Insight: Interview with Zoë Lind van't Hof
Lady-boss and founder of Wunder Workshop and Boobs’ Essential
I write this week’s introduction at a time of reading Stephen R. Covey’s ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ and was struck how, upon reading Zoë’s responses to my questions that her enviable success so far is largely down to her demonstrating such a strong character ethic.
Her professional resilience and hard-work ethic as an entrepreneur, having decided to create, not one but two, start-ups of her own, offering delicious turmeric-based products under the Wunder Workshop brand whilst also encouraging breast awareness in women through her Boobs’ Essential oils range, Zoë’ is evidently driven by a conscientious soul with wholesome intentions.
In a society that all too often rewards the superficial, hung-up on social image, valuing style over substance, and buying into quick fixes, this week’s insights into Zoë’s basic principles of effective living are both refreshing and inspiring. Most important of all, Zoë is clear evidence that creating a life based upon traditional values can result in tremendous success and, for the most part, happiness.
I met Zoë, ‘back in the day’ (seems scarily so long ago now) as undergraduates at The University of Manchester. Our paths have only ever crossed on a handful of occasions but she is a soul that often inspires me and so I hope that you too will find seeds of inspiration and hope within the words that follow.
Put the kettle on, ideally reach for some of Wunder Workshop’s beautiful turmeric tea (blatant plug on my part, but it’s my favourite of all the WW products I’ve tried so far!) and curl up with this week’s ‘Insights : an interview with…’
In three words, who is Zoë LVH?
Positive, energetic and inquisitive.
Born in Australia to a Russian/English father and a Dutch mother who raised you in Germany, moving to the UK as a young woman to study in Manchester and now living in London, which nationality do you identify most with?
That is a very difficult question, and I usually freak out a little when someone asks me where I am from, as I don’t really feel part of just one country.
I would say that I feel very comfortable speaking German, feel most connected to Dutch humour, and feel like my body thrives most in the warm Australian climate. London is this exciting place that I will stay in for maybe another couple of years before it is time to move on again.
Do you consider yourself to be a creative? If so, how do you like to express this?
I think I am creative, at least in the way that I formulate new ideas, the ways in which I think, and create solutions in relation to my business.
I really wish that I were more creative in terms of creating art, pottery, or sculpting. Artistically, I love taking photographs of architecture and often spend time decorating rooms and houses in my mind. Every day, before I fall asleep or whilst travelling, I’ll be lost in imaginative thought within some dream interior project or design.
INSPIRATION & POSITIVITY
Where do you go to re-energize?
I try and visit Arundel, England, a couple of times a year on my own. It’s a truly special place close to my heart, where I walk for hours through the beautiful downs followed by scones at what used to be my mum’s favourite old tea house. I always feel refreshed and happy after being there.
Do you have a mantra or affirmation?
I remind myself in moments of stress and fear that ‘this too shall pass’. It’s a very simple sentence that has such a calming effect on me.
You obviously have a love of all things turmeric! I understand that this originated from a trip taken with your mother to Sri Lanka in 2014. People are visited by ideas all the time, and even the good ones often go ignored, so what made the ‘golden mylk’ idea stick with you? What did it feel like the moment this idea arrived?
I sometimes try to remember the moment I decided ‘this is it’ but I cannot recall it specifically. I think that there was a gradual shift happening in my life and I just simply felt that this was the idea to go ahead with. I had many, many ideas before I ventured into the world of turmeric-based products, and I believe they must have not meant to be, as I never put hours of sweat and tears into them as I have with my current brand.
You are a pretty well travelled soul, have you picked up any wellbeing tips along your journey?
I always carry a big chunk of ginger with me when flying; its fieriness unblocks your sinuses and helps you to sleep better.
Turmeric boasts some seriously powerful health properties, which is the one that excites you the most?
Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory powers strike me as the most important.
We all tend to struggle with some form of inflammation in our bodies, whether it is from our lifestyle choices or due to stress and living in a polluted city like London. Many diseases stem from chronic inflammation in our bodies, so I find it very important to take turmeric daily in order to invest in my long-term health and minimise any unnecessary inflammation.
Where’s your favourite place to practice yoga?
Ideally near a beach to inhale the beautiful fresh air and to hear the sounds of nature. Since that is a bit unrealistic in London I am also happy in my sunlight filled bedroom.
What drew you to yoga initially?
My mother used to do yoga every morning before she took me to school so I was always aware of it. I would just watch her and it wasn’t until later in my teens that I started doing yoga myself. I also spent a lot of time discovering different practices whilst studying at university.
At the moment, I am far more drawn to sound baths and meditation, which doesn’t obviously involve any physical movement but I find that I am able to enter a deeper place of inner peacefulness.
Do you have a favourite asana?
I love pigeon pose, it just opens up my entire body.
Is there any place that is a ‘must-see’ for you during this life?
Afghanistan’s beautiful mountain ranges and Socotra (an island in the Yemen archipelago) are very high on my list.
Where's your happy place?
Pittwater, Australia. I love the sunset, the smell of the salty sea breeze, the sound of all the crazy birds and the warm temperature.
If I were to visit you in Australia where are the first three places you’d take me?
I would take you to Palm Beach (north of Sydney), we'd walk to the Boathouse for brunch, followed by a ferry ride to the other side of Pittwater for a picnic in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
Does darkness ever knock at your door? If so, in what way and what do you do to remain positive?
Yes, especially during the last few weeks. I have been feeling very low, something I luckily only experienced last in August last year, so thankfully not that often. Instead of fighting it, I decide to allow myself to hibernate and know that all things will pass, and that maybe this is just a time that I need to grow and develop.
As cliché as it may sound but after the rain comes sunshine and I am using this time to contemplate whether I am content with all my current life choices. I am usually very happy and buzzing, but if I suddenly feel low I know I need to listen to my body and just be.
What do you consider to be your biggest insecurity?
The perception that some people have of me. I look younger than I am, and it doesn’t help that I am small, blonde, often dressed casually and usually smiling. I feel people, especially older generations, who first meet me often don’t take me seriously. Some people call me a “cutey”, which I find to be very patronising and undermining of what I have already achieved and experienced in life.
DREAMS & LOVE
What are your dreams?
I want to create beautiful spaces and love sharing nurturing food with loved ones. I also dream of sitting on a hill watching tropical birds fly from tree to tree in lush, green rainforest.
What’s your favourite thing about you?
Being able to be happy in the now.
What is your greatest love in life (aside from a person)?
Dancing to good music.
What’s your favourite smell?
Which of your products do you love the most and why?
Apart from my Turmeric Chai Blend, which I have, every evening, I also love using my Boobs’ Essential oils. I created it together with my late mother and it gives me a moment of stillness and self-awareness. In this moment I feel grateful for all the wisdom and love I received from my mother.
Are you learning to do anything right now?
I have recently been introduced to the enneagram and have become fascinated by it. I’ve ordered a number of books on this complex system, which seeks to help us understand our own personality and inner workings.
What book are you currently reading?
‘On the Shortness of Life’ by Seneca
What cause is closest to your heart?
Aside from the effects of diet and lifestyle on our health, another topic close to my heart, and a cause that I have actively sought to support for the last 13 years, has been the elimination of human and sex trafficking.
I focused on this issue during school projects and whilst at university and have since been in touch with inspiring street-workers in several eastern European countries. I still want to work on creating awareness of this devastating movement that is taking place around us constantly.
Is there a product or service that you purchase on the grounds of sustainability or something that when purchased/consumed makes you feel as though you have made a ‘good’ choice and/or been proactive in supporting a community?
I really try and do this with every purchase. I avoid, as much as possible, going to supermarkets and prefer to buy everything from local producers or small businesses. I love getting my fruit and vegetables from Riverford farm. I love how their produce is still covered in mud when I receive an order and knowing my whole-foods come from beautiful organic farms.
Meeting the owners of small, passionate businesses who seek to change the status quo inspires me to support their brands and purchase their products. Some of my favourites are: Greenscents organic cleaning products, raw chocolates from Well & Happy, and bircher muesli from Liebes. The list goes on and I love buying my bread fresh from a local baker.
In terms of clothing, I prefer to buy second hand too. All in all, I aspire to be a conscious consumer wherever I can.
Go Zoë! What an inspiring, strong, wunder woman! Thank you for sharing your dreams, wisdom, vulnerability and honesty with us.
Have more questions for Zoë or know of someone inspiring that you would like to feature in my weekly 'Insights' interviews? Post in the comments below.