Hannah Bryan and Leisha Rae are the 26-year-old owners of Auckland smoothie cafes Bowl and Arrow.

Part of the business's USP is the incredibly photogenic smoothies are sugar-free, served in bowls and decorated with slices of fresh fruit. The pair is modernising plant-based snacks, making drinks and treats that are both delicious and healthy. They have an impressive social media following on Instagram and branches in Parnell and Oreki, plus a catering business which has worked with clients including Adidas and My Food Bag.

The Bowl and Arrow cafes serve vegan and vegetarian food and drinks - eating less meat and dairy are one of the simplest ways to be kind to the environment and cut carbon emissions. The business likes to spread positive vibes in all sorts of smart and unique ways: one example is that they give discounts to any members of the emergency services.

We caught up with these busy entrepreneurs to chat about travel, the power of social media, and staying healthy without depriving your taste buds.

How did you two meet?

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Ironically we met while bonding over our love for food.
Leish came into a cafe where I was working at the time and asked what bread I would recommend for French toast. We got talking and realised we were studying at the same university, we started hanging out and have become the best of mates ever since.

What inspired you to start your business Bowl and Arrow?

After finishing a stint in the corporate advertising and PR world, we packed our bags and went travelling throughout Asia. It was in Bali where we first fell in love with smoothie bowls. The taste, texture, colours and presentation was just beautiful and we knew New Zealand had nothing like that. One weekend we decided to create some smoothie bowls and start up an Instagram page. Within days we started gaining followers and decided to go to our local market and see if these would actually sell. On our first market day, we sold over 100 and knew we were on to something. Our Orakei store opened in 2016 and within less than a year we opened our second store in Parnell.

Picture // Supplied
Picture // Supplied

Can you explain the concept of a smoothie bowl to the uninitiated?

A smoothie bowl is a thick and creamy smoothie served in a bowl and eaten with a spoon. It is then topped with granola and fruit. We have add-ons at Bowl and Arrow that taste and look great such as protein, coffee, acai, nut butter and coconut yoghurt. Next time you pop in I recommend the 'Pimped Out Brazilian' which is our popular acai bowl but topped with nut butter and coconut yoghurt - it is delish!

Do you think social media and Instagram, in particular, has helped grow your business?

Yes, 100%. We are lucky that our bowls are photogenic and can sell themselves. We tend to get a lot of organic advertising from customers who post their own photos of our products which are really cool to see.

Do you think more people are discovering the benefits of a mainly plant-based diet?

Yes, we have really noticed this in the two years we've been working in this industry. So many of our customers are much more aware of what ingredients are in their food and what's actually 'healthy' and what's not. Plant-based eating is becoming more common and there are so many options out there now that we didn't have before, so it is just as easy and convenient as having any other food.

Do you have any tips for people wanting to cut down on animal products in their diet?

The easiest way to do this is just small steps. It's pretty tricky going 100% vegan or vegetarian and still getting the right nutrients if you have never eaten that way before. Start your household on Meatless Mondays and try a new recipe! You can think of it as adding in more veggies rather than cutting out foods.

Do you use any sustainable products and if so which ones?

Yes, we do! Personally, I have super sensitive skin so I use the ecostore body wash and hand soaps. On your skin, it's so important to use natural products as our skin is a direct entrance to our body - whatever goes on it, goes in it too. So you have to think of it like food and feed your skin with the right products.

http://www.ecostore.co.nz