Girl boss Carli Wheatley on building a brand

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Being a female boss is a balancing act, just like anything else. Charlotte chatted to Carli Wheatley, founder of Protein Haus, aka the home of fitness food. She spoke about her journey, lessons, goals and more…

On getting started…

“I had a background in personal training and nutrition and I knew that I wanted to build a project. I started looking around and I saw that companies weren’t delivering on my idea of how I wanted to eat. I thought I could develop it. So I pitched it around. I turned up to meetings with sheets of A4 and nothing else, and basically got laughed out the room. I was so out of my depth. But then I spoke to graphic designers, went back, and it took off from there.”

“I’ve learnt a lot on the job. I knew a lot about nutrition, but nothing about operations. I just didn’t have the experience. But my parents live in LA, so I’ve spent a lot of time in the States, and saw how they approached food so differently. ‘Diet’ has become a dirty word here. I’m not saying it’s for everyone, I just wanted to make a range of options available without a stigma.”

On being a woman in business…

“I think people have responded pretty well to me as a woman. I look quite young, which could be a negative, but actually I think people have been quite positive. I’m bullish! And I’m decisive. I’m creative – always got my ear to the ground. And I’m really enthusiastic. Over time, I’ve learnt to be more savvy, and not necessarily just tell everyone all about my ideas straight away.”

“I’ve definitely been mentored by inspiring women, and that’s something I want to give back, too. You do need that support for sure. But ultimately, you have to go through the journey yourself and personally experience all the ups and downs. The journey is what matters.”

On balance…

“I have fun with my food. Some days I wake up and decide to eat a fruitarian diet for the day, probably because I’ve been watching the Banana Girl on YouTube! Other days I’m all about body building. I’ve definitely had my fair share of protein shakes over the past few years! But I don’t follow a particular plan. I make sure I have enough protein and veg – but I do love a Frappuccino.”

On learning from mistakes and looking forwards…

“I needed partners to help with funding, and looking back, I jumped in too quickly with people I didn’t really know. We didn’t share a vision and they didn’t really understand that I wanted to push boundaries with Protein Haus. About six months ago, I resigned as director.”

“Now, I’m excited to create new projects and concepts. I’m building relationships with farmers, I want to work with wonky vegetables. I’m also working with athletes on performance – everything from natural eating to essential oils. For me, it’s all about expression, creativity and building a brand.”

Follow Carli Wheatley on Instagram

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