Most people rolled their eyes when I said I wanted to start a nutrition company - ‘It’s such a crowded space’, they said.
I studied my MBA shortly after Kim and Maubourne released their seminal book ‘Blue Ocean Strategyʼ. It was required course reading. In this book, it is argued that the best businesses look for uncontested spaces, blue oceans. These blue ocean businesses create something new and different; they unlock new demand and make the competition irrelevant. The idea of making competition irrelevant resonated with me.
So, for me, the crowded space was part of the attraction. It set us up for many challenges: How could we find the blue ocean? In what way would we stand out from the crowd? The framework we used to meet these challenges was based on three simple foundations.
Most nutrition brands simply sell nutrition products, powders, capsules and the rest of it. At Form, we sought to broaden the definition of nutrition. When you start to think of nutrition as nourishing your whole self, you begin to see that it can encompass so much more. This is how we came to incorporate cognitive supplements, education, mindfulness and giving into our brand DNA.
In doing so, we’re able to have much more impact than our products alone and it gives both our community and us much bigger goals. A great example of this is our Family Feeding Fund at Bansang Hospital in The Gambia, where with every purchase, we feed someone in need. This initiative has been woven into Formʼs story right from the beginning, even from the pre-launch page, we gave a meal for every sign up.
Most nutrition brands sell a post-workout shake – both an optimistic and aesthetic vision that you might start to look better in the mirror. We wanted to sell so much more. We wanted to elevate nutrition to be more than just a protein shake after the gym, to be more about aspiration and peak performance.
Peak performance isn’t just a physical thing – it can mean many different things to different people. This is how our branding came to be centred on mountains and landscapes, they speak about more than just working out: nature, achievement and aspiration. This helps to broaden our appeal outside of the traditional nutrition marketplace.
There’s a great saying, “A people recruit A people, B people recruit C people.” The crux of this is to recruit people smarter than you. It’s truly amazing what you can create in a short space of time with a talented, passionate, multi-disciplinary team. I first connected with our Head of Nutrition, Dr Adam Collins, in 2014 to begin research. Dr Collins has over 20 years experience as a Nutritionist and is Director of the MSc and BSc Nutrition at The University of Surrey, this level of credibility was vital to our brand. I wouldn’t have started the journey without.
In 2015, I connected with my Co-Founders Pete O'Donoghue and Natalia Bojanic. Form launched in 2017, and in less than one year, I can proudly say this small talented team has achieved so much. From a bestselling vegan protein powder
listing in Planet Organic, to being number one brand from Tatler to The Telegraph with an Evening Standard Editors Pick in-between.
There’s an increasing interest in this space we call wellness, and with that comes a wealth of opportunity. More and more people are eschewing traditional career pathways and looking to create something of their own. The way we shop and spend our money is changing. Brands need to think differently. If you’re thinking of taking advantage of this opportunity, I hope this short piece and the speakers in The Lab this year will give you a little inspiration as to how you might create something special yourself.
I wish you the best of luck on your journey.
This year at Balance Festival, our insightful educational space THE LAB will be sponsored by FORM. Don't miss out on the opportunity to learn more about this innovative and forward-thinking startup! See full LAB line-up here.