MEET THE MAKER: Marina from Cider Tonic
Meet Marina from Cider Tonic
l am a 48 year old ex chef now making Cider Tonic full time. It was a series of life events & challenges that lead to this unexpected path. During my 25 years as a chef, l had worked in pubs, clubs, hospitals, on Bass Straight oil rigs & lastly my own cafe. After years of long hours, irregular eating patterns, stress & exhaustion, l decided once l sold my cafe l was taking a gap year to give myself time to recover & decide my next path in life. 12 months later, just as l was starting to improve my health, my sister was diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer at the age of 39 & my husband with Glandular Fever. My sister spent 7 months in our home in my care before she passed away. After she passed my husband & l both fell in a heap & were diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue. Luckily l wasn't working at the time but my husband ended up having to take a couple of months off work from his job as an accountant. With my sisters history & our own health issues, l started reading about the gut, I was blown away with the realisation of just how important our gut health is and the many ways we are affected when we neglect it. I kept coming across many stories about the benefits of ACV so we gave it a try, but just couldn't stomach it. So l thought there must be a better way. l decided that if l am going to take ACV l am going to make it worth my while and pack it full of great anti-inflammatory ingredients such as turmeric, ginger, garlic, honey etc….to my surprise the Tonic tasted far more pleasant and l was able to commit to taking it daily with no hesitations. My family & friends were surprised by how well we were doing and decide to take it as well and it just grew from there. I find when we talk to people at markets that most people are fairly aware of the benefits of ACV but have been put off by the taste, but are then very surprised by the taste of our Cider Tonic. Since we have turned it into a business we are hearing many great stories from our customers about how it has helped them build up their immunity, how they have been cold & flu free this past flu season, some people are having great results with it easing their reflux and bloating etc. others have mentioned that is has eased their IBS and some are sleeping better because they are having less digestive issues.
How long has your business been operating? I have been making Cider Tonic for about 12 months just for my family but then l turned it into a business in May of this year after gaining so much interest from friends and family.
What do you make and create? I make a product called Cider Tonic which is an elixir that is ACV based for daily consumption.
How "hands on" to the creation of your products are you? I source all of my ingredients from local producers & Food hubs in Gippsland which is where l am from. I also grow some of the ingredients such as bay leaves, parsley, chili, lemons, oranges, thyme & Oregano. I process the ingredients to make the tonic, l handle all of the bottling and all of the labelling processes as well as marketing & running the business etc. My husband helps me when l attend markets.
Tell me about the person you are in everyday life? (where you live, kids, family, activities?) I live in Gippsland with my husband & cat Pippa. I have only just recently become an empty nester. I have two children Jake 25 & a daughter Kate 23. We love weekends away to travel & explore our region camping, bush walking & visiting beautiful places. My husband has recently taken up photography as a hobby so you will often see me posting photos of a bottle of Cider Tonic in beautiful nature settings from our little adventures. We quite often combine a market weekend with the opportunity to explore the areas natural assets as well as enjoy some great food at beautiful local eateries who’s emphasis is on local and organic produce.
Tell me about why you love to create your products or brand? I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the start-up processes of getting my product of the ground. I found it exhilarating. Through the business l have formed great relationships with my local growers, stockists & customers. The support from everyone has been phenomenal. I enjoy being my own boss and being in control of my own destiny, but my absolute favourite thing is when l hear from customers what a difference Cider Tonic is making to their lives.
Tell me about the space you work in to create your products? I work from home and have my kitchen certified. I have a room at home dedicated to the brewing and storage of the Tonic
Does your family or friends help or have any input into what you do? My husband helps me at markets.
What are your short term goals? I currently have 30 stockists throughout Gippsland, Bass Coast & the Mornington Peninsula, my short term goal would be to build it up to 50 by the time of our 1st birthday.
What are your long term goals? To be honest l haven’t thought that far ahead…woops
Why do you love being a part of the Mermaid Sorority Markets? I love the atmosphere of the Mermaid Sorority Markets, we are meeting some amazing makers and customers who are genuinely interested in the what and why of what we do it. My favourite market so far was the Mornington Vegan market. It was a great fit for our business and people were very engaging.
THANK YOU so much for taking the time to share your story Marina! We just love having you and your brand included at our events. You can find out more about Cider Tonic here