Chia Sisters: Successful Entrepreneurs in Nelson

The Chia Sisters Florence and Chloe launched their successful health and wellbeing drinks brand in 2012.

The dynamic duo were heavily involved in health and wellness before the brand launched, Chloe was a Neuroscientist living in Nelson, Florence was a New Zealand triathlete, and their dad Ben was a world champion swimmer.

Chloe noticed a gap in the drinks market, she wanted to make the most nutritious drink available in the world, but not a typical 'energy drink'. It had to be free from artificial colours and caffeine.

Humble beginnings:

With the support of Florence and their dad Chloe spent a year playing around with potential recipes.

"To make my first CHIA prototype I blended hydrated chia seeds with local blackcurrants. A local brewery helped us to bottle our first batch and the results were explosive - literally. There are probably still chia seeds on the roof of that factory and we weren't invited back..."

With a lot of work, the brand launched in 2012. It was a hit with athletes, and with rising demand in the 'free from' market, it quickly become a favorite for everyone else. CHIA, a high quality, high performance, local product that consumers loved, went on to win the Health Category at the New Zealand Food Awards.

The brand has gone from success to success, and further development has led to a full beverage product range, including hemp protein smoothies, pressed local fruit juices, sparkling coconut waters, crushed fruit smoothies, and immunity hot tonic.

Working with the planet, not against it:

In recognition of the alarming pace of climate change and inequality that exists today (with humans on trend to use the equivalent of two planets’ worth of resources), sustainability is part of the DNA of the brand.

Most of the negative impacts on the environment come from business decisions, and it is an ethos of the brand that businesses can be ethical while being profitable. In line with this, CHIA remains successful while being a certified B Corp - part of a group of global for profit companies that build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

While sustainability and ethics play an integral role in every decision for the brand, you can see its impact in some of the following areas:

Planet – "We installed 32 solar panels on our factory roof, gained zero carbon and climate positive certification, lead community workshops to combat climate change and partner with our community to reduce food waste."
People – "We have an amazing team at Chia Sisters. One way we value them is by paying each employee above Living Wage. We are accredited with Living Wage Aotearoa, an organisation that tackles poverty and inequality."
Nutrition – "Our drinks are better for you. They are all natural, made from plants, with no added sugar, no GMOs and no artificial ingredients. CHIA and Hemp Smoothies are packed with micronutrients to keep you fuelled, whatever your activity."

Working with the planet has allowed Chia Sisters overall business operations to reduce carbon in the atmosphere, not add to it. You can view their 2021 Impact Report to find out more.

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