Bailey Wilson had no idea that the darkest time of her life would eventually lead her to her purpose, which involved serving her community healthy, delicious food in both food trucks and storefronts.
Four years ago, a postgrad marketing student, 22-year-old Wilson had just settled into a new life of freedom and adventure on Australia’s Bondi Beach. After living there for two years, and with COVID rapidly spreading around the globe, she heard the terrible news that her father had been diagnosed with cancer.
Her world turned upside down, and she made the decision to come home to Oklahoma.
Once back here, she was thankful to learn that her father’s bladder cancer had a good prognosis, but she grew bored while homebound due to the pandemic. The fact that her father was undergoing chemo and serving shifts as an ER doctor during COVID also worried her. “I began making smoothie bowls for him for health benefits. I wanted to fuel him with the best foods. No refined sugar in the bases, no preservatives, the best acai. I made my own granola and my mom made peanut butter and almond butter. We were perfecting everything. That fueled me during the day — making my dad a bowl every day when he came home from work.”
When Wilson’s mother suggested that she try selling her bowls to the neighborhood from a food truck, she thought it might be a great idea. “I bought a food truck that weekend, my dad and I fixed it up in less than a month — and on opening day, we opened the window and the line was across the parking lot,” she said. She named her new business Bondi Bowls, serving delicious vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free meals.
From that first food truck, Wilson’s business has grown to 17 food trucks spread across the country in locations from Oregon to Alabama, plus storefronts in downtown Edmond, Alabama, and soon in locations in Texas and California.
Purity and simplicity are large contributors to the appeal. Wilson said, “The bowls have all fruit at the base, no refined sugar or preservatives, no dairy, the purest acai blended with the freshest local fruit. Vegan granola sweetened with agave and cinnamon, topped with peanut butter and locally sourced honey. We encourage each truck or store to buy as many ingredients locally as possible.”
Bondi Bowls won the 2023 Philanthropic Business of the Year in Edmond. “We are still a very young business, so it was an honor to be recognized in this way,” Wilson said. “Even though we are nationally known, we are still locally owned, and we are trying to serve the community that we are in.
“What I love about Bondi is that I get to inspire high school and college kids. What I did was so unconventional. At the end of our hallway, it says, ‘Life begins at the end of your comfort zone,’ and that’s what I say to the people who work for me.”
And for the future? “My goal is always how to best serve my community,” Wilson said. “We want to convert to just storefronts next. Our mission is to encourage God-honoring conversations while building community around healthy foods. And we are looking at places to put Bondi internationally with a mission impact, allowing people to serve on a global scale.”
*Correction: A previous version of this article misstated Wilson’s age and time spent in Australia.