Women Supporting Women in Food | Alexandra Baird of Ripe Nutrition and Homegrown Juice
What’s the status of your business? Did you have to pivot, go online, temporarily close?
Luckily I took my business online almost as soon as it opened. We’ve had numerous brick and mortar locations of Ripe though, including a pop-up location in Yorkville: Brothel Broth Bar. First Brothel serving broth that I know of. We were also a part of an innovative concept called The Nest, where some of the most elevated brands showcased their wares. The co-founder is Natasha Geddes, whose brand Good Goddess embodies health and wellness. We are still doing deliveries throughout Toronto and the GTA and people can still pick up from Coco Market, Summerhill Market and Homegrown Juice.
Together with my boyfriend, who owns Homegrown Juice, we are in the beginning stages of launching a new organic superfood cafe/pantry/meal prep/delivery concept. Tasty and healthy food, with an emphasis on nutritionally-dense offerings, cleanses and gourmet meals for home, which are often hard to find online, especially organic. As a nutritionist, I place huge importance on where the food and ingredients are sourced from. We’ll be ordering from Ontario farms and supporting local all the way. People need healthy balanced meals with real ingredients! Covid-19 has helped us reevaluate our lives and look at what’s important: for us it’s friends, family and the greatest pleasure of all, food that comforts us, fuels us and brings us all closer together.
What’s been the hardest part of this pandemic for you?
I believe it’s just the same stressors as anyone, feeling drained and overstimulated by the news. I think I’m more scared of the unknown when it comes to how this situation will play out, what does the new “normal” look like. These are truly unprecedented times. Working with my boyfriend is interesting and I’m learning a lot of patience; deep breaths before responding or reacting. We definitely have opposite strengths in business: he’s more of a numbers guy, whereas I’m more of a creative but we share the same passion for food.
I’m missing seeing loved ones and friends and I’m starting to even miss the mundane activities of daily life like getting a coffee after the gym. It’s definitely a time of reflection for everyone, in terms of what’s important and how lucky we are as Canadians in general. I don’t know the actual numbers but probably the majority of the world will never step on a plane and experience another country. So reflecting on our privileges and lottery-winning-luck to be born in Canada has helped center me and deflect the feeling of loss in my everyday life.
In these times, as different and difficult as it can seem, we have to remember how lucky we are and I’m grateful every day for the comforts and luxuries that I have. It’s also super important to reflect and try to help the less fortunate in any way that you can. I donate to two incredible charities by friends Robbie and Quinn are heavily involved in: River Fund and Dragons Breakfast Program.
What can we as a community do for you?
Everybody in every community should try as best they can to support local businesses right now. If we are able to highlight each other’s small businesses, we all benefit from the stimulus created. It’s a scary time for all small businesses, as no one knows what to expect. Most small business owners are heavily personally invested in their baby/business, so lean times not only affect their business, it affects their personal life too.
The local Starbucks is going to be just fine, they have access to so much capital, whereas small business owners aren’t as lucky. I’m hopeful the Toronto business landscape doesn’t fall further into corporatization, as the best part of Toronto is the unique shops and restaurants. If you love Toronto, you love multiculturalism and the benefits that are created by unique small business owners. Personally, I would appreciate if people continue with their mindful support of local businesses. You vote with your money more than anything, what type of community do you want to live in? Support those businesses.
What advice would you give women?
I love the saying “collaboration over competition.” There is enough space for everyone. Always support other women, any chance you get. It’s about the little things. Shout-out other female entrepreneurs online and on Instagram. Repost other women’s posts when you can - it helps! Try new local female-owned brands. Hire women for accounting, web design, deliveries, anything! If you see someone sampling or demoing their products in store - always stop to try it - and if you can afford it and have use for it - buy it!
What is your greatest hope right now?
Right now, I hope that we all come out on top. That we stick together and that all the people who are sick heal to the fullest extent from this virus. I hope that after this is over, we are all able to take a look at our lifestyles. From consumption to our environmental footprint and make the necessary changes for a better future.
What are the 3 things keeping you sane?
1. Spreading positivity and healthy tips as a nutritionist.
2. Eating healthy and staying active.
3. Last but not least, Deepak Chopra's 21 Day of Abundance Meditation Challenge. A friend sent it to me and it’s been a great way to be reflective and mindful of how lucky we are on this beautiful blue spinning marble.