Taking the guesswork out of health supplements
Everyone is on something of a health kick at the moment; exercise, proper diet, and supplements are big business.
However, given the sheer wealth of information available it can be difficult to know where to begin. Luckily, Alyve are trying to make supplements more transparent, personalised, and affordable.
We spoke to entrepreneur Sam Price about how he was inspired to start the business, and how his own experiences with nutrition and supplements shaped his business plan.
What is your company’s purpose and mission?
“Alyve is not the first personal nutritional company to come about, and it certainly won’t be the last, but Alyve offers a truly tailored service. There are other companies that claim to offer a bespoke service, but it comes across as more of a gimmick. They charge for expensive blood tests, and since they have such a large team behind them, they end up charging more.
My situation was, I knew I needed to better my wellness, but I didn’t know where to start. I was overwhelmed by the list of options. For example, in a shop like Holland and Barrett, you have a whole shop with about 50 different things you could be taking, so what do you do?
Alyve is basically filling that gap. What’s more, it’s not just your everyday multi-vitamin that has the standard A to Z in it. It’s got the likes of amino acids, botanicals, herbal and plant extracts, which is where you really start to notice the difference. Also, if you were to purchase each of the ingredients individually, then you would be paying 2 to 3 times more.
It’s basically a one stop wellness solution for people who don’t really know where to start.”
What inspired you to do this? What was the eureka moment?
“I basically came back from travelling back in 2019, and what I thought was just a long jet lag turned out to be a diagnosis of ADD. I was given some medication, but it just did not agree with me at all, and I naturally investigated other options; nutrition seemed to be the way forward as well as different supplements. I eventually tried several herbal extracts and amino acids and the effect it had on me was really quite staggering. My energy, my mental clarity, my focus, everything came back into place. It was the wow factor of “why is this not common knowledge?” in regard to nutrition and the ability to take control of, not only your physical, but also mental wellbeing too.
I think something this industry has become more aware of now, is the view that you may take a multi-vitamin out of routine, but not really feel any of the benefits at all. It was really my own experience that made me bring it to market.”
What did you do before starting the business?
“I graduated Uni in 2018 and I worked in email marketing, I did this for about 5 months then went travelling. Before uni, I was into hospitality, bars night clubs that kind of thing, and while I was at uni I set a different business with my friends, a mobile cocktail bar! It could be assembled in about half an hour, and we would provide the drinks for the night, often at birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, hen dos. Lots of mojitos in gardens!”
What has been your biggest challenge in setting this up?
“I think a lot of start-ups these days, they have a preassembled team they join with; the founders, their friends, people they know already. They kind of have their set roles and they have previous experience; they’re used to this environment. Me, I was a one-man band. I had help from my co-founder, my father, and he offered strategic input, but he is the CEO of his own company; he couldn’t help on a day-to-day basis.
I was the office cleaner, the marketing manager, the stock and logistics team, salesman. I was able to maintain this, but they were long days in the beginning, and a lot of stress. It got the point when I was approached by Crowdcube, a crowdfunding platform. They said, are you interested in crowdfunding? Now at the time I said no, it’s still quite early on, I’m just getting things going. I did some more research into it and found out that both of our competitors were crowdfunded. I came to the realisation that, though I believe our offering to be of better quality, to keep up I would need a significant marketing budget and team and everything behind it, so I went for it.
For the past 3 to 4 months, we have gone from planning the Crowdcube campaign, to finishing it and so much has happened. We have some big new investors on board. One of our lead investors works for a leading boutique marketing agency in the UK and are one of googles leading partners, and he is helping with mentoring and advising. We also have a chief technical officer, head of marketing, and have increased the hours of our nutritionists. Regarding the original question, the biggest challenge was not having a specific goal in mind and having to juggle all the needs of the business by myself. But now, I have people who are skilled, helping me brainstorm ideas and helping me grow to visions which a year ago, I would never have imagined.”
What would your top 3 tips be for entrepreneurs?
“The first thing I would say is do your due diligence beforehand. So before setting up, there were a lot of things which I brushed under the carpet or took shortcuts with, thinking, oh it will be fine, and it has come back to bite me in the arse later. Know the area you are going into. A lot of people get an amazing idea, and they are so passionate about it, they are in love with it they don’t want to consider the negatives, or the hurdles they must overcome. Be prepared.
Next, as much as it is nice to be a majority shareholder in your company, at the end of the day, it is better to have a little of a big thing, than a lot of a little thing. By that I mean, bring in other stakeholders to the business that are going to bring value and help grow the organisation. They have a part of it, so it is in their interest to make it the best it can be.
Third and finally, make sure you commit to spare time. That was one thing with me, when I first set up Alyve, I was doing nothing but the business and I was turning down time with friends to work. One of the investors made the point of saying, you need to establish a work life balance, because you will just work and work and work and one day you will crash. Make sure you get that balance; stop in the evening, go get a drink with your friends, get away from it.”
What are you doing outside of all this?
“As you might imagine, I am very much into my health and fitness, I like to train in the morning before work. I always, always like a bit of socialising, heading to the pub. I’m big into my travelling, and when I was travelling that was the happiest, I’ve been. I just love being out and about when it is hot and nice.”
Any books or podcasts that you would recommend?
“I’m a big fan of Joe Rogan. I think that’s quite a classic one, but I’m just fascinated by some of his articles. Ben Francis is a big inspiration, he was in a similar situation being quite young, starting his own business, hearing all of his advice and what he did is helpful. He does podcasts where a small business goes to him to ask for tips and hints, and I’ve been taking notes from that on what he recommends.”
Tell me about your logo design; how did you decide on your brand?
“I knew I wanted blue; it’s bright, and it’s already recognisable in terms of health. I was adamant about blue. We were working with a brand designer, he asked what the brand was about and for any ideas we had, and he came back to us with a list of around 10 potential designs. I picked the first one!
It was very clean and minimalistic, and I liked the blood-drop incorporated into it as well. We are currently in talks with a branding agency to update our packaging, give our brand the 2.0 treatment and a bit of a clean-up. We just want to be prepared for the mass market that we are looking to break into. Ultimately in terms of brands it is what you make of it, as long as it resonates with your morals, what you are hoping to achieve, and what you’re all about, then you can be happy with it.”
What does the future hold for Alyve?
“We would love to see a massive reform in the nutrition market, a move away from generic multi-vitamins off the shelf and having nutrition that is convenient, affordable and you feel a difference.
We want to see Alyve arriving at people’s doors, in their offices, counter tops, and being part of people’s daily routine. We also want people to know that they don’t need to be mugged off and pay premium prices for this service. We just want to provide quality nutrition, that fits into individual’s daily goals and is ultimately affordable.”
Have you been inspired by Sam? Do you have an app idea that’s been rolling around your head for years? Get in touch with Riselabs, we will help move your concept from your head, to the drawing board, to the app store!
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