Kate Weiss had a vision to create a life and a business to impact the lives of Australian families – to nourish them to a better body, mind and soul, while giving back to the community through supporting people with a disability.
Table of Plenty was born out of a unique blend of hardship and idealism. Kate, together with husband Tal, founded the brand in the hope that other families could benefit from her philosophy of integrated living, which she calls a 'Life of Plenty'. Kate wanted people to understand you can
nourish yourself from the inside out with her healthy and delicious food, while demonstrating that it can also be medicine in so many ways.
From adversity comes strength. Kate was faced with enormous challenges when her daughter Amy was born prematurely with a then-undiagnosed genetic syndrome. While most people would crumble under such stressful circumstances, Kate sought opportunity. Although caring for a newborn along with additional doctor and specialist appointments was hard, she started to think about what the future might hold.
"I wanted to channel my energy into something more than inside the home, and I thought building a business might be a stimulating outlet for my creativity, along with the flexibility I needed," she says.
Kate and Tal founded Table of Plenty in 2006 to construct a space in the marketplace for nutritious food that her family and others could depend on to be healthy, tasty and accessible, even when they were in a hurry. The company enabled Kate to carve out a career for herself while caring for her daughter and nurturing her inner-foodie and creativity.
"My vision was to create food products that would suit other busy mothers and families who want to put healthy, good-quality food on the table," Kate says.
Her love for health food and wellbeing became the medium through which she could enrich the lives of other families, she says.
"I wanted to create a company that would both nourish and inspire others," she says. "Transforming people through healthy food and a plentiful mindset has been the motivation from the start."
From grinding nuts, seeds and spices in her Melbourne kitchen to now running an international wellbeing company, Kate has learned on the job and put her heart into all that she does. She has also done it all with a conscious effort to help others – Table of Plenty is an active champion of the disabled community through its donations and has created hundreds of thousands of hours of work for people with a disability over the years.
"We wanted to provide a platform that could sustain Amy financially throughout her life and help us support organisations that assist people long-term with disabilities. It's a major motivation and part of that is making sure people with a disability in Australia have better options available to them," Kate says.
Kate's successful endeavours as a socially-conscious food entrepreneur has seen her launch multiple product ranges with major retailers Coles and Woolworths, and supply to big names such as Qantas. Table of Plenty has a turnover of more than $10 million.
Kate has also won prestigious business awards such as the National Winner of Telstra Business Women's Awards and InStyle Business Awards.
Beginning with dukkah, the Table of Plenty range now also includes Probiotic Kefir, mueslis and porridges and snacking rice cakes.
Today, Kate's mission is to maintain the integrity and vision of Table of Plenty and grow the community contribution, while continuing to expand the range – all with a good work-life balance. "When I started Table of Plenty, I wanted to make sure that whatever I was doing with my life
would align with my natural inclination. It needed to be something I loved where I could be creative … to me that means helping people achieve health and wellbeing," she says.
Table of Plenty can be purchased at Coles, Woolworths, independent supermarkets, petrol stations, convenience stores and more. For further information, visit www.tableofplenty.com.au.
Review: You know you're on a winner when you have to hide the snacks so they last more than a day! Record time, gone in 30 seconds of adding to the cupboard. Having been a huge fan of Table of Plenty Mini Rice Cakes Pure Dark Chocolate for many years now as my healthy alternative and treat for my sweet tooth, I was excited to try the 2 new savoury options; Tomato & Sweek Basil, Rosemary and Sea Salt and they didn't dissappoint! I love them both, yum! It's so nice to have healthy snacks readily available to save us from ourselves!
But to my surprise the delicousness didn't stop there.... Table of Plenty have a new Porridge and Museli range which is not only a great start to your day (filling you up in the right way), they taste amazing. With 8 varieties in the range, try them all, but good luck trying to pick a favourite as they are all too good. I dare you to choose just 1...
Immunity + Porridge: Ginger, Honey & Coconut
Protein + Porridge: Chocolate & Coconut
Probiotic + Muesli: Toasted Coconut & Banana
Balance + Muesli: Toasted Almonds, Seeds & Silky Vanilla
Nicely Nutty Clusters: Fruit free & Crunchy with Almond, Cashews, Seeds and Vanilla
Nicely Nutty: Crunchy Fruit Free Nutty Muesli
Velvety Vanilla: Macadamia, Cranberry & Coconut Muesli
Untoasted: Natural Pink Lady Apple & Almond Muesli
How hard has it been to juggle the creation of your business with supporting your family?
Kate Weiss: Well – it has been hard for sure!!
Some people said we were crazy to start a business in our circumstances. We became both parents and carers overnight with the birth of our daughter Amy, who has an intellectual disability and rare genetic disorder, so this is something that is ongoing, every day. Amy is now 19 and needs support with the basics of self-care, dressing, bathing, eating etc. We call her our eternal child. We also had no family support since our families are overseas and then we also had Ethan, so it has been a huge juggle to give both the family and the business what they need. On the other hand, one of the key motivations behind the brand was to build financial security for Amy's future as she needs that for the rest of her life, so our reasons have been clear from the beginning.
Like anything it has been work in progress. We started from home for the first few years, which makes it easier to multi-task. I think many people are discovering what this feels like – juggling work and home since the COVID work from home transition. It certainly has its benefits and makes it easy to be flexible. However, business Kate and mummy Kate are very different roles and like oil and water, they don't mix well. It is a different mindset, so learning how to change gear smoothly between the two personas has been a personal development exercise. As we have established I have also got more help. First it was a cleaner and now with the introduction of the NDIS we have much more help with the care of Amy.
What advice can you give entrepreneurial mums?
Kate Weiss: Entrepreneurship is not for everyone but if it is for you then you are in for a great ride. If you are bootstrapping like we did at the beginning you will need lots of these qualities - courage, vision, stamina and the ability to manage multiple roles from finance and operations to product development, sales and marketing. It is good to know yourself well, so you can hire the right people to help plug your weaker points as you grow. Get a group of like-minded other business mums around you for support. This can really help too.
However, the flexibility of starting from home with a young family can't be underestimated. I loved Ethan's first year as I was working and he was crawling around and 'helping'. It was special.
How important is it to link your passion to your business?
Kate Weiss: One of the most important things in any business is your why. The bigger the why the more motivation you can draw from it. We had three motivations that were the origin of our business which I think have been key to our success.
There are three energies that keep our business going and have been part of it since day one.
How can food be used as medicine?
Kate Weiss: The human system is the most marvellous and miraculous thing. Our bodies are finely tuned and constantly making sure that our temperature is correct, acid levels in the blood are correct and a million other things.
However, our diet can put pressure on this, so what we eat is important. It is more about not getting in the way of what is already there. There are so many things that could be said about this.
Our gut health is a good example. The gut has a huge impact on our immunity and even our mental health. Consuming fermented foods such as our natural kefir or kimchi, sauerkraut etc. populates the gut with good bacteria and when paired with prebiotic fibres found in wholegrains, flours, like our green banana flour, legumes etc. creates a healthy microbiome.
It is just as important to limit what allows bad bacteria to proliferate such as lots of sugar and white flour (highly refined starches) and too much bad fat.
How important is it to nourish your body from the inside out?
Kate Weiss: In our life philosophy, nourishment is not just about the body. The body is a platform as it allows us to truly enjoy and live life. Nourishment comes from the foods we eat of course, but our emotional and mental nourishment is just as important, if not more so. This is a huge topic that has so many impacts on our lives.
A simple example is if we eat while stressed and anxious and on the go we will not be able to digest so well, or while absent mindedly watching random youTube videos. There is much wisdom in sitting at a table with friends and family while we eat. The body relaxes and switches out of that always on state. We connect socially to others which feeds us emotionally and mentally if it is a stimulating conversation. This connection and slowing down is healing and nourishing on many levels and at the same time allows our bodies to digest better.
Just as we breathe in and out all day, being active and then having quieter time are key to our well-being.
Why is it so important to you that Table of Plenty supports and creates employment for people with disability?
Kate Weiss: We have a saying in Table of Plenty: Good food is the foundation for a healthy life and giving back is the foundation for a fulfilling life.
Clearly having Amy opened our eyes to the world of disability and we have met so many wonderful people during this journey. We want there to be good opportunities available for all.
What's next for you and Table of Plenty?
Kate Weiss: We still feel very young and there is a lot ahead of us that we can do and want to do. There is lots to be done to continue to fulfill on our mission to bring healthier alternatives to the Australian people. Our philosophy is not one of cutting out whole food groups, but providing healthy, tasty and better for you options. We have many new products in the pipeline.
We also see market opportunities in other channels and in increasing our distribution and customer base beyond Australia.
Support Kate and her vision at www.tableofplenty.com.au