Sally Breden was looking for the perfect lunchbox staple, but when she couldn’t find it, she decided to make her own. Read our chat with Sally about life as the founder and managing director of The VGood Company, mum to Chloe (12), Finn (9), Daisy (7) and wife of Richard.
Tell us about your business or current role – where did the concept come from, and what’s your business background?
I’m a mum, Founder and Managing Director of The VGood Company, a brand new range of nut-free spreads (PeaNOT Butter and HazelNOT Choc Spreads) and snacks (Twists), made from chickpeas.
After spending 20 years working on product development and marketing for large Australian health and wellness brands, VGood enabled me to put my heart and soul into bringing to life a passion for inspiring others to make healthier choices, and to make healthier choices more accessible to more people. I might also give a little credit to my kids who always want peanut butter in their lunches but obviously can’t at school!
I’ve surrounded myself with experts in the FMCG and manufacturing sectors and have built a team of people who are as passionate about the brand and purpose as I am. VGood has come from a LOT of taste testing and product development, and sourcing the best ingredients and manufacturing partners. I’m incredibly pleased with the partners we have and the products we’re delivering.
VGood PeaNOT Butter looks, tastes and spreads just like peanut butter, and HazelNOT Choc is a delicious chocolate spread. Our VGood Chickpea Twists are also made from chickpeas meaning VGood products provide a source of protein, fibre, and iron, and are allergen friendly. They all have 5 health star credentials.
I wanted to inspire more people to feel confident that they are doing their best for their family without feeling as though they are compromising or sacrificing on taste, enjoyment or budget restraints.
What time does a typical day start for you, and what does your morning look like?
I’m normally woken by one of my kids jumping into bed for a cuddle. It’s the best way to start the day. Then it’s hitting the kitchen to get breakfasts and lunches sorted. There is no amount of busy that stops me from making sure the kids go off to school with a full tummy and a healthy packed lunchbox. After getting them off to school, or to their before school activities (often not without the yelling to hurry up!) I’m at my desk with a cup of almond chai, my 15 year old burmese cat takes her place on my lap, and two year old puppy at my feet. We settle in for a few hours, currently most meetings are on the phone or via zoom. Then I always aim to get out for a run or some kind of exercise at lunchtime to get the blood pumping and to reset for the rest of the day.
If you have 10 minutes to yourself, where do you go and what do you like to do?
I’m a sunseeker like a cat. Sitting in the sun somewhere quiet on my own, out of the wind. No screens.
If your kids are young, what do you do for childcare? If they’re older, do they do any extracurricular activities?
My parents have helped me enormously with bringing up the kids and managing the daily juggle, they are extremely close and have special relationships. Since starting VGood, I’ve been working from home so I live a very flexible work day and am fortunate to be able to do most school drop off and pick ups. Since COVID, Richard now works from home two days and helps out with the pick ups/drop offs which has been fantastic for everyone. Chloe tends to overcommit herself to extracurricular activities – drama, dance, theatre sports, basketball, soccer, so she’s always needing lifts to and from. I try to make sure the younger two are not too over-scheduled and get plenty of downtime at home to play, read and take the dog to the park. At the moment, Daisy is doing dance and swimming, and Finn AFL and swimming.
What do you do for fun as a family?
We are all home bodies and love weekend downtime together hanging at home. Richard and I spend quite a bit of time pottering in the garden. We are fortunate to live very close to the beach so we spend a fair bit of time there, either swimming and on the sand or walking, biking and scooting along the beachfront. We enjoy being active, taking the dog for a run together and we’re also big card and board game lovers. We have some amazing friends, neighbours and cousins that we often catch up with over the weekend.
What is your favourite thing to do for date night, or to eat out with your kids?
Living in Manly, Sydney we don’t need to venture far for a tasty restaurant – our family favourite is a local poke bowl / nepalese dumpling place, the kids can run around in the piazza area so they don’t get bored sitting at the table. We all have our favourite dish, its super relaxed, inexpensive, healthy and low key. If Richard and I are fortunate for a date night, I’ll take anywhere with a nice cocktail list, tasty food and a good vibe – Hugos is our favourite. Then walking home along the beach with a gelato to finish the night.
Where do you head when you need a girls’ night out?
Being in Manly means we have heaps of great options. We generally like to go somewhere where we can share lots of different flavours and tapas style serves and a good bottle of bubbles. A few of our favourites are Sake, Sunset Sabi, and Busta. With COVID, its been a while since we’ve been out dancing but we all do like to dust off the cobwebs with a good boogie after dinner.
What’s your must-know fashion or beauty tip for mums?
Ha ha I spend most of my life in active wear so I don’t have to get changed before going for a run. Comfort is my preference in most instances! In terms of beauty, a regular good quality facial and drinking plenty of water keeps my skin fresh and toned, and means I just use a lightly tinted SPF moisturiser for everyday. Daily SPF is a MUST – it’s so worth looking after your skin from a young age, it definitely catches up with you.
What’s your favourite place to shop?
I am a pretty big fan of shopping online, I don’t really enjoy spending my spare time shopping so try to get most of it delivered.
Must-have parenting tip or tool?
I’m very big on structure, rules and routine. I find it helps to keep everyone feeling calm and settled. Screens are a challenge for so many parents, knowing when they are and are not allowed to turn on a screen removes the battle for me so they don’t even ask when they know the answer will be ‘no’. Also being open and honest with them, showing them your weaknesses and celebrating your strengths, and apologising if you are wrong. But most of all, enjoy your kids, they grow up so fast.