Vanessa Bell Mumbition the Podcast


The Podcast By Mums & Co

Episode 20: How a health scare inspired Australia's largest health food sampling service & online shop - with Peta Shulman Founder of GoodnessMe Box

Peta Shulman

Founder of GoodnessMe Box

April 12, 2022
Peta Shulman is the founder of GoodnessMe Box, a new mum and is also an important part of our movement in supporting business-owning mums. In 2020 Peta Shulman was a NSW Finalist for the Telstra Business Womens Awards and in 2018 listed in the SmartCompany Smart 30 Under 30 list. Testament to the power of introductions, we invited Peta to talk about wellbeing at the Be MPowered Conference 2021 after an introduction from another member of the Mums & Co community.Wellbeing is a vast and diverse territory that can encompass mental health, spiritual connection and physical strength. Peta is so passionate about whole foods and natural products and since beginning her real food journey has even created a business devoted to helping other people embrace it, too. In her GoodnessMe Box range, Peta has very literally packaged up everything she knows in literal boxes to help ease us all into better health.Listen Here!‍

Links mentioned in the episode


Produced & Edited by - Morgan Brown
Interviewers - Carrie Kwan and Lucy Kippist
Guest - Peta Shulman

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Episode 20 Transcript

00:01:10:24 - 00:01:27:07

Carrie Kwan

Women love to talk, right? Well, I know I do. I love the connection and learning from conversing with women. We're lucky to do this every day between Mums & Co team and our members.

Recently, Olivia, our Marketing Manager was telling us about today's guest, Peta Shulman. She was introduced to us as the founder of GoodnessMe Box and she has just become a mum and is also an important part of our movement in supporting business, owning mums. Testament to the power of introductions, we invited Peta to talk about being empowered about wellbeing.

00:01:43:23 - 00:01:59:10

Lucy Kippist

We are delighted to be to talking with Peta today. Well-being is a vast and diverse territory of mental health, spiritual connection, physical strength. Peta's focus is on whole foods and natural products. Peta is so passionate about this aspect of life. She even created a business devoted to helping other people embrace it, too. In her GoodnessMe Box range, Peta has very literally packaged up everything she knows in literal boxes to help ease us all into better health. Welcome to the Mumbitous Podcast, Peta.

00:02:15:01 - 00:02:17:10

Peta Shulman

Thanks for having me. I'm very excited to be here.

00:02:19:00 - 00:02:27:09

Carrie Kwan

Peta, the first question we ask is to hear your business pitch. Can you share your 30 second description of Goodness Me Box?

00:02:27:13 - 00:02:46:03

Peta Shulman

Sure. So if you are looking to discover better for you pantry staples and snacks that taste delicious and that make you feel good, then GoodnessMe, is the place to go. We delivered these monthly to you as a subscription box, and they're also available on our online shop.

00:02:46:08 - 00:03:03:07

Carrie Kwan

Amazing. Now I've tried them, so I'm real excited to be speaking with you today. Now, if the Mums & Co view of world harmony is like a triangle, balancing ambition, livelihood and well-being, describe the shape of a good life for you.

00:03:03:16 - 00:03:22:22

Peta Shulman

This is such a beautiful question. So I think for myself, there's a few aspects here. Number one, I always say when I am progressing, I feel like I'm challenged. I'm happy. And for me, work really gives that to me. For example, my husband always challenges me in a good and positive way.

And then I suppose the other part of it is love and support, which is from family and friends and relationships. I find that that really fills my cup. My family get together every Friday night, which is a tradition for us. It’s an important part of my life and my wellbeing.

And then last but not least, is feeling good. And for me, that comes down to health.

00:03:56:07 - 00:04:01:00

Carrie Kwan

Beautiful. And what do you love most about your business right now?

00:04:01:02 - 00:04:22:16

Peta Shulman

We are in a really exciting phase where I feel like we're pushing a lot of boundaries. Our online shop is growing really rapidly, and unfortunately in Australia, this such a gap in the market to access healthy foods online and even actually in bricks and mortar stores.

But there's kind of no one big brand filling the space online, and we've built such a lovely community that trust GoodnessMe for the products that we choose that it only made sense that after they received this subscription box and discover all these products that they go online to purchase them.

So that's been a really exciting part about the business that I'm loving right now and a lot of new aspects to growing the shop that I haven't explored in previous years. We've been going for seven years now, so everything that comes with the warehouse, the operations, the new processes, new kinds of marketing as well. I just find that really exciting.

I suppose to answer the second part of your question. I'm also really loving at the moment, just trying to be more real with my team. I think particularly in the first few years of the business, I used to put on quite a front that everything is okay and I had to always look like absolutely everything was in control and that I'm super human. I actually think that it's important for your team to see that we all go through emotional ups and downs. And while you want to make sure they feel safe and secure back, it's OK.

My time might be limited on certain nights or days because I've got a newborn at the moment or it's okay that things are feeling hot at the moment because at the end of the day, we're all going through it together, so I'm feeling something.

00:05:58:23 - 00:06:16:12

Carrie Kwan

That vulnerability is so empowering in some ways, not only for yourself, but also for your staff. I absolutely understand. It's beautiful to show the really strong sides of yourself and also the parts which might be vulnerable but you are showing up as human.

00:06:16:22 - 00:06:34:18

Peta Shulman

It's very easy to get caught up in having to look perfect all the time. But I think over the years, what I've realised is if your team see that you make mistakes as well and you're okay with it. And not everything always goes to plan or that things can be hard because we are trying to work with other businesses and it's not easy.

Then they feel safe and secure, they can come forward and ask for help and support. I think with the team, it's the support that's so important. Everyone needs to know that if they’re not okay, someone's there to support them. And that's where you get happy team members, a happy family and a great business.

00:06:57:02 - 00:07:14:14

Lucy Kippist

What you've shared there beautifully though is your vulnerability with your team. That’s such a beautiful philosophy Peta. You mentioned that you have a very young baby and you’ve just come back from your maternity leave. You've obviously come into a very busy and exciting time on all fronts, personal and in the business. What is some of the transferable skills you found now that you are a mum? How are you sort of unapologetically blending those skills now into your ambition as a business owner?

00:07:32:00 - 00:07:51:08

Peta Shulman

That's a great question. I think the number one thing having a baby has taught me and I feel like a lot of mums will relate to that is patience. By nature, to be quite honest, I'm quite an impatient person. Particularly when it comes to business. I want to do everything now and when I get a great idea, I want to run with it. I wish everything was done yesterday. So I think that having a baby is really taught me patience as well.

And the other part of it is I feel that running a business when having a baby has taught me how to prioritise. Particularly in those first three months, I found that so beneficial because I think everyone knows what it's like. Where you've got the whole feeding and the sleeping, and you get 40 minutes to yourself. Then it's like, Okay, do I clean? Do I do the washing? Do I try to see what's going on with the business or go for a walk? Do I sleep myself?

And then the last skill I've found that has helped me with the business is empathy. I never felt very maternal before I had a baby. I'm not empathetic by nature, as at least I'd never felt like that big, warm maternal person. I'd say having a baby is taught me a lot of empathy, even with the team as well.

00:09:19:15 - 00:09:34:00

Lucy Kippist

So beautiful, that is such a gift from motherhood. I was nodding furiously as you're talking about the feeling of having no patience and how testing it is, especially with a baby and with a business that's booming. I can only imagine the challenge of that. Now, we see you on social media and I love your videos on there as well. So what's something that we don't see about Peta as the business owning mum that you're not showing us on Instagram?

00:10:04:19 - 00:10:25:10

Peta Shulman

That's tricky question. I try to be as myself and as real as possible, but I suppose in a work scenario, I can be quite serious at times. I can be quite direct and that's something I'm not going to show as much as because I want it to be more fun. But when I need to be, I can be. I can be quite goofy at home. And I think being at home as a mum as well, which is something I probably don't show enough out there as well. I'm a bit more put together I think when on social sometimes.

00:11:02:14 - 00:11:06:17

Lucy Kippist

So we're not going to see you singing. We're not going to get a rendition of your favourite song on Instagram?

00:11:06:22 - 00:11:07:12

Peta Shulman


00:11:13:02 - 00:11:28:07

Lucy Kippist

We all have a nursery rhyme stuck in our head after a baby? That is for sure. Now you said before, the business has been running for seven years. So you've only just had your first baby, but you've had a lot of business experience prior to becoming a mum.

How do you view professional development now? And how much have you spent on that as you've grown the business? And what do you think is the sort of the most powerful takeaway from all of that?

00:11:42:02 - 00:12:03:24

Peta Shulman

When I first started the business, I was very concerned about, should I have a mentor? Should I have a board? But I never actually had anything in place. I found that after a few years, that actually happened organically for me through people who I met, who I clicked with, who got the business.

We have the same values and we just ended up meeting up month after month, and that was awesome. I think that's really important to find those people. And personally, I like that it happened organically because I feel like it's a bit hard.

You can't really go up to someone, say, “Hey, please be my mentor!”. It doesn't really work like that as such. But then in terms of another kind of support and what I've spent on it in the last two years, I'd say I found a business group that I joined that has provided me with a tremendous amount of support.

What I'd found is since running the business, the emotional ups and downs that you go through are just incredible. And I'm sure everyone can relate to this, no matter how big or small your business is.

I joined this group to help me both personally and on the business side. But the whole philosophy is that if things are better in your personal life, it helps with your business because really that goes hand in hand.

It is truly and absolutely a mental and emotional state. If something's going on at home, it's very hard not to bring that to work and for it to not impact you as well. If your health is something you’re working on then you're going to feel like you can be at work with more energy. It all really comes hand-in-hand. And I think the biggest thing from this group that I've found and we meet up once a month is that you are not alone.

I guarantee with the million things that you're feeling, everyone else has gone through as well. I've got people in our group from businesses that are $1,000,000 right up to over $100 million, with what they're turning over and everyone goes through the same emotional states. No matter the size of the business. It’s not about the size as well, it's about the growth and how you deal with the challenges and how you become a better person and a better business leader and what you can do for your team. So I'm really glad that I found that support structure a couple of years ago, and those people have also just become very special to me in my life because we now have a very, very trusting relationship.

00:14:29:12 - 00:14:44:09

Lucy Kippist

So beautiful and I love what you just said there about the business lessons and the life lessons, which are exactly, as you say, combined all the time. And that someone earning $50,000 a year or someone earning $100 million a year, those challenges are the same. It's fascinating.

00:14:47:04 - 00:14:58:12

Peta Shulman

Yes. And I guarantee that that person who's turning over 100 million is still at times doubting their decisions.

00:15:05:01 - 00:15:18:02

Carrie Kwan

We know from your Instagram page that you love to focus on whole foods and natural products for your skin, for your body and home. What's your number one tip for anyone keen to start using more whole foods?

00:15:18:08 - 00:15:35:24

Peta Shulman

My number one tip would be and this is how I started, it would be to start reading the ingredients on the packaging of the food you're eating. I think it's very easy to get caught up in the marketing messaging on the front of the pack and also even trying to be a mathematician and read the nutritional panel. Our whole philosophy and my philosophy is if you eat real food, you'll feel good.

And unfortunately, the food industry has done an exceptional job of coming up with all these chemically processed ingredients and artificial ingredients with these fancy names to extend the shelf life of products to find that perfect bliss point of a product to make it taste better so that you keep wanting more. And the reality is, if we're eating real foods, our body will get nourished and we'll feel better and we'll have more energy. I would actually say it sounds complicated to read the ingredients because there are often words there that we don't understand. A really simple rule of thumb is if there are too many words on the back of the packaging that you don't understand, you should probably put it down. Especially if you're trying to avoid artificial foods and you'd like to eat whole foods.

That's actually how I started my journey. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition. Initially from a doctor I was told there was nothing I could do to get better and to live with it for the rest of my life. Until I got another practitioner's opinion who said, “just start by cutting out artificial and processed ingredients from your diet”. And within three months, I could feel an enormous difference in my energy and my body.

00:17:07:06 - 00:17:19:14

Carrie Kwan

It's a skill to even start reading the back of the food packet label and it’s something that I've just started doing with my little one. He's six years old. It is a little bit complicated for adults, but even more so for kids. But wanting to expose them to what is actually in the food that we eat?

00:17:33:09 - 00:17:48:15

Peta Shulman

I think mums become a lot more aware of it as well when you have a child because you are so conscious of nourishing their bodies as well. And it definitely isn't an easy thing to do because we're also so busy and time.

And the last thing you want to do while you're shopping is to stop and read every single label. And I guess that's why at GoodnessMe, we do what we do. Because we want to make it easy for everyone as well.

So the whole idea is that you can come to our online shop or get you a subscription box and you actually know and trust that the work has been done for you. The other thing we've also done is created a free e-book about how to read food labels, and that's something I can give you a link as well for anyone to download just to help you along the journey. If you do want to spend the time and get more educated, to do it because the food industry and a lot of money and time trying to confuse us.

00:18:30:18 - 00:18:39:20

Carrie Kwan

So on the myriad of things that small business owners need to do. How do you actually protect your business from the risks side?

00:18:39:24 - 00:18:54:20

Peta Shulman

I remember once I read one of Richard Branson's books that said “take risks, but always protect the downside”. And that has stuck with me for so many years, namely because I once made a major mistake doing that.

But for me, when I'm taking risks now, I always think about if this doesn't work out, will the business still be OK? And I think that's just a really important question to ask yourself, and I ask myself that all the time.

And the other side of risk is just being across the numbers. Really thoroughly look at them frequently and try to avoid surprises. There will always be surprises. You've always got to have money aside for unexpected issues that arise.

00:19:44:08 - 00:19:46:24

Carrie Kwan

And what are you promoting right now?

00:19:47:11 - 00:20:07:22

Peta Shulman

So we're actually promoting our e-book about how to read food labels. We really have put a lot of heart and soul into that, working with one of our nutritionists. And we just want to give that to our community because the best thing we can do is just help everyone understand how to make better food choices.

00:20:09:06 - 00:20:18:16

Lucy Kippist

That sounds excellent, and I'm going to be downloading that very quickly. It would be great to just have that on hand when you're in the shops or even online shopping. What a great idea. Peta, we have found here at Mums & Co that introductions are everything, and we were wondering if there was an introduction that you would need at this point in time, either for GoodnessMe or for you in general as a new mum. Is there something from our community that we could reach out and help you with?

00:20:38:05 - 00:20:56:20

Peta Shulman

Anyone who is working on a health food business or business in the health space I always love to chat to and my favourite part is hearing the business story and helping businesses as well get off the ground or reach a new market audience. Because by the same token, at GoodnessMe we see ourselves as a marketing service for brands. And part of that is why I started the business.

I was actually working in PR in the wellness space, and when I started discovering these products that were making me feel good, I thought, “Why aren't these more widely available” and “How can I help get these brands out there?”. And at the same time, make other people feel just as good as I was feeling? So anyone in the community working in that space, I'm always open to chatting to.

00:22:05:11 - 00:22:18:05

Lucy Kippist

That's a great invitation and kind of is a good segway to the question I wanted to ask you. We've talked about your business being in the wellbeing space and you've also touched on your journey with an autoimmune disease. But I'm wondering of all the things that you've tried and that you advocate for, what's one thing that you do every day to give you your own sense of balance or wellbeing?

00:22:28:17 - 00:22:47:24

Peta Shulman

Walking is my self-care time. So if I can, I would go for a walk every day and I do it even if it's raining. I find that it really helps me clear my mind. I also get some of my best ideas when I'm walking. I really enjoy that. I always think walking is really underrated. I love walking. My food choices as well are just something that I don't like the idea personally of dieting because I think of restriction and willpower, which always fades.

I think with food, it's got to become a lifestyle choice. So for me, that's just an everyday thing where I try to make a better choice. Again, I won't say healthy because I think that can be quite subjective. I try and make a better choice. For me, better means not having artificial ingredients and eating whole foods.

00:23:30:23 - 00:23:34:21

Lucy Kippist

I love that I'm going to use that myself. It's a really lovely way of looking at it.

00:23:35:03 - 00:23:41:11

Carrie Kwan

In the spirit of women supporting women who are ambitious that you would like to say hello to.

00:23:41:18 - 00:24:00:17

Peta Shulman

I have some amazing friends and people around me who are doing great things with businesses. I should say my sister in law, Julia. She has her business - Flowers by Julia. Amazing flowers. My friend Rachael. If you've heard of a business High Chair Catchy. They invented these amazing high chairs that capture all the messy foods so it doesn't go on your floors. So we've just started feeding Marley solids and I'm very excited to use it when she's older, it's such a cool invention.

My friend Tutti has an amazing business, Events To A T, who runs all our events, and she's now a mum of two. She's just had a newborn and she is awesome. Just an absolute rocket. And last but not least, Shelly McKenzie, who's a nutritionist and she specialises in women's health and is also a nutritionist at GoodnessMe, and she's amazing.

00:24:41:15 - 00:24:53:05

Carrie Kwan

Some wonderful women for us to check out if they're not already known to us, which you have mentioned there