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#behindthebiz | Ellen Burns from We Bar None

#behindthebiz | Ellen Burns from We Bar None

Who doesn't love a good snack and especially if it ticks all the boxes: healthy, delicious and great for the environment.

This is exactly why we cannot stop reaching for the We Bar None bars!

It's the first business in Victoria to use 100% certified home compostable wrappers on their energy bars, so not only are the bars plant based, but so is the wrapper.

Now that's what we call guilt free snacking.

We sat down with Ellen Burns, the founder and owner of We Bar None, to learn how she came up with the innovative company whose energy bars boast no waste and her vision for the snacking industry. 

Tell us a bit about the people behind We Bar None.

I'm a one woman powerhouse! I operates We Bar None in line with my personal beliefs and passions around the environment and eating as a form of self-care.

What inspired you to start your company and when did you start it?

I was inspired to start We Bar None while I was living and working in Canada in 2013. There was such an amazing range of healthy snacks in North America and almost nothing on the market in Australia at the time. After playing around with recipes and doing a lot of research while I was in Canada, I launched into the business full time when I got back to Australia in 2015.

What would an ‘average day in the life of’ look like for you?

As I am a sole trader and responsible for every aspect of the business, my days can vary quite a bit!

An average weekday involves waking up, feeding my cat and then having some breakfast; either scrambled eggs with kraut and hot sauce or yoghurt with granola. While I’m having breakfast I will usually read or reply to some emails. I then head to the gym (my favourite classes are Zumba and Pilates!).

While I’m in town, I’ll do some deliveries, post off orders, go to the bank or do any other jobs that need doing whilst munching on a We Bar None bar.

After I get home I’ll have some lunch and then knuckle down to get some serious work done, either in the kitchen or online. I always have a good long break to make a delicious healthy dinner and relax. Depending on the night, I’ll then get back to work for a couple of hours or head to a committee meeting for one of the not-for-profits I’m involved with.

Sometimes I’ll head to No Lights No Lycra or a trivia night. Saturdays are Farmer’s Markets days and lately I’ve had constant 30th birthday celebrations for friends! Sundays are for making epic brunch at home with my fiance and relaxing before usually having dinner with family

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

My cat!! He does not like waiting for breakfast.

What is your favourite product in the We Bar None range?

I love the Aztec bar. I’ve always loved all things chilli and am slightly obsessed with cinnamon. I love the warm tingle of the Aztec bar. It’s an indulgent treat that is nourishing for your body and I can feel it firing off all the happy chemicals in my brain. 

What is an interesting way of using your products that not many people would know about?

In winter, sometimes I will warm up a bar in the microwave for a few seconds. They feel even more decadent when they are warm and get an amazing fudgy brownie texture! 

What have been the biggest trials so far in starting and running your company?

The biggest trial in running your own business is self-belief and self-confidence. Imposter Syndrome is REAL. So many times I have doubted myself. This is my first business and I have really built it from nothing.

The older I get, the more I realise that most people don’t really know what they’re doing and people are just people. I have always been honest about where I’m at so I don’t really believe in “fake it til you make it” but more that you should be ok with not knowing everything and not comparing yourself with others that are further down the line.

Run your own race and be honest about it, but back yourself 100%.

What experiences lead to the values you have instilled in your company?

I grew up in a very environmental household and was in Primary School when there were massive campaigns around recycling and littering.

I’ve always been conscious of the amount of waste that we create in our society and the impact that we are having on our environment. It baffles me when people act like the environment and even eating healthy are things that don’t apply to them.

We all need air, water and nourishing food to live, whether we like it or not! Looking after ourselves and our environment isn’t optional, it goes hand in hand with our quality of life. We all need to take personal responsibility for ourselves and the impact we are having, and that shouldn’t be any different when you run a business.

If you weren’t running We Bar None, what would you be doing?

I can’t even imagine a world where I am not running We Bar None. It has been my life for the past 4 years, and a dream for a lot longer than that. I have been coming up with business ideas since I was little, I think I wrote my first business plan when I was about 6...before I even knew what one was! I get so much satisfaction out of creating things, coming up with ideas and solving problems for people, I think running a business is in my blood somehow.

What is your favourite way of winding down and taking time out?

I’m one of those people that are not very good at relaxing. Exercise helps me take time out as it gives my brain something else to focus on. The most effective way that I have found to relax is to get out into nature and go camping. I love hiking and bushwalking, especially in places where I don’t get phone reception! Getting some fresh air and getting back in touch with nature always recharges my batteries.

Here at Retreat Yourself, we LOVE dreaming BIG - what is your vision for your company?

My vision for We Bar None is to change the nature of the snacking industry. I have big BIG companies showing pictures of me to their boards, showing them that home compostable packaging can be done, and is being done!

The biggest advantage of being a sole trader is having full control over We Bar None and being able to make decisions that are about the quality of what I’m putting into the world rather than the profit.

I want to be the underdog trail blazer that shows everyone how it’s done!

For anyone out there wanting to start their own business, what would your biggest piece of advice be?

Start today.

Anyone can have a great idea, the only thing holding you back is you. Write down your idea, write down your goals, start researching, ask for advice, come up with a Minimal Viable Product (what’s the smallest trial you can do of your idea?) and test it on your friends and family. Start small and build it up slowly, learning along the way. Just do it!

And lastly, what does a fulfilled life look like to you?

When I picture my dream future, I picture myself around a big table, piled high with food, surrounded by family, laughing. 

A fulfilled life to me is basically one full of love; love for yourself, those around you, and the world you live in.

To learn more about We Bar None head to their website:


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