When concussion cut short his aspiring rugby career, Riki Hoeata was forced to look for new opportunities. The challenges of maintaining a nutritious diet while juggling a rugby career and a full-time job opened the door to a new business idea.

“When I was training, homemade smoothies were my go-to food and the untimely end of my rugby career meant I had the time to give my idea a crack and pursue a new passion,” Riki says.

As a result, Craft Smoothie was launched in 2016, offering a home-delivered, pre-portioned pack with enough ingredients to craft ten smoothies.

“Nutrition is one of the first things to be neglected when we get busy, and our smoothies  offer a quick and healthy meal option using whole foods - it’s not about going on a diet. We provide everything you need to create healthy smoothies. Fresh fruit and vegetables, organic nuts, seeds and superfoods, and the recipes to make it all taste great.”

It’s a recipe that’s quickly taken off, with the company’s growth surprising many and requiring Riki to focus on developing his processes and products so he can scale up the business.

“The response has been awesome. I’m enjoying the challenge, it’s like rugby in that respect. After rugby I knew I had to do something that would keep me competitive, and building a business is just that,” says Riki.

“Getting feedback from customers has also been really rewarding, knowing that Craft Smoothie is making it easy and fun for busy people to get some goodness into their lives.”

On the path to setting up the business, Riki attended one of Venture Taranaki’s free start-up clinics.

“I’d heard about other local start-ups who had been through the clinic and found it useful, and in my case it gave me a solid sounding board and more confidence to approach other businesses to bounce ideas off and learn from.”

“I’ve found the more people you talk to, the more you learn and can refine your ideas and focus your business. They’ve likely been where you want to go, and it always helps to get a better idea of what you’re getting yourself into,” Riki says.

“There’s nothing to lose from checking out the start-up clinic at Venture Taranaki."