The Nutritionnaire – Behind the Business with Seanna Thomas
Anyone with kids knows how hard it can be to get them to eat properly. Between rushed breakfasts, school lunches left half eaten (“I was busy playing!”) and having to fit dinner in between sports and activities, modern mealtimes can be stressful.
Seanna Thomas recognized that with a little guidance, families can make a big difference to their eating habits, and so she started offering that guidance as The Nutritionnaire. We interviewed Seanna and spoke of her inspiration for starting the business, what it takes to make it successful and what the future might hold.
So tell us about your business. What is The Nutritionnaire?
I am a Holistic Nutritionist, focused on kids and families. I teach cooking classes and lessons to children of all ages as well as families where everyone can learn to cook a meal together. I love to bring kids into the kitchen and show their parents what they can do! It doesn’t matter the age, kids can always help with a recipe whether it’s stirring, measuring, reading the recipe, or making an entire dinner. Kids will always surprise you-you just need to let them crack a few eggs first. I love to do corporate lunch and learn sessions because families are everywhere! One hour at lunch can change a person’s entire diet.
A major part of my business is blogging and writing articles for various health, wellness and family publications, both online and in print. I’m almost as passionate writing about food as I am making food! On top of all that, I also do in-house nutrition for various businesses in the GTA, providing healthy food so they can concentrate on what they do best.
What made you choose this path? How did you get into nutrition?
I was working for a major corporation in downtown Toronto and I found myself scanning through recipe websites whenever I had a spare moment. I would take note of certain recipes and try to tweak them at home to make them healthier or add my own twist. One day, the lightbulb went off and I realized: “Why am I not doing this for a living?” and I found the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. I immediately signed up and the rest is history!
They say that to be successful, you have to be passionate. Why do you love what you do?
I absolutely love what I do. Not only do I love food because it’s literally what fuels us each and every day, but I love WRITING about food, sharing food, taking pictures of food…honestly-it’s so much fun! For me, being stuck in the kitchen all day is like a day at the spa. It’s relaxing and I walk out happier than I walked in, I love creating-whether it’s recipes, blog posts, food hacks…now if I could just hire someone to do all the dishes…
Has it been all smooth sailing or have you had to overcome adversity to get where you are?
There are definitely bumps in the road! My husband is in the military and we were living in a small town for eight years. It was hard to start a business out there and that’s when I started focusing more on writing. Now that we’re back in the GTA, I’m able to network and collaborate with so many local businesses as well as continue writing from home. It’s a dream come true.
We all know that crazy happens. What’s the wildest thing that’s happened on the job?
The wildest thing that’s happened on the job? Sometimes recipes just don’t turn out and you’re left with a complete mess and have to start all over again. But that’s how recipe development works! If it didn’t work well the first time, there’s no way I’m going to promote that recipe to my followers. They want meals that are delicious, fast and that WORK. As for my writing, people can be pretty brutal online. Someone once called me a “quack” for saying arsenic was poison. You can’t make everyone happy, I guess! But of all the fails and flops, there are more successes and that is where I concentrate my time. My clients are getting healthier, happier, losing weight, gaining energy, and I’m getting families back in the kitchen together-that’s what counts.
What do you do with your time off? Are you familiar with the concept?
Haha! Time off is difficult when you’re running a business! I have three kids aged 7, 5, and 4, and they won’t let me work all day and all night-especially in the summertime. So I swim with them and go for bike rides. We stay active and play together as a family. And of course, spend time together in the kitchen.
This is the age of the social network. How important is social media to your business?
As a blogger, social media is necessary. Sometimes I wish I could turn it off, just for a day, but I know it’s a constant monster. I love the freedom of working from home, and occasionally curse the fact that I need to be constantly updating and sharing. But creating content is something I love to do, so it doesn’t feel like a chore!
Are you involved in your community? What does supporting local mean to you?
Supporting local is everything to me. We’re talking about food here! Local food is my bread and butter (literally and figuratively) so there is nothing better! During the months of May-October, I can’t pass a farmer’s market or vegetable stand at the side of the road without stopping to buy a few (too many) items. I love how passionate farmers are about their produce and I know they work hard-they deserve all of our attention…and our money! Local food is full of more nutrients and flavor-it’s always best to buy and support local.
What does the future look like for you and the business?
I’m hoping the future looks busy! I’m going to expand my website to offer online programs plus I would love to work with more kids and families. I love doing in-house nutrition and speaking to people about health and food. I especially love talking to parents about school lunches and fast family meals because, as a Mom myself, I know it can be difficult to stay on track. With three kids in hockey, dinner in the car happens a lot.
Any advice for business owners just starting out?
My advice would be to JUST START. If you are passionate, just get out there, come up with a plan, and start doing what you love. Find like-minded people, ask their advice, and plug away. If you don’t have a plan B, you don’t have anything else to do but work hard and get the job done.