Updated: Sep 16, 2021
Who can resist the lure of a healthy treat? Natalie Shilton has built her business, The Nakery, on irresistible cakes that are plant-based, gluten and refined sugar free. Imogen Sandbach went to find out more about the wholesome philosophy behind Natalie’s business.
WHAT DO YOU OFFER?
Raw vegan treats that are 100% plant- based, gluten-free, refined sugar free and made with love. We also have supercharged smoothies and shakes and a weekend waffle bar.
HOW DID YOU CAME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR THE NAKERY?
It started back in 2015 when I was halfway through a psychology degree at John Moores University.
I WAS STRUGGLING WITH DISORDERED EATING AND FELL IN LOVE WITH CREATING NATURAL RAW TREATS THAT BEGAN TO HEAL MY TOXIC RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD.
I wanted to spread this healing further, so I set up an Instagram page, back then known as "Nat's Natural Nutrition" which picked up traction really fast. I gained interest from local businesses and cafés, all wanting to stock the treats, and I started to offer deliveries and collections around the city - all whilst baking from home.
As I started to outgrow my home kitchen, I moved to a professional space with bigger equipment and then left university in my final year due to the demand. I knew I had to put all of my energy into the business, so that’s what I did, and I haven’t looked back since! Now we’re based in Liverpool city centre, and I also create natural skincare products, record my podcast and host my own YouTube channel where I share my most loved recipes.
WHAT IS YOUR BRAND ABOUT?
My brand is all about re-connecting people with nature and sharing the healing
properties of the truly amazing plants and herbs that have been used for centuries.
LIFE SHOULDN'T BE ABOUT RESTRICTION, I WANT PEOPLE TO BE ABLE TO EXPERIENCE THE RICHNESS, NOURISHMENT AND WHOLENESS THAT PLANT-BASED TREATS CAN PROVIDE.
Raw vegan treats that are 100% plant-based, gluten-free, refined sugar free and made with love.
IT’S BRILLIANT NEWS THAT YOU WERE ABLE TO EXPAND INTO SKINCARE DURING THE PANDEMIC.
I created Nakery Skin in the last lock down. It’s the same kind of ethos as The Nakery, so it’s all completely natural. I love using natural skincare myself and I wanted to share that with other people. I started to make my own products in the first lock down because I had the time, and I just found it really nice to connect with the plants in that way. So, I thought why not create some products? That’s how it started, and then it snowballed.
WHY DO YOU THINK IT’S IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE TO RECONNECT WITH NATURE?
I’VE JUST FINISHED WORKING ON A SHORT DOCUMENTARY. IT TOUCHES ON EATING DISORDERS AND SOCIETY’S BEAUTY STANDARDS AND PRESSURES, ESPECIALLY FOR WOMEN.
I’m working with a videographer and we both felt a strong desire to create this
because I’ve suffered with an eating disorder myself, and I’ve met so many other people who also have similar disorders who don’t even necessarily show it outwardly. I thought it was really important to talk about it. So many people volunteered to be involved. So, I was like, “Yeah, let’s do it.” And the main
thing we took away from these interviews was that women wanted to reconnect with nature,
IT HELPED THEM TO DROP ALL THE ILLUSIONS OF SOCIETY AND THE PRESSURES THAT SOCIETY PUTS ON US. IN NATURE THEY FELT LIKE THEY COULD RECONNECT TO THEIR TRUE SELVES.
So that validated what I already knew, I understood how important it was to connect with nature and stay true to our highest self. Then all of these women in the interviews were saying the same thing. And we were like, wow, there’s one common message from all of these women who’ve had very different experiences. Let’s go back to nature. So, yeah, I do think it’s so vital.
SO, IT’S SOUNDS AS THOUGH THIS HAS BEEN A LEARNING JOURNEY FOR YOU?
Definitely. I’m trying to educate myself on other things now as well, such as herbalism, because that’s something that I’ve gotten into quite recently. And I think that’s going to help me to take the brand to the next level because I’m not only learning about the herbs on a physiological level for the body, but I’m also learning about the spirit of the different herbs and plants, which transforms us in ways that we can’t measure, but we can feel. And for me, dropping into that feeling, rather than the logical mind all the time has been a game changer. Because I feel like for so long, I was just in this logical mind, but now when I’m dropping more into the intuition, and feeling my way through things, it’s completely just changed the way I live and the way I work.
HOW DO YOU THINK THAT THE SPIRITUALITY AND THE HERBALISM THAT YOU’RE PASSIONATE ABOUT IS MAKING ITS WAY INTO THE TREATS THAT YOU OFFER IN THE NAKERY?
We use a lot of ancient healing foods such as cacao, and recently, I trained to learn more about the benefits of ceremonial cacao which has a lot of intention and a lot of prayer put into it at every stage of the process from when it’s picked to when it’s packed.
IT REALLY MAGNIFIES NOT ONLY THE POSITIVE EFFECTS FOR THE BODY, BUT THE MIND AND SPIRIT TOO.
The more I’m learning about ingredients, the more I want to take it up to the next level.
HAVE YOU GOT ANY NEW PRODUCTS COMING OUT?
This summer, we’ll have all kinds of summer drinks and ice-creams on the menu. We make vegan ice cream which is free from refined sugar. We make that with cashews, coconut milk and coconut oil, and then we add different frozen fruits into it and cacao, and things like that. They can be sold by the scoop or on sticks. And of course, we’ve got our delicious smoothie menu.
WHICH SMOOTHIE WOULD YOU RECOMMEND TO OUR READERS?
Not So Mellow Yellow, but that’s just because I absolutely love mango. We’ve been using the honey mangoes, and they are incredible. If you haven’t tried honey mangoes, they’re delicious. And then we blend them into a mango lassi type
drink, which is very nice. So yeah, it’s anything with mango in it for me.
WHERE CAN READERS FIND YOU?
44 Berry St, Liverpool L1 9DF