Yo! It’s Helena here and welcome to week 1 of my weekly dive in and zoom out of the world of TrueStart, where I’m sharing a bit about what we’re up to and a bit about what’s on my own mind.
You can either watch me chatting in the video or read this blog - whichever you prefer!
So it is Tuesday 1st September and today I am drinking an Original Black TrueStart Cold Brew Coffee - a cracking start to my first day back with both boys in nursery this morning! The sun is out here in Bristol which is no surprise - it's always sunny on 1st September because it's Simon and I's wedding anniversary, 8 years today!
🧐 Zooming in - what's on at the Energy Hub
Right it’s time to dive straight in! I’ve got 3 things to share from this past week, first up...
🌍🏆 Eco Award Winners!
I’m really proud to share that we’ve won an award recognising TrueStart as the Most Eco Conscious Beverage Company in the South West! This means a lot for Simon and I, because we really believe and want to prove that you can build an incredible business that uses positive emotion and energy to have a significant impact on millions of lives without compromising on ethics.
We might not be impacting millions just yet, but we’re certainly aiming to, and the ethics that underpin TrueStart is a reflection of our own values. Putting people first is a key part of that. It’s genuinely not easy to scale ethically because it isn’t the status quo, and we’re literally constantly reviewing everything we do, from using a carbon neutral delivery service on everything that goes out the door, to using plastic free packaging when you order from truestartcoffee.com to working with organisations like the Rainforest Alliance for our coffee - we are continually improving and debating how we can make our decisions the best they can be for both people and the planet. Ethical decisions are often both subjective and expensive so it's tough but we love the challenge.
🌲☕ Loving the Center Parcs Life
The second thing I want to share is an exciting new customer, TrueStart is now available at Center Parcs! I think I’m extra excited about this because it’s my new favourite place - we took Leo and Arthur just before Covid hit and they LOVED it so much, we have already made amazing memories there and are actually taking them back soon. You can now pick up all our coffee drinks and also our legendary Barista Grade Instant Coffee from their ParcMarkets and I for one definitely appreciate this as a busy tired parent - all the energy and vibes with none of the rubbish! It’s great to see us stacked in the fridge and on shelf next to industry giants like Starbucks and Nescafe too - bring it on.
🎉📈 Buzzing about Amazon Best-Sellers
We’ve been buzzing this week because TrueStart has just entered the top 20 best-selling instant coffees on Amazon! Our Barista Grade Instant Coffee has only been on Amazon a couple of months and there are literally HUNDREDS of instant coffees on there to choose from including all the industry giants, who each have several products on there. Reading the reviews makes me really happy too - so many comments about how TrueStart makes people feel and I love seeing people say things like we bring sunshine into their kitchen, or magic in a tin! That’s what it’s all about, spreading the vibes to make you feel good.
🧠🌞 Zooming out - what's on my mind
I have something pretty big to share. It’s something I've never, ever talked about before but that needs to change. You may or may not be surprised to learn that I have a neurobiological condition, or brain difference, called ADHD. I was diagnosed age 7 and only recently have I started to really learn about it, and how it is responsible for the extreme way my brain and therefore body works - both good and bad! When I was diagnosed there was very little research or information, and I now know how lucky I was to be diagnosed at all given how many people (especially women) have no idea they are neurodivergent.
ADHD is a neurobiological condition (don't get me started on the word 'disorder') caused by impaired neurotransmitter activity in one or more areas of the brain. This fundamentally impacts the uptake and efficient flow of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter that we all make in our brains and use to send messages between nerve cells. Dopamine plays a vital role in the brain's pleasure and reward systems. It also regulates mood and muscle movement.
Put in simple terms, people with ADHD live with a continual, constant dopamine deficiency and a brain reward system that does not work in a typical way. If your knowledge on this subject represents the norm, then *everything* you know about ADHD is wrong. Like Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), ADHD is a spectrum too. ASD and ADHD share a surprising number of symptoms, and you can have both too. ADHD symptoms are extensive, external, internal, exhausting and astonishing when you first find out about them. Some people have mild symptoms and some people have severe symptoms. Mine are severe.
ADHD is not.. a behavioural disorder. It is not a willpower problem. It is not bad parenting. It is not poor lifestyle. It is not laziness. It is not stupidity. It is not craziness. It is not something the person with ADHD has control over. It is the opposite of these things, and it is absolutely not something that everyone has.
I credit my ADHD for many of the ace things about myself. I consider it a superpower. But it is also hugely challenging on a daily basis, navigating my brain in a society that just isn't set up to understand, account for or even tolerate these differences. You end up just thinking you are defective.
Neurodiversity is something people know SO little about and it is blowing my mind. It touches all our lives in some way through either ourselves or people we know and love - whether it is brain differences like ADHD or ASD or Tourette’s or Dyslexia or Bipolar, or the neurology of unresolved trauma, or illnesses including depression, anxiety, even Parkinson’s Disease and CFS/ME, or chronic inflammatory diseases like Endometriosis and Crohn’s. They are all linked to neurodiversity. The fact we understand so little is damaging so many lives as well as society at large.
I’m going to start talking about this more. I’ve been interviewed by the truly wonderful Tracy Otsuka, who has the world’s #1 (most downloaded) podcast on ADHD. I feel sick sharing it, mainly because I want to do it justice and the subject is so huge so there is a lot more to cover, but it’s got to be done! Here's the episode on Spotify, give it a listen and let me know what you think!