We are really excited to tell you the story of Giulia, founder of Mia Chia. It is a story full of courage, creativity and love. Enjoy!
Giulia is Italian and grew up as an expat. She did her studies in Economics and Environmental Management at the University of Oxford, where she met her Mexican husband. She started working for international organizations in management of environmental issues. She lived and worked in London, then 5 years in China, before moving to Indonesia 6 years ago.
Giulia’s passion for healthy food and a balanced diet led her to attend a 1-year online course from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition based in New York, to become a health coach. She has always been very careful about eating habits in her family, and when she arrived in Indonesia, she quickly realized it was impossible to find healthy snacks for her daughter’s lunch-box. She decided to make her own healthy bars for Mia, and started experimenting at home. Not only Mia liked the bars very much, but also many of her friends at school started asking her to share them. Their mothers approached Giulia to ask her where she found such delicious and healthy snacks. That’s how she got the idea to create Mia Chia.
At that moment Giulia was not very happy with her work. She had been considering a change of job for a while, but the idea of having to start the job search process once more discouraged her. Moreover, she was the breadwinner of the family which was about to grow to welcome Mia’s brother, made in Indonesia 🙂
Nonetheless Giulia’s husband was very supportive, and together they decided she would try to start her business and evaluate after one year. If at the end of that year nothing had come out, she would start looking for another job.
Giulia started Mia Chia (Mia is her daughter’s name and Chia seeds are those she initially used for her bars) in November 2016, and today, after little more than one year, she has a solid business that makes her happy and ensures healthy snacks to loads of children (and adults, including me) all over Jakarta.
How did she do it?
- With passion: Giulia is highly committed to healthy food. Mia Chia snacks are made with carefully selected products, using dates as a basis to give the sweet taste Indonesians are so crazy about, wholly handmade and with no cooked ingredients;
- With patience: setting up a business in Indonesia as an expat is no piece of cake. Giulia applied to create a PTPMA, which is the kind of business expats are allowed to run (at least two people are needed). While creating and registering the company is not so complicated, getting permission to sell in supermarkets and other places in town can become a real headache;
- With people: Giulia employs 12 women who have never worked before. They are either elderly persons, or young who want to save to go to the university. They work side by side in the laboratory that Giulia rented for Mia Chia;
- With support: Giulia has not been alone in this. She had full support and encouragement from her husband and parents, and the guidance of a mentor through the Endeavor group. She had a fantastic experience, and she is still in touch with them, especially now that she has to decide which kind of business plan to choose after one year of activity.
- With flexibility: Giulia does everything. She makes the products, teaches how to do them, does the SEO and marketing, sell at bazaars, and keeps external relations.
- With respect: Giulia is deeply respectful of the Indonesian culture, and knows that she has to take people’s tastes into account. She loves to walk that thin line between her ideas and what her clients like.
Today Mia Chia is present in 200 distribution points, in Jakarta, Bandung, Bali, Papua. Expats and Indonesians alike buy the delicious snacks in schools, supermarkets and malls. As for Giulia, she is using all of her passion, expertise and creativity in a work that finally satisfies her, and has more time to spend with her beautiful children.