Start-up stories: Natural Nutrients

Start-up stories: Natural Nutrients

When Liam couldn’t find natural nutritional supplements to recommend to his clients, he decided to fill the market gap himself. With finance secured from Northstar Ventures, he’s secured some huge deals.

What did you do before you started this business?

I spent 6 years working as a personal trainer and nutrition consultant, specialising in helping people lose weight by optimising nutrition and supplementation.

What inspired you to start up?

Clients would always ask which supplement company to buy the best supplements from. At the time - and even now - there wasn’t a single company that offered 100% natural, clean and transparent supplements across their entire range. So I decided to create one!

Most companies used unnecessary artificial ingredients in an attempt to reduce the cost of a product, but this usually meant it also reduced quality. In most cases clients would be buying products that weren’t very effective, or sometimes products that didn’t work at all.

Tell us about your business in 100 words

Natural Nutrients is the no-brainer nutrition company for anyone looking to improve and optimise their health with help of clean, natural and effective nutritional products.

The products include Grass Fed Whey Proteins, vegan-friendly Faba Bean Protein Powder and a range of vitamins and minerals. Natural Nutrients does not use any artificial sweeteners or bulking agents in its products.

How would you describe your business to your grandma?

Natural Nutrients exists to help improve your health by developing high quality nutritional products that don’t contain a load of rubbish.

Where do you get advice, support or help?

We get support from suppliers, manufacturers, peers in the industry and – over the years – different business consultants. We also get advice and support from Northstar Ventures, our investor.

Finance is one of the most common barriers to starting up. How did you access the finance you needed?

We accessed the North East Proof of Concept Fund, managed by Northstar Ventures, in July 2016. We met them at an event held by Durham Business Club and 3 months later they invested £125,000 to help set up, grow and develop the business.

What has been your biggest achievement so far?

Our first big achievement was securing a listing in the Food Hall in Fenwick Newcastle. As an avid visitor of their Christmas window as a child, and a big fan of Fenwick as a staple North East business, becoming the first and only supplement company stocked in the food hall was a massive thing for us.

Since then we’ve gone on to work with two of the country’s leading wholesalers, and in September 2017 we are launching Protein Popcorn in 270 Holland & Barrett stores.

How do you differentiate your business from others?

Our products are factually cleaner, more natural and better quality than 90% of the supplement industry. We’re also focused on being a nutrition company and intent on educating our customers about the importance of natural nutrition – and not focused solely on selling a product. We also don’t sell fad products so we’re building an evergreen business that will still be as relevant in 20 years as it is today.

What’s it like to be your own boss?

Being my own boss is like being allowed to breathe – working for others is the exact opposite for me. It also gives me the flexibility to work from wherever I need to be which is vitally important now I have a 15-week old baby!

Where do you see your business in 5 years’ time?

I see our business becoming a household brand and being the market leader in clean and natural supplements. We expect to be listed in three major supermarkets, and hope to be actively exporting around the world. By this point we also see nutrition services and subscriptions making up over 50% of our online income.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

There are 3 bits of advice I’d give to aspiring entrepreneurs (in this order):

  1. Know your figures and add a 25% buffer to any financial forecast you do to accommodate costs that are impossible to forecast before you start
  2. Don’t get premises, offices, overheads or staff until you absolutely have to
  3. Sales are everything!