Sharna McElligott



I am super excited to have the second instalment of BABE VIBES for you today. BABE VIBES is a bi-weekly interview series where I chat with bad ass babes doing awesome things. Today's guest is a babe who is running her own cafe. And I'll be honest, a big inspiration of mine. Sharna of The Nourished Eatery.

I first heard of Sharna via her instagram The Nourishing Baker. This was pre-cafe time. I found out that she would be selling cakes at a night market in Auckland. So I went along and walked away with two cakes, pictured first below. And they were delicious! I was an instant fan. Later she moved down to Tauranga and opened up her first cafe. With a little persuasion I convinced Luke to do a roadtrip. And we set off to visit Sharna's Eatery. We ate burgers, cookies (!!!) and pizza. All vegan of course. And I was so freakin happy. I was a bit of a fan girl and very shy haha. Since then the cafe has moved into shiny new premises (which I am yet to visit. believe me I will). There is also talks of one day opening an Auckland based eatery. I am more than excited. Sharna has come such a long way and has an amazing vibe about her. So kind hearted and authentic. She's one of those people who are like light. Those are my favourite kinds of people.


Tell us a little bit about who you are and what The Nourishing Eatery is

Im Sharna, 24, Im from Invercargill however left when I was 18 to work in Sydney as a travel agent. I worked doing that for a few years then decided I wanted to try something new, I dabbled in a few jobs before falling in love with nutrition. Like really feel in love. I made a Instagram and starting sharing my recipes, fitness photos etc and then eventually  started studying nutritional medicine at a college in Sydney. I decided to write an Ebook which I named "The nourishing baker" which is where I got my name from. Fast forward a few years, I was overworking, overdoing life, feel really ill and was diagnosed with M.E/CFS, so I moved back to NZ, tried to get better (but there is no cure so wasn't really happening) decided I should start my own business seeing as I could probably never work full time for anyone else, I started selling cakes off instagram and suddenly ran out of kitchen space.

How did you go about starting a café?

I kinda just fell into it, I started selling the cakes at the markets and ran out of the kitchen space pretty soon. I was still mostly bed bound by this stage, my partner actually drove from Tauranga to auckland one night because I have stuffed a major order for a cafe up and I was in tears on the phone to him, my job meant as much to him as it did to me. He wanted to see me have my own cafe so between him, me and our dads we made that happen. They built the cafe for me! 

What was the motivation behind opening The Nourished Eatery?

I just really wanted to create a space that helped me with my health and those that suffer also, I had based the first menu all about chronic illness with so many powerful super foods in the drinks and teas. I wanted a space people could come and feel like they were at home, a nice vibe, friendly staff, food that was exciting and something different. 

 Image of Sharna via  Style Jungle

Image of Sharna via Style Jungle

What is the biggest lesson you have learnt through The Nourished Eatery?

I learn so much every week: you can never make everyone happy, you cannot do everything yourself, you must learn how to let others help and take charge. Negative reviews online are one persons opinion. Tomorrow will always be better. Oh and always check systems are in place, because you never know when you WONT be able to go to work, I had an awful car crash a month or so in and couldn't work for a few days so making sure systems staff can follow really do make or break a business. 

You started off selling at markets, how did you find the transition from market to brick and mortar?

I got too busy for markets. I'd sell out so quickly so in my mind I thought..."why don't I just open a cafe" so I just did it. I always tell people to JUST DO IT, otherwise someone else will. Life is way to short to put your plans off. Last year showed me a few times that my life could of ended so easy.... so YES go do those things you've dreamt off.

What is the best thing about The Nourished Eatery being your job?

The absolutely beautiful people I've connected with, the type of people that just really want the best for you, who want to see you shine in every way. I've got the best group of people surrounding me and I'll be forever grateful that the cafe is a way to connect with likeminded individuals who are doing amazing things for the world.

 All images via  The Nourished Eatery Facebook  page. 

All images via The Nourished Eatery Facebook page. 

If you could pass on some advice to someone like you who wants to start an Eatery like yours what would you say?

Write a really good budget and business plan, plan plan plan, have a supportive network around you, don't give up if someone says it can't be done.

What is next for The Nourished Eatery / what is one of the goals for 2017?

I need to open a cafe in Auckland. I have so many lovely people supporting me there. I'm just working on getting the current cafe to the stage where I can walk away and have peace in my mind that procedures are being followed exactly. I also want to open for a full year too see trends through-out the year. Some weeks we can be bustling and then others we can be really quiet and its good to have the full year down on paper so that we can plan for those quiet weeks.

Tell us about a moment in your week where you felt on top of the world, and the boss of your own life; a babe vibe moment?

Oh we honestly have some beautiful people walk into the cafe and just light the place up with their positive energy. I love when they take the time after they've eaten to come and compliment the food, it really changes the whole day! I also love that I have a passionate team who would do anything to see the business succeed. I recently hired a manager and she goes above and beyond. I also have two school girls who have supported me since day one. It really makes a difference having people you can just count on! 

If you were a flavour of vegan icecream (personality wise) what would you be?

Hahahaha, well I'd say chocolate, people tell me I'm intimidating (I don't think I am, but maybe I have a resting b**** face lol) but really on the inside I'm a sweet person, I want the absolute best for everyone and I will do anything it takes to make people happy. 

 Image via  Style Jungle  

Image via Style Jungle 

If I haven't converted you to a 'Sharna-fan' or encouraged you to get into your car and drive to The Nourished Eatery; I've done a bad job as a blogger. The Nourished Eatery has damn good vegan food thats not too fussy but just what you want PLUS its nourishing. What more could you want?

You can find the eatery in Tauranga at 114 Willow Street or follow Sharna on instagram or facebook for daily pictures that are sure to get your mouth watering. 

babe vibesBrit Hazeldine