Rachael Bradford Director of Eat and Enjoy Nutrition, Founder of Spoon Project
You know all of those amazing ideas you have buzzing around your head that you’d love to bring to life, but just don’t have the time (or the extra energy)? Here’s a terrific example of how one dietitian made her passion project a reality. Get ready to get inspired!
Rachael Bradford, APD and Director of Eat and Enjoy Nutrition, recently took an idea she’d had from concept to fruition – in six weeks. Called the “Spoon Project”, she has designed, and is selling, beautiful and unique Nourish & Nurture spoons that “provides positivity, warmth, understanding and nurturing at meal times for people of all ages, and in particular, to those people who may be in a battle with disordered eating.” The initiative has a goal of helping people to create a positive, healthful and happy relationship with food. We spoke with Rachael recently to learn more about this special project.
Infuse: Rachael, how did you get from idea to actual spoons available for purchase, while juggling your career and family commitments?
Rachael Bradford: I just knew that it was going to happen, and I totally believed in the concept behind the Spoon Project and its Nourish & Nurture spoon. From concept to launch was six weeks. If you are passionate about anything in life, you will find the time. Fortunately for me, I am a night owl, multi-tasker, and far more productive in the evening than during the day. The idea came to me at 2:45 a.m. one morning. I woke up, leaned over and wrote in my kikki K. 3 a.m. journal, “Spoon Project” — and it grew from there. I wanted to get my mantra, “nourish & nurture”, hand-stamped on a spoon, and I wanted it to be made locally.
I found a stay-at-home mum in NSW with such a business, and asked if she customised her spoons. She was supportive of the concept and its intention, and believed in my passion. We created a contract to protect both our businesses, and then I placed my first order of the spoons. I did some market research with colleagues, referrers, clients, my staff and a close friend in marketing and PR, and received very positive feedback, which was comforting. I designed the logo, looked at production costs, set up woocommerce on my website, developed promotional materials, built up a contacts list, upskilled in social media, launched Facebook and instagram (with help of my mentees) and then: market, market, market.
Infuse: Your Spoon Project began in a moment where you “wanted to provide a positive and uplifting message” to one of your clients. Can you share your clients’ reactions to your Spoons?
RB: I was sitting with that client and she said to me, “Rachael, I get it when I am here with you and my team, but then I lose the motivation, positivity, rationale and logic when I am home by myself and my negative mindset takes over”. I thought, how can I deliver this message to her each meal of each day? And there it was – at 2:45 a.m.: a spoon. The Nourish and Nurture spoon provides a message of positivity, nourishment, nurturing, self-worth, self- appreciation, reassurance, freedom, joy, and happiness with food with each mouthful. The spoons are my gift to my clients to rebuild their relationship with food in a positive and nourishing way – nourishing their bodies and their souls.
The response from my clients has been very encouraging. They have been so appreciative and, in some instances, overwhelmed by my gift of their Nourish and Nurture spoon. It has offered them a great, tangible and motivational tool away from our sessions. It has also helped align themselves with positivity and freedom with their food choices, and, in the case of many clients with eating disorders, has given them encouragement and reassurance with their recovery. I am thrilled that this has helped their journey in such a tangible and personal way. I have also received many favourable and congratulatory responses from colleagues, public, clients, families and support organisations. I am hoping that the message of nourishing and nurturing ourselves will resonate with many more spoon recipients, from all walks of life, and all ages.
Infuse: What has been your greatest challenge so far in launching this initiative, and how did you overcome it?
RB: Getting the word out and developing a social media presence with Facebook and Instagram. I was always the dietitian and person with her head in the sand, thinking that I did not need social media for the success of my private practice. Well, was I wrong: this is the space that every dietitian needs to be in to market an idea, product or information.
I delved into the world of social media with the help of training, hours of research, experimenting and support of my mentees, and had to commit to the time that it took. I have only been using social media for 2 months, and my followers are small. My first launch post of the Nourish and Nurture spoon had an organic reach of over 11,200. I am putting this down to beginner’s luck, but I am thrilled that the message got to this many people. I have had wonderful and generous support from Maree at Dietitian Connection and other colleagues around Australia, as they have shared the Spoon Project through their social media channels, which I am truly grateful for. I was also fortunate that the Brisbane Courier Mail ran a story on the project.
I would love to connect with more people, organisations and professionals to spread the word, and I hope that it will gain traction. I am open to new opportunities that will increase the exposure of the Spoon Project and help send out Nourish & Nurture spoons into the community or to clients of other dietitians.
Infuse: How would you define “success” for this initiative?
RB: Helping people find their positive, healthful and happy relationship with food. While I would love as many spoons to be in as many homes as possible, I would dearly love the message of nourishing and nurturing to be in as many minds.
It is time for people to take ownership of their lives, make sustainable and healthful food and lifestyle choices and be comfortable and content within their own bodies. It is time to recognise that we are all unique and beautiful individuals, and our choices should align with our true and content self. Our nutrition choices are ours to make and should be freeing, restorative and enjoyable.
Infuse: What advice do you have for other dietitians who may have an innovative idea but aren’t sure how to bring it to life?
RB: It is worth taking the risk. If it is something that you believe in, adds value to others, and you can commit to, you have nothing to lose. Use your strengths and find resources to improve your weaknesses. Conquer your fears. Above all, invest in yourself. Do your research, ask as many questions to as many people as you need to ask and have an action plan. My mantra is, “Don’t let a dream just be a dream.”