Interview with Phillipa Garner, co-founder Purition

Feeling bloated and sluggish in her 30s, Phillipa Garner decided to get fit before she hit the big 4-0. The only problem was, she needed to eat the right food for her workouts.

Her trainer recommended protein shakes, but when she read the list of artificial ingredients and sweeteners, Phillipa was put off.

After she couldn’t find a single healthy protein shake she wanted to consumer, she decided to make her own, and so Purition was born. Here’s her business story.

What’s your career background?

I’ve been involved in sales and marketing fine art and antiques for many years, something I sort of fell into a few years after a works experience placement – many moons ago – and developed a passion for!

Where did the idea for Purition come from?

In my 30s I needed to make some changes to my diet and lifestyle. I was putting on weight, feeling really sluggish – the bloat was real!

I couldn’t carry on into my forties like that – I really didn’t like where I was heading – definitely overweight, weekends of overindulgence, followed by lack of motivation… 

Decision made, I jumped in at the deep end and began having PT sessions, and quickly realised that the saying ‘you can’t out train a poor diet’ was so true. Taking control of my weight and how I felt was down to diet, the exercise and PT sessions were an instant feel good factor – but the real positive stuff happened when I made changes to my diet. 

My PT had spoken to me about the importance of protein at every meal, so I went on the lookout for protein shakes, but hadn’t found any that weren’t stacked full of artificial flavourings, sweeteners, gums, fillers, and ingredients I couldn’t pronounce!

So I carried on struggling due to lack of time, prepping three home cooked meals a day. Toast for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch were no longer an option.

I’d been away travelling and discovered some high low-carb breakfast ideas while overseas; linseed, sunflower and almond seed mix and this is where the idea of Purition came from.

The combination of protein, fibre, and healthy fats from seeds and nuts for breakfast was a real winner, and I realised that this was a bit of a game changer in terms of convenience, natural nutrition and suitability for many different ‘diets’ and dietary needs. 

What’s your USP?

Purition is natural nutrition, from whole food ingredients – it’s so simple – back to basics, and just like nutritionists and healthcare professionals recommend “nutrition from food”.

We understand the convenience of shakes and meal replacements to help with dietary change, but we wanted to create a natural alternative to all that – something that brings you closer to your goals – not further away! 

Who is your target audience?

We want to reach out and help anyone who has been let down by diet plans, diet clubs, diet shakes… those who’re looking for a quick, healthy and convenient anytime meal to help make dietary change straightforward and to take some of the stress out of healthy eating. Purition for breakfast is such an easy step! 

I used Purition as part of a naturally low-carb ‘mediterranean style’ diet to lose almost two stone, and now I have Purition as my first meal of the day which is part of my five days a week 16/8 fasting to maintain. Feeling great!

How did you move from idea to actual charity?

We wanted to make it happen so bad, we sat down with co-founders Louise and Edward to talk about how we could make it happen. 

One sensible suggestion was to do some market research before we took the plunge, but Edward suggested that even if we did the market research what would we do if it came back negative? Would we not go ahead? 

One by one we all said we’d probably go ahead anyway, so that was that decision made. Within days we hit the phones with suppliers and lined up a short term rental of an industrial development kitchen, we hired a design agency to help with the branding.

How do you spread the word about what you do?

In the usual ways… advertising, exhibitions, social media, launching Limited Edition flavours… But we’re so lucky to have incredibly loyal customers who “tell anyone who’ll listen about Purition”. Our customers are amazing and ‘say it how it is’ much better than us, the daily reviews that are left on our site and sent to our inbox inspire and motivate each and everyone of us at Team Purition.

What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?

Wrong perception of what we do. The dietary myths and half truths perpetuated by the media and brand marketing messaging.

Why is work so important to you?

It’s not like I have a choice! Just like 99.9% of the population I work so that I can live life on the weekends. The biggest insult is when people think this is ‘yoga mummy’ business like it was somehow paid for by family or a wealthy husband, when nothing could have been further from the truth. Sure I was fortunate enough to have a comfortable upbringing but I’ve had to earn all of my own money from being an au-pair in my teens to today.

Who inspires you?

I’m inspired by people who have to grind out a living when everything is stacked against them. Anyone working two jobs to make ends meet these are the people who inspire me.

How do you balance your work with your family?

Looking after No.1 making sure I’m eating right, not working constantly means I’m in good mental and physical shape to get everything done. The wheels fall off from time to time, like anyone else, but I no longer reach for the digestives when that happens!

What advice would you give to someone wanting to do something similar?

How about two words… imperfect action. Don’t wait for everything to be perfect, get on and do!

Find out more about Purition.