Kate Taylor Martin

Aug 28, 2023

Kate is wearing the Weston Top.

While in Toronto we spoke with Kate Taylor Martin, founder and CEO of nutbar.

Tell us about nutbar and how it came to be!

In 2015 I was working in PR and media at a Toronto hospital and was struck by how precious our health is. I quickly became obsessed with food and nutrition, curious to learn about all the healing modalities and superfoods available to us that might have the potential to protect against disease. And so, I enrolled in the Institute of Holistic Nutrition. It was there that I quickly realized this path wasn’t just a side passion, but that I wanted it to become my life’s work – educating and inspiring people to feel their best.

I would go home at night to recipe test and experiment with all the superfoods I had learned about in school, making delicious and nourishing bites, tonics, and smoothies for my friends and family. They loved them, but at that time there were very few places that offered anything similar on the go.

And so, the idea for nutbar quickly began to take shape. I dreamed of a healthy coffee shop concept that would replace and elevate the typical coffee shop fare – the heavily refined white-sugar, white-flour laden foods like donuts, croissants, bagels, muffins, and scones – with alternatives that weren’t only extremely nourishing but very delicious too.We opened our first location in the Summerhill neighbourhood of Toronto in late 2016 and since then have expanded to four locations plus a new pop-up on Ossington. We also have an expanding line of CPG products (including a brand new industry-disrupting frozen nutmilk product we just launched last month!)

What has been the proudest moment for you in your career?

Navigating the pandemic. When it first hit in March 2020, like many other entrepreneurs, I thought it meant the end of my business. It took a lot of grit to figure out how to pivot and keep our brand alive (with two young children aged 6 months and 2 years at home!) My head of operations, Karina and I went into survival mode and created a shoppable website overnight, started to take orders for delivery, and spent weeks driving orders around the city ourselves to keep the business alive (strategically timed during my kids nap times!) It was stressful but also really reaffirmed the strength of the community we had built and forced us to get crystal clear on our “why”.

What motivates you when you need an extra push?

When I feel unmotivated it usually means I’m uninspired. So to get back on track I tap into things that light me up – podcasts or talks by other interesting founders doing innovative things, brainstorming sessions, meetings with other entrepreneurs, art, and music.

How would you describe your personal style?

Is “elevated casual” a thing?

Who are the women that inspire you?

My grandmother Veronica Zongora left communist Slovakia for Canada at the age of 24 to try to create a better life for her and her family. It’s hard to fathom that kind of courage: to start anew with no resources and a language barrier, having left everything she knew behind. She is a constant reminder of the ingenuity and resilience of women.

I’m also always inspired by women who support other women (TT is a perfect example of this – allowing women to have this spotlight, and sharing and supporting female-founded businesses)

Where has been your favorite place you’ve traveled to recently?

I was lucky to do some great travel over the last year (Iceland and Sicily were highlights!) but a few things have brought me to B.C. recently and I’m so blown away by the beauty in our own country! There’s something about those mountains, the Whistler forests, the really tall Black Cottonwood trees that take my breath away and deeply nourish me.

If you were a color, what color would you be and why?

I’ve always been drawn to blue – depending on the shade it can either feel calming and meditative or bright and expansive.