Anne Swain and Susan Soulard, Co-founders of The Whole Kitchen
Fellow Aussies Anne Swain and Susan Soulard co-founded The Whole Kitchen – the first gluten and sugar-free bakery in Singapore – in 2015. “We set out to prove that healthy doesn’t have to mean tasteless, and that tasty doesn’t have to mean unhealthy,” says the pair. Having since opened an instantly popular brick- and-mortar dine-in cafe in Katong in 2020, they are deserving of this year’s Innovation Award (Products + Services) for doing something new here and doing it so well.
However, their dual entrepreneurial journeys didn’t begin in Singapore. While living in Sydney, Anne (pictured at far left) launched a mobile swimming school. She says, “I started the business alone, grew to have a team of coaches working for me, and grew the business for three years.” Also in Sydney, Susan created Madame Sausage, a gourmet food stand that fed music and arts festival-goers. “I have always had a passion for collaborating and doing fun projects,” she shares.
Zip over to Singapore, where the two met. “We were neighbours, then we became friends,” says Anne, mum to Oliver, 3. “At the time, I was working as a health coach, and Susan was on maternity leave from her job in the F&B industry.”
Anne was helping people who were seeking healthy diet changes, but she says her clients kept asking, “Where do you get this food that you’re talking about?” Enter Susan – a mother of two children, 8-year-old Pearl and 6-year- old Gael – with her foodie talent.
“Let me have a go,” she recalls telling Anne. “So I did a lot of research and development and we came up with The Whole Kitchen.”
Well-being isn’t just a business model for these two, however – it’s a lifestyle. Anne says she makes sure to “schedule some me-time within the week, whether it be a yoga class, massage, listening to podcasts at East Coast Park or bike riding with my boys.” Susan, too, strives for balance. “I’ve learnt to manage my switch-off time and keep my own rhythm through fitness, cooking with the kids, gardening, music and yoga.”
Any advice for other aspiring business owners? “You will never be 100-percent prepared for the journey that lies ahead, no matter how much planning you do,” say the partners. “If you have an idea or a dream that you believe in, go for it!”
Read more about the The Whole Kitchen’s scrumptious products here.
Started in 2017 by The Finder, the Expatpreneur Awards are intended to honour hard-working, successful, community-minded foreign-born business owners in Singapore. All winners must exhibit how their businesses help people “live well in Singapore” – The Finder’s own mission. This year, marks the fifth annual awards. Find out more here.
By Isabel Wibowo