Founders, Zoe Lind Van't Hof and Tom Smale’s dedication to organic, ethically-sourced ingredients and widespread focus on sustainability is far from jumping on the latest wellness trend, but rather steeped in her values and way of life, with a future vision for a circular business captured wholly in one of their taglines, “purposeful plants for people and the planet”. Here, Zoe tells us more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wunder Workshop and her way of life.
Zoe and Tom base their business and lifestyle in favor of Ayurveda – an ancient, holistic healing method that supports disease prevention and long-term good health. It’s a practice that values healthy daily routines in mind, body, and spirit (and you can glimpse into Zoe’s routines in our interview below). Even Wunder Workshop’s headquarters in London are powered by 100% green energy!
Zoe tells us how her roots and environment growing up played a role in her plant-based business, why she champions biodiversity, and what makes Wunder Workshop’s ingredients unique.
Where did your story begin?
“My biggest inspiration to start Wunder Workshop was my late mother, who had been deeply passionate about health and wellbeing since her early twenties, so by the time I was born, she had nearly 20 years of experience.
“This meant I was surrounded by interesting books about traditional medicine, the power of plants, and how to create all kinds of natural remedies from an early age.
I grew up eating organic and locally sourced vegetarian food. We grew many of our own vegetables and herbs and we used to go to very down-to-earth Ayurvedic health retreats in Sri Lanka.
“After dabbling in different career paths (from politics to interior design), I realized that my true purpose lay in what was around me all my life: health and plants. This is when I decided to go back to Sri Lanka and find an organic farm that uses sustainable and ethical farming techniques with whom I could work together to bring some of their incredible plant knowledge in the form of herbs and spices back to London and started Wunder Workshop – focusing on turmeric and consumption with purpose.”
What is at the core of Wunder Workshop?
“Wunder Workshop is an extension of my lifestyle, so as a conscious citizen I have instilled all my personal values into the business; the main ones being trust and transparency.
“From my curiosity, I always wanted to know and understand the origin of things, so that is our number one priority – knowing where our main ingredients are from, plus the health of the environment and the farmers who grow these ingredients.
“Our mission is therefore to create a circular and holistic business that supports biodiversity, soil health, and gives back to the farming communities, whilst educating people about the health benefits of these ancient plants and remedies and valuing traditional wisdom.”
What is “Consumption With Purpose”?
“As business owners, we want to embody our purpose with our daily choices which we encompass within our business. But purpose relates to more than just our personal values; it’s also about the ingredients and how they support a bigger purpose of creating healthy soil by supporting those farmers who farm most sustainably. Lastly, the purpose of the ingredients for our human body, the health they offer, and honoring their wisdom.”
Why do you think Ayurveda is still considered an alternative medicine?
“I guess it depends on who you ask. In the west, it is portrayed as an alternative to western medicine. But it has been around far longer than what we consider western medicine. Some say it was the origin of all medicine, followed by Traditional Chinese Medicine, and I genuinely believe the west still has so much to learn from Ayurveda. The main thing is that we need to see our health as an interconnection of body, mind, and environment.”
What is a myth that you would like to bust in the wellness industry?
“The focus on ‘trends’ in the wellness industry is something I struggle with. Plants, herbal medicine, spices, and cultures are not a trend. Yet, when we launched our turmeric products in 2014, people said we were “ahead of the trend”. Sadly, the fact that these herbs and spices have been celebrated in Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and western herbalism for centuries was largely ignored by much of the press.
“I believe these herbal helpers are beautiful additions to our daily routines; a preventative and long-term investment into our health. I wish we would be more mindful and just explore what sits right with us and feels good for our bodies and stick with that.”
“We need to see our health as an interconnection of body, mind, and environment”.