Xanthea Heynes, Owner of Amala Living Foods, Nottingham
Cobden Chambers is fast becoming one of the coolest places to visit in Nottingham. That’s even truer now Amala Living Foods have opened their café-deli there! Even though it opened just a month ago, the deli is already receiving rave reviews and is quickly getting known as the place to buy and enjoy organic, raw and naturally “free from” vegan food. There’s a lot of coverage of “clean eating” in the media at the moment, but Amala Living Foods is proving that it’s much more than a fad and that it can be both delicious and life changing! The business was inspired by the experience of its Founder, Xanthea Heynes, who experienced the positive effects of switching to raw and vegan food herself. She developed her vision for something different in Nottingham and has been amazed by the response!
Xanthea’s mission is to get all of us eating more organic, plant-based and raw foods with her deli and store which provides handmade food, using high quality organic and locally sourced produce – all 100% vegan and free of gluten and refined sugar. You’ll find that the deli is packed with an amazing array of mouth-watering raw and cooked vegan food, salad boxes, cakes, juices, smoothies and even more!
You only have to spend a few minutes in the attractive-looking deli and experience its welcoming vibe to see why it’s proving so popular. While the deli has been open just a few weeks, the business has been launched for about a year and has its roots in local foodie enterprises like the vegan market in Sneinton and a pop up takeover night at the Bluebird Café in Sherwood. We wanted to know how Xanthea has found her first month in business. She explains: “Time management is key! It’s gone really well. It’s just me and Eshe working here. We’ve been completely selling out of food. It shows that there is a market for raw, vegan healthy living. It’s been growing and overall things have been good. The vision is almost complete!”
Naturally, we wanted to know more about the vision for the business! Xanthea tells us: “The vision for Amala Living Foods is to be a raw vegan food company. I’m expanding to a holistic approach so we will have a whole range of products in the shop, including things like skincare. We really focus on the local, sustainable and environmental side of things, as well as healthy food that you can cook for lunch or take it away, for example.”
Sounds great, but what would Xanthea say is the most exciting thing about the business? “The most exciting thing about the business is probably opening the shop! It was always my vision to have a little premises, to have a place where I could locally spread the concept. To actually finally be within a premises, to have it up and running is amazing. It’s all gone so fast! I was just talking to a property developer about this place back in the Spring and I never even considered that it would actually happen back then and now I’m here! What excites me the most is getting to share all these amazing products. I love getting the message out there about how you can eat raw healthy vegan foods. I’ve been waiting for somewhere like this to come along for such a long time and I had to create it myself because it wasn’t happening! It’s what I wanted and I thought if I wanted it, other people must want it as well!”
So how did the shop in Cobden Chambers come about? “It’s really strange. When I first founded the business in September 2015, I said to my boyfriend Ross, “If it could choose anywhere, it would be Cobden Chambers” and then a year later I found myself here which is just bizarre! I was emailing around loads and loads of places to find premises and I was talking to Creative Quarter who put me in touch with Bildurn and they said they had a space opening in August. It was perfect timing because I was ready to go into something at that point and here I am!”
As you would expect, we want to know how this already popular café-deli is getting its name out there. Xanthea says: “Word of mouth marketing has been great for us. Word has spread and there’s a really good buzz about the place in the local area. We’re also using Facebook adverts. Eshe’s really on the ball with social media! We do want to do more but it’s finding the time and it’s so easy to get caught up in everything else.”
We wanted to find out what Xanthea sees as the hardest part of starting a business. She sums it up in just two words: “Time management! It’s just the two of us working here and making all the food ready for the day. We run out of stock because it’s so popular and while it’s a great reason to sell out, it means we can’t provide people with what they want. So we’re trying to find that balance and we’re starting to get into a routine now. We’ve both had a lot of support from the Prince’s Trust and we have Business Advisor who comes in and helps us do all the admin side of things.”
While it sounds like all of their products are in demand, we want to know what their best seller is! Xanthea says: “Everyone loves cake! It’s Cake Week right now, with 10% off cakes, which has been very popular. I’ve also been really surprised about how well our organic produce went because I’ve always heard that most people don’t really want to buy it. It’s been the complete opposite – people have been coming in here and just clearing the veg out! It’s been great.”
With so much going on, we want to know what Xanthea is most excited about for the future? She explains: “Short-term, I’m really excited about Autumn and Christmas! We’re going to have the Amala grotto with Christmas lights everywhere! We’re going to extend the counter and do soups and that kind of thing. Aside from that, we’ve got some really exciting new products coming in. We’re also making our own stuff. In future, we want to have a whole range of juices and smoothies. We’ve been doing them when we have the time, but eventually we want the whole range here. So it’ll be just like a wellness centre in a way – you can come and get your organic produce, you can get your juices and smoothies and you can come and talk to us and just hang out!”
Eshe adds: “We’re also excited about working with other local businesses and creating new initiatives and projects together! We’re doing a supper club at Debbie Bryan’s in November. Look out for us in markets in the new year too!”.
So, if you haven’t visited yet, get yourself to Amala Living Foods at Cobden Chambers to see what all the fuss is all about! You can also find out more at:
Twitter – @amalalivingfood
Facebook – @amalalivingfoods
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/amalalivingfoods/
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