Interview with the Founders of Chia Sisters

by Slowood MKT
International Women's Day is an occasion to celebrate women's accomplishments, raise awareness about gender bias, and advocate for equality. To mark this year's International Women's Day, we had a conversation with Chloe and Florence Van Dyke, the founder of Chia Sisters to learn about their journey as female entrepreneurs.

About Chia Sisters 
Chia Sisters is a health drink brand that focuses on nutrition, innovation, and sustainability. They produce their drinks in a solar-powered juicery in Nelson, New Zealand and are certified as Zero Carbon, Climate Positive, and B Corp. By prioritizing sustainable practices, Chia Sisters aims to reduce their impact on the environment while still providing healthy and high-quality drinks to their customers.

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?

We grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. When we were kids our parents started a business selling possum fur hats to save the native forests. The hats were sewn in our garage and despatched from our family home. The business of possum hats wasn't successful but being in that environment growing up taught us a lot. It wasn't so much inspiration but more an ethos that it was possible to give anything a go, fail, and start again. And that's ok. That environment gave us the risk mindset that is needed to start a business (and grow it).

What measures have you taken to ensure your business is sustainable?
Sustainability is a core value. That means every time we are making a significant business decision, we consider the impact on people and planet. When we moved into our own factory we lined our factory with solar panels to become New Zealand’s' first solar powered juicery; we have measured our carbon emissions, reduced them through insulating our bottling line, shifting to reusable pallet covers, and eliminated airfreight. We offset remaining emissions by 120% in a local native forest, the Rāmeka, over the hill from us in Golden Bay to be Climate Positive certified.

What are you most proud of doing?
We are most proud of supporting other businesses to have a positive impact on people and planet. We are a small business, the biggest impact that we can have is by influencing others to make change. One of the ways we do this is by founding Businesses for Climate Action. Through that not-for-profit we bring business leaders in the region together to take climate action.

An example of this is Refill Revolution. Together with Pic’s peanut butter, another sustainability-minded food producer, we are leading a nationwide movement to encourage producers, retailers and consumers across Aotearoa New Zealand to shift to reusable and refillable options in order to reduce single use packaging waste.

What is your key piece of advice to other female entrepreneurs?
Stay true to your values. That is what will make you shine and that is what will give you the passion to continue when the going gets tough.