So, where did it all start?
I have been taking protein powders for over 20 years and have always hated the taste and the process. A few years ago I was working for a water company (Evian) and trying to bulk up so I was taking lots of protein powders, raw cans of tuna, processed packs of chicken breast, etc. I found the whole process to be rather gross! I remember looking at a bottle of water one day and thinking wouldn’t it be great if you could get your protein from something as refreshing as water without having to bother with mixing powders or digesting milky drinks. Hence the idea was born
What would you say has been your most challenging moment?
Do I just have to pick one lol?!?! Well other than the daily challenge of managing my own personal and business finances and keeping the day to day business running, I would say developing the drink and getting it to market was the biggest challenge. The biggest challenge with that was finding a manufacturer which took a very long time. The drink is quite complicated to make and there aren’t that many manufacturers in the UK who can make it at least on the quantities that we could afford as a start-up. At various points, I was almost ready to give up.
“Our philosophy is simple: #GrabLife”
Vieve is very popular with consumers and doing extremely well, what’s been your proudest moment?
I think when we sent a sample of our product to the associate editor of Men’s Health through our PR agency and he came back and said it was the best tasting protein drink he’d ever tried! My focus on starting the brand was creating a great tasting product so it felt really satisfying and validating.
But to be honest what really makes me proud is the fact that every day I get messages from people saying Vieve is helping them live happier and healthier lives. For example, yesterday I got a message from a gentleman who has a gastro feeding tube and cannot eat or drink but uses our product as a way of getting protein. I never thought I would create a product that helps people in this way! I’m really proud of this and have actually asked some of these people to write blog posts about their experiences which you can read about here: https://drink-vieve.co.uk/blogs/news
Why should people choose Vieve over a ‘run of the mill’ energy drink?
So many reasons lol! Well, we’re one of the few truly lactose/dairy free protein drinks on the market. Our primary protein source is collagen which means it’s lactose-free, digested rapidly and easier to absorb then whey. Each bottle contains a whopping 20g of protein which is the perfect amount after your workout or as a protein boost during the day to keep you fuller to avoid snacking.
“Each bottle contains a whopping 20g of protein which is the perfect amount after your workout”
We are also sugar-free and the first sports nutrition product in the UK endorsed by Sugar Wise. On top of that we are also fat-free, low calorie, use no artificial flavours or colours and come in three unique flavours. But the best reason? We taste AMAZING! 80% of our reviews are 5 Stars so it’s not just me saying this lol.
You have some fantastic flavours! Which is your favourite?
Oh, come on you can’t ask me to pick one! Actually, our best flavour will be the one that we are launching in a couple of weeks time. I can’t tell you what it is but I think it’s going to really impress people.
What advice would you give to fellow Start-Ups in the FMCG industry?
Well I don’t quite know if I’m at the stage where I should be giving people advice as we have only been running for over 6 months but I have worked in FMCG for over 15 years at some pretty big companies (P&G, Disney, GSK, Mars, etc) so I do have an interesting perspective.
“My advice is, make sure you have a product that is genuinely unique in the eyes of consumers AND can strategically add category value to retailers.”
If we look within the broader marketplace big consumer goods companies are struggling for growth and are losing market share to smaller, more flexible competitors in virtually every category. You only have to look at the success of companies like Halo Top, LaCroix Water & Dollar Shave Club in the US which have taken billions of dollars of sales and market share from much larger competitors in just a few years time. In short: don’t be intimated by your size – use it to your advantage!
Where can people get these protein-packed drinks?
At the moment we are primarily sold online via our website (https://www.drink-vieve.co.uk) and Amazon. We plan to roll out into retail in 2018 and hopefully have our first big retail listing which we will be announcing very soon.
You donate 1% of all Vieve’s profits to ‘Mind’, the mental health charity. When did you decide you wanted to donate to such a noble cause?
I have battled depression and mental health issues all my life and one of the ways I managed to overcome this was by starting my own business. I thought the least I could do was give back to an organization that helps other people who have struggled like I have. It also allows us to talk about ‘holistic’ health and the mind rather than just being about the body…
What’s next for Vieve Protein Water?
So much! As I already mentioned we have quite an exciting and unique flavour pipeline in the next 6-12 months – our aim is every few months to bring out flavour combinations that taste amazing and have never been seen in the market. On top of this, we’re going to continue to build on our direct-to-consumer business, through continued investment in our site and truly starting to exploit all the capabilities of Amazon. We will also, of course, try to get into more stores with a big push into physical retail in 2018. Next, we are looking at expanding into other markets including other parts of Europe and the Middle East. Our big goal is to be in the USA in 1-2 years. Watch this space!
There’s no doubt Vieve are heading for greatness, check out some of their AMAZING products here: https://www.drink-vieve.co.uk and be sure to check out our ‘Start-Up Story’ with Dr Will’s here. Stay tuned, we have some more amazing Start-Up Stories lined up over the next few weeks!