Quit as an Entrepreneur, & One Simple Tip to Master Meditation with Form Nutrition’s Natalia Bojanic
This is Natalia Bojanic for Female Startup Club
Hello and welcome back to the show! It’s Doone here, your host and hype girl! If you’ve just found us - hi! I’m so happy you found us. Every week we’re learning from some of the world’s most brilliant minds in business.
Like the co-founder of Form Nutrition, a B Corp-certified plant-based nutrition company, created from the simple belief that we become the greatest version of ourselves while making a positive impact in the lives of others. Launched in 2017 in the United Kingdom, Form Nutrition was born when Co-Founders Natalia Bojanic and Damian Soong started rethinking their habits and the effects diet has on health and the climate. Form’s 100% plant-based protein powders and responsibly-sourced nootropics are backed by science and were designed with optimal performance in mind. From performance and muscle growth, to improving sleep and cognitive support, Form’s unique suite of plant-based products are impact-driven to support overall health and wellness, and empower individuals to meet their unique goals.
We’re talking through so many different things today like the practice of building a meditation habit with a very practical tip to getting started if you’re someone like me who is so on again and off again with meditation. Something else I reallyy love about this episode is when we touch on when to quit and why that shouldn’t be seen as a failure. I do this constantly in my life and it’s such a powerful way to move towards your strengths and superpowers, and away from the things that drain you. And finally we talk through some simple marketing strategies and mindsets that everyone could implement into their business tomorrow.
Before we jump in a quick reminder on the girl code - you know we love it! And we’re still doing a call out for our loyal listeners to be involved in our new content series where you DM me a voice note or a question about anything across business, life or relationships to feature on the show! We’re going to batch record a bunch of the best ones we get in - and we’ve had some real crackers so far - just voice note us a DM on Female Startup Cub’s Instagram and you’ll be featured on the show in the coming weeks.
Please note, this transcript has been copy-pasted without the lovely touch of a human editor. Please expect some typos!
Hi, I'm so happy every week. We're learning from some of the world's most brilliant minds in business who happen to be women like the co-founder of Form Nutrition A B Corp Certified plant-based Nutrition Company. Created from the simple belief that we become the greatest version of ourselves while making a positive impact in the lives of others. Launched in 2017 in the UK Form Nutrition was born when co-founders, Natalia and Damien started rethinking their habits and the effects diet has on our health and the climate forms 100% plant-based protein powders and responsibly sourced. New tropics are backed by science and were designed with optimal performance in mind. From performance and muscle growth to improving sleep and cognitive support. For's unique suite of plant-based products are impact driven to support overall health and wellness and empower individuals to meet their unique goals in this episode, we're talking through so many different things today. One of them being the practice of building a meditation habit with a very practical tip to getting started, especially if you're someone like me who is so on again, off again, on again, off again with meditation. I really resonated with this and I'm excited to try it. Something else I really loved about this episode is when we touch on when to quit as an entrepreneur and as a founder and why that shouldn't be seen as a failure. It's something that I do constantly in my life and it's such a powerful way to move towards your strengths and your superpowers and away from the things that drain you and strip you of your energy. And finally, we talk through some simple marketing strategies and mindsets that everyone, literally everyone can implement into their business tomorrow no matter what it is that you do before we jump into this episode, a quick reminder on the girl code, you know, we love it, we love it, we love it. And we're also still doing a call out for our loyal listeners to be involved in our new content series. All you need to do is DM me a voice note or a question about anything across business life relationships, whatever you want to feature on the show, we're going to batch record a bunch of the best ones at the end of this week and we've had some real crackers so far. So just send us a voice note in the D MS on female start-up clubs, Instagram. And you'll be featured on the show in the coming weeks. Alrighty, let's get into today's episode. This is Natalia for female startup club, Natalia. Hi, welcome to the female startup club podcast. Hello. Thank you for having me. I'm so excited to be talking with you today. I feel absolutely awful that it is so late for you. I've just realized that you are in the UK which means it is co 1 a.m. which is crazy. Well, it's, it's not a problem right? When we, when we manage a business, when we're running a business, we have to do, we have to do. And it's a pleasure. That's actually one of my favorite parts of my job is actually to get to connect with people, share our stories and hopefully something that we're going to conversate and know to have a chat here. Hopefully it's gonna help someone who is about to start their business. So it's hustling with their business. So please do not feel bad. It is my pleasure. Oh, my gosh. Well, thank you. You look so fresh as well for one ami feel like me at 1 a.m. is not not the same, not the same story. Well, I did take a nap. I did take a nap. So I went to bed at TED, put an alarm on. Oh, my God, that is some serious commitment. Serious commitment. Wow. Thank you so much. Gosh, how was your day to day before you went to bed? Do you have any winds or any? Oh shit moments that happened? Well, yeah. So today I think we're working on a new flavor. So I make plant based uh vegan protein and we are working on a new flavor that we are launching soon and, and actually I can say here because by the time this girl's life we have already launched it, it's a key line. It's a limited edition flavor. So I was just like working on the photo shoot, developing recipes. And I love the creative part of my work like to get to experience developing recipes, speaking to the food stylist, getting everything ready to shoot on Friday. So this was one of the focus of the day. I'm also applying for a master's. 00 my God, look at you. So I was doing some work on the application of the masters and, and it looks like um everything is working so fingers crossed. So let's see what happens that what's the masters for? So it's uh the psychology and neuroscience of mental health. So in addition to being the co-founder of formal nutrition, I also work as a meditation teacher and I teach mindful leadership in companies. So, and I've been doing that since 2018. So I just feel that it's time to, you know, apple my skills and get a master's. Wow, that is unbelievable. That's amazing. I actually had this kind of jotted down in my notes that I wanted to bring up a bit later. But since you bring it up, now, let's talk a little bit about meditation because I feel like for me, for some context, I'm someone who I've done like meditation course over the years, I've tried 700 million times to like, build this habit. And I hear all these people and all these founders and entrepreneurs specifically who are able to have the kind of benefits of meditation and, and I believe in the power of it, but I haven't managed to, you know, master it for myself. It's something I still very much struggle with. And I wanted to ask you kind of what your advice is for meditation and how you actually build that habit or how you recommend building that habit for people like me who are kind of struggling with it, but want to have it. Well, first of all, I think like the same way that you have heard of like founders who have built the habit of like training and cultivating their mind. You probably have heard even more stories of people who are not able to do it. So I just want to acknowledge that that you are not alone. A lot of people want to have a habit of meditation, but for some reason, it just doesn't stick to them. So the thing with meditation is people need to understand that meditation is one word that encompasses different types of mind training, like the same way that we have the sports for different modalities of activities of movement, like running, um swimming and lifting weights with meditation is the same thing. There are different types of meditations and what you have to do is to be open minded and choose a style that fits and suits your mind right now. So if you potentially you tried a style of meditation and it didn't work for you, try a different style, try a different teacher, try a different technique and see what uh most resonates with you. What is easy for you to stick to. Another thing that it's important to understand is that we must start small. A lot of people start having big expectations around meditation because of all the research that it's done. They think that they need to sit 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening. And with all the things that we already have to do in our lives, it sounds like another thing that we have to take. So, research has showed that if you start with three minutes a day for 21 days in a row, only three minutes you start seeing changes in your brain. Wow. And I think it's about sometimes prioritizing instead of like not being able to stick to uh when we practice meditation, it feels that not much is happening. So we are more tempted to do other things and not to prioritize. And in order for you to keep coming back to it, you need to see some positive results. So if I might invite you to, to try to do for three minutes, 21 days in a row where you find a spot that you're going to sit every day, sit comfortably. You don't need to be like a statue. You don't need to fold your leg like a pretzel if that's not comfortable for you, but find a position and find a little corner of your house where you, you go to cultivate your mind and find a strong motivation to do it. So, you know, it's a moment where uh you are cultivating a mind is a moment that you are basically having a date with yourself. It's a moment where you're going to be watching your thoughts, you're watching your emotions and you're gaining insights about what is going on in your life and the way we experience life is directly connected on how we train our mind. So as soon as we start realizing all of that and go, oh, actually, I need to prioritize, there is nothing more important. There is nothing more relevant to cultivate a mind that is gonna help me to be focused. It's gonna help me to be present. It's gonna help me to have more self compassion towards myself. And more resilience and that bleeds into every single aspect of your life. And I hope my, my little blog has convinced you to, to prioritize your mental health and also the practical advice of finding the little corner, finding the time, commit to three minutes and then gradually increase uh the time and explore different techniques. Yeah, I love that. That's such a practical piece of advice. And I love that you've said, you know, three minutes, just everyone can make three minutes. Three minutes is possible. Even if you're at your desk at work, you can just carve out three minutes to sit in the bathroom. You can, you can do three minutes everywhere. And I love that, that's just such a, a good little insight that the three minutes matters. And that is definitely possible. What I wonder for people like yourself who are, you know, experienced professionals who obviously have strong habits in meditation and mindfulness. Do you still experience things like burnout and, you know, mood related, anxiety, depression, these kinds of things or because you have this practice, you don't tend to get that far on the scale. Well, I, I um I don't want to do because sometimes when we talk about our own experience, people might not relate because I have to make clear, like I started meditation with yoga over like nearly 15 years ago and I've been constantly meditating since 2015 January, 2015, downloaded the app had space and, you know, that helped me go through divorce, that helped me going to change of career. That helped me, um, going to Everest base camp during winter time when it was like the first tracking I ever did in my life. But I also have like to say that before that when I used to work as APR director, um, in the luxury industry. Yes, I did experience burnout. Yes. You know, I had a pretty miserable life, you know, tried to jiggle a lot and not having an outlet to nourish myself, not having an outlet that would teach me how to not overly ident fight with things that are happening in my life to be able to separate to detach myself to it so I can have perspective. So I don't become a part of what is happening to me. Like one of the the big shifts that can happen with your mind when you start like meditating is that you move from that mind where you are deeply related with something that is happening to you. So you, so you say now I, I am angry and then you move to, I'm experiencing anger and that's a quite profound shift when again, you move from heavily identifying to what is happening to actually being able to observe. And when you have that separation, when you take the moment to pause, to move from outer pilots to be aware, then it makes a whole difference on you. Experience everything that is happening in your life, avoiding burnout, avoiding uh anxiety, avoiding depression. And also I wanted to make it clear that it is not that we don't feel, it's not that we all of a sudden become this like robot, that machine, that nothing matters. No. Of course, we feel sometimes we feel like even more intensely because in the process of like training your mind, you're also expanding your heart, but you also develop uh a higher level of skill to deal with whatever is happening, that being good, that being bad you have more equity. Hm Yeah. So it sets you up very nicely to be an entrepreneur where there is so many feelings and emotions and so many ups and downs. I want to kind of go back to, you know, the start of your story. I, I was looking at your linkedin and it um it was showing that you had some companies before you started form nutrition and I wanted to ask about the Sexy Mind app and kind of your experience with that business. What happened to that business and how that then led you to, to form nutrition. Well, the the Sexy Mind, I was like one of the many businesses where I failed before. Uh I'm here talking to you and I'm really glad that you touched on that point because sometimes when people only see a little bit of your life and it's the bit of your life that is, you know, quote on quote successful uh the bit of your life where you made it and some people don't talk about, you know, what like that and, and the lessons that you've learned by trying and experiencing different things. And one of the things that I've tried, it was creating a app where I was sharing life meditations. And that was before COVID, that was uh before um life on Instagram were actually a thing. And one of the reasons that I started a teaching life on Instagram, it was because I was doing the trainings and I need to refine my ability to, to teach. And it's not always easy to get an audience in front of you. And I thought, OK, I teach on Instagram. It's life, it's not, there is a camera that I can keep like recording whatever happens, happens and I was starting gaining some traction again, you know, bear in mind. Lives were not a big thing I was just doing uh for my own development. And then I realized that it was important to create safe space outside social media because within the social media environment, people can get really triggered, especially related like to mental health. So then I in the same building where for office was, there was a tech company developing apps and I saw this um this announcement and that was like very early stages of form as well. So I was doing parallel with form. And then I pitched the idea to the tech company that was building apps and they loved the idea. And then I, I did the whole thing with a student. So students that used to come to, to one of my classes, she helped me developing it. But then I realize if you want to have a meditation app, how much money you need to compete with. Like the big guys, you also realize that you need a team, you also realize that it's very labor intensive. It's not something that you can do on the side with like zero investment. And, and then as much as you know, I love teaching, I love being life. It didn't, it was not gaining the traction that I wanted to. So then it was time to focus on something that it was and that of course, was form. So that's when I, I decided to, to stop doing and it was very sad uh that I had to stop and, but at the same time, but, you know, I've learned what I had to learn in the process of doing and it was fun to create, even like doing like the whole creation of an app. Like now I know how to do like the mapping of the experience. And I've learned how to do that. I, I've learned a lot of the back end which I'm not a very technical person. So even like having go through the process, realize, ok, I can do that, give me confidence and maybe, who knows? I mean, 5, 10 years time I get more investment, I go my time and then I decided to do it again. Yeah. Absolutely. And I think it's a really important thing that you raise is having the courage and the kind of mindset to be like, you know what, I am gonna stop like this isn't a sustainable business for me. I love it, but this isn't it. And I've got more to give and I'm gonna, you know, park this over here and, and move forward and do something else because that takes a lot, takes a lot of guts to be like, no, I'm gonna stop this, you know. Yeah, because a lot of, of what people they hear is do not quit. If you quit, you are a failure, you have to, to keep going, you have to, to fight all the odds and if you quit, you are a loser. And I don't believe that like in the process of like changing careers, as I mentioned, I used to work um as Apr director. I, I quit a lot of things like from the things that I was studying because at the time I, I was not sure what I was gonna do. I just knew that what I've learned in pr it was enough. I just knew that that environment that I was, that I was living was not really fostering my personal and my professional growth. I knew that I didn't wanna keep um on, on, on that path on that line of job, but I didn't have a plan. So what I did was I saved enough money to help me uh pay my rent. And I went on a shopping diet for over a year. And then I was exploring, I was exploring, you know what it is that is gonna make me happy, is gonna make me helpful. And also we pay for my bills. And within this process, I did so many things and that was helping me to clarify what I did not want to do by trying. And also there was uh the process of like refining my skills of like meeting people of also getting to know, you know, who is this person that I am becoming. And another business that also I, I was part of two other business that I was part of before the launching and the taking of of form. One of them was importing Fitness wa active ware from Brazil, the country where I'm from to the UK and eight years ago, nine years ago Fitness Wire was so boring here in the UK in the Lulu Lama was not here. Um The other brands that they have here, they were just like doing the playing black leggings and people would go like almost like they were wearing their pajamas in the gym and being from Brazil uh, activewear is massive. That women are quite vague and, you know, they love showing off when they go to the gym. And people used to ask me when I was going to the yoga studio or even like doing fitness training. You know, I love what you're wearing. Where is it from? And blah, blah, blah. And then I said, well, you know what? And at that time I was going through a divorce. So I also need like a little bit more money to, to, you know, look after myself in addition to, to have like the regular paycheck from, from the company, I was working at the moment and I was going to Brazil and bringing a suitcase full of active wear and start selling it and it did really well. But then again, like the company that I was working with in Brazil, they were not willing to make the investment. I was doing everything on my own and it was really hard. Um So in the space that I was doing that, I got to know a lot of the early fitness wellness, yoga nutrition influences, which then helped a lot with the launch of form. So as soon as form launched, like I had like my, my bags of, you know, goodie bags of protein people who I was gifting leggings who like loved what I was doing and they were happy and willing to support for nutrition because not only we have the relationship. Of course, having the relationships always helps. But if people don't like what you're doing, they are never going to talk about it. So it's not just about having authentic connections, but it's also about people liking what you're gifting to them. Yeah. That really resonates with me. I'm a big believer in self audit and I'm someone who also often tries things all the time to figure out, you know what I don't like to move me towards what I do like. And it's something that I tell people all the time. It's so important to just try and iterate and pivot. So I, I really love that. Um Part of your story, I'd love to understand how form nutrition actually came about. How did you meet your co-founder? How did you decide? OK, this is what I'm gonna focus on now. I'm gonna start developing protein supplements and kind of move into this space. OK. So just to start, if maybe you never heard of for nutrition, you don't know what we make. We are plant based with a purpose. We are a big corporation, meaning that we meet the high standards in environmental and social impact. And we make delicious plant based protein and actual neotropic to help with everything from its leap to prevent cognitive decline. And we launched in the UK in 2017. Um 50% of our business is D two C, 25 is Amazon. And then here in the UK. We are in retailers ranging from Holland and Barrett to Suffrage. We also sell to Europe and then also the US and it's three co-founders and form is actually the brainchild of our Ceo uh Damien Suk. He was the one who was really frustrated with not being able to find a vegan protein that tasted good just with water in addition to that. Um He also thought that the brands in this space again, like 89 years ago, were very hippy. There was nothing quite inspiring and the aesthetics of it uh were just like really boring. Like on one side, you have like these horrible plastic tubs with terrible graphic design with like weight protein. And then in like the real like, you know, body builders like growth type of protein in the other side, you have this or no imaginative brand. So he wanted to create something sophisticated. He wanted to really elevate the category of nutrition. And at that time, I was transitioning, I mentioned before that I used to be Apr director in the luxury industry. So I work um with LV. Mh, I work with brands uh such as uh Hub Land Rover as Martin. So that was the industry that I was familiar with. So like it's the industry of creating the dream. It's the industry that knows really well what it is to do something with excellence that attracts people to what they are doing. But when I felt as a communicator, I was not really sharing a message that resonated with me. So I was working for this car companies and I don't have a driving license and I went on that search, OK, what it is that I'm gonna do, I went to do uh a plant-based holistic course. And when I went to plant base, I, I it really changed my energy levels. It really changed the way, you know, I see living in the world and I really wanted to work with something related with plant based nutrition in a way that is not preachy in a way that you're just facilitating the transition. Uh not everyone going to replace their steak with tofu, but making that simple switch of weight protein to plant based protein. It's possible if you have a product that it doesn't compromise on taste and it doesn't compromise on science. And then luckily Damien, when he was putting the business plan together, he went to the biggest pr agency here in the UK to help him to get again, like a code to understand what would be the costs of having APR agency helping with the launch. And one of the ladies who was part of that peach uh knew me. And again, she didn't know me really well. She was actually friends with a friend of mine, Lily who we had a conversation before. And then she knew that I was passionate about plant base. She knew I was working as a consultant and uh she knew that, um, he probably need someone who is not, uh giving him like such, um, you know, uh it's expensive if you're gonna have like the best pr agency and sometimes startups are not able to, to make that investment. So he, she connected us and I was very lucky at that stage because form was just an idea. He didn't have the product, he didn't have the branding, he didn't have anything. He just had the idea. And when we first met, I thought, oh my God, like if someone can make plant based call, that person is Damien. He, in addition to that, he has a lot of the skills that I don't have. He is an engineer, he has an MB A and he is a numbers person. I'm more of a creative and a communicator and then being involved from the beginning with brand awareness, with vision, with uh creating what form is, was amazing to me because in the past, you know, there was a car or there was a watch and I had absolutely no input on what is gonna make that watch special, what is gonna make that car something that people want to have. And with form, I, I could and from the early stages of development to helping opening like the first retail and the most important uh door of for form, which we still uh selling these days and it's still like our most important retailer. Uh He realized that I was a very key person and he offered me shares of the business and he made me a co-founder of the business. So that's, that's they started that. And that's what is interesting, like just circling back to the previous business that I was involved trying to do on my own, not having support of other people and, and, and trying to figure out all the aspects where, you know, I'm a, a two or a three. And then with form, I then had the support of another co-founder who then actually could focus in the areas that I'm a seven or an eight and keep focus on that. And then in that way, we complement the work of each other. And I think that's probably why we have been going for, um, you know, the time that we have been going and I, I'm still enjoy doing what I'm doing. Wow, that's such a cool story. I love that. Very cool. Oh, I just wanted to say as well for anyone listening that I have been drinking your protein and I can vouch for the flavor. It is so amazing. Me and my husband just love it. Thank you. I wanted to understand in the beginning of this business, you know, was the vision that it would be a bootstrapped business. Was it going to be, you know, big from the start fundraising? What was the kind of playbook that you were following and what kind of capital did you need to go through R and D? And I'm asking this because, you know, like you said, there was no one that had done flavor really well. So that immediately says to me R and D is going to be a very expensive part of the process because it hasn't been done before. There must be a reason why. So there's gonna take a lot of investment. So I'm just trying to understand kind of the money piece of this kind of business blueprint. Sure. So Damien, as our CEO and as the responsible for our finances, he has a quite, you know, old school way of seeing, but I don't think it's old school. I actually think it's the way of like the right way of doing business. He doesn't want to do a business that is heavily dependent on external capital. So form, it started being self funded with 80 grand that he put it into the business, into R and D into developing of the brand and everything. But in addition to be a process of coming up product development, it's not only just necessarily expensive, but I think sometimes it's also about having patience more than having lots of money and understanding what it is that you want. And sometimes like doing the right research of ok, who is a manufacturer who actually embraces the challenge that I am willing to take. And if this and in our case, the manufacturer did, the manufacturer had the know-how and embraced the challenge and by embracing the challenge, they also were excited about bringing to the market a plant-based protein that tasted good just with water. And then the reiterations of the flavors, you know, it took a long time. Initially, we thought, OK, maybe we can launch in three months, but it took about 18 months to get the flavors, right? I remember when Damien uh was sending samples to me and one of the active ingredients that we have in the performance blend is a turmeric to fight inflammation. And some of like the samples that he sent tasted like curry. And I go oh my God. That is just so gross. It's gonna have like a curry flavored steak after the workout. That's not gonna be advertising. But then we keep trying, we keep refining and uh we, we did everything and we still do things in a very bootstrapped way. You know, people would not believe how many people we have working in the business. People would not believe the things that we are able to do with a team that are quite generalists and also with a brand that from the beginning from the conception of the I the the brand we managed to create something that people like and that is the gift that keeps giving with everything that we do from partnerships to marketing activities, to opening your doors. The look and feel the things that we stand for and to taste our products. It's something that it was a really worthwhile investment. Yeah. Absolutely. Wow. I want to kind of talk about those early days still and, you know, taking your learnings from working in pr and working with these kind of luxury brands, how you launched this to market and how you kind of got to your 1st 1000 customers. So uh in terms of the strategy, even before we launched in 2017, we had uh Instagram account and then within like the Instagram account, a lot of science were like being shared. Uh Before we launched, there was like a lending page where people could uh signing up to like be like the first one to to receive information about form. And because there is a social aspect to what we do. So since the beginning, we have this commitment of like supporting hospital in the Gambia. So we exchanged the emails for um a meal back to Basang Hospital now. Yeah. And then, so then we were like building our audience with Instagram, we were building audience with our newsletters and with our database. And also at the beginning, as I mentioned before, it was about me have harnessing the connections that I've made with the previous active web. And also another wellness studio that I was part of what we were doing, a lot of events and really tapping into the community tapping into the people that we had connected with. So when we launched, we didn't launch into a vain. We, we had already a bit of an audience. We had already like people to go and that really helped uh for, to take off quite quickly. So within three months that we are operating, we managed to have a really big uh retailer. So here in the UK, it's called Planet Organic. And it's, yeah, you, you're nodding. So, you know, but it's, it's like the best place to get supplements is the best place to get your groceries. And they, you know, you go and meet the buyer. The buyer is a nutritionist who goes through like everything in a product. And she asked like really difficult questions that we have like to go back to our head of Nutri Doctor, a Collins to make sure we're giving the right information. But within three months, that was like the first account we opened. Wow, that's impressive. Right? And, and that, you know, once you are on that shelves, that helps a lot of business. So I think just to, to brief everything to give like um a conclusion, I think sometimes being quite strategic with who you are pursuing, where you want to be seeing it compensates with the lack of budgets and, and sometimes not having like massive budgets and, and I used to have massive budgets when working luxury, right? It can be even more fun because you, you become like more creative, you become like more uh resourceful and you also realize like how much can be done. But again, you have to have a good product and you have to have a good brand. Otherwise forget it or otherwise like this advice doesn't work. Yeah, so true. It all relies inherently on having a good product that will also kind of kick in that fly wheel of word of mouth. It's so important that your product is good enough that someone is gonna buy it a second time. They're gonna tell their girlfriends in a whatsapp chat and they're going to kind of continue to be a customer for sure. Absolutely. You said something a moment ago that touched on your content marketing strategy. And I just want to dig a little deeper there because as someone who was kind of looking through your content, I could see how, you know, your kind of organic content strategy is a big part of what you do. And I was interested when I was reading about something that you do a strategy that you do. You give away many courses on email as a lead magnet, which I thought was so clever. And I just wanted to break that down a little bit to understand what kind of courses are these that you're giving away. Um Obviously, you know, that immediately says to me, yep, you're building trust. It's an interesting touch point. It's, you know, something that's of value to the audience instead of a constant, here's a cell message like bye bye bye. So I just wanted to understand the mini courses. Sure. So within the the view of elevating nutrition to be more than just protein that you have after the gym, it's all about understanding that nutrition is also what type of information that you are consuming and nutrition can be like a really complicated space is a relatively new science. And in addition to that, there is like the aspect of well being. So for us, content was fundamental to bring clarity to the space that has a lot of confusion. And as you already touched, like to add value to be a voice of a white friend who is that to offer advice but not to tell people what to do. But so hey, you know, if you're confused and you want to learn a little bit more about intermitted fasting, here is a five day course by Dr Adam Collins who is our head of nutrition. His phd is all around intermittent fasting that you can learn a little bit more about intermittent fasting. But then we also have other courses. We have courses that teach people how to breathe better or how to manage stress or what else. I like to all the courses out there. Now there is a whole course and that was like a very interesting one and one that is close to heart that it's a place for women tailored to women on how to make your training and your nutrition around your cycle. Because a lot of the things for women are not quite, um, bespoke as they needed to be. And for us it's not only about having people consuming our products but how actually can we impact their lifestyles in a positive way? Is part of our mission is part of why we do what we want to do. We, we do what we're doing to the end of the day to help people live happier and healthier lives. Right? And, and that goes beyond, you know, having a good sleep, coming back to, to the idea of adding value. Yes, we have a very effective uh no, to help people with sleep, but it's not a magic pill, right? So it's important to also inform people of all the things around sleeping that they can be doing to make sure they have a good night of sleep. And I think that's a responsible approach within the space, a space that is complicated, a space that sometimes doesn't have the customers best interest. And I would never be in a business where it doesn't have like the best interest of like the people who are spending money with us. And that's where the content strategy, you know, comes into what we do as part of our DNA. And yes, it, it, it helps with the conversion and yes, it helps with trust it's beautiful to see how our community responds to any of like the emails that we send that being content lads that are being teaching them how to use our products or, or that being every now and again, when we have a discount code, you know, it's a, it's an email that people look forward to open because we are also not like constantly bombarding things and when we are on the inbox is to add value. Gosh, I love that. That is so interesting and so smart from a marketing perspective, even though I know that you're also approaching this from an impact perspective. It's, it's um it's very cool to see. I wanna touch on and talk about Orlando Bloom. How did it come about? Why him? Let's dig into this specific partnership and colab. Sure. So I was teaching a retreat in Mykonos and then Damon calls me Natalia Natalia. This is back in 2018 Natalia, Natalia Orlando Blue is in the gym here. What do I, what should I do to go and talk to him right now? What gym for dumbbells to go and go and talk to him? And then at that time, he was in a play, he was in stage here in and he was also experiencing with being 100% plant based. So he did need supplementation. And then Damien started uh sending protein to him and he loved our product. He really loved uh to the point that, you know, every, every move that he was shooting doesn't matter what part of the world that he was, we were constantly sending products to him because he, you know, he thought that was like the best plant based protein that he could get. And, and then this authentic connection and friendship like developed between Damon and Orlando. And he was the one saying, you know, when you guys are ready for the US and would like support. I, I would love to come and invest in the business and, and help raising awareness uh here in the US. Wow. Yeah. Oh, so he's an investor in the business. Yeah. Well, we could never afford his rate. Yeah. Yeah. That was one of my questions. So just being like Super Candid and, and transparent and I think coming back again to creating a product that it's unique, creating a brand that is sophisticated, that has values that uh is and for something that people want to be aligned with, it's a gift that keeps giving. And as I said, you know, we could never afford Orlando Bloom but Orlando Bloom wants to be part of what we do. He invests in, in different business and a form is, is one of them. So it's great because, you know, when we were shooting with him in Malibu back in February, you know, his dad, not just as someone who just turn up for shoot, he's actively involved in what we are doing. So, you know, we had a bit of a descript and, and I of what we want to do and he goes, yes, I can do that. But why don't we do that? And, and that for us it's gold because, you know, it really shows that he believes in what we are doing and it's great to have his input in what we are doing as well. So that's the, the story behind a lot of very authentic, very genuine and, and he was actually the one who wanted to tell the story. If you go on our website, if you go on our social media channels, you you're gonna hear from his mouth, which i it's way more interesting than hearing from my, oh my gosh, that is so cool, so cool. Like when you're working with him, you know, it's obvious that that there's impact. But what has the impact been when you have to like quantify it our biggest month in the US ever? You did the Yeah, very cool. Where is the business today? And what are the kind of things that you're working on now that really shift the needle in driving kind of revenue and kind of getting you or or making those leaps forward? Yeah. So as I mentioned, we are UK based branch and here we are well established. We are like the leaders in the market. We have been going for, you know, six years already. And the challenge now is to uh get a pie of the massive business that it is in the US but that we are fighting the big guys, right? We are fighting some of the brands that have uh established the business within the US for 15 years. Some big brands that you know, are supported by the budgets of Unilever or and, and also there is the challenge of our brand being so toned down, being so quiet that, you know, in a way it does stand out because immediately you put like a pouch of form next to any other competitor brand, it's very different, but it's not obvious for the consumer and getting people to coming back to what you say to change a habit to go and try a different plant based protein. Uh It's not easy, especially when the products are made it here and the, the regulations and the legislations are different. So we are growing in the US, we are growing D to C we are growing Amazon, the brand awareness and brand presence in the big retailers and having like lending um stockists. Uh it's not easy and that's something that um we are learning. But again, I think that's the advantage of having a direct to consumer brand because then you can control the environment, you can educate the customers. I I was lucky enough to be in an event where Katerina Schneider, she's the founder of rituals and she's an amazing, amazing woman. Very inspirational. Amazing. We had her on the show last week. Oh, yeah. Last week. That's cool that I'm mentioning her and, and she, she started like going to Whole Foods and to target like years, years, years later after having gained the trust of the, of the consumer and, and I think for us because the UK, it's a smaller island compared to the territory of the U SI. Think we underestimate the amount of, of, of power, the amount of resources and the amount of work that is necessary at that. But it's going, it, it's growing and it's happening. But it's one of like the things that we always would like, like to be faster and to, to be more. So I would say that that's also the excitement part of the business, right? Having like a, a new market uh to establish the brand. And also it's a humbling exercise, right? Because here, you know, we are a top leaders and blah, blah, blah and that, you know, we're just starting back to basics. Yeah. So it's a good humbling exercise. How do you kind of manage your like sampling program and you know, demos and things like that to get your product into the hands of people en masse? Because I imagine for someone like you, it is very important for people to try the product because once they try the product, it's very easy to sell after they've kind of had that experience liquid lips, right? Yeah, I love that liquid to lips. I, I didn't come up with that. OK. It's something like with, with, I cannot take credit for that. It's something like within the industry that uh people say so like 22 ways. Um Number one is actually a lot of people that come to us through Instagram, a lot of uh yoga teachers that are hosting retreats and they want support to their event studios that uh are doing uh a special event and they want uh samples to go on the goodie banks like uh uh uh every time. Well, actually I'm gonna say that on the podcast, I'm gonna get like even more requests, but we get like loads of requests and this is, is a great opportunity and we look like all of them. And, you know, I'm surprised that sometimes people they ask for product samples like for, for their wedding. And I thought that was like, really hilarious when I got there, they want to give us part of like the wedding. They want to give product samples. Well, I mean, it, it does get into the hands of people who, you know, if it's the right kind of wedding might be the right kind of audience could be a good strategy. I did because I thought that was hilarious. And I thought, you know what? Yes, you know, you're getting married some protein for you and your guest and, and then through gifting influencers and creators as well. And that we, we have done in different ways. So we have done from like really big people who DM us, then sometimes they look, oh my God, like these people want our protein and how cool. And so there is that and then if they are asking, of course, they are more willing, like if they like to talk about without um being paid to it, which is very organic, then we also worked with uh an agency that is called kinship. And like the whole business model is to go through 500 profiles that you have like to.
00:56:26Edit In my case, I I literally approved one by one, get like the 500 profiles approved and then they contact these 500 people and then if they want to receive products, no strings attached. Normally out of like these 500 people that they connect in our case over about like 100 30 100 and 50 wanted to receive products, which is a lot considering the level of people that we had in the list. Is that like on a monthly basis or that's like we did on a monthly basis that, that we did for, for a period of time, we haven't done that already and like just exploring different things that we have done. And then out of like this, 100 to 100 and 50 people who received our product, we might get 30 to 40 people sharing and not only sharing but happy to allow us to use those stories at ads and everything. So that's another way of getting, you know, liquid to lips of influencers who will then raise awareness and get more people to, to, you know, wanting to try and sampling. Sampling is something that uh sometimes I do myself and now we are, we have launched in duty free. So form is now available in the duty free. And the first airport to do like this whole new well-being concept is the stansted. So we're gonna be doing like sampling, getting liquid lips to people to try our products. And it's, it's an interesting exercise and I think it's a really important one to get customers insights to see, you know, how people are perceiving your brand to see like the level of awareness that you have. Yes, you can have a lot of data from spreadsheets but being in front of a consumer being eating in a space I love doing because I get like so many ideas straight, you know, from the horses mouth. So yes, that's another way that we get um people to try our products. Amazing. Amazing. Last question before we get into the six quick questions, what is a piece of advice that you can share with other small business owners or founders that you wish you had known when you were starting out? You don't have to do all along and you don't have to be perfect. You don't have like to know everything, you know, you, you can have support, seek that support and lean into the things that you, you're passionate about doing that you're good at doing and, and start and, and try and go out, you know, and adventure yourself. Uh It's worthwhile. It's especially worthwhile when, where, what you're trying to do is not only for your benefit. So if there is a sincere desire of helping others, I, you know, from my own experience from my own life, there is that invisible hand that will be there, guiding uh your path that will be there supporting you and opportunities will come and not always comes in the shape and form that we would like it to come and sometimes come in a magical more awesome and expected ways.
Question number one, what's your, why? Why do you wake up every day and work on form nutrition to benefit others? So cool. So key as well. Question number two, what's been your favorite marketing moment so far? I think it goes from having billboards around uh the UK to, to even like doing sampling and you like in front of, of the person who loves your product and you get to get that love. So those, those 22 extremes, right? Billboards and the the connection with someone who loves your brand. Totally both like really profound and really thrilling as well. Question number three is, what's your go to business resource? If you have to think about a book, a book, a book or a podcast or a newsletter? I think a really meaningful book is Shoe Dog by Field Knight. That is the story of Nike and I, I was never attracted to it if, if I'm completely honest. But um it was a gift from our first intern and she gave to me and I said, OK, gave to me, I have to read this and I had tears in my eyes, which I, I thought I would recommend that a lot. I feel the same. It wasn't something that I was, um, like drawn to, but then everyone kept talking about it, everyone kept talking about it and I read it and I absolutely loved it. I also really loved the movie that just came out called air if you've seen it. Yeah, it's so good. It, it's, it's really good. Question. Number four is how do you win the day? What are your AM or PM? Rituals and habits that keep you feeling happy and successful and motivated? I do meditate which helps a lot, but also movement, movement is very important. They're being like listening to Brazilian funk music during my power walk or lifting weights, strength or going to, to yoga. It's a way of accessing your free pharmacy of your good hormones and, and that makes you like more energetic, more a bit for the rest of the day and I fast as well and I sleep. So I think it would be like this, this main, main things. I, I do prioritize sleep although I'm not doing right now, but I've mucked you up. I have a bank of, of sleeping that I have a lot of sleeping credits. So good question number five. What has been the worst money mistake in the business. And how much did it cost you? I think the biggest amount of money that we have lost so far has been uh £40,000 and that happened from one of our stockers uh going into a demon administration. But you know. Yeah, but the interesting thing is that it was the same retailer that was Planet Organic. I don't know if you're aware but Planet Organic went through administration. But then like super cool Rene Elliott, who was the original founder, took the business back. Rescue Planet Organic, which is the story. And if you haven't had her in the podcast, I'm very happy to make the introduction. I was with her in a dinner like two weeks ago and she is incredible. Oh my God. I love caring woman. Yes. And she, and then, you know, and they, of course, from previous administration, we just had like, we just lost the 40 K but we, we still with them, you know, as soon as she took over the business again and say no, you're so important for our business. The business that have generated, you know, a couple of millions for us then, you know, it's, it's ok. So we are back with them. Wow, that's crazy. Last question. It's a crazy one. What is just a crazy story? Good or bad you can share from your journey building for nutrition. I think the London Blue story. It, it's hard to top that one. It's a hard one to top. That's a hard one to talk because it, it's just um so genuine and so authentic and something that, you know, we could never imagine it to happen and it did, it took a long time to happen until we get the contract to get everything organized. But yes, Orlando Bloom is part of form, which is super cool. Did you get to meet Katy Perry? Not yet. Not yet. Hopefully, hopefully so cool. She's, she's incredible. She, she's incredible. Oh, my gosh, Natalia. Thank you so much for making the time. Thank you so much for making the time at this time of the night for you. I am so grateful and I'm so excited to meet you in person in London in a couple of weeks. Well, I see you in August. Have a safe trip and I'm excited to meet you in person too. Thank you so much for having me.