Dwayne Martens, Amazonia
I need to show the world what their buying power does, and if I can keep a few people out of the hospital system by educating and providing real nutrition, then I have saved a lot of suffering.
You’ll be hard-pressed trying to find a cafe on the Gold Coast that doesn’t serve acai. Known for its illuminative health benefits, the little purple berry from The Amazon has gone from being a superfood craze to a cafe staple in just a few short years. Dwayne Martens is the founder of Burleigh Heads-based Amazonia – the country’s largest acai distributor. After a life-changing world trip in his 20s, Dwayne stumbled across the humble acai berry nearly a decade ago, and in 2008 he created what would soon become one of Australia’s most successful health food brands. Dwayne is certainly not your regular company director – he’s one down-to-earth dude that is driven by his own purpose to make a change in the world, and he’s doing it one acai bowl at a time.
Can you give us an insight into how Amazonia first came to life? What were you doing with yourself before Amazonia?
I had literally come back from a life-changing travel experience through over 20 countries. I was gone for nine months with little to no money and a bunch of mindset books. I’d happily read these books while I spent time begging on the streets of London (long story), living in caves in Ibiza and getting into all sorts of trouble. I was 21 years old and ‘wild’ you could say – but by reading these books and applying the practices to the challenges that confronted me, I gained confidence in life matters. This was the foundation for my business ventures.
Let’s take things back a little – when was your first experience with the Acai berry?
I was in my first business venture and in WA at the time. I had just bought $3,000 worth of fruit and was rummaging through my latest purchase with excitement. Some acai was mixed in the box with a bunch of other frozen fruits in Portuguese packaging that I’d never heard of before. I sampled all of the fruits and all of the others tasted awful – then I made an acai smoothie, and the rest is history.
We all learn the hard way! So, what’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned (in business or in life)?
I have been too obsessed with the outcome rather than the journey it takes to get there. The journey is all there really is. Being to goal-orientated made me rush, be irrational and stressed. Don’t get me wrong, we need goals but we must not obsess over them as it can simply take us away from the amazing journey on offer.
What was your very first job?
My very, very first job was picking chestnuts on the neighbours farm. I actually ended up picking them and having a stall where I sold them to the tourists. Let’s just say I hold the record for the most chestnuts picked in a day on that farm!
Where does your passion for sustainability stem from?
I’m a part of the change, so purpose drives me. To sleep at night knowing you’re having a positive impact on this world is what I value most. No matter how small or large a part I play, I value this the most.
How do you continue to stay motivated on a daily basis? What inspires you?
Purpose is the driving factor to all of this. Our (Amazonia’s) purpose is simple – only six percent of Aussies get their RDI (recommended daily intake) of nutrients from vegetables. Australia is malnourished, and no good amount of synthetic nutritional supplements that make up the majority of the industry is going to change this. Getting real nutrients and proteins make a vast difference to a number of peoples lives, and inturn this has a positive impact on the environment through the organic standards. I need to show the world what their buying power does and if I can keep a few people out of the hospital system by educating and providing real nutrition, then I have saved a lot of suffering. With the weather warming up here in Australia, over 700,000 acai bowls are set to fuel locals over the next three months – the health culture coming through is exciting and we are a big part of it.
What’s a normal Sunday morning for you?
Wake up to the eyes of my beautiful woman, an ocean swim on Bondi rocks and a little light exercise. Sunday is very relaxing for me, as you can imagine, I need some down time.
We’ll end with this – what words of wisdom do you live by?
Brave are those who follow their heart above all else.