Swivel Careers had the pleasure of catching up with Florence Van Dyke Managing Director of CHIA + AWAKA beverages who has very recently been chosen as one of 14 females to take part in an International Women’s Leadership and Entrepreneurship programme.
In 2012 Florence and sister Chloe saw a gap in the market for a health drink without the added sugar and artificial ingredients that is found in most other drinks in the fridge. Her sister Chloe studied Neuroscience at University and having always been interested in health launched CHIA – a health beverage made from chia seeds and antioxidant-rich juices. Having studied and completed a Law degree at University and then moving into the workforce, Florence found early on in her career that the corporate law life wasn’t for her. Florence soon joined Chloe and from the outset enjoyed the creativity and hustle of start-up entrepreneurship.
CHIA – New Zealand’s most nutritious bottled beverage, now retails at over 1000 cafes, supermarkets and health food shops across New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia. Last year Florence and Chloe launched Awaka Sparkling Coconut Water – an all natural Fairtrade coconut water infused with New Zealand fruits and roots.
Florence says "In food and beverage, the health sector is growing faster than any other, consumers are more clued up and are more likely to try new things." New Zealand has a name for making it on the international stage in the beverage sector. Big Kiwi drink companies like Charlies and Phoenix grew to be successful international brands and CHIA feel proud to be following in their footsteps. CHIA predict New Zealand is likely to see an increase of smaller brands popping up to disrupt the strongholds that Coca Cola Amitil and PepsiCo have on the beverage industry. With society also putting a stronger focus on heath and the consumption of sugar in drinks, the future looks bright.
When we asked CHIA what they would look for when employing young people in today’s world Florence said they are “looking for young people who are eager to learn, have a positive attitude and will act as an ambassador for our business. Experience is important to some extent but more important than that is attitude and the ability to take initiative. We are a dynamic and fast-paced company so encourage employees to think innovatively, take initiative and bring solutions to the table rather than waiting to be told what to do."
Finally we asked Florence to share her words of wisdom – “Trust your intuition and follow the squiggly line: created by a Kiwi, Claudio Batten, the squiggly line acts as advice on how to embrace the journey and be the biggest, bravest and boldest version of yourself.
The squiggly line theory goes like this: responding to your intuition can be uncomfortable. This is because the easy steps, the things that feel comfortable are the things that anyone can do. The hard things, the things that make you uneasy are the things that are innovative and creative. It is these things that allow you to reach your full potential.”
CHIA is a dynamic, fast-paced, business on the rise! Exciting times ahead for Florence and Chloe.
Check out the Chia video here.