SoulBia is the home of Irish Artisan and Free-From food, and our Irish sponsor for the Health Blog Awards.
We offer what we believe Is “Food for the Soul” we take the best Irish products and put them in one location so they are accessible to everyone.
It really is that easy. We have more than 150 different products, ranging from gluten-free and raw foods to premium artisan foods, from kimchi and kombucha. Most importantly, they all taste delicious, I truly think that our tasting sessions are the best part of our job.”
Where did the idea for SoulBia come from?
SoulBia was born through frustration, with a background in the food industry I felt that something was missing. Food-related health issues were on the rise and with growing concerns about the origin and nutritional value of food I knew something had to change. I needed to make local, honest-to-goodness food accessible to everyone.
I set out to visit farmers markets and other venues across the country and spoke to vendors. Once I fully realised the extent of how many fantastic producers with great tasting products were available that I had never heard of I knew that people had to know, people needed to hear about these brands, taste these brands and support these brands.
Our producers are so inspiring.
Their businesses often result from their lifestyles, people who became producers after spotting a gap in the market from not being able to meet their own needs as consumers, or others who have been diagnosed with coeliac disease.
It’s a pleasure to hear what they have achieved and troubling to hear the obstacles they face trying to break into the larger stores. This is why SoulBia was born.
We lend ourselves to both small producers and customers by finding and distributing these amazing products to more people.
What does being ‘healthy’ mean to you?
To me, a healthy lifestyle encompasses physical, mental and social well-being. It means eating (and enjoying!) a balanced diet of nutritious, unprocessed, locally sourced food. It means feeling fit, confident and happy. Healthy people are often healthy not by chance, but because they make positive choices and find the right balance for their lifestyles. Few of us eat just fruit and veg 24/7 so at SoulBia we are all for enjoying a slice of cake now and then, if that’s what your “food for the soul” needs.
How do you decide which brands to stock in your shop?
Sourcing and supporting local is at the heart of SoulBia. Our supply partners come from every corner of the country, North, South, East and West, but they all have one thing in common – a creative passion for great food and great ingredients.
As a business, what has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?
No woman is an Island. It’s easy to get dragged down by the day, today running of any business but I have been extremely fortunate to gather a fantastic team around SoulBia, as SoulBia has grown so has her team.
From small seeds grow great Oaks, every member of our team has the same passion for SoulBia as I have and they believe that by nourishing our business we can make a change to people’s lives on many levels.
I am very blessed to have each and everyone of them as is SoulBia.
How much trial and error is involved in finding suitable supply partners?
We’re a food business, so the product has to taste great, and presentation is also very important. Once those tests are passed, it’s down to working relationships. So far, we’ve been very lucky in this regard. We deal with so many suppliers and they have such a variety of operating practices, but we have the same goals at the end of the day, so it works.
How do you work with bloggers to grow brand awareness?
It takes time to grow a successful brand and we employ several channels to increase our brand awareness. Peer-to-peer recommendations are a powerful tool and bloggers offer a unique opportunity to showcase our products directly to our target audience.
We work with talented local bloggers who share our passion for great Irish food.
They often contact us with an interest in trying a particular product, which they review independently and share feedback with their followers. The bloggers we work with have established a relationship with their readers, as we have with our customers, based on honesty and a love of great food. We are always happy to work with relevant bloggers who share this passion.
What is next for SoulBia?
We really want to focus on expanding our range of Artisan and Free-From food. We can’t wait to introduce you to the many more great producers that we will be making available to you over the next few months. We love letting you know through our newsletters what’s going on weekly at SoulBia.com and we have exciting news coming up with our lifestyle brands [U2] ….
We recently opened our first physical store in Newry, Co. Down. The response has been fantastic so far and we love seeing people’s reaction when they walk into our little hidden gem, getting to meet our customers and chat with them about our products is truly fulfilling. We are proud to support our producers in this way.
Do you have a quote or mantra that perfectly sums up the ethos of the company?
That’s easy: Small Steps, Big Dreams.
Get a chance to meet SoulBia at our Health Blog Awards Ceremony