Introduce yourself! Who are you?
I like to call myself a lawyer turned funtrepreneur! I started off as a mergers and acquisitions lawyer, but shed the suits and heels to co-found Matcha Maiden and Matcha Mylkbar with my fiance, Nic. What started off as a creative side hustle totally blew us away and I was able to leave my job within about six months. That was nearly four years ago now and I haven’t looked back. The whole experience has really left me with what I call a “seize the yay” mentality – find your passion and build your life around it to find what brings you happiness and fulfilment, rather than just existing reactively and doing what you think you “should” do for the sake of it. So I’ve also started a podcast of that name in the hope of inspiring others to take a risk on their big ideas and go after what lights them up, which may or may not involve leaving corporate to start a business. It could also mean staying put but finding a hobby that you love or finding a job in a new industry.
What is one thing no one really knows about you?
I’m a bit of an open book so I can’t say there’s much left! I guess not many people know I’m adopted from South Korea and have a younger brother who was too. We were born into different biological families but happen to have the same birthday! He’s four years younger than me, but we share so many other quirky similarities. It’s beautiful!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Nobody will ever remember what you said or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel. I try to focus everything I do in business but also in my personal life to focus on the feeling i want to leave people with. And “yay about life” is pretty much the best way to describe that feeling.
What would you say to 16 year old you?
Everything eventually always makes sense, even and ESPECIALLY the tough stuff. I truly believe everything happens for a reason and leads you to where you are meant to be. So just trust the process, both the amazing highs and the terrifying lows because it all adds up to beautiful you. Self-doubt included! It can be a terribly destructive human tendency but once you learn to master it, you realise it’s really only a sign that you are truly invested and truly care about what you’re about to do and that it’s out of your comfort zone which is always a good thing!
What message do you think every woman should hear?
The grass is greener where you water it! Today’s digital social media world makes comparison even MORE tempting and easy than before and we’re already so prone to comparing every aspect of ourselves to others. But that’s such a huge waste of energy as there is simply no single human who is in your exact shoes. Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle or end or even if you seem to be at a similar stage, you NEVER know what’s behind closed doors. It’s good to look outwards for inspiration and ideas but not for comparison or to take away from what’s great about you. Just focus on your own race and being better than yesterday’s version of you and you will be so much happier.
What is your favorite thing about where you live?
I travel A LOT and absolutely love it, but Melbourne is the absolute BEST place to call home. We are so lucky in Australia to have such beautiful landscapes and wildlife, such stability and safety and such an incredible health/wellness/food scene. We absolute DOMINATE breakfast and brunch globally and that’s my favourite meal of the day so I love being an Aussie for that. We’re also so multicultural and open-minded being such a young country compared to everywhere else so we bond over our differences rather than intense nationalism over our similarities which I love.
What do you love most about yourself?
It’s funny how rarely any of us answer that question, but I’m slowly learning to love myself more and more. I think one of the things I love the most is my ability to make others excited about their lives or ideas. I LOVE to get people motivated and filled with possibility and see them start to believe the power they have over their circumstances. All it takes is ONE pep talk to go from completely doubtful to filled with determination that you can do it, and I think I’ve become really good at doing that pep talk.
Another thing is my brain has always been wired really well for learning foreign languages, and since I love other cultures and travel that’s been very handy! So I love that part of my brain, because it’s allowed me so many different and exciting experiences.
What is your favorite meal?
Breakfast! I don’t spend money on clothes or bags or shoes, I funnel all into breakfast dates! I love starting my day with a good breakfast date and Melbournians are SO spoilt for choice. Since I work for myself, it’s important to create my own routines for structure so I don’t get too carried away and burn out OR on the flip side, do no work at all. So I get up every morning, take myself to my favourite cafes and order a big breakfast to fuel my brain and body up for whatever big day lies ahead. Usually it’s eggs on toast with avocado, mushrooms, spinach and goat’s cheese or some other combination of sides. With a matcha latte on the side of course!
What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward?
I meditate. It’s SUCH an amazing way to create space in your day where you thought it didn’t exist. You ALWAYS have time for 5 minutes of just sitting and would be amazed how many revelations and realisations or ideas come afterwards. Otherwise you’re just doing and moving and chasing all the time and never really letting time catch up to you so you can regroup and look at things from a bird’s eye view. So I do this daily, mostly twice, to make sure I never get caught up in “busy for the sake of busy” forgetting whether I’m actually going in the right direction (or in any direction at all!)
What is the best thing about being a founder of a company?
The flexibility. Of time, of structure and of ideas. If you think of something awesome but CRAZY, nobody can say no to you or make you wait months for approval from the board or change the boundaries. You just do it. It’s SO exciting to know there are literally no limits to your possibilities! I LOVE letting my creative brain go wild.
If you weren’t doing the job you have now, what would you be doing?
This! I would absolutely be doing what I’m doing – maybe in a different format and maybe not always matcha related – but definitely creating something and something that impacts others positively!
Sarah Holloway is the co-founder of Matcha Maiden and Matcha Mylkbar