Julia Warren is the owner of Make it Raw, a small business specialising in delicious wholefood options for health-conscious consumers and those on restricted diets.
Since adolescence, health and well-being have always been a big part of Warren’s life as she often competed in athletics representing New Zealand. After high school, she stopped competing and began her journey at the University of Canterbury.
During her time at university, Warren took a course on environmental sustainability, which eventually led her to work in organic store, Huckleberry Farms in Auckland, sparking her passion for wholesome, raw food. From there, she began experimenting, borrowing as many books as she could find from the library, and bought her first dehydrator.
“The connections I made while working at Huckleberry Farms in Auckland were really helpful when I later presented them with my products hoping they would stock Make it Raw,” said Warren.
In 2011, Warren and her partner, Max, relocated to Christchurch, where his parents offered her a stall at the Ohoka farmers market, which they run. It was then Warren identified a gap in the market for nutritious alternatives to the usual crackers, muesli bars and cereals and set about producing her range.
“That was the beginning, and we are still at the Ohoka Market every Friday morning. It has been an invaluable resource for testing new products and getting real-time feedback on what people like and don’t.”
Starting out as a farmers’ market stall, Make It Raw has since grown into a small team selling its products throughout New Zealand. Each Make it Raw nourishment batch is carefully handcrafted in their kitchen, hidden amongst native bush.
Sustainability is at the core of Make it Raw and incorporated into all facets of the business, including kitchen practices, packaging, organic ingredients, composting and recycling.
Rather than heading offshore, packaging is locally-sourced from Croft Print, a small business in Christchurch that uses sustainable boards and soy inks.
Make it Raw aims to produce its products from organic ingredients and sources these from Ceres Organics and Chantal, primarily.
“We also use hazelnuts grown on the property using no sprays.”
Currently, Make it Raw has products stocked in stores across New Zealand, including Farros, Huckleberrys, some New Worlds, Moore Wilson and Piko, its website and at the Ohoka Farmers Market on Fridays. Products include a range of crackers, bars and granola.
“We have four flavours of crackers; Rosemary and Almond, Sundried Tomato and Almond, Kalamata Olive and Almond and Turmeric and Carrot, and three flavours of bars; Triple Nut Banana Bar, Blackcurrant Banana Bar and Fig and Honey Banana Bar.
“Our cereal is a Spiced Apple and Buckwheat Grawnola, and we have recently added our range of Nibblies - a combination of nuts and seeds and flavours; Sweet ‘n’ Spicy, Sweet’ n’ Salty and Cinnamon’ n’ Maple.”
Make it Raw also boasts an extensive range of slices, chocolate bars and energy balls, all gluten, dairy and refined sugar-free.