She had an itch. She wanted to create something “hers”. Something that was tangible and ideally, aligned with her passion – wellness and nutrition. Unlike many other entrepreneurs, she did not have the idea and then decided to create a business. In fact, she turned the creative process upside down. She found her industry, then her partners and only after her product. So far, the launch of Tarwi was a success. Come and meet Catarina Gorgulho with me, to talk about food that makes you feel good, and so much more.
A Passion for Wellness
Catarina was long passionate about wellness. Whilst she does not want to create stereotypes, she does fit the profile with healthy routines and early morning workouts. I did not dare to share my flaky yoga practice of late, that I keep solely with the purpose of maintaining this habit, at no real immediate pleasure but recognisable long term benefits. But back to her!
When she was faced with a complicated pregnancy, Catarina had to stay home earlier than expected and took a pause in her career before her maternity leave even began. She made the choice of taking this moment as a blessing, an opportunity to find herself. She took her certification as a PT then.
“She did what?”You, with an incredulous face
Yes, I had that question too. In fact, she did the second part of her already started PT course, which was about books, muscles and movement. But it is still ironic that she finished it then!
During her leave, Catarina decided to test out what it was to be a PT and encountered a problem in the industry. Spoiler alert: you won’t be surprised. Most people wanted to lose weight, and there was no balance with what really made them feel good. She decided this was not the place for her and went back to Finance. Makes sense right?
From Finance to Tarwi and Lupin Beans
As she went back, she knew she had to leave. The wellness industry was booming and she was now more passionate than ever. That is when the pieces of the puzzle started aligning. She met her friend Alice in Portugal, a trained nutritionist but more widely known as a digital influencer. She yearned to create her own brand in the food and wellness space. The chemistry started.
Back in London, she met her other friend Pedro, who happened to have a deep personal and professional interest in the same space. So they brainstormed about what the right product would be. And then they found what was always right there – Lupin Beans (tremoço in Portugal). A bean mostly known in some European countries because it goes along well with beer, and served for free in cafes everywhere. How could this small snack be an amazing source of protein, calorie friendly, packed with fibre AND good to the earth? Just like a magic bean.
And then there was Covid…
Catarina jumped ship in January 2020, ready to be in business by the late Summer. What she did not count on was the small detail of a global pandemic. Even so, the stars continued to align. She still managed to go to a trade fair where she identified all her supply chain suppliers before everything went on lockdown. And even though some may not have found them credible to start with, they did find their way to establishing production. No doubt a few months later than planned, but still very much within the goal of launching. On that, we get some advice from Catarina:
Whilst the pandemic delayed the business, the family life had a new shape as well. Catarina enjoyed the silence it brought to her (I do admit there was never any silence in my house during lockdown). They also found ways to be stronger together as a family. Confined to a space that fulfilled all purposes – home, office, gym and playground – they worked as a team and came out stronger on the other side.
The epic launch
In late January, Tarwi ventured into the world with a campaign made for people, by people. They asked their growing audience to share how food affected them positively in 2020. After all, this was the most important thing for the team. That food had a positive impact on you. The campaign was a hit and the brand went from zero to 20 thousand in weeks. In fact, they are getting close to 30 thousand Instagram fans despite all the limitations they are facing. And if you think these are just fans and not buyers, think again. They have been stocked out twice even if they were not able to do the UK launch as planned given Brexit restrictions.
But the team did not throw in the towel in the face of more challenges. The UK market and other products with Lupin Beans are around the corner. I still need to get my hands on some! When I did my first ever (yes ever) functional nutrition appointment recently, I was told I had to have protein in every meal, even if I wanted to avoid animal protein. They gave me a long list of foods – Lupin beans did not feature there, I need to send them a sample!
What’s next in the cards
Catarina is passionate about nutrition. Tarwi has made it its purpose to normalise access to healthier foods by creating high-quality products that are full of natural flavour, convenient and easy to understand. They are just getting started in this revolution. A revolution with a purpose. Because at the core, they are authentically human.
Before we go…
- 2020 Advice: Trust yourself
- 2020 Lesson: Letting go of expectations
- 2020 Challenge: Facing my fears and my insecurities
- Book for 2021: Daring Greatly, Brene Brown. The Infinite Game, Simon Sinek
- Word for 2021: Be Brave
Connect with us
- Meet Catarina on Linkedin and follow Tarwi on Instagram
- Join our Make Space for Growth free community online and on Facebook
- Follow me on Linkedin, Instagram or Twitter
Produced by Alice Stansfield