After ten years of corporate life with shipping giant Mærsk, New Zealander Stuart Thrush took the plunge and opened the first New Zealand style savoury pie shop in Copenhagen. Wild Kiwi Pies opened in Valby at the beginning of February.
“I had been wanting to do my own thing for such a long time but never had the balls. After leaving Mærsk I decided to invest in starting my own business but the biggest challenge for me was just to simply do it,” he told The Local.
“Running this business and creating the pies each day doesn't feel like working to me, its like I am enjoying my hobby everyday,” he added. “I want to do more of what I enjoy and to have a lot more freedom in life, eventually.”
Introducing Danes to a new food concept has had its challenges. Recently Thrush took to the road with his pies on board to sell the concept of meat pies to the rest of Denmark, visiting businesses in Odense, Aarhus and Esbjerg.
With his Valby premises slightly off the beaten track to make the business work, he decided to work with some of the pop-up markets around the city over the summer to help further spread the word.
“We realise that single-serve meat pies are a new thing to many Danes and we want to give more people the chance to try them and to do that we need to get out there and work hard. My goal is to get Denmark eating pies and I want to define what a pie means to Danes - that is isn't just the American style sweet pies but a hot savoury pie,” he said.
Thrush's pies are freshly cooked with handmade pastry and filled with fresh ingredients with no additives. Back in New Zealand, they would be eaten on the go.
Thrush said that starting his own business in Denmark has had its challenges.
“Not being Danish has made a lot of things tough to get done but I am not afraid to ask for help and advice. There is a massive support network of expats in this city who are willing to help out,” he said.
Thrush said that he's relied heavily on the experience of others to get Wild Kiwi Pies off the ground.
“My biggest piece of advice if you are thinking of starting your own business here is to not keep the idea to yourself – tell everybody, ask people, listen, take advice and help when offered,” he said.
The dramatic career change has done little to change Thrush's opinion of his adopted country.
“I enjoy life in Denmark, I find people open and the culture here gives you the freedom to be who you want to be,” he said.
More info on Wild Kiwi Pies can be found here.