Meet Peta Shulman, Founder of GoodnessMe Box, the monthly health food subscription box designed to get people excited about eating clean, nourishing their body with pure wholefoods, and being part of the wellness revolution.
After spending six years working in marketing and PR in the health industry, Peta decided to turn her focus to using these skills and her expertise to more directly assist people to live a healthier life.
Her passion and drive comes from her own health struggles, when in 2012 she found herself bed-ridden for three months with barely enough energy to walk to the kitchen. Desperately fatigued, suffering from constant headaches, muscle aches and heavy limbs, Peta was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition and told she would need antibody blood transfusions once a month for the rest of her life.
But that was not the last word.
Peta decided to take charge of her health and be consistently mindful about the foods she was putting into her body. Discovering a newfound energy since making positive changes to her diet, she has never looked back.
Born and inspired out of Shulman’s own health struggles, GoodnessMe Box was created from a passion for eating clean and getting others excited about nourishing their bodies and living well.
It’s time to get to know Peta Shulman of GoodnessMe Box, for Week 5 of our In Her Shoes Women in Business Summer Series.
Firstly, let’s get the facts:
NAME: Peta Shulman
BUSINESS: GoodnessMe Box
LOCATION: Bondi Junction, Sydney
YEAR LAUNCHED: 2014
Q: What was your professional journey before starting your business and how did your biz concept spark?
I have always been extremely driven and ambitious which at times hasn’t necessarily had great effects on my health. I knew from day one that when I finished university, I wanted to start my own business. At the time I thought it would be a PR agency- I had no idea how my health troubles would end up being the catalyst for a change in my career.
Five years ago, after I had stepped foot in a remarkable health and wellness PR agency with a unique opportunity for work, I found myself bed-ridden for 3 months with barely enough energy to walk to the kitchen. After seeing doctor after doctor I was still no closer to the problem and more importantly, no closer to the cause of my illness. I was fatigued and suffered from a constant headache, muscle aches and heavy limbs. I pedalled on and told myself it was all in my mind, eventually getting well enough to start the new PR role.
Suddenly, my eyes were opened up to the world of integrative health and wellness – speaking to hundreds of health practitioners, attending integrative health conferences, working with the latest health foods and supplements and learning about the movement of prevention. It became clear to me that what we put in our bodies, how active we choose to be and how we manage our stress plays a fundamental role in the state of our wellbeing.
The only problem was, it was three years on and my body was still breaking down each month.
In 2012, I was at my breaking point when I was finally diagnosed with an autoimmune condition. I decided I needed to take charge of my health and be consistently mindful about the foods I was eating. I’ve now completely overhauled my health and I’ll never look back!
Living with my close friend, a nutritionist, really cemented the idea of GoodnessMe Box. We would share and talk about health food daily and loved the idea of healthy goodies being delivered to our doors each month- almost like a monthly gift to ourselves! After much research and planning I discovered this concept had been successful overseas. I decided there was no reason it wouldn’t work in Australia, as the health industry was on the cusp of booming.
Starting a business takes a huge amount of time, energy and personal sacrifice. I have no doubt that if I had not taken charge of my health, I would not have had the stamina to start and continue GoodnessMe Box.
I created GoodnessMe Box to get people excited about eating clean, nourishing the body with pure wholefoods and being a part of what I like to call the wellness revolution.
Q: What gave you the confidence to dive in at the beginning?
Diving in at the beginning is always the toughest part, taking that first step. My strongest thought which gave me the courage was that I had nothing to lose and only everything to gain. I am young, I knew I was good at my then current job and if it didn’t work out, I considered the worst case scenario – this would be continuing a job in PR again to save up and start again – since I loved my job, the reality wasn’t so bad.
Sometimes we get so stuck in the security of a full-time job we don’t consider how great the plus side could be if we actually take the plunge. In saying this, there was a moment two weeks before I launched GoodnessMe Box and I’d been working on the business for 2 months with no income (I had stopped worked 2-months prior so I could 100% commit myself to the business) where I began to think how am I going to pay my rent! I had an execution plan to launch the business and I was quietly certain it would work (and it did in a spectacular fashion) but it is important to shut down any forms of doubt. If you don’t have confidence and belief in your idea, nobody else will! Your belief in your business idea is contagious to every person you meet.
I was also lucky in my career to have a remarkable mentor who taught me a lot, kept me close by to show me the inner workings of business and would always talk through the thought-process behind managing clients. She believed in me and having a mentor like this is invaluable which I am very thankful for.
Q: What has been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced since launch and what lessons came from the experiences?
The biggest challenge has been growth. GoodnessMe Box became a fully operational business from day one. Within a couple of months, I found myself having to manage a growing team, thousands of customers, multiple suppliers, logistical relationships and internal systems and processes.
Having never run a business before, I was in a position to either sink or swim! We had to hit the ground running, make decisions fast, keep our loyal customers happy, uphold our external relationships and continue to build the brand and innovate.
I learnt to never lose sight of our purpose, putting the needs of our customers and suppliers first, recognising when to engage external advice, understanding my weakness and strengths and growing the team accordingly and consistently, plus speaking and listening to our customers.
Q: How important is following your intuition in your business?
Following your intuition in business is critical. When you start out in business there are a million things you have never done before as you are trying to be a jack of all trades.
Q: What are 4 things you wish you knew then?
- Remember what you are for each and every day.
- Seek out people with the right spirit to be a part of the team.
- Don’t promise what you can’t deliver and deliver everything you can deliver
- Protect the downside. If an idea crashes, will it bring the entire business crashing down, if it works, what is the upside?
Q: What is the key piece of advice you would provide others starting out?
Persistence is key. You will get shut down, you need to get back up and try again.
Ask yourself “what am I passionate about and what am I good at”. These 2 factors combined can make you unstoppable.
Q: What does it feel like to look back on what you have accomplished so far and know you have developed your own path?
The feeling is like no other. I feel proud, satisfied, challenged and hungry for more. There is no adrenalin like running your own business and making a difference to lives.
At GoodnessMe Box our goal is to make a profound difference to peoples’ health by changing their food choices. We are changing the way society eats and the foods we trust. This is about addressing the cause of disease and not just the symptom. It is about empowering society to take control of their health and to be excited about it.
- A biz system/program/platform you can’t live without: Our Monday morning team weekly WIPs. It may not be hi-tech, but it works.
- What keeps you motivated: Swallow your fear, set out to make something special.
- Who do you admire in business: Richard Branson, Sophia Amoruso (Founder of NastyGirl and Author of #Girlboss), Julia and Sali Stevanja from Style Runner, Sheryl Sandberg COO of Facebook, Arianna Huffington (Huffington Post and Author of Thrive)
- When I started, I wish someone told me…. You learn by doing and falling over
- One day I hope to…. Feed 1 million hungry children (…watch this space!)
Thank you for talking to Woman Rising