Amazonia Founder, Dwayne Martens has proved that anything is possible. With passion and determination, he has gone from living in a tee pee to building a business that’s mission is to help our people and planet shine brighter. Here Dwayne shares his journey, secrets to success and future plans.
What inspired you to start Amazonia, 8 years ago out the back of an organic restaurant?
I had just returned from travelling and wanted to start a business that was in-line with my personal beliefs and interests. I heard a friend-of-a-friend was selling his frozen Amazonian superfoods business and bought his stock. From there I rebranded as Amazonia and the rest is history.
What were you up to pre-Amazonia?
I was studying Health Science at UWA. I was in my third year and I had just returned from my gap year, travelling around Europe for 8 months.
I never did return to uni, but I think I turned out okay without the degree!
How did you go about getting the business started and getting momentum behind the brand, in the early days?
I bought the stock but quickly realised no one wanted to buy anything except the acai. I decided to buy more acai and start a smoothie stand at local markets, festivals and even nightclubs, really focusing on acai smoothies. It was hard physical work at the beginning, but it was worth it. It was my belief in the product, as I’d already felt the positive health benefits first hand, that kept me going. Pursuing something you believe in is the key to success in my opinion.
Have you found the market to become more competitive in recent years and if so, how have you dealt with that?
Yes, absolutely. The nature of business is that it’s constantly changing, so you have to adapt, secure and own space while looking for growth opportunities at the same time.
What have been the key success factors taking Amazonia from something small to what the brand is today?
There has to be a common belief shared amongst the whole team that we’re all working towards the same goal. It’s a team effort and if you can all collectively come together, great things happen. We are driven by our passion for vibrant health.
We love the environmentally sustainable and fair trade approach you’ve lead the company to take – big love for those moves. How does the business operate differently compared to others as a result of this commitment?
It’s ingrained in our business structure. We choose to work in this way, which is not always the easiest and takes more research and innovation. It means looking at all aspects, from source to consumer, to make sure our practice is sustainable. We believe that making choices for our beautiful planet that will last longer than we do is well worth the extra mile.
How do you think this approach has impacted your business?
It’s a pivotal part of the business and has provided us with a key point of difference that’s contributed to our success. Not only do the products make you feel good when you use them, you can also feel good about the choices you’re making for the environment.
How do you think the health and wellbeing industry will change in 2016 and beyond?
There’s a huge trend towards natural supplementation. As with our food system, people are more eager to learn the truth behind what they put in their body and the natural flow of things is to start looking closer at supplements as they’re such a big part of life now.
What’s next for Amazonia?
We’ve just launched 100% sustainably sourced frozen coconut flesh, which is really exciting. This is to complement our acai range and can be included in breakfast bowls and smoothies for a delicious and nutritious addition to your diet.
We’re also about to launch a new brand under the Amazonia Group called Whole Live Nutrients. It’s the ‘natural supplement solution’ that allows people to make a healthier, all-natural choice when it comes to supplements, as ours are made from real foods rather than from synthetic ingredients.
What’s something cool about the company that nobody knows?
We haven’t had a staff member leave in over 2 years and we all have salt lamps on our desks!
What’s your fave product from the range and how do you eat/consume it?
Raw Pre-Probiotic – I just mix it straight into water or smoothies
Lastly, do you actually live in a tee pee?! Do tell more…
Not anymore. I did live in a teepee in the backyard of my house for 1-2 years on and off, and the reason was because the office was in my house. As the business started to grow I needed a sanctuary of my own and the teepee provided that for me. The sacrifices you make for your business!