A former truck driver turned award-winning vegan kitchen owner has gained customers and lost weight with her pre-prepared meals.
Prep owner Natalie Richards only launched her vegan meal delivery business a year ago but since then she has tripled her output, won two business awards and is a finalist for another.
She's also dropped 10 kg in 8 weeks by trialling her own lower calorie range.
Changing careers was a big decision for the passionate long-haul truckie but she hasn't looked back with business booming.
"It has been amazing and I have been so busy in the last year to the point I am now delegating. I think I manage it well," Richards said.
Since she launched Prep out of her tiny Grey Lynn home kitchen in mid-2018 her customer base has mushroomed and Richards now has a professional chef, creating hundreds of meals each week.
The young entrepreneur is also collecting a swag of business awards.
Earlier this year she won 'best start up' and 'people's choice' in the Network New Zealand Business Awards. She is also a finalist in the NZ Maori Business Women's Awards which will be announced in October.
Despite the growth of the business, which was started through a Facebook page, Richards is always thinking of how she can expand Prep further.
The building I lease has an area for a delivery truck, I'm not quite there yet but I'm aiming to be."
"I have new goals each day and I write them down and tick them off when they are achieved."
The company is doing so well Richards has expanded with the recent creation of a fitness range.
Living on her own meals and following a fitness program for 8 weeks saw Richards lose a healthy 10kg.
"I have eaten the food myself for the past eight weeks and have lost 10kg so am basically a walking advertisement for how it works," she said.
"I also did the F45 challenge so I wanted to show the food worked with that."
Prep is also sponsoring New Zealand's reigning WBO light heavyweight world champion Geovana Perez by providing her meals as she trains for her title fight against Canada's Claire Hafner in October.
"Providing food for Geovana was something I took really seriously so I sat down with experts to make sure we got everything right," Richards said.
So what advice does Richards give others looking to start their own business or change careers.
"Set goals and tick them off when you achieve them - and post things about your business on social media every day," she said.
"I also have a business coach, Debra Chantry, and swear by having one. She has been valuable to building my business."
Richards also swears by maintaining the personal touch with her customers.
"I have an amazing chef now but I still do the deliveries myself so I get to speak with my customers all the time."
The environmentally green business woman had big plans to sell Prep meals in supermarkets but soon realised that required including plastic in her packaging.
"That was one thing I am not negotiable on so I am currently working on other ways to expand that get around the plastic packaging issue.
All of her packaging is biodegradable and she buys in bulk or from markets which also reduces waste.
Prep meal prices range from $13.50 (with offerings including hearty lentil shepherd's pie, peanut lime chilli satay and lemongrass and ginger pumpkin curry), to $15.50 for healthy lasagne.