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  • Rachel Barac

Kimberly Ashton

Co-founder of Sprout Lifestyle & Yin Lifestyle

When did you start Sprout Lifestyle and why?

My business partner and I started Sprout Lifestyle five years ago as our third collaboration together. Our first business was at Shanghai's first flea market. We had a stall selling fabric summer bags and candles. Our second business was a wellness consulting company - The Wellness Works - with another (fabulous) female entrepreneur. We have always been a bit too early but the market for China is always changing and now is a wonderful time for health & wellness. Sprout Lifestyle came about after teaching cooking classes and being passionate about food education and recognising the gap in the market for nutrition information, cooking classes, workshops, and health food products. At the time there were no healthy cafes, or stores in Shanghai nor anything in China offering health food retail. So we jumped right in and started it. First, we had a cooking studio with retail products, then we had two years of running a cafe and delivery business (now our sister company Better Bentos), and now there is a pivot/shift this year.

How has it transformed from your initial idea to what it is today?

For the past five years we have stuck to our business model with shifts in the content and format of our classes. However as of June this year, we have begun to switch gears back to our roots of food education and focusing on our cooking teacher training (CTT) and special courses and trainings, along with consulting on plant-based nutrition, chef training, wellness centre and F&B consulting. We moved out of our Shanxi Lu space at the end of May. We’re focusing now on running our online store and workshops/courses. We have come full circle, learnt a lot, seen the market completely grow from zero and are proud to have contributed to the health food scene in Shanghai and China. Its time now to train the next generation, mentor Chinese wellness & health food entrepreneurs and focus on teaching & consulting. We might have some fun goodies install next year regarding health food products… stay tuned!

What one goal do you hope to achieve this year?

From a business perspective I hope to bring our new cooking teachers up to a level where they are confidently running their new businesses, and seeing their success. This is the best way to see results for all our hard work - inspiring and mentoring new teachers and business owners. And on a personal perspective I hope to to take time out for myself, learn and complete trainings in sound healing, yoga nidra and relaxation, write my books and new curriculum/course content to teach. In our shift and over the past two years I have come to see very clearly that while nutrition and food is very important in regard to health, relying solely on this won’t fix everything.

The body requires a holistic approach. Eating well is just one piece of the pie so to speak, we also need to exercise, learn to breath properly and mindfully, connect and understand ourselves and sleep well. When I first started health coaching and teaching cooking eight years ago I soon realised that people needed more than just food to heal and help them. I want to help others realise this and create courses and retreats/programs for people to experience it.

What would you try if you had no fear?

My next business! Yin Lifestyle is launching by the end of 2018, based in China, Asia and Australia. It is a concept based on food therapy, holistic health, slowing down and includes courses and retreats on relaxation, meditation and sound therapy healing. We are already on Instagram #yinlifestyle

What's the best piece of advice you've been given?

I'll share two mottos I live by, I can't remember if they were given to me or I have just come to learn and apply them: Do what you will regret the least! And always believe in yourself and remember everything can be figured out - sometimes we are our own worst enemy, especially when it comes to doubt and self confidence.

If you would like to reach Kimberly to learn more about Sprout Lifestyle please contact her.

WeChat ID: Sproutlifestyle or WeChat ID: Kimberly健康大人

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