Mum uses nutrition expertise in business aiming to help families

Hannah Gentile carefully curates her Nourish Boxes of toys and books from her home in Takapuna.

Hannah Gentile carefully curates her Nourish Boxes of toys and books from her home in Takapuna.

An Auckland mum has set up twin businesses to improve the wellbeing of young children and their families.

Hannah Gentile started her two online businesses, catering to the parents of under 5-year-olds, as a way to work for herself after facing pressures of being a working mum in a professional world.

The 31-year-old once worked at World Vision in Australia, looking after early childhood care and development in remote Aboriginal communities.

But, after the birth of her daughter Sofia, who is now 3, Gentile decided to set up her own venture and return home to New Zealand to see both her child and business grow.

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"I got to a point where I didn't want to do a nine to five. I didn't want to work in a business where I was constantly devalued or constantly watched to see when I was having the next kid," she said.

Gentile opened Nourished by Nature, a nutrition advice service that pulled on her experience at World Vision, as well as her master's degree in human nutrition.

The bulk of the work is consulting with mothers trying to conceive, and parents who have children with allergies or who are fussy eaters.

In October, she and husband David decided to add another business to their brand.

Nurture Box is a subscription box service that delivers toys and book, with an extra option of a Book Box, which sends one baby book and one picture book curated by Gentile to the door every month.

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The two businesses are now housed under the overarching business brand of Grown By Nature. 

Gentile said the inspiration for her work came as she looked around and saw a lot of families like hers - both parents working, time poor but wanting to provide a healthy environment for their kids.

Gentile works four days at the Waitemata District Health Board as the manager of the Well Child Tamariki Ora programme, and invests about 20 hours of her week into her business.

"A lot of what I do is around making some of that development stuff around age group easy for parents," she said.

Gentile said she thought society was benefiting from online businesses, as they socialised different ways of earning money, doing business and running a household. 

"We're living in an age in which, with the internet, we can see the different ways people structure their lives," she said. 

"There's flexibility in how we work now, our value is not being in a workplace for x number of hours, but our value is in the outcome we produce from that."

 - Stuff

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