We thought the best way to share with you the roots of Sprout's beginnings was to hear it straight from plant-based parent and director of Sprout, Selasi Berdie. Below is our interview with Sel where we ask him where the brand concept came from, the products lined up for launch, and his experiences as a father.
Q: What inspired you to begin Sprout Organic?
My wife, Jen and I are proud parents to two cheeky boys and are based in the sunny Gold Coast, Australia. We became plant-based approximately 8 years ago and instantly felt the benefits and didn’t realise how easy it was to become plant-based with such a high variety of healthy food options, not to mention the benefits for the planet. What we naively assumed was that these options would extend to all walks of life, including infants and kids.
When our first child, Ellis, was born, Jen began to suffer from mastitis. As much as Jen loved breastfeeding and tried to treat the infection, she was also in a lot of pain so we began exploring formulas to help supplement. As plant-based parents who care deeply about providing the best nutrition for their kids, Jen and I thought it would be possible to find a nutritious plant-based formula that we’d feel comfortable feeding to our kids. What seemed like it was going to be a short trip to the supermarket led to a further trip to a health food store, then to a pharmacy, and to eventually looking at every product we could find online to discover that there actually wasn’t an organic plant-based option available — and not just in Australia, but across the globe!
We wondered how many parents were going through this exact same issue and if we could provide them with a solution for a wholesome, plant-based formula made from real foods. Three years on we welcomed to the world our second son, Kingston, along with the beginning of what we feel is our life mission, to create nourishing, wholesome, plant-based nutrition for happy, healthy kids
Q: What products are you planning to launch first?
A: We are planning to launch an organic plant-based toddler drink and a range of organic plant-based kids snack bars. This is due to the age gap of 1-2 years often being the hardest age gap to feed as they transition away from breast milk, leaving parents with the hard decisions on how to keep providing them food of substance that is also convenient.
Q: How do you juggle being a busy Dad and running multiple businesses?
It's definitely a hard task but thankfully I have a loving and supportive wife that helps with everything, including Sprout. Jen was the brains behind the design of the Sprout logo and branding. I have also worked to make my life fit around the kids with the businesses and house all being one minute from their schools and after school activities, making it a lot easier to manage things.
Q: What's your drive to stay motivated?
A: I’ve never found it hard to stay motivated and that motivation went up tenfold after having kids. My dad is my hero and the hardest worker I know. He provided me with a better life by coming to Australia from Ghana with less $50 in his pocket. My motivation is to pass the torch on to my kids to keep our family moving in a positive direction and to ultimately leave the world in a better place than what I came into it as.
Q: Can you tell us about the team you're working with?
A: I’m very lucky to have a marketing and communication agency called HYPE that focuses on health and wellness products. Each team member is absolutely top class in their field, from web developers to graphic designers. Miles - my business partner in HYPE - is also a partner in Sprout, which makes things really handy as he is a marketing genius. Billy is also a partner in Sprout and the founder of PranaOn, one of the world's largest vegan sports nutrition brands and has been someone that I have looked up to for years and a big reason why I was able to become plant-based. Can’t thank the people around me enough for helping to bring Sprout to life.
Q: Finally, can you provide some words of wisdom for aspiring entrepreneurs who might be reading this?
A: The best thing I can advise is never do anything for just money. If you aren’t passionate about what you are doing, you will never be truly successful. If you can find something you are passionate about and find ways to make this into a viable business, you’ll be richer than you can ever imagine. Being financially sound ultimately only plays a small factor in true happiness and fulfilment.