As a group of women working towards common goals for STYLE Canada‘s brand and business, we understand the value of peer support in the workplace. So, after our last Supper Club at Soho House, we decided to bring like-minded women in business together and feature them in an ongoing series: #LeadingLadies. Learn more about #LeadingLady Karen Danudjaja below.
Karen Danudjaja – Entrepreneur, wellness enthusiast, and founder of Blume
SC: If you were introducing yourself to a group of people for the first time, what would you tell them?
KD: I am the owner of a company called Blume. As the founder of a small business, I do a little bit of everything. From deliveries to budgets and flavour testing – no job is too big or too small. I grew up in Toronto and moved out to Vancouver to go to the University of British Columbia. I fell in love with the west coast lifestyle and have now been here for over eight years. I love to cook, listen to entrepreneurial podcasts and play dog mom to my pup Charlie.
SC: How did you come up with the idea for your business?
KD: I was looking for an option for me! I was in an industry where you have so many coffee meetings and was frustrated that everything was syrup and espresso-based. I wanted to be able to order something exciting and nourishing at the same time. My dad is Indonesian, and we grew up having turmeric elixirs and “jamu” so the idea just sort of naturally came together.
SC: You started Blume at a time of self-reflection, realizing that you weren’t living as creatively or intentionally as you wanted to. What exactly made you venture into health and wellness?
KD: I was going through a breakup which is such a good time for self-reflection. I just wanted to do something for me and start living more intentionally. So to me, that meant finding a creative pursuit, where I loved what I was doing, working for myself. And eating more intentionally. I started learning about ancient remedies and just knew there was a way to make it simpler. It wasn’t this huge decision to pursue health and wellness, it all happened naturally when I started moving towards things I wanted in my life personally.
KD: When your products are simple like ours, meaning they don’t have sugar and fillers to mask the flavour, your ingredients count double. I wanted to include ingredients that would stand on their own and carry the health benefits we wanted people to feel. Quality sourcing is a huge component of our mission. We know where these ingredients come from and how they get to your cup. It’s something I think resonates with our consumers, and even if that sourcing mission doesn’t. You can taste the difference.
SC: What obstacles have you overcome to get to where you are today?
KD: I think taking the leap to start Blume was one of the biggest obstacles. I had a full-time job during the first year of Blume. I was stretched so thin and pulled between two worlds. Letting go and leaning into the riskier made me feel so far out of my comfort zone and wasn’t easy. Ultimately, I needed to take that leap to have the time, energy and drive to get to where we are today.
SC: Who or what has been a strong influence in your life?
KD: My Grandfather was an entrepreneur, and I think I am only starting to realize the business-minded culture I grew up in. We talked about business at the dinner table, and we were raised in an environment that valued an entrepreneurial mindset. I know many families would discourage a risky leap, but I came from a family that supported that vision and that has been hugely influential.
SC: What are your goals for Blume?
KD: To be the best damn wellness company we can be. To help change what wellness looks like, understanding that mental and physical health are linked and that it looks different for everyone. I think we are bombarded by imagery that wellness seems a certain way and takes a particular shape. The reality is wellness is dynamic, and it changes day-to-day. It has so much more to do with how you feel, and having a non-inclusive wellness prototype hurts more than helps.
SC: What goals do you have for yourself?
KD: My goal is to create a company where I believe in what we are doing and love the work. I want to create a culture to helps people both in their wellness journey and their career journeys. I hated clocking in and clocking out. I want to love coming to work and create an environment where others do too.
SC: What is your greatest achievement over the past decade?
KD: There is no one great achievement I can think of, but more like a series of mini wins that are leading me in a direction I like and am excited about. The thing I am most grateful for is just being stoked to work, loving what I do. I think realistically, it’s a pretty rare thing to have that freedom, and I am grateful every day because I didn’t always have that and needed to make significant changes to get there.
SC: Blume was literally created to encourage people to take a moment for self-care. Especially now that you’re in the business of health and wellness, how do you define it?
KD: I don’t want to define self-care. It’s so unique to everyone and it is whatever you need. For me, it’s a quiet moment to disconnect, often outside or cooking. Just focusing on myself and taking a moment to decompress. But it’s whatever is regenerative to you. Extroverts might need social time, introverts might need Netflix and chill. Whatever it takes to keep you positive and energized is self-care no matter how much time you can dedicate to it.
SC: If there’s one message you want your brand to send, would what it be?
KD: That healthy or being well is about balance, not about punishment. We aren’t about diet culture, shaming or anything relating to the ‘ideal’. Our products are about making that soothing choice a little easier, making it simple to incorporate, but you do you always!
SC: We’ve got to know – what’s your favourite product?
KD: It changes all the time. It honestly does. Right now, I am loving our new ceremonial matcha. It’s so clean, with a super nutty/creamy finish. I wasn’t a matcha fan when I started Blume, but learning about its history and health benefits has seriously converted me. I absolutely am so proud of this one.
SHOP IT: Blume, $36