They say great minds think alike and this is exactly what happened when Daisy and Leah’s paths crossed 7 years ago. The founders of raw superfood cakes Hardihood, Daisy from South West London, and Leah from Worcestershire, share their success story of how giving up sugar evolved into a business. With a book to write and a wedding to plan we discuss how they live a balanced life.
Where did you lovely ladies meet?
We met at a dinner party seven years ago, where we both very soon realised that we were the only ones laughing at our own silly jokes and we haven’t really stopped ever since. We have been best friends ever since then really and even used to live together for a while.
What was the inspiration behind starting ‘The Hardihood’?
It all started when we decided to give up sugar at the start of 2014. We soon realised that there wasn’t as much beauty and enjoyment to it, as we wanted there to be. We wanted to live a good and healthier life, but it seemed like all of the alternatives on the market were more of a punishment rather than an enjoyment to being healthier. Everything was a bit boring, a bit bland.
We knew however, that in places like Australia or L.A, there were these raw cakes, looking beautiful and abundant, but we hadn’t really seen anything similar in London.
That’s when we bought basic blenders, dates, nuts and some superfood sachets and got to work making our own. Our ethos right from the beginning was, to make everything we made as abundant, aesthetically pleasing and as tasty as it’s unhealthy counterpart. We wanted to make it as easy and enjoyable for people to move away from refined sugars, as possible.
Have you always wanted your own business?
Although we must say, this is the first time for both of us and it definitely is a lot tougher than we both expected it to be, but on the other hand also a lot more exciting and rewarding.
On one side it is great to not have to get your decisions signed off by anyone, but on the other hand it would be great to sometimes hear that what you are doing is the right thing to do. That’s why it is really good that there is two of us; whenever we have some scary decisions to make we tend to go for a walk or splash out on an extraordinary holistic concoction from our friend Charrise at East London Juice Co. and talk through all the options, together
Do you have a nutritional background?
Not at all, but we have both always been very interested in healthy eating, cooking, experimenting with new ingredients and most of all discovering new places to eat and drink.
Daisy comes from a fashion background and Leah worked in journalism reviewing bars and restaurants for a while.
What do you do to stay balanced and energetic, living such a busy life?
I usually take my dog out for a run most mornings, but also do yoga at the weekend. Daisy is a BIG Kayla Itsines fan. We used to workout together in the summer, but it is too cold at the moment.
We also try to start every day well, with a good breakfast, which is why it is even better that we get to share the studio with the lovely Qnola girls.
I am also getting really good at drinking a bottle of Evian water per day and steering clear of caffeine. Daisy and I are also constantly learning more about an Ayurvedic body type and have realised, that we both need calming grounding food, such as root vegetables, spiced nut milks and cooked grains; which are all super yummy, so we’re on board.
Have you always been interested in nutrition and cooking?
I think at the beginning we were more so interested in nutrition in order to look good. We would try the new diet fads together and also tried cutting out certain food groups. I think this got us researching more into health in general.
Now that we have grown up a bit, our approach to nutrition and cooking in general is more rounded. We want to keep our bodies healthy and feed our minds and do not want nasty crash landings from eating something with synthetic sweeteners. We want to be able to create meals from scratch, so we know what has gone into them.
One day we would both really like to be able to feed ourselves and our families well, so cooking has become less about what we can cut out and more what we can add in to get the most nutritional benefits. There are a lot of great cookbooks out there at the moment, which celebrate this lifestyle. Daisy actually wants the entire Ottolenghi series for her 30th birthday.
What are the benefits of eating raw?
For us making raw desserts allows us to be a lot more functional with our creativity. Each ingredient we use has a nutritional benefit, and is not just shoved in to bind the product together or make it last longer on the shelf.
The main ideology behind eating raw is that without heavy processing and the application of heat ingredients maintain their integrity and nutrients. For us the benefits are tangible; we see each separate ingredient as something nutritious before it even goes into the blender. Ten minutes later it will be sitting in the fridge ready to become a delicious cake. Nothing has altered about the ingredients; they’re just presented differently, more beautifully if you’d like.
This for us is the beauty of raw.
What does a day at The Hardihood HQ look like?
Everyday that I walk into the studio I’m struck by how lucky we are to have found it. It is right on Shoreditch High Street, has wooden beams, a skylight, a garden and we share with the formidably lovely Marina London and Qnola ladies.
The universe was definitely on our side when we ended up here.
We usually try to get in for 9 am, unless we have worked late the day before, in which case it can also sometimes be a 10 am start, so we can squeeze in a good 8 hours of sleep.
Daisy runs the production in the kitchen with our assistant Danielle and I’m usually in the office dealing with the admin. I read an article recently on productivity and how it is best not to deal with E - Mails until midday and that you should use the first few hours of the days to complete a big task that you have been putting off. I have been trying to do this and find it really helpful.
We are making about 20 cakes per day in the kitchen now as well as dispatching bespoke orders. It is madness but there is a lot of laughter. We also set aside time to sit down together and brainstorm about what’s next, which is really important for us.
What would you define as your dream Valentine’s Day?
Being out of London or seeing something entirely new.
There is nothing quite like seeing something brilliant for the first time; whether it’s a new landscape, cityscape, a new restaurant, an amazing piece of architecture or a new activity. Doing something for the first time always makes you feel alive and in love.
What do you like to indulge in to treat yourself?
I would say open spaces and phone-free time, which happens rarely at the moment. Any sort of spa day, meditations, yoga and gong baths are great if you can’t get out of town too.
How has your life changed since you founded The Hardihood?
We now think about cake, packaging and production non-stop. The things we get excited about are actually laughable. We were squealed with joy when we found a new size of cake-box the other day. Time goes super quickly and days at work now flash by, both for better and for worse.
I remember watching the clock until lunch in previous jobs and now it’ll get to 4pm before you even realise you haven’t even eaten.
On the whole though, life is a lot more fulfilling ever since ‘The Hardihood’. Channeling your energy into something you truly believe in is really gratifying. We both believe we are entering the wellness age, taking care of your body and mind has never been so accessible and inviting. We are both so enthused and honored to be a part of it.
What are your goals for 2016 and your plans for the future in general?
We want to keep making it easier for people to choose the all-natural version over the processed version and not feel like they are missing out on great taste. We want to continue to make superfoods and alchemy accessible and appealing.
We are also about to expand production to a level that makes our brains spin. Luckily we have just teamed up with someone who sees it as a doddle, so hopefully by the end of the year we will see the fruits of this.
And there is a book to write as well. We have just got so many ideas.
Oh and super exciting news: Daisy is getting married so that is definitely going to be a pretty huge piece of planning.
Besides that, our goals for the future are to travel, expand, travel and expand some more!
What are your favourite pieces on The – Acey?
Everything by Marina London and all the Veja trainers, especially the fish skin ones!
Follow @the_hardihood on Instagram
Visit their website: www.thehardihood.com
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