Into the nourish affair

Seeing both parents go through illness made Natasha Mason much more aware of healthy living. She started Nourish Melbourne with the hope of getting the message across to as many people as possible.

“Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life,” was one of Confucius’ famous quotes and has become my moto. In that respect, meeting people who have turned their passion into a daily job, is extremely refreshing. Natasha Mason (nee Karos), is driven purely by her love for wellness and leading a healthy life. She embraced Hippocrates’ philosophy and has been conscious of what she eats, drinks and does for exercise, since the early age of eight. That is when her family had to deal with heavy illness, not once but twice, which made her realise how fragile one’s health can be and how important it is to invest in it every single day. Three years ago Natasha founded Nourish Melbourne to share the knowledge, passion and enthusiasm for holistic health and wellness.

Tina Nikiforaki: How did you come up with the idea of Nourish Melbourne?
Natasha Mason: Since I can remember myself, I’ve always been conscious of pursuing a healthy lifestyle. I guess it all started when I was eight and saw both my parents going through illnesses, which made me grow up appreciating health and not taking it for granted. It also made me want to spread the word on how to be healthier and well, body and mind, every single day. Then, combining my academic background in nutrition with my experience in marketing and with the continuous support of my husband, I created a business which brings all the experts together under one roof.

TN: Are there specific selection criteria for your business partners?
NM: I either seek for business partners myself or get recommendations. I have an evaluation form with a questionnaire that helps me evaluate how qualified they are and how they treat their clients. I find it very important to know whether it’s just a business to them or if they are driven by their love and passion for their profession. I have partners who make skincare products for themselves as they were not happy with what was available in the market. I have partners who have started a business with healthy snacks for their kids, who suffered from nut allergies. They took it one step further and started creating healthy, organic snacks with no preservatives.

TN: How many partners do you have? Is it hard to follow up?
NM: At the moment our partners are just over 130. Nourish Melbourne has increased by 69 per cent, since May 2014 when the membership started. We monitor everything on a regular basis offering support, but it seems we have managed to eliminate such risks by having a good evaluating process from the beginning. We don’t offer a membership unless the business meets our criteria.

TN: Are all these small businesses quality assured?
NM: Definitely, but they are not always capable of producing the exact products they aim for due to limited budgets. Organic certification is very costly and time consuming, Australian organic certification is extremely strict, even hence one of the most trusted in the world. Small businesses find it hard to be 100% organic, which is where we come in to cover the cost and ensure high quality products reach wider markets.

TN: How has Nourish Melbourne changed your life and in what way has running your own business helped you?
NM: First of all, I am doing the job I love. I started from scratch and used all my money to create a solid company with my husband’s support. I am now much happier and proud of our accomplishment. Furthermore, it is interesting how much more you start valuing the time and money you spend on every single task, as even a minor thing might affect not only your bank balance but the long-term viability of your company. You get to turn your passion into creativity, but you have to take full responsibility for every action as well.

TN: What kind of services does Nourish Melbourne offer?
NM: Nourish Melbourne is not about forcing people to do things in a certain way, it is there to provide information and inspiration through our Membership program and events. On our blog one can read what is our affiliate businesses’ and individual partners’ fields of expertise.

TN: Melbourne is quite an expensive city. How manageable is being healthy without spending a fortune?
NM: Exercise is free, yet you need to spend a bit more on food. It all comes down to our priorities, though. Choosing quality food over cheap take-away food is a choice and an investment worth making, more important than buying a house, since our body is our home, therefore we have to keep in in a good condition. Stress affects our nervous system, it only gets worse by eating bad types of fat and sugars, smoking, not moving the body and not exercising, can cause inflammations and lead to disease. Quitting smoking is also something that will save a lot of people a considerable amount of money. A pack costs $25 and still, people who are financially unprivileged continue to smoke.

TN: What kind of events does Nourish Melbourne host?
NM: Our events help us reach a broader audience and become acquainted with more specialists. Coming up is The Nourish Affair on Sunday ! March in St Kilda, where attendees can talk to specialists, such as massage therapists, skincare product specialists, hypnotherapists, naturopaths and find out how to begin their own wellness journey. In addition, we offer seminars on meditation, healthy eating, skincare, cleanse practices, detox and pregnancy.

TN: What are you daily wellness secrets?
NM: I meditate between 5′-15′ a day, to begin with. Downloading apps that provide instructions on how to breathe while listening to low-key music has helped me a lot in the past. Taking some time to evaluate and decide whether you wish to accept or reject certain thoughts, is extremely important. No one has the right to judge anyone apart from themselves. Being grateful for the simple things is the first, most crucial and difficult step to a happier life.
Balance is key to everything.

For more information and tickets visit nourishmelbourne.com.au/events
$39 per ticket (+ booking fee)