The brains behind KYND - Bali's globally renowned vegan cafe
As much as we get to enjoy a dream life here, we’ve worked damn hard to get it.
Tell us your story – how did you get here?
Lauren: My mother is Balinese so Bali was our main holiday destination as kids. I have always felt super connected to the land and its people. After falling in love with a Balinese guy it was even more motivation for me to want to pack up life in Australia and move to Bali long term. To do this I needed a way to make money to pay for my Bali dreams. I was 18 years-old at the time and had no university degree or certificates; however, what I did have was a whole heap of passion and energy to figure something out. I tried making a few different labels, one producing swimwear and another label making yearly diaries. Nothing really seemed to be my calling.
Then my boyfriend and I had the idea to open a sandwich and juice shop – living on a tropical island, it was something we always craved but there was no one making a good ol’ salad sandwich. We pitched to our families for investment and took a huge leap of faith and opened my first cafe called Swich. We opened Swich in 2011 when I was 19. It was a huge success and we managed to quickly open a few other outlets within the next few years. This was my first ever experience owning my own cafe and being my own boss and I absolutely loved it! My partner and I separated and he took over the business. However, opening Swich gave me the clarity and conviction I needed to part ways with one goal in mind: to open another cafe!
I became passionate about veganism, which was when a girlfriend of mine asked if I could help to open their vegan cafe, Peloton. Peloton is another amazing vegan cafe here in Bali. After Peloton, I continued consulting at other cafes and it was at Sea Circus where I met Coz. We had an epic working relationship and one day decided we should do something together. With a lot of hard work, passion and motivation, in 2017 we opened Kynd. We have been open for four years now and although it’s been one wild ride with this pandemic, it has been one of the biggest and best experiences that I am SO grateful for.
Corryn: Upon graduating from university, my parents shouted me a two week holiday to Bali. After four years of hard work and straight A results, they wanted me to go to Bali to relax, get some sunshine and let my hair down for a few weeks before joining the corporate, city grind.
That however, was eight years ago, and I still haven’t returned to start that corporate job I had promised to join. Bali has a way of either sucking you in forever, or kicking you to the curb. Luckily enough for me, the island has been so good to me and allowed me to build my dream business and dream life here.
Today I own and operate one of Seminyak’s busiest cafes, Kynd Community, alongside my dear friend and amazing business partner Lauren. We spend our days managing all aspects of the business as well as hustling away at the next big thing. We’ve got a vegan cafe, ice creamery, pizzeria, two self-published cookbooks, an online cooking school as well as a not-for-profit charity Warung called Give. As much as we get to enjoy a dream life here, we’ve worked damn hard to get it.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Lauren: I think the biggest accomplishment for me is the fact that we have almost (hopefully) made it through the Corona storm. It was by far one of the most interesting years of my life, both personally and professionally. The fact that we have still been able to keep our doors open, our staff employed and our customers happy is definitely something that makes me proud.
Corryn: I got married to my beautiful husband and amidst the Covid chaos managed to pull off a really beautiful and memorable wedding ceremony with my Bali friends and family.
What impact have you made in Bali?
Lauren: Our mission at Kynd is to make sure that everyone who enters our doors, leaves feeling better than when they arrived. We want to change people’s perception of veganism and show them how delicious cruelty-free food really tastes. Through our venue, we want to not only impact every single one of our customers, but also play our part to positively impact Mama Earth. This year has allowed us to implement more sustainable practices in our venue and work alongside some really cool businesses who are also doing amazing things for our planet.
Corryn: Even though the last two years have been an incredibly stressful time to be a business owner, we have worked hard to be able to give back when and where we can. We know that this pandemic has affected every single person on the island, so we wanted to put our heads together and do what we could to help.
During the lockdown of 2020, we wrote, photographed and launched our GIVE cookbook that was a charity cookbook filled with delicious Indonesian, plant-based recipes. In a few short months we were able to raise over $10,000 for charity whilst also giving people all over the world the resources they need to cook the delicious Indonesian meals that they missed so much at home.
Since then, we’ve continued to host some charity events at Kynd for Sehati, an Indonesian based animal sanctuary, whilst also helping raise funds for Innovate Indonesia. It feels so nice to be able to make an impact and give back no matter what the situation is.
What does 2022 look like for you?
Lauren: We have some very exciting projects for 2022! We plan to open another venue in Uluwatu, and our very first international location. Watch this space!
Corryn: I will begin the year back home in Australia with my family who I haven’t seen in over two years. I really hope that the rest of the year will bring with it a lot more simpler ways of international travel so that we can move more freely between Bali and the rest of the world to see those we love so much. And of course, have all of our beautiful customers back who haven’t been able to visit Bali for so long! The last two years without them have been tough!
What do you love most about Bali?
Lauren: Hands down the Balinese people. They are the most appreciative, caring, giving, kynd humans I have ever had the pleasure to meet. I love their dedication and discipline to spirituality. They know there is so much more to life than this physical world and they put a lot of energy, money and love into connecting to this power and bringing balance into every single thing that they do.
Corryn: The culture, the kindness, the food, the sunsets.
If you could choose your last ever meal, what would it be?
Lauren: If I could eat Nasi Campur every single meal, I would. Unfortunately it’s probably not the best choice when trying to eat more healthily. However, if it was my last meal you would see me at the local Warung in Legian which has been my go-to since living in Bali, Warung Melati. A big plate of deliciousness served with an icy cold Es Jeruk. Yum.
Corryn: You would probably find me indulging in the all-you-can-eat vegan dumpling buffet at Sangsaka in Seminyak. Chef Keiran knows just the way to put together the best flavour combinations!
Who is your Local Legend and why?
The work that Gary is doing to bring awareness to the plastic problem in Indonesia with Sungai Watch is incredible. We have been on river clean ups and seen how hard he and his team work to make a difference. We all have a huge opportunity to make a change right now in terms of how we consume and care for this special island, and we cannot thank Gary enough for all that he is doing in this field.