Oberon Sinclair – How Kale became famous: How one woman created the world’s most infamous vegetable 

I’m going to start today’s introduction with a quote from The Times: “If the vegetable kingdom had a supermodel it would be Kale.”  

You know Kale – the green leafy vegetable that seems to be in everything? Steamed kale, baked kale, kale smoothies, dehydrated kale chips and my personal favourite – kale ice-cream.

For those of you that have been living under a rock – kale has to be the world’s most talked about super food of the past few years. 

In 2014, Whole Foods went from barely stocking Kale to selling 22k bunches per day, and small-time kale chip producers became multi-millionaires practically overnight.

From food to fashion – even Beyoncé sported a Kale sweatshirt in one of her popular music videos.

So, like all things that seemingly come out of nowhere and suddenly become viral – it’s interesting to ask the question – what exactly happened? 

Who started these wheels in motion – how do they feel about what happened next – and more importantly – how on earth did they do it?

So this episode started nearly a year ago – when I hadn’t yet asked myself any of those questions about my morning smoothie. It began with an email from someone call Captain Jack. The rough gist of the email was ‘I love your podcast and – if you haven’t already – you have to talk to a lady called Oberon Sinclair. She made Kale famous’. Full stop.

Now we get a handful of these emails every week – some are interesting – some are down right strange – but there was something about Captain Jack – and the words ‘made Kale famous’ – that I think pretty understandably got me hooked. Pardon the pun.

What followed was a six month conversation from various points around the globe, that led me to become more and more fascinated with the phenomenon that is Oberon Sinclair. 

In simple answer to the question – yes she did single handedly make Kale famous – but how she did it – and why she did it – is a story you have to hear. So here are a few background details…

Oberon is the CEO and founder of the PR and creative agency, My Young Auntie. 

Over the past 20 years, she has collaborated with, consulted for and managed clients including Hermès, Vivienne Westwood, Jack Spade, Converse and Fabergé. On top of all of that she is also widely regarded and known – as the Queen of Kale. 

In this conversation we unpack:

  • How to spot – and create trends – by making and creating space in your life for curiosity
  • Why deciding to act on that zing – is one of the most powerful decisions you can make in business and in life
  • Why she created the American Kale Association – and why it became the vegetable kingdoms best kept secret  
  • How to create a network of influence – including creating natural, unforced connections – no faking it until you make it here
  • The keys to putting together effective collaborations – including the three step rule – Connect, create, collaborate

What I’d love you to reflect on when listening to this conversation – is how un-linear her journey has been. I think we can often fall into the trap of taking a a+b=c approach to influence – or to building any kind of business, career or movement from scratch. 

From my experience – and from any of the conversations I have had with those that have fire tested the tools – it just doesn’t work that way. It involves trusting your instincts, following the breadcrumbs when they appear, showing up and staying inspired when it feels like you’re on an unexpected detour (aka the whole of 2020). And finally – playing the long game with the people you meet along the way. 

If this conversation feels like it walks down many different paths – it’s because that’s what a truly inspired and influential life often feels like. The question is always our commitment to keep walking.

On that note – sit back, pull out the kale chips and enjoy an insight into the brilliant mind of the Queen of Kale herself – Oberon Sinclair.

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