Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of sitting down with the lovely ladies behind
The Pressery, Chi and Natali.
We found a table in the corner of a bustling cafe in the heart of Soho where we spoke about Almonds, Paris and the experience of starting your own business
Interview and Photographs by Marte Marie Forsberg
"The Pressery was born from the love of whole foods and their health and healing benefits. A mutual interest in eating better, but not wanting to sacrifice on quality, led us to discover the delicious taste of homemade almond milk".
Marie: I don’t know where I saw it, I believe I found out about the Pressery through someone instagraming your feature with Monocle Magazine. What drew me to it, was the holistic approach. How did this begin, where did this idea come from to start The Pressery?
Chi: We’d been friends for ages and had always wanted do something together. We talked about opening a cafe, but there are so many of them in London.
We’re both massive foodies and all we talk about is food. We’d always be talking about where we were going to have lunch, where we were going to have dinner. I think it was sort of inevitable that we went into something to do with food and lifestyle.
At the time we were also frustrated with all the “natural” products out there, and the lengthy ingredient lists.
Marie: You started selling at Farmer’s Markets, do you have an online shop?
Chi: We do also offer an order and collection service on Wednesdays. And in the last few weeks we’ve moved into quite a few shops. We’re in Dalesford, The Grocery, Pinch.
Marie: Dalesford isn’t too shabby!:)
Natali: It´s great, and again it pushed us to get better processes in place, tick all the boxes so we could supply all these shops. A lot of form filling!
Marie: On one side you have the dream, and then theres the paperwork. Did you figure it all out yourself, or did you get help with this?
Natali: Normally, people would get in a consultant. We had to do it all ourselves, we’d be up against a wall saying, I just don’t get it, I just don’t get it. And then something will click and you’ll push through. Then you hit the next wall! That’s how it’s been for the last few months.
Chi: That wall is currently made out of cardboard boxes in our office.
Natali: Yeah, where are we going to put them all?
Natali: We still make the product by hand. three days a week we have a 5am start making the product.
Natali: No, three days a week at the moment, with 5am starts.
Marie: Do you both have other jobs? Or is this the main focus for you both.
Natali: No, this is it.
Marie: You leapt! So when was that?
Chi: We leapt, we launched March the first. We had both quit our other jobs in January.
Marie: So from the birth of the idea, to January, how much time passed?
Natali: We first came up with the idea last summer. We were into the idea of cold pressed juicing. On a whim we went on our first business meeting to Paris! Basically, there was a chap in Paris who was a trailblazer with cold press juices. We thought if someone was successful with cold press juicing in Paris, we need to speak to him. We approached him, he was very kind, and helped us refine the idea to almond milk.
Chi: He has almond milk in his range and has a juicery, cafe and bakery. He’s doing alright.
Natali: He really was an early mentor of ours, in a way.
Chi: We call him our mentor, but he has no idea.
Natali: Every so often he’ll like something on Instagram.
Chi: And we’re like “Aw he’s keeping tabs on us.”
Marie: Where do you see yourself taking this?
Chi: Ideally, we’d like to have a shop. Have everything we like and produce in it.
Natali: We want to bring out other products as well. We were doing some testing yesterday in the kitchen. We also want to play around with other nuts and seeds.
Marie: What products do you have out at the moment?
Natali: Right now we have the original milk in two different sizes and then the raw chocolate shake.
Chi: We did think of doing chai and matcha, but there are a lot of people already doing those. We want to do something different, something a bit gourmet, we’re foodies though so we want something to taste amazing.
Natali: We want to try and challenge consumers a little bit too, to try something new. We have the chocolate one, which is quite commercial but the flavours that we plan to release next are going to be a bit different.
Marie: You’re educating the consumer and sparking an interest, creating something new and exciting
Chi: It’s not just a health food thing, we have chefs cooking with our milk, which is great. We just dropped some milk off at the Chiltern Firehouse in Marylebone. Which is exciting for Natali and I because we love going to restaurants and beautiful food.
Natali: We want everyone to be involved. We are just firm believers of having balance in your life, we eat meat, we drink alcohol. Just all in moderation
Chi: Enjoy life, basically.
Marie: My father is very much into health. He’s a bit on the extreme side. I keep reminding him that you’re selling a product for the masses, and not only to the people that are as into changing their lifestyle and eating habits as you. They aren’t concerned about health necessarily, they might not be lactose intolerant, they just want to try something new and a bit healthy without necessarily going all the way. That the health products he promotes and sells through his company is for everyone. It´s important to educate the consumer too.
Chi: That’s exactly what we’re trying to tap into, and I think we’ve done that.
Natali: I think being on the market stall, its a labour of love. It’s so important to educate, because we do have competitors with the boxed almond milk. People don’t read food labels. People read, ‘its good for you’ and think it’s true.
Chi: I think it’s surprising how many people don’t know to read the labels.
Natali: People are busy in London, and that’s why it’s important for us to keep spreading the message. We want to eventually run workshops, talks on the food industry. Why you don’t have to shun dairy but why the industry is so bad.
Marie: That´s something that I’m concerned with as well, the laws around the food industry. ‘Greek’ yogurt that’s really only inspired by greek yogurt, sourdough bread that was made in thirty minutes, completely miss guides and lures you into thinking you are buying the real deal...
Natali: America, for example has passed a law allowing the pasteurisation of almonds, but they can still be labeled as ‘raw’. It drives me crazy!
Marie: That labelling is so untruthful. Which is what gets me upset. They say ‘Oh it’s just the wording’ but that’s just being untruthful about the product. A normal consumer isn’t going to know that, and know that they are loosing out on all those nutrients that you would get in the real sourdough bread or real greek yoghurt. What can we do? How can we raise awareness?
Natali: I think it’s getting like-minded brands together to have an afternoon of informed and inspired speakers. Trying to get people involved.
Chi: It’s the only choice we have, the food we put in our mouth.
Marie: It’s the power of the consumer. When you educate people, they think twice about buying the fake, because they now know its a fake even if its labelled as the real deal.
Natali: One thing that is exciting for me, is Netflix. You would never watch Food Inc. if you had to pay for it. I actually sent Food Matters to someone, and he has completely changed his diet since watching it. I went crazy about GMO! After watching a documentary about it I started really looking into it, reading seventy page documents!
Marie: Thank you ladies, its been such a pleasure getting to know you better and learning more about you company, vision for the future and getting to know the store behind the brand. I´m so excited to follow your progress.
Keep watching this space for news about The Pressery.