Chi-San Wan Co-Founder of The Pressery

From styling celebrities to styling grocery shelves, Chi-San Wan is one half of London based almond company The Pressery. Dissatisfied with the options available in conventional supermarkets, Chi and The Pressery co-founder Natali Stajcic set out to develop their own activated, raw organic almond milk, with no preservatives, additives or artificial sweeteners. With a desire to make a difference through promoting transparency in the food industry, in March last year The Pressery was born in the pursuit of creating a nutritionally-engaged, locally-minded and community-driven product. In the first of our ACEY-WOMAN campaign interviews, we sat down with Chi to talk about all things career, style and purpose.

What prompted you to make the switch from the glamorous world of fashion to the food industry?

The fashion world is far from glamorous! I had tired of working in fashion, it just didn’t excite me anymore, and I have always had a love for food and drink – my family have always been in the restaurant business but I never thought I’d end up starting a business in the industry. One day, I realised I was spending more time browsing food blogs and concocting things in the kitchen than browsing through style.com and putting shoots together. That was the turning point.

What is your advice for others who dream of a career change but don’t know how to make the switch?

As well as the obvious of speaking to everyone and anyone who can tell you more about the industry that you’d like to go into, just start. Of course it’s scary. When is anything worth doing not scary? Fear is the catalyst that drives us forward day to day, and you’re never going to feel completely ready. Just go for it. It will be a constant evolution, you will never be fully satisfied, but that’s what also drives us forward, to keep changing, to do better than before.

At the helm of the first raw and 100% natural almond milk brand in London, health and wellness must be important to you. What is your personal wellbeing philosophy?

Maintaining a state of happiness is important to me. So whether that is reaching for a green juice or a glass of red wine, I acknowledge that it’s my conscious choice, and to enjoy every drop - no guilt, or feeling of discontent. I always eat and drink what I want, and I try to fit in yoga, Tempo Pilates or a jog 3 or 4 times a week. I never really tried to exercise properly until the last year, and I feel stronger for it. But if I don’t fit it in, I won’t beat myself up about it. I think that’s important for my personal wellbeing, to not hold onto negative thoughts and feelings.

How did The Pressery come to be?

Natali and I met at a house party of mutual friends and hit it off. Our friendship revolved around cooking for friends, eating out and discussing what else to cook and where else to eat. It didn’t occur to us that we’d ever start a business together, but fast forward some 8 years later, I was frustrated with freelancing in fashion and Natali was ready to leave her job and do things in her own time. What followed was a trip to Paris (as you do) to speak to a man about our amazing cold-press juice and nut milk stall idea (this was before any cold-press juice bars had opened in London, believe it or not!). He told us that with the little money we scrambled together, we’d kill ourselves (or each other) juicing and milking, therefore we should focus on one product and make that the best we could. The penny dropped at that point, it made more sense to us as our philosophy even before The Pressery had a name; was to keep it simple, we’ve always believed that less is more. That trip to Paris was the beginning.

Chi Wears Svilu Navy Blazer Coat

Here at THE-ACEY we're all about transparency in fashion, so we couldn't help but noticing your ethos surrounding transparency in food - what was the catalyst that sparked your interest in this area?

Having grown up in a family running restaurants, I have always cooked from scratch and eaten real food, not from a packet, so it was instilled in me from a very early age. We can’t deny the fact that the ‘health’ food sector has grown considerably in the last few years, and lots of companies are cashing in on that by declaring they are ‘good for you’ or ‘free-from’ this and that, but at what cost? When you look at the back of the products, they are full of ingredients you wouldn’t even be able to pronounce, never mind your body recognise. I guess it was from all the lies that we’re fed daily from the shop shelves that sparked the interest in being as transparent as possible, and trying to get the message out to others too.

Our ethos is ‘style with purpose’, an attribute that we believe all of our ACEY-WOMEN embody in their work and lifestyle. What does this phrase means to you?

Not compromising on style over functionality. It should be equal parts as important to the wearer. It should make you feel good on the inside and outside!

What are your ACEY wardrobe essentials?

I spent all summer in my white Vejas and my Svilu black culottes. Now that the winter is drawing in, I have invested in the Svilu camel coat and I have my beady eyes on Elish black cropped trousers and the PP Upcycled Leather Skirt.

We love to see women empowering other woman - is there a woman in particular who has inspired you to venture outside of your comfort zone, push the boundaries and have courage in pursuing what you believe in?

My business partner Natali is my daily inspiration. We are different in so many ways, and yet we have the same constant vision. We do things differently (this is a good thing) and I have learnt so much from Natali. She has pushed and encouraged me in every way possible in the last 18 months. I truly believe we compliment each other’s work ethos, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without her strength and attitude.

Keep in touch with The Pressery on Instagram: @thepressery
Shop the campaign: here
Meet the other women behind our AW15 Campaign: here
Join #aceywomen on Instagram: @the_acey

Photography by http://alandk.com/