

So, it’s been eight years since you and Tom launched the business. Have you had many disagreements that time?

Emma Welsh 37:46

I think when we started the business, we said to each other, that there’s the three things that is important in a business partner. And that there is trust, respect, and a shared vision. And I think you know, the thing that we’ve always had is found quite easy to have. We’ve always had a shared vision of where we wanted to go with the business and we’ve always found it quite easy to get on the same page when we discuss things, we you know, we usually assimilate thinking quite similarly about things. But yeah, you are this yeah, it’s like a marriage is like a second husband.

Graeme Cowan 38:24

So, what happens when you know you do have a disagreement on how things are done? How do you how do you resolve that?

Emma Welsh 38:31

Well, I think the only way you can is to talk and I think things only go wrong when you stop talking.

Graeme Cowan 38:38

Are you familiar with the rom com When Harry Met Sally?

Emma Welsh 38:41

Yes, a long time ago I watched it.

Graeme Cowan 38:47

What are the reasons I’m, I know about this is my wife loves the movie, but you know, Billy Crystal’s thing is that women to men can’t be friends because the sex gets in the way it seems like you’ve been able to make it work for a long period of time which is sensational?

Emma Welsh 39:04

Well like I said Tom has never been a partner in that way. Yeah,

Graeme Cowan 39:07

Yeah. Great stuff. Where do you see Emam & Tom’s going?

Emma Welsh 39:15

We really believe that there’s a lot of opportunity for him and Tom’s I mean, we’ve created a brand that is trusted it’s we know we can create fantastic tasting products that people like and we’ve got we’ve proven we can do that in different types of products. I mean, obviously our core product is the fruit smoothies, but we’ve you know, we’ve got fantastic snacks that people love we’ve just launched a range of sparkling unsweetened but naturally flavored mineral waters in a can which we’re getting fantastic response to. So, you know we’ve got a great opportunity to do more products and we think you know, really, now we’ve built up this great base of through our own vans into the into the cafe the food service market, but we see a huge opportunity for us some into the moment, mainstream supermarkets. And we are we’re doing a lot of work in that area. I mean, we hope that there will be potential for export market, particularly with this free trade agreement with the UK. And, and maybe e commerce. I mean, they, you know, I was talking to someone the other day, and they were saying that well, you know, in the food business, really, it’s only pet food that people are doing much within from an E-commerce point of view. But I mean, drinks are quite heavy. And if we’re selling drinks, I mean, it is possible that there’s enough people that would like to get, you know, a reasonable amount of drinks time delivered, like the old text, soft drinks used to be delivered. So, I mean, I think there’s a lot of, I mean, it’s a big market, mean, the fruit juice market in Australia alone is $1.2 billion dollars. So, wow. Plenty of opportunity.

Graeme Cowan 40:56

Certainly. So, when you think about the way you lead and the way you manage your business in day to day, has it been particular, you know, mentors or people that have really shaped the way that you do what you do?

Emma Welsh 41:12

I think, I mean, Tom and I right from the start, and we’re probably not enough from the start, but we definitely, you know, believe that, you know, talking to a large number of people is hugely important. We couldn’t Leonard who was my, was the managing director of Mars when I was there, he has become quite a mentor to me and been super helpful. Carolyn Cresswell, she was on our board for advisory board for quite a few years and was very helpful, a friend of Thomas James Carnegie. And, you know, there’s a lot of people that, you know, give you your time, their time very generously and help me one of my best friends, is a fantastic director, and she she’s always helping me. So, you know, I think talking to people is, is incredibly important. And I used to think that there was that there was going to be one person that would give me all the answers. And I now sort of like the silver bullet, and I basically came to realize that there is no one like that. And you as an entrepreneur, it’s your job to work out, you know, what are all the different pieces of the puzzle and get all those snippets of information, and then you put the picture together and put so that it all makes sense.

Graeme Cowan 42:32

That’s fair, that’s, you know, it’s really a collective approach, isn’t it? And that’s the reality, you know, you find things that work in all different areas of our lives. It’s been an absolute pleasure catching up with you today. Mo, when you, I guess, if you had the opportunity to go back to your 20-year-old self, you may have been just almost through your agricultural degree. And knowing what you know, now, and all you’ve experienced since that time, what advice would you give that 20-year-old self?

Emma Welsh 43:04

I mean, I do definitely think talk to a lot of as many people as possible learn from as many people as possible. I think doing things is a great thing. I mean, the more you do it, it’s it makes your life more interesting. Less sitting on the couch watching Netflix, reading trashy novels, more getting out and doing things. But and you know, and I think, in the friendships you make along the way is a fantastic thing. Interesting. But yeah, I think doing as much as you possibly can, is probably what I’d say to myself.

Graeme Cowan 43:44

That’s actually been quite a common theme from, you know, other caring CEOs, interviews, you know, just having more faith in yourself, you know, just being confident you’ll be able to work it out. I think that’s a that’s a very, very common message. Thanks so much for being part of the show. Emma, it’s been wonderful talking to you. Thank you. Excellent. Thanks so much and it was a great a great chat. Yeah, it was interesting hearing about your passion for 6 to 8 nights. It’s something that just we started off originally and try.




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