Welcome back to our Founder Stories series, where we sit with inspiring and influential women to dive into their entrepreneurial journey and discuss all things business (and wellness). Today, we speak with Georgia and Megan Salamat, the founders of healthy eating concept store Açai Girls.
Sisters Megan and Georgia Salamat both share a love of food. Megan, 28, previously led F&B Marketing at Mondrian London and worked at luxury fitness group Equinox as their Senior Marketing Manager.
Georgia, 26, has recently graduated from world-renowned culinary school Le Cordon Bleu. Her love of cooking and curating dishes led her to apply to BBC One’s Britain’s Best Home Cook (2020), where she finished as runner-up.
FLAURA: What inspired you to start Açai Girls?
Megan & Georgia: We had forever been scrolling through food delivery apps, searching for something nutritious, filling and delicious, and for the life of us couldn’t find anything that ticked all three boxes. Steamed broccoli and a plain chicken breast were not what we wanted to spend our money on; it felt more like punishment than the joy that comes with ordering food via Deliveroo. We felt a gap in the market needed to be filled and thus wanted to create something that ticked all of these boxes. Our menu is a celebration of food, each dish carefully considered with the micronutrients in mind to keep you happy and healthy.
F: You launched Açai Girls amidst all the changes happening with COVID-19. Could you describe what the journey has been like so far and what has surprised you the most about it?
It’s had its ups and downs, but we have been super lucky that it enabled us time to focus on the business, time we might not have had during other circumstances. It made things a lot harder initially, but it also meant that people within the industry had the time to help us. Everyone was incredibly generous, giving us advice, supporting us, helping to build the business to what it now is.
F: Many of us have had to adapt to new ways of working, especially digitally/remotely. How do you stay motivated amidst all the changes?
Georgia and I like to stick to a routine, Georgia more so. She wakes up at 6:30am every day and trains, be it with a remote Personal Trainer or an outdoor run. We then sit down together and flesh out the day, what our goals are, what’s on our task list and what we need to do for each other. Accountability allows us to stay motivated and continually strive for more!
F: How do you define “success”?
The dictionary states that it is: “The achievement of an action within a specified period of time or within a specified parameter.” Our mentality is that there will always be something we could do better, improve upon and build further. We continuously set goals and targets daily so that every day feels like a small success. When you start looking too far in the future, it can become challenging to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
F: Have you had any setbacks along the way – and if so, how do you stay optimistic in the face of such challenges?
Georgia and I have always said this, but we seem to be incredibly lucky that we haven’t, as of yet, come up against any vast setbacks. Don’t get us wrong, no business ever runs smoothly but as long as you have the mentality ‘see a problem – find a solution’, we can rectify things pretty quickly. Talking about a problem and worrying about it is when things usually fall apart. Pick yourself up, dust off your knees and carry on moving forward.
F: What’s the most rewarding part of your day running Açai Girls?
We love the feedback we get from our customers, small things like an email last night from a customer merely to tell us that she had ordered and that it had been ‘the perfect rainy afternoon pick me up when working from home – keep doing what you’re doing.’ We feel like we are building much more than a food brand. The Acai Girls is all about escapism, travel, loving yourself and fuelling yourself with goodness with the end goal of being happy. There’s nothing better to know that goal is being achieved and that the food we provide is having that impact.
F: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Someone pointed us in the direction Start with Why by Simon Sinek. The book focuses on the idea that leaders who’ve had the most significant influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way — and it’s the opposite of what everyone else does. It all starts with the word WHY. By putting the Why (the purpose) before the How (the process), or the What (the product), you can create a brand that has meaning and strength.
F: Do you have a favourite recipe/dish you’ve developed?
Our recipes are inspired by our travels and memories together, so it isn’t easy to choose just one! Mine is the Vegan Oreo Chocolate Brownie – I didn’t know something could bring me such happiness. Georgia’s favourite bowl is the falafel bowl, inspired by a trip we took to Istanbul last year and a salad we had from a small street food vendor in the souk one day!
F: Are you working on any new/exciting projects you can tell us about?
We are continually working on new products, new lines, new locations. What we can say is keep your eyes peeled this year as you won’t just be able to enjoy The Acai Girls at home!
Top Wellness Habits
- What you put into your body ultimately will define how you feel. You have to ensure you are fuelling yourself full of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients while enjoying yourself.
- Take at least twenty minutes for yourself every day, be it going on a walk or listening to a podcast.
- There is no better way to start your day than walking. It sets you up for the rest of the day; if you are walking from home, get out of the house, if you can walk to work – do it, or if not, jump off the tube one stop after your closest tube.
- We are both so lucky that we can open up to one another. Talking is so important to help relieve stress and anxiety.
- Exercise is one of the best forms of therapy, it’s incredible for the mind, body and soul and helps wellness in so many different ways!