Welcome to this week's rundown of the My Biggest Lessons podcast! Our host Chris Meade sat down with Nik Hall, founder of Vitafive, to discuss all things DTC and retail in the vitamin gummy world. Check out the full episode below! ⤵
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While health and fitness has always been at the forefront for Nik, he found it difficult to keep up with taking vitamins on a daily basis. His college roommate, Garrett, found himself in the exact same position. With a need to solve this issue and an entrepreneurial drive, the duo got to work.
Nik and Garrett took what they loved (and left what they hated) from other subscription services like Dollar Shave Club and turned their idea into the successful vitamin gummy company known as Vitafive.
In the early days, Vitafive was known for their custom vitamin packs — a completely customizable monthly subscription with 8 different vitamins for customers to choose from. While this was a popular idea, it was an awful operational headache, leading Nik to eventually shut down that part of the business and shift focus to eco-friendly, retail packs.
There have been many valuable lessons along the way for Nik with Vitafive, from working with retailers to taking risks and doing things his own way. Want to learn more about Nik's success in the vitamin space? Keep on reading!
Diversifying your channels 💼
Vitafive started as strictly DTC, with a subscription service and customizable vitamin packs. While this became successful within the first year of business with over 4,000 recurring members, Nik eventually hit a tipping point in their monthly sales, staggering their growth. What was their solution? Diversifying their channels.
In 2019, Nik moved Vitafive into the retail space, and saw his products hitting 1000s of shelves in just two years. Entering into the retail world opened up a lot of doors for Nik, allowing him to work with big retailers like Target, HEB, and CVS.
The true key to their exponential growth was launching on Amazon in 2021. By shifting their marketing focus and dollars to Amazon, Nik saw huge growth in just 3 months — from $8,000 to $20,000 a month.
Partnering up 🤝
As a new or emerging brand, if you’re ever considering moving your product into retail, finding good partners to work with is essential for success. For Nik and Vitafive, this means a few things:
- Stay away from drug stores: When it comes to drug stores and pharmacies, Nik has found these to be more of a hassle to work with than any other retailer. With high shelf fees, big chargebacks, and other issues, it's genuinely not worth it for him.
- Put your products where your buyers are: Accepting deals right off the bat might seem like a good idea, but might be costly if your consumers only shop at specific stores. Being picky with what shelves you're putting your products on will result in better sales and higher profits.
- Store counts don't matter: With Vitafive, Nik has seen better weekly sales on Amazon than across the 2000 CVS stores that his products are in. Like the point above, it doesn't matter how many stores your products are in, being in the right place where your consumers can be found is what matters.
Doing things differently 💡
The world of vitamins and supplements is saturated, competitive, and tough to be remotely successful in. How did Nik do it? By doing things a little differently from the rest.
Most of us know what the 5 P's of business are: Product, Price, Promotion, Place, and People. Nik absolutely follows this, but adds an extra element to really help dive deep into understanding his products and if they'll be successful — the 5 senses.
👀 SEE: Product needs to stick out on the shelf in a visually appealing way.
👃 SMELL: When the product is opened, the smell has to be good.
👅 TASTE: A good tasting product brings customers back and contributes to lifetime value.
👂 HEAR: Nik notes this as a weird one, but with his gummy product, hearing a crunch would instantly drive consumers away.
✋ EMOTION/FEEL: Products need to evoke emotion or feeling in the consumer.
Take it slow 🐢
One of Nik's biggest takeaways in the 6 years since starting Vitafive is to keep your focus on 1 single product or area.
Looking up to Sean from DUDE Wipes and our very own Chris Meade, Nik has learned through their (and his own!) trial and error when it comes to bringing new products to market. Launching new products costs money — everything from development, manufacturing, and marketing can add up in cost.
When launching 1 new product vs. 5 new products, you're able to channel more money and time into that 1 product with almost guaranteed success, whereas with 5 different products you'll have less marketing and manufacturing dollars and a higher chance of a failed launch.
Nik's big advice to new entrepreneurs looking to break into their industries and be successful? You can be really effective and scale significantly if you stay focused on 1 thing.
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