When life threw Kate Weiss an unexpected challenge, she built a multi-million-dollar health food business.
Living in Australia, on a work visa, Kate became pregnant with her prematurely born, permanently disabled daughter. Amy required constant care after birth preventing Kate from immediately returning to work. Without family in Australia to lean on and as money began running low, Kate took some initiative, launching a small business selling her dukkah at markets to help support her family, paving a secure future for her daughter long-term.
The move kicked off Table of Plenty, a brand that creates healthy food for other busy families. From her market stall, Table of Plenty grew into markets into a national-recognised health food brand stocked in supermarket aisles across the country, Table of Plenty.
As with launching any new endeavour, it’s all about finding the right balance. Being at the helm of Table of Plenty has had its obstacles and surprises, says Kate, but one thing that’s helped along the way is being able to work alongside her partner.
“Working closely with my husband in the business since the beginning of Table of Plenty has been both challenging and rewarding,” she says. “The business exposes all your weaknesses which is not always a pretty sight, however going through such an intense journey full of ups and downs, joys and challenges forges an unshakeable bond.”
She adds, “You cannot go through life or even sometimes a day without some ups and downs. This is part of being human. We are on a planet where everything changes all the time, the weather, people and relationships, the news, fashion, economy etc. One of the things I have found effective in my life is to remind myself of perspective and the longer view.
“For example, if I get upset, have an argument, feel shortchanged, it can feel all-consuming. I ask myself am I going to remember this in one month, or one year? I keep extending the time until the feeling is diffused or not, but in most cases, I realise that it is not really important in the long term.”
Kate adds however, that making the right decisions and actively choosing to nurture both mind and body are essential.
“We advocate a wholistic brand philosophy. We believe in a ‘Life of Plenty’, that is to say seeking to nourish beyond the physical, to emotional, psychological and spiritual,” she says.
“For example, I believe that how you eat is as important as what you eat. The act of eating is the body taking in physical nutrients, so we are absorbing. So, it is very important to be aware of what else is going on whilst we eat. In our family we don’t have screens while we eat, because that is what we will also absorb into, ourselves as well, the images and the sound.”
Kate says that launching the brand’s challenged her in ways she would have never expected.
“Agreeing to put my photo on the back of the packaging was a huge step out of my comfort zone, forcing me to own my power and confront my imposter syndrome,” she adds.
“Seeing my products in supermarkets around Australia still makes me smile. Table of Plenty began with me making dukkah in my kitchen and selling it at markets, so to see it on shelves in Coles and Woolies is always a pleasant surprise.”
The brand has gone from strength to strength and continues to produce food high integrity health food using Australian ingredients where possible, such as in the Probiotic Kefir which uses fresh cow’s milk from Gippsland.
Currently, Kate juggles running the business, caring for now grown daughter and advocating for people with disabilities, all while making strategic plans for Amy to live independently.
“One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to be kind and gentle to yourself. It isn’t easy, but you don’t have to be perfect.”
Kate says the range has gone so much from its humble beginnings and offered her many lessons on the job, but if there was one bit of advice she wished she had from day one, it’s this, “Believe in your brand, stick to your values and don’t let the competition get under your skin.”