A lot can happen in four years. Just ask Peta Shulman.
Back then she was just 25 years old – but she came up with a simple idea that would not only turn her into a millionaire before her 30th birthday, but one that would shake up the whole Australian foods industry.
You have probably seen GoodnessMe Box posts dominate your Instagram feeds with various celebrities, bloggers and even friends posing with a bunch of healthy snacks and foods.
Ms Shulman came up with the growing and super successful business — now Australia’s largest health food sampling service — following a health condition that left her bed ridden for about three months.
It became a blessing in disguise, but the young PR graduate had a rocky road ahead, having battled an auto-immune condition for six years.
“I suffered constant body aches and headaches, a really low immune system to the point where I got my ninth cold in one year … my body just wasn’t fighting off viruses or infections and as a result I was getting sick all the time,” Ms Shulman told news.com.au
It was when her doctors ordered her to cut out processed and artificial foods she began her entrepreneurial journey.
In an effort to get better, she cleaned up her diet and turned to foods that were in their closest natural state as possible — another option was to get protein antibody transfusions to get her energy levels up and manage the condition which required frequent trips to the hospital — but Ms Shulman refused, instead deciding to take control herself.
“During this time I started reading ingredients labels from the food I was buying and I couldn’t believe how many words I didn’t understand or couldn’t even pronounce,” she said.
“So I wandered into health food stores and would get excited when I found foods with real ingredients.”
After changing her diet to focus on whole foods, Ms Shulman’s energy levels started to rise and at nine months, two of three of her antibody levels were at a normal range.
Discovering her new passion — whole foods — she wanted to find a way to combine it with her experience in PR.
“That’s when the idea for GoodnessMe Box came about — it was a way for me to help promote these brands that create these amazing foods while also getting people excited about healthy foods — breaking that stigma that healthy food is boring and bland.”
She started the business solo in her Sydney apartment, investing $ 20,000 in an idea she had no idea would gain such popularity, so fast.
She went from sampling six brands to now more than 600.
In the first two months she was forced to hire a full team just to keep up with sale demand. After six months, she moved the business from her apartment and into an office space in Bondi Junction.
In the first year alone the business turned over $ 1 million. It now boasts a full team spanning across marketing, operations and customer service, and in the last 12 months has doubled its profit. GoodnessMe Box now samples close to two million products with a focus on Australian and New Zealand brands.
“I really didn’t expect it to grow so quickly. I was just focused on my three month goal because I knew after that I would run out of my $ 20,000 investment.”
“It’s really exciting because I wanted to create a product that would positively influence peoples health food choices while also supporting brands.
“Four years ago a lot of health food companies would struggle to cut into this saturated market and now its helped get them on the shelves of bigger retailers.”
Not only does her product help drive awareness for brands but it also collects product insight and data which help retailers discover what’s trending in the whole foods market.
“I had no business experience when I started this venture but one of most important things I have learned is that you have to have the right team and get the right people on-board,” Ms Shulman said.
“It’s important to surround yourself with people smarter than you, that have strengths in areas different to yours.”
Ms Shulman, who celebrates her 30th birthday this February, advised other entrepreneurs, that it’s important getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.
“Always know your ‘why’ especially through the tough times because it’s what will get you through.”
GoodnessMe Box customers which are predominantly female pay $ 25 per month to try seven to 10 products that have all been curated by health practitioners.