Any woman who starts her business by asking potential clients if they’d like to “eat my balls” and then proceeds to build an enviable health empire off the back of that initiative has earned our respect!
This week, we invite you to meet the legendary Charlie de Haas, who started out selling her healthy chocolate balls to local cafes, and now runs the epic Clean Treats Factory, serving her lush vegan eats to thousands of health conscious Sydney-siders every single day.
Charlie’s a fierce business woman and an equally fierce chef, so read on to find out her business secrets, plus her easiest, yummiest, healthiest Easter recipe!
Describe the “Ah-Ha!” moment that shaped your decision to get into the health food industry?
I've been seriously sick before, both with mental health and digestive disorders. From just being prescribed high strength antidepressants and valium, with no health consideration (mind, physical or soul) to digestive disorders no specialist or naturopath could give me answers for. When I started looking for answers within myself; checking in stopping and asking 'how does this make me feel' or 'why am I feeling this way' I soon learnt the wisdom my own body holds and spent more time dedicated to checking in and feeling the answers.
In 25 words or less, tell us how your business evolved!
It started with some ingredients from Coles, that somehow blended into #charliesballs... I would walk into cafes and say 'My name is Charlie... would you like to #eatmyballs?' which broke the sales pitch and allowed conversation and giggles. P.s 25 words are not enough for this, there’s so much more! ;)
We recently visited your new café, The Clean Treats Factory and it was AMAZING! How did you come up with the concept?
It was something I wrote on a business plan two years ago, in fact, an actual image of this EXACT building is on that plan (1 of 2 buildings). I come from a day spa background and wanted to create the same type of feel and connection with eating again. Between moments, vibes and energy, and plant-based rainbow meals, I wanted people to find a pure self-love moment. I refer to the space as a Culinary Day Spa and I really think it does have that feel.
What do you love the most about what you do?
The opportunity to learn. Personally, emotionally and as a businesswoman, I'm changing every day. I have to step up and lead... and it's not as easy as we read about in the books. However I am an avid reader and believe in self-education and continued development, and the pure connection and passion I have for my dream makes every day surreal. It’s truly my dream reality, and I try to take time for gratitude daily.
What are a few of the biggest lessons you’ve learned during your years in business?
Oh gosh... so many! The big ones are that you are going to get knocked down, and while you're down you'll keep getting hit. But it's not about falling, it's about honouring the (fail) or fall and then stepping up, with vulnerability, strength and action. I’m also currently on the learning path of, “it’s business, not personal” which of course can be difficult to practice as Clean Treats is me, my heart and soul are in this.
Describe the part healthy food has played in your own life?
What we eat becomes us, and I believe so many of us forget that. From our skin cells to our organs, we are living organisms, changing and developing every day. As I wrote above we all need to spend time tuning in, we are biochemically individual which means we are all different. I have learnt enough about what my good habits are, and how they make me step up and be the best person I can be.
I think what people don't speak about enough is the link between food and the gut, and how that affects your mental health. There’s a big link, and therefore if I eat real, nutritious food I'm more likely to handle the pressure and stresses of everyday business life; the growth we are lucky enough to have and the challenges that come with that.
When I'm tired, exhausted, emotionally drained... what is it I'm filling up on? (and I'm not perfect! Sometimes it’s wine ;) When really I probably just need to breathe, sleep, make some space and just be.
If you could put up giant billboards all over town with one simple health message on them, what would it be?
I might choose our Clean Treats belief, “Be Real, not fake” or maybe something like, “Together we can be the healthy change in the world” because this is our mission statement and I love it as it comes from the Mother Theresa quote, “Not all of us can do great things, but we can all do small things with love”.
Healthy isn't just about your body, it's about your mindset, your self-connection and the world YOU choose to live in. We each have the power to greatly affect the way we see things, our connection to ourselves and the space we live in.
What’s your favourite, super easy but super healthy Easter recipe?
Well #balls of course ;)
Share your favourite, super easy recipe with us, so we can #eatyourballs this Easter?
- 200g Cacao
- 150G Rice Malt Syrup
- 50g Cacao Butter (melted)
- 30g Coconut Oil
- Mix all ingredients together in a bowl
- Roll into small, bite-sized easter eggs
- Pop in the fridge to chill
- If you are feeling extra creative roll in some coconut, sesame seeds, or extra cacao powder