MEET THE OWNER OF CHIA NATURALLY HEALTHY

31 Jul 2020 | Student Life

With an increasing amount of people opting to follow a plant-based diet, vegan restaurants and cafés have sprung up across the country. Chia Naturally Healthy, in Hitchin, is a beautifully designed café that offers plant based health foods. Since opening in Spring 2019, this café with a conscience has become a vegan hotspot. In this Q&A we asked owner, Lucy Fisher, what the driving force was behind starting Chia Naturally Healthy and what her biggest achievement has been so far. Here’s what she had to say…

Tell us about your business?

Chia Naturally Healthy is a fully plant based café focusing on organic health foods. We offer fresh hearty salads, tempting toasties, scones, cakes and sweet treats, along with our very popular and Instagram worthy smoothie bowls! We also have a very extensive drinks menu with made to order smoothies, juices, mylkshakes, frappachias and nutritional warm drinks. We are also the only café in Hitchin to offer organic coffee. 

What was the driving force for you to start your business?

I switched to a vegan way of living in 2015 and knew that just eating plant based food wasn’t enough. I had to somehow share it with as many people as possible to have as much of a positive impact as I could. 

What are your business’ core values?/What are the key values that motivate you?

Chia is a café with a conscience. Our core values are those of most people following a vegan way of living as they are all very connected. We have empathy to all, including all creatures and therefore not including them in our diet. Also from a health point of view, knowing how disease is caused in the body, we don’t believe in eating anything animal based. We also feel a huge responsibility for our planet and are conscious of using only plant based take away packaging, as well as toxic free cleaning products, paint and cookware.

How do you overcome setbacks?

There are going to be setbacks in life, whether it be business or your personal, and at the moment we are all facing this in a big way. Our dedication to helping people become more aware and eco-conscious is so great that we are determined to make it through this tough time for the planet and its animals. If your ‘why’ is meaningful enough to you, then a setback won’t stop you from succeeding. 

If you had one piece of advice for students setting out their own business, what would it be?

The advice I would give to someone starting their own business is to have a very clear ethos. A lot of businesses  fail as they are not quite sure what they are and what they stand for. If they don’t know this, then how can they expect the the public to be? Make your ‘why’ clear, strong and succinct. 

Are there any other brands outside your sector that you are following at the moment?

I follow a lot of ethical brands to do with healthy living. They range from fashion and beauty to homeware and children’s brands. One I tried recently and loved is Evolve, which is a vegan and ethical skincare range. Their products are very high quality and affordable. 

What has your biggest achievement been so far?

Our biggest achievement so far has been the expansion of Chia to our new larger premises. The risk was huge, the amount of work was equally as daunting and all whilst being heavily pregnant was no mean feat. However, it was beyond worth it and people always comment on what a beautiful space we have and what a calming effect it has on everyone that visits. We also won the 2019 Hertfordshire architectural awards for transforming a grade II listed building into a modern space using natural and ethical materials. 

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