Most parents can relate to the dining table struggle. Trying to convince a picky eater to eat vegetables – or pretty much anything green – can be intense. Common solutions might be hiding vegetables under layers of cheese sauce and noodles or mixing in greens with pizza toppings. What’s less common? Addressing your kid’s picky tastes by starting a business.
For Vantrang Manges, founder of Green Mustache, those mealtime battles with her two daughters provided just the inspiration for a new career. As an investment professional at a high-pressure Manhattan hedge fund, Manges barely found time to cook healthy meals at all. You can imagine that when she commuted home to Brooklyn and finally got to sit down to dinner, she was in no mood to argue with a little one about actually eating what she had taken time to prepare. After multiple attempts to sneak vegetables into the entrées, she tried a different approach: breakfast. Since the family rarely had time to sit down for a morning meal, smoothies became the go-to. Manges started blending spinach, kale and chia seeds into the morning brew, and to her surprise, the vegetables went undetected by those little mouths. They even giggled at the green mustaches that they’d sport after downing a glass.
A year later, she put her business acumen to good use and formally launched Green Mustache, providing healthy smoothies for kids and their grown-up parents as well. It wasn’t long before she branched into healthy snacks, too. Inspired by a certain famous and beloved goldfish cracker, she found a way to craft a vegan, gluten-free, organic cracker that happened to incorporate healthy ingredients such as chickpea flour, kale and chia. And they’re shaped just like the company logo—little mustaches! (Though, these ones are orange, not green.)
Oh, and as for Manges’s daughters? They’ve grown out of the picky phase.