Megan is an American leading a food revolution in Olso, Norway. Oslo the capital of Norway has a population of approximately 600,000 people, which is located in the North of Europe. It is best known for their Northern Lights and history of Vikings. For about two years now Megan has lived in Oslo, a city that she moved to from NYC with her Norwegian boyfriend. Originally from Southern California, Megan moved to New York City by way of San Francisco to study nutrition. For a person who has been a graphic designer for most of her professional life, this was definitely out of her comfort zone. But for Megan it was a necessity rather than a fascination, at least at first. In her mid 20’s she learned that she had psoriasis. Instead of going the modern route with steroids and other drugs prescribed by her doctor, she decided to search for a more natural way to cure herself. While living in San Francisco, she started working with a woman that put her on a natural path, which really changed her life. Her new diet and nutrition not only improved her health in other ways, but it made a great impact in her fight against psoriasis.
Through this healing process she realized that there must be many others who can benefit from this lifestyle and she wanted to share it with them. Megan enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City, which started in 1992 with just one classroom but is now the largest Nutrition school in the world. Megan expected to spend six months in New York learning about better methods of nutrition. Though that quickly turned into 3 years after she not only enrolled in the Natural Gourmet Institute but also took on several different internship and volunteer opportunities.
Before arriving to Oslo, Megan was sure that her moneymaker was going to be graphic design work. But staying true to her new passion, she decided to get into the food industry. Starting a business in a foreign country is a really difficult thing to do. Fortunately enough for Megan the topic of healthy eating was on the tip of everyone’s tongue. In Oslo there’s a place called The Culture House, it’s a collective of artists who host performances and other artistic events. Megan was fortunate enough to meet the owners and they agreed on a partnership with Megan. Though Megan has a work visa, without being a citizen she is unable to start a business in Norway by herself. By them sponsoring her she’d be able to open her nutrition business in their venue. From there came the creation of Puroslo.
Today at Puroslo (Pure Oslo) Megan sells the most nutritious food in downtown, she also spends a significant amount of time educating her customers as well. This way they know that their food does not only taste good, but is good for their health too.
Social media has been an important part of her marketing outreach. Through social media not only has Megan been able to create many contacts with people in the industry but she also gained a lot of customers this way as well. In Norway, an app for Vegan’s was recently launched which allows you to locate vegan friendly restaurants, which has attributed to a good amount of traffic as well. Megan likes Instagram the most for her social media effort. I recently read that in a comparison of the big three platforms that Instagram is 54 more times effective than Facebook and 120 times more effective than Twitter. I’d say she’s on to something. Having a strong social media presence is really important. Especially when you don’t have a lot of time to do marketing events or a big budget to pay someone else to. People in the food industry, like Megan, know this better than most. Just like shoes are for walking, the kitchen is for cooking.
Starting a business is risky; we all know that. The idea behind the risk is that people may not like what you are selling. Truth be told, the real risk is that you may not know how to inform the right people about what you are selling and you may not be able to get them to buy a 2nd time. For this reason Megan suggests taking your time to learn your business inside and out, not just the product. Start part time while maintaining a primary source of income. Preferably the one you had when coming up with your idea. It’s important that your motivation for a business decision is directly related to the success of the company and not paying a bill. Unfortunately a decision to achieve a short-term goal may later on inhibit you from achieving a long-term goal. Always think long term.
Megan attributes her freelance work as the most entrepreneurial thing that she had done up to this point and prepared her for running a business. When doing freelance work, you’re in charge of looking for your own work and creating your income.
“I started making gluten free food because I had to, it’s hard to cook food that you can’t eat.”
Megan’s future plans consist of making more great food and sharing more great food education. One of her biggest hurdles is adjusting to the way business is done in Norway. With healthy eating being so new, there aren’t many vendors. Sometimes, for particular items, there’s only one. She hopes to improve this process by making the supply chain more streamlined in order to get good food on a plate easier. A more farm to table approach.
Megan’s advice for anyone getting started is simple: “Don’t try to move too fast. It’s easy to want to move forward really fast, but I think you need to be cautious. Even if business is booming within six months, you never know what could happen.”
Learn more about Megan and her booming restaurant/lifestyle brand at Puroslo.com