Happy People: Sarah Holloway
If you live in Melbourne and haven’t heard of Sarah Holloway, Matcha Maiden, or Match Mylk Bar, you’re probably living under a rock. Those of us who do know her will agree that Sarah keeps raising the bar. How? Launching a matcha tea brand before most of us knew what it was, opening vegan café Matcha Mylk Bar where the food is to die for, and now speaking at countless health events and inspiring us all to live better lives. She is open, generous, and her smile and happiness is infectious. So we thought we’d find out a little more about her happiness journey.
WHERE IS YOUR ULTIMATE HAPPY PLACE?
I adore travel and languages and am happiest on an exotic adventure immersing myself in another culture and lifestyle – particularly when there’s a beach involved. I’m also a bit of a home body, so I’m equally happy when I’m in my PJs at home just pottering around with my loved ones and golden retriever.
IF YOU ARE NOT PHYSICALLY THERE WHAT DO YOU DO TO HELP EVOKE IT?
This is super dorky but I always keep a travel journal with all the silly little details of a trip that you’d never otherwise remember. I often go back to read my old diaries to relive our adventures and transport me back to wherever we were. Particularly when I hit a roadblock with work and need to get some mental space, reading my travel diaries has the same effect as a nap – it completely resets me and always leaves me with a smile on my face. Nic knows I’ve been reading one when there are long periods of silence are followed by random bursts of hysterical laughter over the things I bother writing down and the way I’ve expressed myself differently at different stages of our life.
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST RISK YOU HAVE TAKEN IN THE NAME OF HAPPINESS?
Quitting my job as a corporate lawyer to work full-time on our first business, Matcha Maiden, when it was only six months old.
I learnt a lot from my legal career and enjoyed aspects of it, but it didn’t leave enough room for my creative side or my passion for health and wellness. It did, however, provide financial security and a stable career trajectory, which small business does not (especially when the business is just getting off the ground). So it was a huge risk to take at the time, particularly as I also had another big career opportunity come up around that time that was mutually exclusive with running the business. But I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t give Matcha Maiden the chance to blossom with the momentum we had built so far, so I ripped off the band aid and haven’t looked back!
DID IT PAY OFF?
Absolutely, more so than I could have ever imagined. I like to say I’ve gone from dreaming up my life to living my dreams! What I do now is the perfect intersection between what I’m good at and what I love to do. There are obviously a whole host of new challenges to face and obstacles to overcome in transitioning from the corporate life to business ownership, but I love every part of the journey and thoroughly enjoy the challenge.
IF YES, WHAT ABOUT ANY RISKS THAT DIDN’T WORK SO WELL? WHAT DID THEY TEACH YOU ABOUT HAPPINESS?
We have taken a few risks in the business that haven’t worked out as well as others, as you would expect. While you’d always rather not have to encounter bumps in the road, each of these occasions have been our biggest learning curves and the biggest steps to improving the way we do things. They have taught me that happiness isn’t always about things turning out well or how you expect them to. It’s a journey, not a destination, including all the ups and down that go with it. You have to go through the darker periods to appreciate the lighter ones and to continue to grow and evolve.
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE WORLD WILL LOOK LIKE WHEN EVERYONE IS DOING WHAT THEY LOVE?
That’s an interesting one! I think it would be a much happier, friendlier, and peaceful place. But at the same time, someone once gave me some very wise advice when I wasn’t enjoying my job back in the corporate days – not everyone is meant to love their job. Sometimes your passion is your passion because it’s NOT what you do every single day. For some people, turning their hobby into a job actually takes the joy and love out of it. So doing something you love isn’t always the solution for everyone. As long as you are doing something you love somewhere in your life, then that’s the most important thing.
WHO IS THE HAPPIEST PERSON YOU KNOW?
Particularly now that we’re in the health and wellness industry, that is a very difficult question. People seem to bounce off the walls with vitality and joy. One person who has stood out recently is a friend of ours, Jimmy, who is just endlessly smiling and full of enthusiasm for life. I had a rough few weeks recently where I ran into him a couple of times at just the right time – his positivity is infectious.
WHAT’S THE GREATEST THING THEY HAVE TAUGHT YOU?
Spending time around really happy people always reminds me not to take things too seriously. It’s so easy to get caught up with trivial things and get overcome with stress or worry. Then you run into someone who is just so bubbly for no reason and it reminds you to lighten up and smell the roses. Of course, there are times in life where grave things do in fact happen but there is always something you can find to be grateful for or excited about, even just the fact that you are alive to live this beautiful life!
WHAT DOES HAPPINESS FEEL LIKE FOR YOU?
I get so happy that I might explode. It’s a very bubbly, effervescent feeling for me but is peaceful at the same time. It’s hard to explain. A combination of being content and excited at the same time.
TALK US THROUGH A HAPPY DAY FOR YOU…WHAT’S INVOLVED OR PERHAPS NOT INVOLVED?
Happy days for me involve sleep ins, a delicious breakfast/brunch date somewhere (I LOVE breakfast dates), sunshine, walks outside with the dog or some yoga, and time with my loved ones. I love the work we do, but I really enjoy time without devices so a truly happy day involves being disconnected and fully immersed in my environment.
DO YOU HAVE A LIFE MOTTO?
Everything happens for a reason.
WHAT’S A SIMPLE PICK UP THAT WORKS FOR YOU EVERY TIME?
Either a quick meditation or a hot shower
WHAT IS YOUR BEST PIECE OF ADVICE FOR THOSE WANTING TO LIVE A HAPPY LIFE?
Be who you are and say what you feel because the people who mind don’t matter and the people who matter don’t mind (thanks, Dr Seuss, you’re a genius).
WHEN YOU WERE A KID, WHAT DID YOU ENJOY DOING MOST?
Ballet. I was quite a serious ballerina and I used to lose myself when I was dancing.
ARE THERE ANY ELEMENTS OF THAT IN YOUR WORK TODAY?
The self-discipline and time management skills that come with undertaking a semi-professional pursuit from a young age have definitely stuck with me.
WHAT’S ONE THING YOU’D LOVE TO TELL YOUR 8-YEAR-OLD SELF?
Life is just as exciting and incredible as you think it is.
AND YOUR 80-YEAR-OLD SELF?
I’d like to be able to congratulate myself on having no regrets.
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WERE DOING AT 8 YOU HOPE YOU’RE STILL DOING AT 80?
WHO HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST CHEERLEADER?
Nic. He has always been the entrepreneurial influence in my life even well before I knew I wanted to run a business. He is the reason I’ve been able to transition so smoothly into the business world after leaving the law behind – he’s encouraged, supported, and coached me in becoming an entrepreneur as well as continuing to be an amazing partner outside of work at the same time. He’s a good egg.
WHOSE GREATEST CHEERLEADER ARE YOU?
Nic’s. We both have very complementary but very different skills as well as personalities, which makes us a great pair in life and business. We’re great supports of each other both at work and in our personal pursuits. Nic has the most curious and creative mind and has built multiple businesses based on self-taught skills, which I find endlessly impressive and inspiring. As he continues to push himself, he takes bigger risks and aims for bigger goals and I couldn’t be prouder of him going out and smashing it even when he’s feeling out of his depths. His most recent project is a form of artificial intelligence based software so complicated I still can’t explain what it is. I’m all over the pom poms on this one.
WHAT IS ONE THING ALWAYS GUARANTEED TO MAKE YOU SMILE?
A delicious meal. I adore food and it’s embarrassingly connected to my mood. Nic knows this all too well and if I’m ever a bit down in the dumps, he’s straight to the supermarket with a terribly predictable list of happy foods. Our golden retriever, Paul, is also a huge source of happiness. He could make anyone smile.
PLEASE FINISH THESE SENTENCES:
If I wasn’t afraid I would… move somewhere remote and live a very simple, barefoot life. I love the lifestyle in Southern France or Italy… I could definitely be tempted to live the rest of my days in some beautiful quiet coastal town.
I come alive when… I am learning new things or meeting new people.
Everyday I… go out for breakfast. It’s my one indulgence – I don’t save for clothes or handbags, I save for breakfast dates.
If I ruled the world… Kindness and mindfulness would be compulsory subjects in all schools. Education would be free and freely accessible everywhere. And FAGE Total yoghurt would be available in Australia. It’s my favourite yoghurt in the whole world and it upsets me enormously that I can’t get it at home!