Cass Spies is a mother of three, food technologist, and the inspirational Founder of Twisted Healthy Treats. Cass started her business from the ground-up, toddler-in-tow, and her products are now available in over 1,500 locations across Australia, including Coles, Harris Farms and Woolworths. Twisted Healthy Treats are not only delicious but they are made with 100% Australian ingredients that are actually good for you! Hear from Cass on how she successfully juggles running her own business along with motherhood.
Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Cass Spies, I’m married to my best friend and we have three kids – Leila 12, Lexington 10 and Joshua 6. I have a degree in food technology and have always wanted to have my own business, ever since I was a little girl.
What did you do prior to starting your own business?
My husband and I lived and worked in London for 13 years. I worked as a Global Project Manager in the Investment Banking industry. We returned back to Australia after our daughter was born. 18 months later I started Twisted.
What inspired you to set up Twisted Healthy Treats?
I had two very young children and I was always on the look out for a healthy treat that I could give the kids without feeling any guilt. I had heard about the popularity of frozen yoghurt in the USA at the time, and decided to bring a completely Australian version of this product to market, using all Australian dairy and ingredients.
What challenges have you encountered and how have you overcome them?
There have been so many, but by far the biggest challenge was repositioning the business from being 100% retail outlets to 100% wholesale and manufacturing. We made the decision to do this in 2014 and it was the small, tiny, daily decisions and actions that got us to where we are today. I liken it in my mind to a large ocean liner and each day myself and the amazing team at Twisted adjust the course, to face the right direction. Because of this, we are now getting some great momentum and are moving where we want to be.
You have an all women management team at Twisted, why is this important to you?
Whilst we are an all women management team in an industry traditionally dominated by men does make me very proud on a daily basis, having a diverse and harmonious team is the most important thing to me about my team. The fact that we are all women has come about because of the people themselves. The management team, are a group of dedicated, determined and focused young women who have believed in my vision from day one. They have been with me from the beginning and have fought tooth and nail with me to get the business to where it is today. There is never a challenge that we encounter that they shy away from, and I am so inspired by their achievements in our business.
Being a mum of three, how do you juggle motherhood and running your own business?
I make it all work together with a lot of help and support and an understanding team. Receiving an email from me at 5am because I’m crunching out some work before I need to attend a school event doesn’t even raise an eyebrow with my team!
I don’t believe in balance. I believe that there will be times that I am spending more time working on the business because that is what is required of me at that time and at other times – like the end of last year when my daughter was graduating from Year 6 – I’ll spend more time with my family. I wake up each and every day and do my very best. That is all anyone can ask of themselves at the end of the day.
What advice would you give other mums wanting to start their own business?
Do it, take the leap! You will never work with more passion and drive as you will when it is your own business. And know your numbers, this is what will drive your business at the end of the day. Cash flow is king!
Where would you like to take Twisted in the next 3 years?
My goal is to be Australia’s leading manufacture of ‘better for you’ frozen treats. We have some exciting new products coming out this year: a new 99% juice product for school canteens, called a Twisted LICK as well as new plant-based lines that will be available in supermarkets.
We have a lot of interest from overseas markets too, so 2020 and beyond will be about leveraging those opportunities as well. The US is a market I would love to crack!
Favourite places in the Inner West?
One of my best friends lives in Hurlston Park and one of our favourite ways to catch up as families is to have an early dinner at Da Vinci’s Italian in Summer Hill. Kids can ride their scooters around the fountain while we attempt to catch up over the amazing food!
What inspires you?
I’m a massive podcast person, and there are so many I love and get different inspiration from depending on what headspace I’m in. I love the GOOP podcast for new age thinking, ‘How I Built This’ is great to hear how great companies were born and the challenges they faced and Melissa Ambrosini for some extra motivation if I’m feeling a bit flat.
For more information on Twisted Healthy Treats, their production range, availability and nutritional values, visit www.twistedhealthytreats.com.au