Eat and They Shall Sleep EATSS – Client Insider l Canny Group
In mid-2014 whilst on (another) trip to Thailand, Donna and Phoebe realised they wanted to start a project together, something removed from their day-to-day jobs. Working in completely different fields – Donna is an exercise physiologist and runs a successful business and Phoebe is a historian and specialises in genealogy – finding a cohesive project was going to be somewhat challenging. Donna, motivated by the philanthropic words of TOMS, and in a moment of inspiration, came up with the idea of EATSS – Eat and They Shall Sleep.
The foundation of EATSS lies in Donna and Phoebe’s love of food and of the beautiful people of Thailand who have always been so accommodating. EATSS brings together the integral need to nourish our bodies with wholesome and nutritious food and the basic human right of a safe nights sleep. It brings together the concept of healthy, nutritious and wholesome food with the aim of providing bedding for underprivileged Thai children and orphans.
We would normally say “apart from the obvious” but it doesn’t seem to be as obvious as that… In your own words, can you explain what EATSS is?
EATSS stands for Eat and They Shall Sleep and our premise is to bring together food and the integral need to nourish our bodies and the basic human right of a safe night’s sleep. We ake (with lots of love) protein balls and for every 20 we sell, we are able to provide bedding for an underprivileged child in Thailand.
Our business brings together the concept of healthy, nutritious and wholesome food with the aim of providing bedding for those who don’t have a comfortable and safe place to sleep.
Tell us the story – your story – of how EATSS came about/to like + how long have you been up + running for?
EATSS came to fruition during one of our trips to Thailand, when we realised that, like all best friends, we wanted to start a project together. We wanted it to be something removed from our day-to0day jobs and something cohesive that we could do together.
Our love of Thailand and her people and our love of good food was the driving force behind EATSS. We spoke at length about what we wanted to achieve together and knew it would involve giving back to people in a meaningful way. After many, many terrible ideas, EATSS was born and we settled on producing protein balls and proving sleeping equipment.
We established the business in 2014 and have been operating ever since. In that time, we have made thousands of balls and donated a range of different items to various places in Thailand, Vietnam and locally in Geelong.
So, this isn’t a full-time job that both yourself and Donna work on around the clock?
Nope, this is a side-hustle for both of us!
EATSS is our passion project that we work on in the left-over waking hours of the day. Donna is an exercise physiologist and nutritionist and runs her own allied health clinics called Bodhi & Co. and Phoebe is a historian and runs her own small business called Born & Bred Historical Research.
Ok… You both have your own full-time jobs running your own businesses? And then you do this on the side?? What is it that you love about doing this job?
Hands down, the best part of EATSS is being able to help those in need and give back where we can. From the outset, we promised that we would never donate monetary amounts and that we would be able to see all of our donations. Seeing the smiles on the faces of kids and teachers when donating a range of items is the absolute best thing we could possibly ask for and the reason why we established EATSS.
Aside from an obvious love for wanting to give back + do some good in the world, what made you want to go into having a side-hustle as well as both having your own businesses?
Who hasn’t had a few too many cocktails and decided with their best friend that they should start a business?!
It just so happens that this one actually came to fruition. It’s as simple as that! And, once we started and were able to do our first donation, there was no turning back. It’s honestly the best thing being able to be in a position where we can help those less fortunate.
Dare we ask… How many protein balls have you made to date + what have you done with the money that you make from the balls so far?
To date, we have made between 8,000 and 9,000 balls (we lost count after a while).
Before the world shut down with Covid, we were able to make five sizable donations in Thailand – three to the Phuket Special Education Centre, which included a brand-new playground, toys, mattresses, bedding, pillows and food; a donation of next boxing gloves to a group of young Muay Thai fighters who were young kids providing for their families; and a donation to the SOS Children’s Village in Phuket, which included essential items including food, toiletries and some sporting equipment. Last year we worked with a friend who lives in Vietnam and we were able to donate 38 brand new bikes to students in two different schools, which changed theirs and their families lives. We have also donated close to home for families and kids in need, and domestic violence survivors.
When we approached these places, we asked what they needed rather than what we deemed appropriate. There’s not much point in buying bedding or equipment for somewhere that has no need for such things, but may be struggling to feed children. Therefore, we visit these places when we arrive and chat with the staff and children and then get to the shopping part! This also allows us to buy and support locally in Thailand.
There seems to be a lot of competition in the industry for making protein balls, but is there anyone else that has the same ethos as EATSS + gives it back to the community like you?
Protein balls – and “bliss balls” – are everywhere and have become quite commonplace anywhere from supermarkets to cafes and whole foods stores. However, to date, we have not come across any business that has the same niche premise as we do. But, it’s all a matter of giving back, so the more the merrier if it means that others are giving back and supporting needy communities.
Why protein balls? More importantly… What flavours do you have on offer?
Protein balls are small morsels of deliciousness that are great for an on-the-go snack. They have all been developed with optimum health and nutrition in mind and we use well-sourced and wholesome ingredients. They are all hand made and rolled and we have a range of 12 different flavours – lemon delicious, healthy Nutella, raw carrot cake, coconut rough, choc-almond, peppermint crispt, apricot delight, red velvet, espresso, snickers, choc-chilli and salted caramel.
What are some of the little joys that you have been able to experience when making donations to Thailand Schools with children with disabilities? What do you think your donations to them really mean?
Without a doubt, the most joy we get is being able to see the faces of the children when we made our donations.
Our first donation in 2015 to the Phuket Special Education Centre, which at the time had almost 50 children from the ages of 4-16 years who had a range of mental and physical disabilities and receive little in the way of funding and support from the government (and even fewer public donations), was an eye-opening experience. When we arrived, we noticed the dilapidated equipment and facilities the children were using. We had the ability to donate brand new play equipment and toys and to see the happiness in their faces was something to behold. Something that could seem so small and insignificant for us changed the day-to-day lives of these kids.
We returned the following year when they were building new dormitories and we were able to donate beds and bedding to allow for those to have somewhere comfortable and safe to sleep when they were not able to go home.
If we were to spend a day in your shoes… What would that look like?
We both work full-time, so when our workdays are over in our respective businesses and we are required to ball, we do this after hours. You will find us in the kitchen chopping, blending, weighing, measuring and rolling before we package everything up ready for delivery/pick-up.
What do you consider a good day/week/month at work for you?
Any day/week/month is great when the orders are coming in. The more orders we get, the more we are able to donate to those in need. We don’t make any profit or wage out of EATSS, therefore, everything we receive (excluding expenses) is donated. So, every order, every ball, quite literally makes a difference.
Every business needs an adviser… Who do YOU turn to for help at Canny Group + with so many accountants Geelong has on offer, why Canny Group?
Amanda and the team at Canny Group have been lifesavers when it comes to all things accounting, financial, business and legal. They are a Geelong institute and always go above and beyond answering all of our questions (no matter how big or small they are), and have helped us immensely since establishing Eat and They Shall Sleep (EATSS).
What kind of support have you received from Canny Group since joining forces with them as your accountant?
The support from the team at Canny Group has been immeasurable and all-around. They will answer the most basic or trivial questions, as well as give advice and support on a range of other matters.
If it was as easy as looking into your “EATSS crystal ball” – do you see yourselves being able to get back over to Thailand to continue to do donations or will you try to find something more local?
Yes! That is the hope. We would desperately love to return to Thailand (when it is safe to do so) and donate to those in need. We have been in communication with some people with regards to possible avenues of donations and will scope these out further and visit when we can (hopefully later this year). We always welcome suggestions for places to donate both here and in Thailand/South East Asia.
There are a few places and families locally that we also have in our sights.
How do I make an order + find out what you’re up to?
You can check out our website and order directly through there – www.eatss.com.au