Andrea Lee, the master baker behind The Clean Addicts Wholefoods Bakery, shares the recipe for enjoying low-sugar desserts without the guilt.
We love entrepreneurs and small business owners at Honeycombers, which is why we’ve created Launchpad, a comprehensive digital networking platform (with IRL benefits, too) that encourages connection, business support and community. It’s a privilege and pleasure to learn from so many talented and inspiring folks, so we’ve decided to share the love by interviewing some of the lovely Launchpad members. Looking for inspiration? Check out how Andrea Lee, the founder of The Clean Addicts, gets it done like a boss.
What is your backstory and why did you decide to launch your business?
It all started when my mum faced a health scare several years ago, her heart disease casting a shadow of fear over our family. I watched her transform from an active woman to someone fragile after her stent surgery. The fear of losing her pushed us to seek a healthier path.
But there was a dilemma. Mum and I were both passionate about desserts, especially the sweet indulgence of sponge cakes with buttercream. As I delved into the art of baking, I was astounded by the sheer amount of white sugar and butter that went into these treats. It was a revelation that sparked a new mission.
In 2017, The Clean Addicts was born – a humble bakery that would redefine our sweet cravings. I embarked on a journey to create desserts that were not just delicious but also nourishing. Our fudge cakes became a symbol of this transformation, crafted from nutrient-dense ingredients like dates, beans, and oats while remaining vegan and flourless.
As family and friends tasted the magic, I took a leap of faith and started selling them online. With each bite, customers became converts, and our low-sugar creations expanded to include vegan protein balls, healthy spreads, and mochi muffins with seasonal flavours. We also introduced allergen-friendly options, ensuring everyone could enjoy the guilt-free indulgence.
My bakery journey began with love for my mum’s well-being, and today, it’s a testament to the power of transformation, both in our health and our desserts. The Clean Addicts is not just a bakery; it’s a sweet reminder that health and deliciousness can coexist!
What has been your biggest challenge so far and how did you overcome it?
My greatest challenge revolves around the mission to educate people on the value of wholesome eating and why it’s worth investing in the quality of what we nourish our bodies with. The realisation that “health is wealth” hit home when I witnessed my mum’s journey, and it inspired me to take better care of my own well-being.
Sometimes, I encounter criticism about my treats, but I choose to focus on the positive. I openly share my personal health journey, demonstrating that a balance between nutritious foods and indulgence is not only possible but also enriching.
Another hurdle lies in getting my products into cafes. Many owners hesitate to embrace our cleaner-tasting offerings. If you’re an F&B owner interested in stocking our healthier sweets, I invite you to reach out. Let’s join forces in spreading the goodness of mindful eating and indulgence to all. Together, we can make a difference in people’s lives, one delicious bite at a time.
How do you keep stress levels low?
Running a small business can be a rollercoaster ride, and I’ve had my fair share of burnouts along the way. But I’ve learned some invaluable strategies to keep burnout at bay.
I prioritise “me-time” as a non-negotiable part of my routine. That means working out 3 to 4 times a week to keep my body and mind in sync. I also incorporate breathwork into my daily life to soothe my nervous system and find solace in nature. These activities are my grounding force, reminding me that life extends far beyond the realm of work.
In addition, I’ve embraced a more positive mindset. I’ve learned not to let every single detail overwhelm me. Instead, I focus on the bigger picture and trust the process. Remember, it’s essential to take care of your health and fill your own cup before you can effectively serve or assist others. Your well-being is your greatest asset.
How do you deal with self-doubt or criticism?
Criticism is inevitable in any business. When I first started, I was a bit sensitive about negative feedback. After all, this business is like my baby. However, I realised I could turn it into a valuable learning opportunity instead. The most important lesson I’ve learned is not to internalise criticism. It’s not a reflection of who you are, but rather an insight into how you can improve.
When the feedback is really tough or starts affecting my mental well-being, I confide in a friend or my partner. Sharing my feelings not only provides emotional relief but also grants me a fresh perspective, helping me break free from that downward spiral. I’ve also set a rule for myself – I won’t let negative feedback linger in my mind for more than 24 hours. The next morning I wake up with renewed determination. It’s another chance to grow, to do better, and to make my “baby” thrive even more!
Favourite place to work?
My home as I derive focus from silence or a good music playlist without any distractions!
Favourite business tool?
Asana is one of my favourite tools for keeping track of my tasks and will highly recommend it to small business owners. It provides a “bigger picture” of your to-do lists. When you start having a team, it is a great way to keep track of each other’s projects and helps to make our workflow more efficient.
One thing you can keep talking about for hours?
I can passionately talk about matcha, ways to use it, and its benefits as I constantly experiment with it for my personal consumption and for the bakery. Furthermore, matcha is also packed with antioxidants (more than coffee) and consists of different grades and their flavours can vary depending on quality!
Your go-to self-care activity?
My go-to self-care activity is taking a scenic hike at locations like Henderson Waves and marvelling at the amazing world we have. It makes me calmer and helps me to reconnect with nature.
One piece of advice to your younger self?
From a former people-pleaser, here’s some advice to my younger self: True happiness and success come from living your values and serving others. Be brave, trust your intuition and use your given gifts to make a positive impact. It’s not about what you accumulate, but how you can give and make a difference in this world.
Get in touch with Andrea online.
Launchpad is a comprehensive digital networking platform (with IRL benefits, too) that encourages connection, business support and community. It is designed to make the entrepreneurial journey not only easier, and more successful, but also a whole lot more fun. We offer almost daily activities for members to connect, along with weekly masterclasses, member networking roulette, small-business mentoring and media profiles on Honeycombers. Check it out and join us!