From one girl boss to another meet Zoe Lind van’t Hof – co-founder of Wunder Workshop, THE turmeric brand that’s been taking the UK by storm since it launched nearly four years ago. Turmeric is a wonder spice: as well as being a vibrant addition to savoury dishes, it’s highly regarded by Ayurvedic doctors for its anti-inflammatory properties and has been used for centuries in traditional medicine practises. If I fancy something warming and caffeine free, a turmeric latte is my go-to drink so I couldn’t wait to catch up with Zoe to hear more about ayurvedic philosophy and her best business advice for other entrepreneurs.
For anyone that doesn’t know, what is Wunder Workshop and what do you produce?
Wunder Workshop is the turmeric brand, our mission is to create beautiful products that are inspired by Ayurveda, and only use ethically sourced ingredients from sustainable community farms. Our main ingredient is our organic, single origin turmeric, combined with adaptogens, tonic herbs, CBD and coconut, all created for ‘consumption with purpose’.
I ask myself at least once a week what my purpose is as that’s so fundamental to my existence that I have manifested this to the core of my business. Wunder Workshop is a vehicle by which I can instil my own values to increase awareness about the importance of cultivating an understanding about the source of everything we eat and wear. My dream is to be as environmentally friendly as possible and only leaving a positive mark on this planet and not to harm it any further with mine nor my businesses’ footprint.
Ayurveda has been around for thousands of years and is now making it’s way into the mainstream, can you explain a little bit more about what it is and the philosophy behind it?
Yes, it’s so positive to see a shift in the West back to more traditional and natural approach to wellbeing and health. Ayurveda has such deep and vast knowledge about the plant world, our mental wellbeing and our bodies. The main philosophy I take from Ayurveda is to understand that all our bodies are different (doshas), and that there is no one solution for everyone, secondly that health isn’t just what we eat but also our way of thinking and mental wellbeing. Thirdly, that we must focus on prevention over cure.
What was your initial inspiration to launch the company?
My biggest inspiration to start Wunder Workshop has been my late mother who had been very passionate about health and wellbeing since her early twenties, so by the time I was born she had nearly 20 years of experience. This meant I was surrounded by interesting books about traditional medicine, the power of plants and how to create all kinds of natural remedies from an early age. I grew up eating organic and locally sourced vegetarian food, we grew many of our own vegetables and herbs and we used to go to very down-to-earth Ayurvedic health retreats in Sri Lanka.
After dabbling in different career paths (from politics to interior design) I realised that my true purpose lay in what was around me all my life, health and plants. This is when I decided to go back to Sri Lanka and find an organic farm that uses sustainable and ethical farming techniques with whom I could work together to bring some of their incredible plant knowledge in the form of herbs and spices back to London and started Wunder Workshop – focusing on turmeric and consumption with purpose.
What’s the biggest challenge you and Tom have faced since starting the business?
I think as much as it’s incredible to be able to work with your partner, it also has brought some of the biggest challenges for us. Living and working together has meant that it has become very difficult to keep our relationship and business separate. But since we love both, it is just something we are learning to restructure a little.
What’s been the most rewarding thing about starting your own business?
The uncertainty and the potential that every day brings along. I love waking up thinking that anything can happen, I just find that super exciting!
From one girl boss to another, what advice would you give you other women wanting to start up on their own?
Simply put, to just go for it. I feel that we are very conditioned to be afraid to make the plunge, and social expectations for both men and women are often keeping us from braving to go for our dreams. For women I would advise to not feel intimidated and use it as our power that we tend to be more vulnerable. I have come across endless sexist situations and even though it still frustrates me, it also motivates me to continue exactly how I feel is right.
What is your favourite part of working for yourself and with Tom?
Being my own boss, and to have the freedom to work from anywhere is such a dream come true. I believe that we can be in charge of our own happiness and working for myself has really been a way to realising that.
What are your future goals for Wunder Workshop?
I want to work with additional small farms to Sri Lankan suppliers, I want to expand our offering sourced solely from biodynamic, forest gardened, and wild-harvesting farms, and thereby creating a market for small farm holders. I want to avoid having to use any mono-cultural farms and maintain our 100% organic status. I want to have the most environmentally friendly packaging (we have been working on this for the last few years, so slowly getting there). These are just a few of the key points on my daily manifestation list.
What do you enjoy doing to relax after a stressful day?
Jivamukti yoga, infra-red sauna, a crystal sound bath, or seeing a friend for a glass of wine.
Talk me through your day in food: do you have time for breakfast in the morning? What is your favourite meal of the day?
I grew up eating big breakfast bowls usually consisting of turmeric porridge thinking that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but the last year I have been experimenting with skipping breakfast and I must say it makes me far more focused and energetic than on days when I eat porridge. I have been reading about intermittent fasting and it seems that it works well for my body. On days that I do this, I do make an adaptogenic tonic (usually consisting of turmeric, ashwagandha, coconut oil, MCT oil, cordyceps, black pepper and other herbs depending on what my body craves).
My favourite meal of the day is dinner, for me eating is so much about the atmosphere, and nothing beats a candle lit cosy dinner.
Where are your favourite places to eat out and why?
The Boat House, Palm Beach (Australia) for setting, atmosphere and food.
Mama Carmen’s in Palma (Mallorca) for the freshest beautiful vegan dishes.
In London, I love Golborne Deli for their generous healthy salad bowls. Redemption in Notting Hill for their wholesome dishes.
If I came over for dinner, what sort of food would you serve?
Something vegetarian, most likely an Ayurvedic curry, or sweet potatoes in the oven with lots of roasted veggies with a beautiful golden turmeric & tahini sauce.
Besides turmeric (obvs!), are there any specific ingredients/foods you couldn’t live without?
Mushrooms, sourdough bread, green tea.