1. Talking Tastebuds with Venetia La Manna
Now this one is a personal fave because not only is it super inspiring from a business perspective, it’s equally binge-worthy for the foodie in me. I also had the pleasure of working with Venetia La Manna in London and since then we’ve both followed our mutual passion for food.
Venetia is a London-based sustainability warrior. She’s a powerhouse slow-fashion campaigner, BBC Radio 1’s sustainability expert, sustainability ambassador for The Body Shop and fierce exponent for plant-based eating.
With her captivating interview and storytelling style, Venetia meets a range of food-industry experts in Talking Tastebuds. Each episode offers insights into the food and drink entrepreneurial space, plus valuable everyday sustainability hacks – you might want to take notes.
A few favourite episodes include Patrick Drake, co-founder and head chef of meal-kit company HelloFresh. Venetia chats to Patrick about what it takes to start a food business and his journey to being named one of the most influential people in London by the Evening Standard. “Ella Mills: The Evolution of Deliciously Ella” is an episode from 2018 where Venetia takes a deep-dive into the life of best-selling cookery author and entrepreneur, Ella Mills. Her hugely successful breakfast and snack product line is just the tip of the iceberg for this woman on a mission to make veggies cool.
Max La Manna, a zero-waste chef, author and presenter, is another must-listen ep. If you haven’t already joined the dots, Max is Venetia’s husband and their combined sustainability cred is a force to be reckoned with. There’s inspiration for zero-waste living by the shedload here, both at home and in the commercial setting. Truly eye-opening when you understand how much food waste comes out of a restaurant kitchen.
Other eps worth escaping into are “Sarah Wilson: Anxiety is Your Superpower” (if you haven’t read First, We Make the Beast Beautiful by the former editor of Cosmo and author of the best-selling I Quit Sugar books, do it – like, right now! #sarahwilsonfan), and “Elizabeth Day: How to Re-frame Failure as Success”. Venetia talks to the author and journalist about her podcast How to Fail and the life-affirming book that has come out of it.
2. Seize The Yay with Sarah Davidson
I am a huge Sarah Davidson fan. Huge. Many women in business inspire me, and Sarah is up there with the best of them. She has an infectious and vibrant energy you can’t help but soak up and pour over your own projects.
Sarah is a career chameleon who first got her kicks as a mergers and acquisitions lawyer, then went on to find her ultimate happy place in tea. Matcha, to be precise. She and her partner started Matcha Maiden as a side hustle, but soon discovered they were onto something big. Within months the business went global, Sarah kicked off her corporate heels and went on to open Matcha Mylkbar in Melbourne, Australia’s first specialty matcha café.
All this, of course, means that Sarah’s got some serious business savvy, but Seize the Yay is more than a podcast about business success, it’s also about finding true joy in your life’s endeavours. In her own words, Seize the Yay “is a lawyer-turned-funtrepreneur’s investigation into how some of the world’s most inspiring people find their ‘yay’, whether it’s through work, rest or play and any other pearls of wisdom they have along the way”.
Among my favourite eps are her chat with Emma Lewis, who went from cop to Canvast creator. I have a soft spot for this one, because Emma was one of m. Media’s very first clients back in 2016. In this episode, Emma is raw and real as she shares her incredible journey.
In the episode “Mark Manson: F*ck Distribution, Future Forging and Fun with the Fresh Prince of Bel Air”, Sarah talks to Mark about his journey from a misfit music student to a no-bullshit life-advice guru and bestselling author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. This one’s entertaining not only because Mark is… unconventional, let’s say, but also because it’s insightful and revealing, and will reshape your perception of success.
One more to mention is “Daniel Flynn: Thankyou, Next!” where the co-founder of pioneering charity-focused brand Thankyou offers such amazing inspiration through his altruistic business model. With 100 percent of profits directed towards community projects in developing countries, I felt some serious branding affinity after listening to this one.
3. The Happiness Lab with Laurie Santos
I am indebted to my amazing brother-in-law Tom and his beautiful wife Jordy for so much, and not least of all for putting me onto The Happiness Lab. Hosted by Yale professor Dr Laurie Santos, this podcast banishes the notion that more money, a better job and Insta-worthy getaways is a formula for happiness. Instead, Dr Laurie shares the latest scientific research along with some inspiring stories to alter your view from those rose-tinted glasses.
I’m up to episode nine and so far it’s been an enlightening journey. I’ve learnt that having a business and nurturing a brand (and passion) is about so much more than the figures and hours; it’s about the mindset you have while slogging away at your labour of love (‘cause let’s face it, we ain’t doin’ it for the dollars at the start!). The Happiness Lab teaches us what happiness is, not in some wishy-washy existential way, but in a legit proven scientific way, and how the majority of the time our brains are wired to trick us into thinking we are unhappy – insecure, fearful or guilt-ridden, anyone?
The show analyses the brains of altruists to see what makes them tick, examines the science behind habits and how to break free of self-destructive ones, and how we view what we do then reframing that view to see careers as more than a way to make money. There are so many more science-based insights, plus tips on simply how to complain less and enjoy life more!
As I said, I’m up to ep nine, “The War for Kindness”, which explores how to fight hatred with empathy, kindness and some difficult conversations. I’d love to hear what you think, so DM me and let’s discuss! (Show of hands for a podcast club – after all, is there anything better than getting deep into a podcast and then talking about it?)
4. Allergy Proof with Ashli Templer
Ashli Templer is defining how to turn lemons into lemonade. Plagued by allergies and intolerances her whole life, seven years ago the autoimmune condition, Hashimoto’s, jumped onto her bandwagon of ailments. But in a move that turned her woe into whoa!, she created a gentle yet luxe skincare range for women like her, for whom nothing on the market was safe or satisfying to use. We had the pleasure of helping Ashli launch her Yours Only skincare brand and I have the continued pleasure of supporting her recently launched podcast, Allergy Proof.
The series offers welcome stories and personal insights to help women who are dealing with health issues get through life day to day. Ashli shares tips from her own experiences and also invites health experts to answer listeners’ questions.
In an early episode, Ashli talks to leading hair and make-up artist Monica Gingold about “Killing it at Your Job with a Secret Chronic Illness”. Monica reveals she has suffered from chronic fatigue since her teens and shares her journey navigating the high-pressure world of fashion.
In “My 2020 Health Journey + Listening to Your Body” Ashli gets deeply personal as she talks about what it has taken to arrive at the current chapter in her health story. The tests, the money spent, the let-downs, the emotional rollercoaster – this one is sure to resonate among women struggling with the unknown and undiagnosed.
For a lesson on how to flip the script on the bane of your existence, listen to “Vanessa From FodBods: How to Turn Your Pain Point Into a Business”. Suffering with IBS and other gut issues most of her adult life, Vanessa Hutchinson managed to get them under control with a well-managed FODMAP diet. She now shares her success through FodBods, a line of FODMAP snack options for people on the go.
In essence, Allergy Proof is a pit-stop for inspiration, advice and the comfort of knowing you’re not the only one dealing with more than the pressures of being in business.
Share this with a business bud who could use a pep in their step, and find our fave brand-focused podcasts here.