Our Founder Nikki sold The Cultured Collective's first jar of kimchi at London's Primrose Hill Farmers Market in 2016. Fast forward a few years and our fine ferments are gracing the shelves of some of the country's leading retailers. We sat down with Nikki to chat about how and why she did it...
"The Cultured Collective’s roots are in Western Australia, where I lived for most of my 20s. I was a new graduate and had recently started working as a Geologist in the mining industry. Like most people, I was struggling to balance a demanding new career and social life. Long hours at work and a lack of sleep and exercise soon began to take their toll on my mind and body. Having always previously been healthy and active, I quickly grew tired of feeling so rubbish.
It was at this time that the holistic health movement was really gaining momentum and its message really resonated with me: a whole-body view of health with a back-to-basics approach to naturally healthy foods, the benefits of which were supported by modern science. I learned that the health of our digestive systems is central to our overall wellbeing, and that probiotics, aka 'good bacteria' are vitally important for a healthy gut.
I began buying kimchi and sauerkraut at my local supermarket and took part in a workshop to learn how to make them for myself. I was completely hooked! Before long my kitchen cupboards were full of experimental home-brews: kimchi, kraut, kombucha, kefir, you name it…I soon noticed that I was suffering less with IBS and the wide array of hormonal issues that had previously plagued most of my late teens and early twenties. I’ve been a passionate advocate for the transformative powers of live foods ever since.
In late 2015 I travelled back to the UK to visit family. By then ferments had become part of my daily life and yet I was unable to source them anywhere. There were very few British brands producing unpasteurised products and fewer still that were tasty. I sensed that this was my opportunity to live my passion. Thus, The Cultured Collective was born. I left my job, packed up my apartment in Australia and moved to London.
As a self-funded solo-entrepreneur progress was slow initially. The Cultured Collective developed as a ‘side-hustle’ out of my then residential kitchen. Months of research and recipe testing followed before my first foray into sales at London’s Primrose Hill farmers Market in late 2016. I’ll never forget the excitement I felt selling my first jar of product! Within a few short months, The Cultured Collective moved into a small modified fermentary in Peckham and our kimchis and sauerkrauts were stocked by multiple retailers across London.
The business continued to go from strength to strength and we quickly out-grew our base in Southeast London. At the start of 2018 we moved to our current home, just outside the town of Malmesbury in the Cotswolds. Our products are now available from some of the country’s leading retailers including Ocado, Wholefoods, and Planet Organic. We have also since expanded our distribution network nationally and are listed with multiple health, wholefood and fine food wholesalers. We’ll never stray from our core values though - the finest ingredients, processed via traditional methods, using authentic, traditional-style recipes to produce products that are both healthy and delicious. I’m very excited for what the future holds."
Want to see what all the fuss is about? here on our online store or add them to your weekly shop at ocado.com.
Keen to stock our products? Enquire HERE.