EMMA SMITH

Some­where be­tween a moun­tain of ca­cao Pa­leo balls and 400 dif­fer­ent types of WHOLEFOOD prod­ucts, you’ll find Emma Smith, co-founder of THE SOURCE BULK FOODS, which is rev­o­lu­tion­is­ing the way Aus­tralians buy food.

Collective Hub - - CONTENTS - WORDS MIRIAM RAPHAEL

how the source grew to 30 stores in less than a decade

WE FIRST STARTED IN THE HEALTH FOOD IN­DUS­TRY IN 2007

af­ter leav­ing cor­po­rate Syd­ney to pur­sue a sea change and a sim­pler life away from the rat race. We [Emma and hus­band Paul Medeiros] pur­chased a fruit, veg­gie and health food store in Mul­lumbimby, New South Wales. We learnt a lot about healthy liv­ing, good food, or­ganic food and the im­por­tance of sup­port­ing lo­cal busi­nesses and lo­cal farm­ers in that time.

WHEN WE OPENED OUR FIRST SOURCE STORE IN 2012,

we had no idea that it would turn out so big. Once we re­alised how pas­sion­ate peo­ple were about it, we be­came qui­etly con­fi­dent that it would work in other ar­eas. We knew our chal­lenges would be ed­u­cat­ing peo­ple about the bulk for­mat and en­sur­ing we con­tin­ued to of­fer out­stand­ing cus­tomer ser­vice and prod­uct knowl­edge.

WE ARE PAS­SION­ATE ABOUT RE­DUC­ING WASTE AND PACK­AG­ING.

Aus­tralians are the sec­ond-big­gest pro­duc­ers of waste in the world, which is ex­tremely alarm­ing. Stud­ies show that in­di­vid­u­ally, Aus­tralians throw away ap­prox­i­mately 200kg of pack­ag­ing waste alone; that’s 1.9 mil­lion tonnes of pack­ag­ing thrown away each year. We are on a drive to ed­u­cate peo­ple on the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact this waste has on the planet – a lot of this pack­ag­ing is plas­tic that does not go away and even­tu­ally ends up in our oceans.

WE EN­COUR­AGE OUR CUS­TOMERS TO BRING IN AND RE­FILL THEIR JARS, BAGS AND CON­TAIN­ERS.

We don’t have plas­tic bags and our prod­ucts are sold in bulk bins with no fancy pack­ag­ing or ex­cess plas­tic. Cus­tomers can scoop out the amount they need for a recipe so there is also less food wastage.

YOU CAN TELL A LOT MORE ABOUT PEO­PLE WHEN YOU MAKE THEM AS COM­FORT­ABLE AS POS­SI­BLE.

Our store part­ner re­cruit­ment and team em­ploy­ment is more like a per­sonal catch-up with friends over a cof­fee, lunch or din­ner. We only bring peo­ple on board that have the same ethos, em­pa­thy and pas­sion for what we do. If they are in it just for the money, then fun­da­men­tally it doesn’t work for any­body.

I AM OF­TEN DROOLING OVER MY PHONE SCREEN.

In­sta­gram is a fan­tas­tic plat­form for our in­dus­try as there is an amaz­ing foodie and healthy life­style fo­cus. The zero waste move­ment is also gain­ing mo­men­tum on so­cial me­dia around the world, which is re­ally ex­cit­ing to see. When we first started we grew the busi­ness purely through word of mouth and so­cial me­dia. I’ve al­ways run our main so­cial ac­counts and it’s some­thing I would never give away no mat­ter how busy I get be­cause it’s such a pure re­flec­tion of who we are and what our brand is all about.

COL­LEC­TIVE HUB

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