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Muse No. 1: Martina from Smartbite Snacks

Meet Martina from Smartbite Snacks

What inspired you to start Smartbite Snacks?

When my parents immigrated to Canada with my brother and I, we could not find natural, thin style rice cakes we loved snacking on so much back home in Europe. One of many lessons that my parents taught me was that you can always find a solution if you try hard enough. When I travelled back home, I made sure to bring an extra suitcase jam packed with our fave rice crackers. Good solution if you ask me but definitely not sustainable. So, we decided to make our favourite snacks ourselves and share them with the world. We are a family business in every sense of the word; each decision we make, no matter how small, we make together.

What is your favourite part of your job?

There are so many from the thrill of seeing our company grow, the fact that I am working on something I am so incredibly passionate about to building something of my own. But if I get to choose only one favourite aspect of my job, then it’s definitely the people. Thanks to Smartbite Snacks, I got a chance to meet so many amazing humans, many of whom turned into friends for life. It’s always so great to connect with other business owners and fellow hustlers and hear their stories, their wins and their struggles. It makes this journey more exciting, more meaningful and definitely less lonely.

Any advice for others who want to start a small business?

Advice 1: Things don’t have to be perfect before you start. Getting something basic out there—even something you think is ugly—is more important than waiting to perfect it. Don't think you have to get it right the first time. Nobody does. I certainly did not. Be comfortable putting something half-assed out into the world to see how people respond to it. The point is that you want to launch something that others really want, not just what you think is a brilliant idea.

Advice 2: You need to be patient. Success doesn’t happen overnight. Everyone wants to be an entrepreneur, but very few people have the patience, grit and stamina to make it a reality.

Advice 3: Get used to falling down because, a SPOILER ALERT, you will fall down A LOT. I don’t like to use the word “failure” because to me it feels so bleak and final. I look at all setbacks as falling down. When something doesn’t go the way you planned, it’s falling down. You pick yourself up, dust yourself off and you try again. YOU GOT THIS!

What does sustainability mean to you?

To me sustainability is living in balance and harmony with our planet. It’s honouring resources and being reverent of and to all earthlings. One of my favourite quotes that sums up my philosophy about sustainability comes from a conservationist, philosopher and educator Aldo Leopold: “We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” I look at the (natural) world just like Aldo, as a community to which we belong.

Do you have any other tips on how to incorporate sustainability into one's everyday life?

How about with food that’s delicious and sustainable?  Many of us don’t realize it, but of all the choices we make on a daily basis, the one that has the largest impact on the planet starts on our plates. By choosing to eat more plant-based foods, we can drastically cut our carbon footprint, save precious water supplies and give thousands of species a fighting chance for survival. Did you know that animal agriculture is the leading driver of deforestation and habitat loss? Right now, over 50% of the world’s arable land is dedicated to livestock grazing or growing livestock feed. As the global population grows, the amount of land needed to support this system will only continue to grow. We have the potential to make an enormous positive impact by just changing the way we eat. How powerful and absolutely terrific is that?

Last year WWF, the world’s largest and most experienced independent conservation organization, published the report called “Bending the Curve: The Restorative Power of Planet-Based Diets” to prove that planet-based diets (high in human health benefits and low in environmental impact) not only reduce environmental damage and harm to our health, but they can also be restorative. Vegan diet can help restore nature by cutting greenhouse gas emissions, halting deforestation, and saving wildlife. 

I strongly believe that any meaningful and long-lasting change starts with education. That’s why I highly recommend watching the following documentaries: Cowspiracy, Food, Inc., The Game Changers and Seaspiracy


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