Hong Kong Madame - English

Women of Hong Kong – Sheila, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Protelicious

April 18th 2019

by Aude Camus 
Few weeks ago, when attending the launch event of intelligent air system Olfinity, I was given a very unusual drink for such a cocktail party: a smoothie. And not just any smoothie but a whey protein based one. Was it yummy? Yes, it was. Yummy and intriguing enough for having me wanted to know more the health benefits of whey proteins. And who better than Sheila Partrat, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Protelicious – the company importing this clean cold processed whey protein to Hong Kong – to discuss that with? So here I was, few days later, seating with Sheila, snacking on protein-based nibbles, discussing health and discovering her inspiring story. 

Women of Hong Kong – Sheila, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Protelicious
Hi Sheila, lovely meeting you today! Can you tell me a bit more about yourself? Who are you? How did you end up here in Hong Kong? And the whys and hows behind Protelicious.
A little info about me? Sure. Very Canadian, as certified by the eh?? which punctuates my speech! I have a Bachelor in Food Science from McGill University then Masters in Economics and Media Studies from University de Paris II, and despite my lifelong passion for all subjects linking food and health, I NEVER expected to work in the industry. 
I was enjoying life as a magazine publisher in Paris when our life transitioned to Hong Kong in 2006. Subsequent health challenges with two of our children motivated me to turn back to my sciences and the pathways between food and health to find solutions. A few years later, the kids were completely back on track, while in the meantime I started to become an informal, then formal, resource on the subject. I have not looked back since.  Momentum took me from lunchtime lecturer on the pathways between food and health to author to TEDX speaker and now co-founder and MD of Protelicious
Back to the link with Protelicious, as I didn't want to continue with the lunch lectures, along with two other educators, I decided to write a guide book for parents and young adults, called Keys to Independence, Leaving Home to Study. My part is on the pathways between food and health.  While fact-checking with my good friend, and now Protelicious Chief Science Officer Dr. Jean-François Lesgards, a well-published postdoc in Biochemistry who had experience with clean cold processed whey in clinical applications like cancer and cardio-vascular… I understood two things clearly: This quality whey protein is second to none when it comes to maintaining and protecting global health. Getting your hands on it was very hard. As luck or fate would have it, just after discovering this through Jean-François, I bumped into an old friend in HK, who had imported ½ ton of this quality whey and mixed it with gourmet flavorings (in a cupboard in his father's office!). Trying and tasting is believing. I know food, however nothing but nothing had had this positive impact on my global health and wellbeing.  Equally as important, it was delicious and simplified my life tremendously. As my friend had to leave HK, I acquired the embryonic company in 2016, and the rest is history.   
Where in Hong Kong can we find Protelicious so far? 

Women of Hong Kong – Sheila, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Protelicious
Online  is your first go-to. Not only do we sell online, but we also do our best to educate through our blog that I write along with Dr Jean Francois Lesgards. So few people understand the impact that this quality protein has on health or that we need to replenish our supply daily. We retail at a few outlets such as Escapade Sports

Women of Hong Kong – Sheila, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Protelicious
Most of our business is with the F&B sector which uses Protelicious as an ingredient in delicious & health building smoothies or chilled coffees. Nood Food by Pure is a great place to sample our signature whey protein in the All The Whey line. Or Classified restaurants, where all the smoothies are made with Protelicious. 
What are the next developments/steps for Protelicious
I am very proud to say that, because we are now sourcing directly from the #4 in the world in Dairy, based in NZ and blend and pack at their pharmaceutical grade, an award-winning manufacturer, we are able to scale and expand. This was THE hardest part - to secure this quality sourcing and believe me, it was “no small feet” as a startup to be able to blend and package there. With this, we have access to the best quality cold processed whey protein from grass-fed cows and are certified to get into China, SE Asia, and North America. By the end of the summer, we will be available on Amazon in the US. We are also working on one more really exciting extension of the product line in 2019, Stay tuned!
What would you say has been the major challenge launching your business here in Hong Kong?
There have been two big challenges.
I am not interested in compromising on the quality of our primary ingredient: grass-fed cold processed whey protein, so supply has been a big challenge! Think about it. It is a powerful antioxidant, & detoxifier, builds immunity, beauty and health. It’s also delicious. Additionally, the research is quite recent. As a result, large volumes have started to go to big players while smaller startups like ours got squeezed. Last year we got lucky as the number 4 worldwide in Dairy approached us for a Joint Venture. They were interested in our approach - bringing clean protein out of fitness onto breakfast and snack tables of the urbanite. Although we were too small to consider for a JV, they eased the supply and production issues, thus the transfer of our manufacturing to NZ I mentioned above. 
Education has also been a big challenge. Protein is one of the most misunderstood macronutrients - yet we are big piles of protein. When selected correctly it’s a powerful antioxidant and detoxifier. Much of my time is spent on educating about protein through various supports such as our ebook which you can download here, for free.  
And what is the most rewarding thing having your own business? 
Customers feedbacks are a great reward.  Emails, notes, and testimonials that come in from our clients: “It's so delicious, it has simplified my life, now I don't worry about my kids getting sick, my skin is prettier (it boosts the collagen), my son/daughter concentrate better at school, or our household is more peaceful now because is stabilizes moods (great for household with teens!), etc..”
I am also proud to be able to Introduce Protelicious to the F&B industry, so they think outside the smoothie box. We are coming out with a signature Detox & Rejuvenate menu at a luxury hotel soon... stay tuned.  
What does a typical day in your life look like these days?

Women of Hong Kong – Sheila, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Protelicious
It starts at 6 am on my yoga mat.  I am a dedicated Kundalini teacher and practitioner with over 5000 hours “under my belt”. Running my company without the benefit of my daily practice and meditation would be a vastly different experience. By 8:30 the active day begins. I am blessed with a smart, dedicated and values-driven team. We work quite a bit remotely as two are in France, 1 in the UK and the rest here. It’s a “family first company” - we all have kids and work our life around those primary responsibilities, but the goalposts don't change. Client facing work is often as much about educating as expanding our penetration into the market. I also give talks from time to time, which is always a great way to stay in touch with the needs and concerns of individuals, If we don't solve the problem’s or add value to our clients, then we need to close shop! 

Knowing that you are very much aware of your health and your lifestyle, can you share with me the places you like to go to treat your body (yoga, massage, yummy break ...)? 
I am a big believer in empowerment, so try to limit the reliance on externals for upkeep and go to them for the pleasure part. For yoga - I am my own best client!! It’s a huge part of my life. I don't miss a day, particularly meditation. We produce over 1000 thoughts a second, so distraction is the rule, but your mind follows your breath. Manage your breath to influence your mind.  

Women of Hong Kong – Sheila, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Protelicious
On the enjoyment front, I am a big foodie and enjoy my food! For a casual eatery I go to Classified. I have worked with the Classified team for a few years and know the stock they put into quality foods.  Of course, I love their range of Protelicious smoothies but also simple basics like their quinoa salad.DiVino has the best fresh burrata cheese in town. The owner is Italian and flies in fresh Burratta regularly. La Fromagerie on Elgin has a fantastic line of cheeses from France with excellent quality yet affordably priced wine to pair. I love their selection so much that I often order from him privately for home. A decadent treat? Sweet Fashion House (flagship store in the lobby of The Ritz Carlton) is my got to place. They make pastries look like art and taste like a unique experience. For the health part, beyond Protelicious every single day, I also do intermittent fasting, it brings fantastic health benefits. I you are interested into fasting, you should check out the bookThe Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fasting by Dr Jason Fung. 



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