Lifestyle Living

Interview with Sydney-based entrepreneur Shannon Rosie Barge

Sydney-based entrepreneur Shannon Rosie Barge is successfully spreading her insight and creative life hacks on maintaining and balancing a healthy lifestyle. With an online shop, a self-published book, and a new health-conscious restaurant Rosie’s, Shannon has truly established herself as a successful and hard-working entrepreneur in the nutrition field (and did I mention she’s only in her twenties?).

Nutrition and well-being is a very popular niche for Instagram influencers and young entrepreneurs; especially in Australia where the trend of clean eating has become embedded within our overall lifestyle and culture. For Shannon, her passion for nutrition and well-being was sparked due to her own personal struggles with health. At just 3-years-old, Shannon learned she had a skin disorder. Mainstream medicine was unable to cure her, and after finally visiting a naturopath as a last resort, the rash was gone within a week.

“This same cycle between mainstream and alternative medicine repeated again when I was 10 and 16 years old. But 16-year-old me decided to take my health into my own hands. Research, here I come! I put my head into the books and became absolutely obsessed. A few years later I enrolled in my degree Health Sciences: Nutritional Medicine. The rest is history.”

After self-publishing her book, Conscious Cocktails, Shannon has proven her clear vision and take on the concept of clean drinking. The tagline – “cheers to balance!” – says it all.

“Conscious Cocktails is a cheeky and delicious celebration of balance. Health and wellness is so in right now but for some reason this healthy shift has yet to alcohol. If you are going to enjoy a drink with friends anyways, why not learn how to do it smarter?”

In a world where our mantra is green smoothies and pilates, Shannon wonders: why do we straight away go for the sugary cocktails and crappy junk food as soon as 5pm ticks over on a Friday? This is why we need to learn the art of clean drinking and say hello to Conscious Cocktails.

“You learn how to shake things up (pun intended) by creating easy cocktail creations which are guilt free and packed with superfoods so that you can actually nourish your body whilst letting your hair down. Cheers to that!”

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows when it comes to the process of publishing a book, whether that’s self-publishing or deciding to go with traditional publishing – both processes are riddled with high pros and low cons. Shannon says that self-publishing her book was both “extremely difficult but absolutely awesome”. Living in Bali at the time, Shannon says she was constantly brainstorming, photographing, and of course – my personal favourite part of the process – testing some delicious cocktails!

I was constantly inspired by the weird and wonderful tropical fruits, vegetables, and herbs Bali has to offer. As a first-time author, the process was sometimes overwhelming but I was so passionate about the project that I pushed through. After meeting with several publishing agents, I realised none were the right fit. With so much on my plate at that time, I decided to self-publish. It was definitely the right decision for me at that time, but I think maybe one day I’ll work with a publisher moving forward. It would have been wonderful to utilise their professional help with distribution and set photography.”

Moving forward, the building and creation of their restaurant Rosie’s was a roller coaster of a journey for Shannon and her business partner (slash real-life partner). Shannon recounts that this project was the most challenging of them all. As soon as she left Bali and landed in Sydney, it was all hands on deck and they dived right into renovations in Coogee, where Rosie’s was born. There were highs and lows, but Shannon says, in the end, it was all worth it.

Rosie’s before construction

“Hospitality is a difficult industry but I’m telling you, no matter how exhausted I was there was no better feeling in the world than when we had every seat filled with happy, nourished customers.”

Working with her real-life partner as business partners was actually very refreshing and incredibly special for Shannon. She loved it! But she knows that it isn’t for everyone. Hell, most of us would’ve had thirty arguments with our bf’s just on coming up with a name for the business.

“Before starting Rosie’s we were living in Bali and were together 24/7; we worked out together, travelled together, ate together, we were always together. Honestly, even in the hard times with Rosie’s we never even fought. Instead of taking out our frustration on each other we developed an ‘us against the world’ mindset which actually made us grow as a partnership.”

Rosie’s after construction

Shannon’s online shop Living With Rosie offers products for sale, programs to reach that perfect health balance in your life, and of course her book Conscious Cocktails. There are two Living with Rosie programs up for grabs – one is The Good Gut Guide, and the other is Lighten Up.

“As I was never working in a clinic full time, I could only ever see a select number of clients. These programs were a way for me to work with so many more people all across the world.”

With this program, Shannon teaches anyone who wants to learn about gut health, growing a stronger immune system, and refraining from adding on kgs.

The Lighten Up program shares insight on a lighter and healthier lifestyle.

“It is not a 4-week detox, a 90-day diet or fad-style approach. It teaches you how to re-frame the way you look at weight loss. You will say goodbye to dieting and calorie counting forever and hello to nourishment, feeling great, and looking even better.”

To wrap up, I asked Shannon what the pros and cons are for creating your personal brand and business brand. For every young person who thrives to become an entrepreneur, keep reading!

Shannon explained that the fun bits are being able to work your own hours and have complete creative freedom. No one rules over you; it’s utter independence.

“You get to trial and error all your creations yourself and see what works for your brand community. The hard bits though are that there is no external structure, nobody to mentor you or work through issues with you.”

Shannon also recalls finding it quite hard to be the face of your own brand at times.

“Last year was a hard year for me and having to always be a smiling happy healthy face took a lot of energy at times. But then again it also kept me in line and motivated to be my happiest and healthiest self even when times were tough. As with everything, it has its ups and downs but all in all I absolutely love it.”

Whether you’re into nutrition and well-being, motorsports, fashion and beauty, or wacky food recipes, any of this can apply to you when it comes to building a brand. Have some fun with it and enjoy creating!