Earth Collective’s ‘Interviews with the Collective’ series is a collection of interviews with likeminded souls from around the globe, who are working towards a better future for the planet and people in it. This week, we hear from Tammy Seligman, General Manager and daughter of the founders of Australian-made and owned natural oral care brand, Grants of Australia.
What was your catalyst to diving into the world of sustainability?
My journey into the world of sustainability and health and wellness has been somewhat different to most as I grew up in that world. My parents owned a health food store when I was younger, so it has always been a part of my life. When I was a kid, my parents were always very strict about what I ate and drank. They would read food labels and avoid foods with too much sugar, preservatives, colours, artificial additives. Our main drink at home was water when most of my friends were drinking cordial and soft drink. I remember being so annoyed at the time, but now I can see it was the best gift they could have given me.
Tell us about your business journey so far – what got you to where you are today with Grants of Australia?
I have always been involved with Grants of Australia as it is our family company. When Grants first started back in the 1980’s, I was only a young child and my brothers and I were actually the inspiration for the brand. Back then, the water in Melbourne had just been fluoridated and my parents were concerned that their children were ingesting too much fluoride – both in the water supply and in their toothpaste. That is where they got the idea to make a fluoride free toothpaste that was suitable for the whole family. Both myself and my brothers were the initial ‘taste testers’.
The business was very small in the early days and more of a ‘side hustle’. We grew over many years and as we gained more and more stockists. My parents were able to concentrate on Grants full time. In 2012, after 10 years in the corporate world, I joined the Grants business full time after I had my third child. Since then, our brand has gone from strength to strength.
What has been your proudest achievement to date for Grants of Australia?
My proudest achievement for Grants has been the fact that we continue to manufacture quality products in Australia. All of our toothpaste is Australian made and we have resisted the temptation to take the manufacturing offshore.
What do you think is the biggest threat to our planet and the people in it today?
I think the biggest threat to our planet is the people. I think most people realise that we cannot continue to consume and grow at the rate we have been. The planet is paying the price for our extreme consumerism.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
My kids wake up first so it’s usually them getting me out of bed … in terms of work and life, I am always excited to come to work. My focus is on the day-to-day running of the business, but my passion is looking at strategic direction and growth. I love working on new projects and new ideas. We have an amazing team and really encompass the meaning of family business.
Who/what has been the biggest influence in your life?
My parents have been the biggest influence in my life – both personally and professionally. I also feel lucky to have experience both in the corporate world and now this family business/small business world. I gained enormous experience in the corporate world that has helped me tackle problems in small business.
What book(s) are you reading and/or podcasts are you listening to right now?
To be honest, life has been so busy these past few months that I haven’t had much time for Podcasts and books. I have three young children and after the slow pace of life in 2020 during the Melbourne lockdown, I have found it challenging re-adjusting to the busy life of school, kids activities, social plans etc. When I do have a minute to myself, I have been binge watching ‘The Crown’ on Netflix.
What does the word ‘community’ mean to you?
Community to me is a group of like-minded people coming together for a common good. This can be for companionship, camaraderie and common goals or ideals.
What are your top tips for people who are working towards a more toxin-free lifestyle, or who are worried about the chemicals in personal care products?
My top tip for people working towards a more toxin free lifestyle is to start slowly and go easy on yourself. No product is perfect so just make small adjustments to start with. Read labels and do your own research on ingredients to ensure you are satisfied with what you are consuming.
Where are you heading to next in your journey?
My next journey is to focus more on export. This has been challenging during the Pandemic, but it is where our next growth will be.
Grants of Australia was founded by Tammy’s parents, Michael and Michelle Aronson who set out to make a natural toothpaste with no nasties after Tammy started swallowing her toothpaste in the 80’s. Today Tammy works side by side her parents, creating a natural toothpaste range enjoyed by families all over the world. She joined the business in 2012, bringing a wealth of project-driven experience from the corporate world, as well as the invaluable experience gained from being a mum to three children who keep her very busy outside of work. Since Tammy joined, the family business has grown significantly with several new products available and export markets developing. You can connect with Grants of Australia on its website, or via Facebook or Instagram.