Lonnie Patterson is a mum of two and lover of healthy whole foods. She believes it should be normal for children to be raised on food that is free of additives, excessive sugar and highly processed ingredients. Combining her passion for her family to be their best selves and her passion for baking, she created Little Bare, which is all about sparking inspiration and offering new ideas for people looking to improve their family’s health. Lonnie loves to help others get started on their whole food journey – learning how to nourish themselves and their families. Here she talks to The Natural Parent Magazine about the inspiration behind her business, the challenges she has overcome along the way, and her hopes and dreams for the future.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
I was diagnosed with cancer at age 16 and from that point on, optimum nutrition became incredibly important. Once I had children and became a busy, full-time working mum, the Thermomix made eating whole foods and cooking from scratch more sustainable. I owned and loved my Thermomix for a long time before I found the business. It was completely serendipitous but I decided to abandon my well laid out plans in the wine industry in pursuit of a life with more flexibility, personal growth and integrity. Bit by bit I have built a like minded community of people here who are from all walks of life. I love how I get to help people on their whole food journey, nourishing themselves and their families and bringing joy back into the kitchen.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
It started out as very much a side hustle until I decided to leave my full-time job in February 2022. I started out creating a whole food & allergy-friendly blog nine years ago when I started feeding my first born solids. The blog included free recipes and a journal of my life through littlebare.co.nz. I shared these recipes along with tips and tricks for things like baby-led weaning, fussy eaters and allergy-friendly substitutes on social media. I spoke at Plunket, antenatal groups and to anyone who would listen. I then started importing whole food ingredients such as additive-free coconut cream and set up a hobby business selling products locally and in Marlborough. Because feeding my family well and saving time and money in the kitchen is my passion, it’s what I have connected with people about. This led me to becoming a Thermomix consultant a couple of years ago as the job was that for me. Connecting and teaching about food and health. Finally, after an enormous amount of should I or shouldn’t I, I took a leap of faith, jumped into a leadership role with Thermomix and proceeded to grow a team of nearly 30 consultants in Nelson. I’m so proud of my team, their spirit and that we always want to do more and go further. These dynamics make a good business a better business.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
Without a doubt, it’s the breakthroughs with the people that I help that make up the biggest breakthrough for me. My soul shines brighter knowing that I have played a part in my customers’ (many who are now good friends) journey into better health, creating more time, and getting about making food from scratch. They ring me fizzing about what they have made for their families with such a sense of pride and so quickly and easily. It is mind-blowing. My friend Lea calls these moments the zing moments and now I live for them.
Creating a sustainable business by combining my passion and skill set has been a big breakthrough with my business. I left a full-time job and career in the wine industry and threw myself into my passion 100%. I wasn’t certain I was doing the right thing at the time but it has turned out to be the best thing I’ve ever done; it very quickly led me to finding myself and going on a journey of self discovery, freedom from expectations and building an incredible team of consultants in Nelson.
Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
It’s a balance and a blend. When you run your own business, work follows you around in your off duty moments more than it should but I do love that my children see me working hard and doing something that I love doing.
It’s important to me to remember what’s important and keep in mind the kind of life I want to create. I have open for business hours and closed for business hours, which is a straightforward way for me to make sure I can attend my children’s sport and after school activities; this is non-negotiable for us.
We treasure meal times together as a family, with no devices (I’m not going to lie, this can be a challenge!), which helps us pay full attention to each other when it matters most.