Simone Stewart is the latest to be accepted into our BOOST programme. She graduated from our LIFT programme in December 2018 and is looking forward to taking her startup, MumaBoost, to the next level.

MumaBoost is a natural supplement for new mums that helps prevent postnatal depletion.

Simone met her new mentor, Leigh Kite, last week and we thought we’d catch up with them so you could learn more about the new duo.

Simone Stewart:

What got you into your line of work and how did you end up where you are?

I’ve always been passionate about sport and health, so after high school I headed down to Otago University and studied a Bachelor of Physical Education majoring in Exercise Prescription and Management.  I took a few marketing papers at the same time (a gentle nudge from my Dad to balance out the ‘sports enthusiast’ in me) and I was hooked. I ended up completing a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Marketing Management and later studied Sport Business Management at Massey University.

I’m now a Soda BOOST client working on my startup ‘MumaBoost’.  With four children of my own, I’m well aware of the toll pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and childrearing takes on the human body and the recovery required to stay in peak condition. MumaBoost addresses this problem.

What are you looking forward to getting out of this process with Soda and each other as mentor or startup?

I have been working on MumaBoost since mid 2016, so it’s exciting to finally start the commercialisation process with Leigh who is experienced in commercialising natural health products.  I’m looking forward to learning more about this process and working together to make MumaBoost a commercial reality.

As a Soda LIFT graduate I know that Soda Inc. provide the services and support required to help founders take their ideas to market. Having the chance to continue as a Soda BOOST client is an opportunity that I value because of their  ‘walk the talk’ and ‘skin in the game’ approach.

Tell me something not everyone knows about you?

Before ‘MumaBoost’ my husband, Tim, and I founded Stewart Brewing Co.; a craft brewing company based in the Manawatu. We started out contract brewing at Massey University’s Microbrewery before we expanded the business by contract brewing at Tuatara in Kapiti. It required the independent distribution of our craft beer nationwide and numerous events. What most people don’t know is that this company was run out of our son’s bedroom, which doubled as our office, and from the family PC.  I didn’t have a laptop, iPad, or smart phone at the time and spent most nights in the dark in front of that PC (luckily, I know how to touch type)! Our four kids were aged between two and 10 at the time. I worked when they slept, went to school and in the evenings. Tim was also working full time on our family farm.

Looking back, we had every excuse not to start a business, but I’m a firm believer that in life the conditions will never be perfect. What I learnt is that you can start and run a successful business with very little, and in seasons of your life when it looks impossible. It also gave me an insight into how valuable flexible and remote working options are for mothers and what can be achieved outside the constraints of the traditional nine to five office conditions.

Leigh Kite:

What got you into your line of work and how did you end up where you are?

A corporate career spanning 30+ years in the health & beauty industries – over half of which have been spent in the natural sector and with NZ brands looking to expand internationally (including Comvita & Artemis), combined with cofounding my own business and learning first-hand what that takes, has fed my desire to use my networks and knowledge to help startups and SME’s looking to grow and expand domestically and internationally – especially, but not exclusively in the growing natural health & beauty sectors.

What are you looking forward to getting out of this process with Soda and each other as mentor or startup?

As a mentor, I’m really excited about being able to use the SODA framework to share my years of knowledge with Simone to help her meet her business goals. She is a founder with a deep passion to help women with their health which aligns with my own passion. Helping Simone be successful with her business ultimately benefits a whole lot of women in NZ (and eventually globally) – so a double win for me.

Tell me something not everyone knows about you?

I was once mistaken for Glenn Close when shopping in a Givenchy (back in the day when I was Marketing Manager for Givenchy in NZ) boutique in Paris. I confessed I wasn’t but in hindsight maybe should have played along to see what benefits would have accrued!