Stephanie Hughes

Raw Bulk Foods Online

Stephanie's inspiring story, on how she delivers Aussie grown staples to your door, minus the packaging junk

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  • Raw Bulk Food Online
  • Founder - Stephanie Hughes
  • Founded in the Sunshine Coast
  • Started in 2021
  • 1 founder & 4 employee
  • www.rawbulkfoodsonline.com

Stephanie, what's your backstory?

I was born here in Australia. When I was 3, I moved back to Manchester in the UK where I spent my whole school & study life. I didn't like school even though I always did very well.

I always had a huge ambition to start work and start earning money. I grew up with a farmer as a grandad. He was a great inspiration in my life and taught me so much about nature and hard work to accomplish what we want in life. His favourite quote was, "follow your passion, and the money will follow" However, I did the opposite for many years.

I left A-Levels and set off in sales roles to find myself within financial services. I then did night school to gain my degree & MBA in business. I stayed in this industry and career until October last year when I took the jump to leave.


I had then been in this industry for 17 years, climbing the corporate ladder. My career has allowed me to see the world, travel a lot, and be financially comfortable whilst teaching me a great deal.

However, in the past five years, I was left asking myself questions like, " Did I pick this career path? Did I fall into it? Was it fulfilling me? Was I staying just for the financial aspects?

I wasn't fulfilled and had lost the sense of purpose. I knew I could do something with the business skills I acquired in an area that really mattered.


Tell us what your company does?

Raw Bulk Foods Online concept has never been done before. The goal is to remove single-use plastic and all other nasties from every pantry in Australia. 

Our sole mission is to deliver Aussie grown staples directly to your door, minus all the junk. Currently, the shopping system is wholly underpinned and dependable on trillions of unnecessary single-use plastic, and our recycling system is not working. 

We only need to look at the stats to know this is the case. Only 5% of plastic ever sees a second life. The rest is piled up in landfill of the ocean. 


Our shopping solution is a circular economy approach, meaning we repeatedly reuse. Forever use over single-use. 

All our packaging is made from plastic diverted from landfill and ocean plastics. 

How it works: 

  1. You order
  2. We deliver
  3. Your refill your Lifetime Jars
  4. You send back your empty bags in a prepaid envelope provided
  5. We clean and reuse for your next order

I saw a huge gap, where there were lots of reusable everyday items laced in single-use plastic and tend to be imported ingredients having a massive effect on our overall global emissions. 


We all do our best with what we have to hand, but we consume these everyday items like spices, muesli, Rice, Pasta, etc., millions of times in our life, leading to an enormous plastic problem.

In most cases, we use a packet for a few seconds and throw it away in what we think is the best solution - recycling.

Shopping with us saves you money as we source directly with a much leaner supply chain, meaning we pay the farmers more competitively. You eat better question ingredients that don't cost the earth. 

In my opinion, it's the way all businesses need to move as our people and planet need it. 

How did you come up with the idea?

Over the years, I have travelled a lot and been to some very remote places. Everywhere I went, I saw the extent of the plastic problem.

I've been a keen runner and secret foodie, so I have taken gradual steps towards making more eco-friendly purchasing decisions over the years.

I left a major supermarket one day, and it was honestly like a light bulb moment. In many cases, people's shopping trolleys were stacked with so much plastic and poor quality food.

"Imagine if everyone in Australia could eat plastic-free and direct from Australian farms."

I began to work nearly 12 months ago, and I haven't stopped since. I have had so many stumbling blocks in this process, along with many negative comments that it wouldn't work, but I knew what I wanted to create, and I didn't stop until I had a shopping system that worked and was truly zero-waste good for the people & the planet.


As for the name, that's something I regret a little as from when I named us, we have evolved so much & are far more than what the name gives us credit for.

I have toyed with the idea of Forever Zero. Maybe one for the future, we will see what our community think. This is only possible because of them

How did you go about building and launching the business?

This process has been so long for us, as it's never been done before.

I began with a lot of research to understand the market size. From there, I started to engage with farmers directly to understand if there was an appetite from their side and the profit margins.

Many founders may not mention the word profit. However, to hit the purpose I had set out, we had to make sure the profit was sustainable.


We started to design, prototype, test vigorously and understand how we made the whole supply chain work, including when the customer has finished with their packaging.

Our launch has not happened yet. We are live on 15th Feb on Kickstarter. This is where we are asking for your support to get behind us to make this a reality. We cannot do this alone, and we have loved sharing this journey with our growing community.

How have you grown the business?

Our business has had many stumbling blocks, from design issues to absolute failures in our testing process, but we learned and found another way each time.

I am so thankful for all the things that have gone wrong, as it made our concept stronger & better each time we overcame one.

I'm stoked with what we've achieved. Myself and my team have put our hearts and souls into prepping for the Kickstarter campaign.


As for marketing, we started advertising and growing our community only six weeks ago. I'm overwhelmed by the response. It's a testament that Aussies want to change and a better way to shop for the planet.

What have been some of your biggest failures along the way?

Our business has had many stumbling blocks, from design issues to absolute failures in our testing process, but we learned and found another way each time.

I am so thankful for all the things that have gone wrong, as it made our concept stronger & better each time we overcame one.

I'm stoked with what we've achieved. Myself and my team have put our hearts and souls into prepping for the Kickstarter campaign.

As for marketing, we started advertising and growing our community only six weeks ago. I'm overwhelmed by the response. It's a testament that Aussies want to change and a better way to shop for the planet.

What digital tools do you use regularly?

We use Shopify for our website, Zoom, to communicate with each other and external parties.

Slack has been an absolute lifesaver for us regarding organization and keeping up to date with our to-do list.

We have used Klaviyo for all our newsletters, and it has been great from a cost and integration perspective.

All the social platforms are an absolute must. Facebook & Instagram have been our two core platforms, I would say. Aside from this, we also used Viral Loop, which helped manage a referral program effectively.

What books have been a great inspiration to you as a founder?

I am not a big book reader, if I am honest. I love to read articles and journals, and I am a big Audiobook & podcast fan. It means I can walk the dogs on the beach (my favourite place) and learn at the same time. I am probably typical answers, but my top 5 have to be 

Top books: 

I have also just finished reading The Original Australians by Josephine Flood, I actually read this one, not Audio, and it was great. I loved it. 

Any podcast/websites that help you run your business?

There are so many of these. I will do my top 5 

I also love following The Bucketlist Family. These guys are inspirational on so many levels. 

What quotes do you live by?

My Grandads Quote:

"Don't Quit"

He had a poem he left me, and the first paragraph says it all:

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low, and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When the care is pressing you down a bit
Rest if you must - but don't you quit.

There is so much more to this poem, but I love reading it as it's that friendly reminder to embrace the struggle of entrepreneurship. I am privileged to be where I am today & to keep moving forward.

What do you do to look after your mental health as a founder?

I exercise. Exercise to me especially running, is a must. It gives me that break, that meditation.

I walk on the beach every day and get in the ocean each day. It keeps me grounded & so grateful for the planet we live on.

In a few words what does it mean to be the founder of a business?

"Exciting, hard work, sleepless nights, rewarding, privileged."

What are the biggest pieces of advice you’d give to other founders?

To have a clear vision and plan. Surround yourself with good people. Honestly, this is something I have learned. It's a lonely path much of the time, so having great people to help, support and bounce ideas off is a must. The great thing about being a founder is that you get to pick who you work with.

Where can people find out more about your business?

www.kickstarter.com/projects/rawbulkfoodsonline/refillable-pantry

Instagram @rawbulkfoodsonline

Facebook @rawbulkfoodsonline 

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