After just 12 weeks in a law firm, Josh Sparks realised being a legal eagle wasn’t for him.
“My first real encounter with a legal office was my first day at work. I walked in and thought, ‘oh no, what have I done,” he laughs.
“I realised what I wanted was something a little bit more entrepreneurial; in fact, a lot more entrepreneurial and a lot more creative. But, a legal background is a very useful thing to have.”
Since then, Josh has enjoyed a successful career that has taken him around the globe. He was the first CEO of Sass & Bide, and then took his career global, working for Thom Browne New York, Urban Outfitters in Philadelphia and director of e-commerce for Anthropologie.
But, bubbling in the background was a personal passion for nutrition and exercise.
“I’d had this passion since school,” he says. “I read a lot of books and came across The Paleo Diet by Lauren Cordain and then The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson.”
“I became a bit of a convert and experienced enormous changes in my own life. My family started following it; my friends started following it; and I kept thinking, ‘how can we get this out into the community as broadly as possible?’"
So Josh started Thr1ve, a revolutionary fast casual dining company inspired by specific paleo protocols with a menu of high quality, chef designed meals that are high in protein, gluten-free and delicious.
The menu includes breakfast and lunch dishes like paleo pancakes, meals built with your choice of base (sweet potato/cauliflower mash, brown rice, leafy greens) with your choice of protein and the option of sides, and signature smoothies such as Choc peppermint, made with banana, cashew butter, cacao, mint, chlorophyll and chocolate whey protein.
He’s taken on a number of ambassadors, including ex MKR duo Luke and Scott, and ex-Masterchef contestant Dan Churchill, who’s just released his second cookbook, The Healthy Cook.
Dan and Josh have since built a formidable partnership and friendship.
“Josh and I, it feels like we’ve been mates since kindergarten. We talked the same, we’re on the same wave link energy wise. This is the kind of thing I would’ve done if Josh didn’t beat me to it,” Dan laughs.
“I’d walked past a store in Sydney, and my mate told me about it. For me it’s more the philosophy it revolves around, the wholefoods. But also, it’s wickedly tasty.”
Dan has also managed to score a worldwide book deal, through which he will re-release his first self-published book Dude Food, and already has an impressive PR trail overseas set up for next year.
Which he says, he owes to his friend Josh.
“Josh was the reason it happened. He introduced me to his friend who opened the door for me,” says Dan.
Josh says he's often told his former life seems a miles away from his home-coming to open his now his 5th paleo-inspired fast food outlet in Post Office Square. The outlet also happens to be directly underneath the law firm where he first cut his teeth. But, he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“If I hadn’t had the experience of building brands and working with marketing and PR and building teams and financial planning and all that stuff in the fashion world, then it wouldn’t have mattered how passionate I was about this stuff," says Josh.
“It would’ve been a different business and it might have been better, it might’ve been worse but it wouldn’t have been this. The reality is to me, it all makes perfect sense.”