The Garden

Kate Donovan Interview: How does you garden grow?

We caught up with Kate Donovan, Founder of health and wellbeing eatery, The Garden, to talk business and babies.

When former teacher Kate Donovan and her business partner Amy Shepherdson opened the doors to their new organic café 3 years ago, their pledge was to bring ‘earth-friendly food’ to Hale. Fast forward 3 years and what opened up as a juice & health food bar, has become much more.

   “It’s been an incredible journey to this point,” says Kate, “what began as a small café concept has developed into the bustling community eatery and wellbeing hub you see today.”

   It hasn’t always been easy.

   “I’ve done a lot of personal upskilling along the way,” shares Kate, “managing staff has been my biggest challenge. I realised to grow the business I had to learn to delegate and let go a little, but it’s been hard to give up some of that control and hand over what has been my ‘baby’”.

   However, there’s soon to be a new baby at The Garden, well two actually, as Kate is expecting twins.

   “People talk about the work life balance, but with the babies on the way it’s been imperative to build a strong network around me. The Garden is a team effort, and we have lots of family involvement too. I have a feeling I’m going to need more of that support going forward!”

   The Garden opened up as a health food cafe with raw juices being freshly prepared on site. However they’ve now had to move the juicing to a larger dedicated juice press space off site, testament to exactly how successful their offering has become.

   “I think the timing for opening The Garden was right. I know personally I was uninspired by vegan and vegetarian options at the time. Like me, there was a rise in the number of people becoming far more conscious about what they ate and drank and we felt there was a better way to deliver this. The Garden offers a strong seasonal vegan and vegetarian menu, with the option to now also add organic or free range meat to certain dishes too. “Our whole menu continues to be designed around health and wellbeing” said Kate, “with the launch of our popular supper clubs, we’re proving that healthy food doesn’t have to be boring.”

   So is there a recipe for success? “We’ve planned some things, and been spontaneous with other decisions” says Kate, “but what we have learned is that sometimes you can just get too bogged down with ‘where you want to be’ when actually sometimes the best thing to do is to just trust your gut and be open to new opportunities.”

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