How I survived a brain tumour and created a global health business

Image: supplied

For 55-year-old businesswoman, entrepreneur and mother of three Kimberley Holden, health, wellness and work ethic go hand-in-hand. You can’t be successful without your body functioning optimally, and your mental health can’t flourish without following your passions. The founder of the highly-successful Doctor V energy drinks shares how she helps people think clearer and perform better – naturally – every single day.

SFMA: Why did you decide to found your business? 

Holden: I’ve always owned and ran businesses. I was lucky enough to run a manufacturing operation in Western Sydney for over 15 years, before selling it a couple of years ago. I went from being an extremely busy businesswoman working long hours, to having nothing much to do. That didn’t sit well with me!

I got together with an old scientist friend, Dr Vagif Soultanov, and we decided to develop a product that made the world a better place. As a Russian-based doctor and naturopath, he had access to herbs and berries and other ingredients unlike anywhere else on earth. Together with our other Co-Founder Joseph McGlennon, we began researching, travelling to various parts of the world, including Siberia, to meet everyone from herbalists and berry pickers to food chemists.

Eventually, Doctor V was born. 

SFMA: What is Doctor V exactly?

Image: supplied

Holden: Doctor V offers a range of energy drinks developed by naturopaths and specialist doctors. Each flavour contains different herbs and berries that are designed to tick different health, productivity and wellness goals – from Brain Storm which will have you thinking faster to Siberian Rush as a pre-workout for gym bunnies.

We make a point of not using cheap chemicals like many energy drink brands – all of our products contain natural herbs, and half the sugar and caffeine you would find in similar drinks on the market. 

SFMA: How has the business evolved?

Holden: We launched Doctor V last September and we have received a fantastic response, particularly from the Melbourne market. 

We attended a trade fair in China in November 2019 and in the Middle East earlier this year, and we have now signed partnerships taking our products global.

It has been really hard work but we have developed such a close team. It’s so satisfying to look behind you and see how far you’ve come!

SFMA: Your favourite product?

Holden: I love the taste of berries, so it would have the be Brain Storm

SFMA: Your top tip for other women wanting to create their own health business? 

Holden: Have absolute determination and tenacity. You need to be able to brush off difficulties and problems when they arise – because they will arise. A challenge pops up nearly every day, so you need to be able to keep on going. Also, make sure you love what you do. It’s what makes the hard yards bearable.  

SFMA: Why is keeping fit and healthy important to you?

Holden: Ten years ago, I was very sick with a brain tumour – it made me think about my health more deeply than any other time in my life. It made me realise the benefits of yoga, Pilates, walking and meditation, and ensuring you are staying strong and getting your daily dose of vitamin D, preferably in nature.  

SFMA: Your greatest challenge and how you overcame it?

Holden: I liken starting a business to a bird trying to fly: at first, it has to run and flap its wings so hard just to take off; in the early days of business, that’s exactly what it’s like. People don’t know you or your product, and you hit a lot of brick walls. But eventually, if you persevere, you’ll soar.  

SFMA: What is your average weekly training routine?

Holden: My husband is a fitness fanatic, so we begin our day early to exercise. I walk nearly every day, and perform Pilates twice a week with a physio and Pilates instructor. I also play golf every weekend – you would be surprised how fit you get pushing a heavy buggy six to seven kilometres.  

SFMA: Your average ‘day on a plate’? 

Breakfast: pear, kefir and natural muesli, with a cup of tea from a teapot. 

Lunch: I try to keep it light, so usually a salad or sushi.

Dinner: my husband is a big foodie, so we love to experiment with our dinner meal. We love homemade salads with lots of veggies, and a small amount of meat. For us, dinner is a social occasion best shared with friends and family.  

SFMA: How do you like to relax and unwind?

Holden: Reading the paper and doing a crossword. I also like gardening – it gets me into nature and it can be extremely satisfying. I grow a lot of veggies and herbs, but only easy ones like cucumber. It’s a cheap and fresh alternative to the supermarket.  

SFMA: Your best self-care tip?

Holden: A hot bath! 

SFMA: Who is your hero?

Holden: My dad – he’s fun and funny, and started with next to nothing. He’s my inspiration. 

SFMA: Where can STRONG Australia readers purchase Doctor V?

Holden: You can get Doctor V from supermarkets, cafes and gyms across Australia, and online through our website.

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