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Starting a vitamin company and leveraging free reviews to drive acquisition, with Needed Co-Founders Ryan Woodbury and Julie Sawaya

by Female Startup Club
February 27th 2021
00:45:39
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Joining me on the show today are the two co-founders behind Needed, Ryan Woodbury and Julie Sawaya. 

Needed is a nutrition company on a mission to empower women to find real nourishment on th... More

doing here, we're in month two of being part of the hubspot podcast network and I wanted to take a second to shout out another incredible women lead podcast. Being boss with Emily Thompson. If you're a creative business owner or thinking about becoming one. Being boss is an exploration of not only what it means but what it takes to be a creative business owner, freelancer or side hustler. I loved Emily's episode on taking time off as a business owner. It's definitely a really challenging part of running your own business and I recommend giving it a listen, check out being boss wherever you get your podcasts. This is Ryan and julie for female startup club. Yeah. Hey everyone and welcome back to another episode of the female startup club podcast. I'm your host, Don Rasheen. And joining me on the show today are the two co founders behind Needed, Ryan Woodberry and julie. Sawaya needed is a nutrition company on a mission to empower women to find real nourishment on the journey to motherhood and beyond. They partner with women's health practitioners and moms to make better nutritional products and information more accessible in order to optimally nourish women going through pregnancy and motherhood.

A really interesting fact they shared with me that you should know is that 97% of pregnant women in the US take a prenatal vitamin yet 95 plus are still deficient in key nutrients, how crazy is that in this episode, you'll learn just how long it takes to develop new vitamins from scratch. Spoiler alert, it's multiple years how they've used free reviews to drive customer acquisition and their biggest driver for growth right now, if you know someone who would benefit from hearing this inspiring story, please do share it with them. It's often how we find new ears and it further empowers women who are launching brands and side hustles. This is Ryan and julie for female startup club table, it's safe to say that most of us have been doing more online shopping lately, right? And if you're an e commerce brand, that means you might be seeing more first time customers.

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That's K L A V I Y O dot com slash F S C. Female startup calm presence. Mhm Ryan and julie. Hi and welcome to the female startup club podcast. Thank you. Hi, we're so glad to be here. Hello, do you both want to start by introducing yourselves and what your business is? Yeah, I'm Ryan, I'm one of the co founders have needed, thrilled to be here and needed is a nutritional business really meant to empower women to find optimal nourishment before, during and after pregnancy. Right now we offer a suite of perinatal supplements to better support women and there's a lot more ahead of us to come. And um I guess I can quickly say julie and I were lucky to connect. We met as next door neighbors actually our first year at stanford Business School and very much more kindred spirits and having a lifelong passion for health and nutrition.

We're both beginning to think about our journeys to motherhood and were surprised to find just the lack of nutritional support in the space that products really weren't cutting it and it was difficult to find quality information. So we really set out on this journey of, we wanted sort of better products and better information in order to support our journeys to motherhood and our recoveries postpartum and to be able to provide that for a host of other women. Yeah. And I'm julie Ryan and I I think Ryan covered a lot of it. But we both came from backgrounds in finance and investing prior to business school and Ryan and the consumer space me more of a generalist. But I think the common thread when we met at stanford was both of us have independently pursued nutrition certifications and spent a ton of our early lives focused on optimizing our health really at quite a young age. And I think a lot of that early experience informed the surprise that we that we had when we realized that even us who were, you know, going to the farmer's market every sunday and you know, early adopters of a lot of, you know, healthy products.

We realized that we had nutritional deficiencies and that if this was true for us, it must be true of other women. And that really let us down a very organic path of digging under the research and understanding that prenatal vitamins really aren't cutting it for the vast majority of women. And it's something that I think, you know, we are really, really, really passionate about getting that message out there especially because so many women rely on their doctors for prenatal vitamin recommendations. And as someone who grew up in a family medical doctors, I can say firsthand doctors really aren't trained on nutrition, we have utmost respect for MDS, but their training is largely not focused on nutrition. And so Ryan and I really, really early on and starting needed sought out the experts who really do know what women need in this life stage, who are regularly testing women's nutrient and hormone levels. Women like Ryan and I and then also women who maybe are coming to a practitioner for a specific reason, like a hormone imbalance or infertility and the like we really think that that in practice experience of health practitioners who are regularly looking at nutritional status is so key because so much of the nutrition information is lacking around pregnancy.

I mean it's so crazy, isn't it? And it's crazy to think that, you know, as a woman in that stage of thinking about getting pregnant, you're just going to the pharmacy or you're going to the supermarket and you're picking up what it says on the shelf and you're thinking like, yep, I'm covered. Like this is good. I trust this information and actually you find out that that's potentially not the case. It's wild. Yeah, I think it's a big surprise for many that you would think it makes sense. There might be some gaps and diet, but you would think your prenatal supplement would make up the difference. And I think what we found very clearly is it's quite far from the case and I think the grounding reason just to give a little bit more background before we dive in is just most prenatal supplements are designed around the RDS at least in the U. S. Which is a government standard that is framed around how do you avoid a disease condition? And we don't think that frame of how do you avoid a disease is the right frame especially for pregnancy. When you're really looking at how do we optimally support mom and baby.

And there can be pretty orders of magnitude of difference between you know avoiding a disease condition and really really supporting that baby. So you have the best environment and recovery for both parties. And I think some of the frustration that we found was I think it really got us motivated to start the spaces. The supplements market is a big market here in the US and I think a lot of people recognize the fact that 97% of women in the US will take a prenatal vitamin but most didn't have a brand association with that vitamin. They'd be like oh I just took the one that like my O. B. Said was on your insurance or it's the red bottle at whole foods or the green bottle at Walgreens or the first one that popped up on amazon and I think what we were frustrated with is a lot of other companies I think capitalized on that problem. And how do you build a brand in the space and brands are hugely important and we'll talk about brand building on this podcast, but where we saw the bigger problem in the bigger need was you had to innovate on the product side because there was such a big gap in the existing products, not meeting the core problem, which is that can be a unique thing in the consumer space that you know, we're really in this, solved the problem.

We think sort of the perry natal nutrition paradigm, at least in the US right now is enormously broken and leaving women depleted and setting not setting up their babies as optimally as they could be. When you think about sort of longer term microbiome and epa, genetics related health associations, wow, that's incredible! Oh my gosh, what a big industry to start taking on and to tackle, I want to get started at the very beginning. How do you actually go about starting this kind of business and creating supplements and vitamins as a new founder? Yeah, so we actually started working on consumer research and really trying to deeply understand what does the consumer want and what is missing from the space while we were at stanford business school and Well, luckily, to target a lot of our curriculum, stanford has an awesome entrepreneurship program and we were able to kind of use classes the second half of our second year of business school really to vet this idea and try to de risk it as much as possible in deciding whether this is what we wanted to do full time.

So we conducted several 100 consumer interviews and also interviews of health practitioners, oh Bs were included in that, midwives were included in that, but also the health practitioners that really focus on nutritional imbalances like natural pathetic doctors, functional medicine doctors, nutritionists, registered dietitians, health coaches and the like. And so, you know, that really formed the basis of probably the first six months of of needed and it's really that deep consumer and practitioner understanding is core to who we are as a company. We continue to do this kind of day in and day out now, it looks a little differently now that we have a brand and we have more of a social reach and can engage people in a social way, but, you know, really the basics we're starting out with, and I think that's something that really when you're starting a company and really trying to meet a need, you, you can't skip over that that deep consumer understanding. And I think something that was kind of hammered home to us at stanford was surveys can be great, you know, they're a tool to use to better understand consumer behavior, but there is no replacement for that one online consumer or practitioner in our case interview to really uncover, kind of the, the deeper y behind the problem, so that was kind of the foundation and that's why I kind of finally, finally why we ended up sort of on the name needed was because of that really keen focus on, we want to better understand and meet the needs of our consumer.

And that meant as julie said, sort of really diving deep into consumer need finding and then kind of the clinical literature to know how we could more comprehensively kind of meet those needs. I think both from a physiological standpoint, but also from a usability standpoint too. And when you're saying you're doing these one on one interviews, hundreds of them, what specifically are you asking and what are you looking for in those conversations? Because if you're going in with an idea of, hey, we're looking to dig deeper, what do you kind of, how do you find the answer essentially to be like, okay, this is what we've landed on. Yeah, well there's a whole art to it and I'd say Ryan and I are not, you know, user behavior research experts. Although I think we benefited a lot from learning from folks who really excel at this. But the artisan, trying not to lead the interviewee towards the answer that you, you know, you have in mind. And I think that is a little bit different than a lot of consumer product ideas, you know, oftentimes I've been inspired over the years by hearing founder stories of, oh, I needed this for myself.

So I created it and then I found a market and that's a perfectly valid way to create a business. But when it comes to something as vulnerable and kind of sacred as deciding what to take during and after pregnancy, we found it was really important to get outside of our own thinking and not to have a solution in mind out of the gate, but really to kind of be led down somewhat of a a winding path of uncovering the emotions that go into the decision of what prenatal to choose or how to nourish yourself during pregnancy, we of course did ask some questions like where did you get your information or how did you choose? Which prenatal to take? And that led us to uncover that a lot of women are kind of shooting in the dark because they're obese aren't giving them clear indications and women really do want, they're looking for trusted recommendations of what to take and that didn't exist anywhere. So that is that is something that we try to do it needed. Whether or not you buy our products, we provide unbiased prenatal vitamin reviews to all women.

And that that was an insight that came about through those early user interviews, wow, that's incredible. I think that's a really great insight to not lead the person you're speaking with and just see how the conversation goes. And then over time analyzing, you know, those hundreds of data points to figure out where you fit in that space, what's next? You do the consumer research, you land on vitamins and supplements and this care for pre motherhood and motherhood. How do you actually build this brand? Yeah, I mean I think that the next stop, I think after the basis of need finding, we would say was making sure that we had trusted cohort of practitioners that were really working with us out of the gate. Because I think what we found in that initial need, finding me finding a problem finding was prenatal nutrition and there's a huge amount of gaps in the research. So in terms of what exactly women need, you can't just rely on clinical literature unfortunately, because a lot of things just haven't been studied yet.

So what was important in guiding us was making sure we had access to other information about the day to day needs of our target consumer and that really came from partnering with a cohort of practitioners who day in and day out are testing the nutrition and hormone levels of women so that we would be able to draw in our product design sort of in practice clinical insights to help us fill in the gaps and you know, an example of this to like quickly illustrate it would be fully fully it is a nutrient most of you have heard about it sort of the number one recommendation and pregnancy normally in the form of folic acid folic acid, it's increasingly understood is very difficult to be converted by the body. It's a manmade ingredient. So a lot of prenatal have switched over to what is called a method foley which is the active form of foley that your body can quickly use.

And methyl folate has been studied in terms of like usability by the body but not necessarily to the extent we would love to see it. And what was interesting what came out of clinical practices this learning that because it's become an ingredient in vogue, many supplements companies are actually dozing it really high because it's that like sexy ingredient and it can contribute to mood imbalances if it goes too high because it interacts with your serotonin neurotransmitter. Anyways, that's a that's an example of just something that we went through every single nutrient, what we knew in the clinical literature and then what practitioners were seeing in practice to help us determine what is the optimal form, what is the optimal dose and where else women might be getting this nutrient or not in food such that we could design our products again to sort of fully meet a woman's nutritional needs beyond their baseline diet before, during and after pregnancy.

And I think that that kind of linked in arms with practitioners we see is one of the key sort of differentiators of what we are doing differently. It's very common to have scientific advisory boards in the space and I think they're wonderful and provide good advice and direction. But it was it was really incredible in our first three years of really moving into need finding and then, okay, how do we go into meeting those needs? Being linked in arms with practitioners coming through the data, reviewing CVS from different manufacturers, visiting those manufacturers to make sure we were getting a really, really kind of focused set of direction and collaboration from experts beyond ourselves. How long did it take you from, you know, when you were at stanford and you were starting to play around with this idea through to actual launch and ready to like press the go live button. Yeah, about three years in total.

Which is quite a long time for a direct to consumer startup. I think the the, you know, the more common route is too. And we should say like the path of least resistance when creating vitamin or supplement is to go to a manufacturer who already has a formulation that's you know, kind of standard off the shelf, ready to go. You pick out your packaging, you come up with your brand, maybe you tweak a dosage here or there, but more or less it's white labeled and that is that's common in beauty products. That's common in vitamins and supplements. We took a different path of really from the ground up as Ryan was describing, going nutrient by nutrient to determine what's the optimal dosage and what's the optimal form and what do we want in our prenatal, what do we want? Not in our prenatal and it's so much more than just is this a clean label? You know, does it have minimal additives? You know that's kind of like table stakes at this point, I think in the clean beauty and health movement, but the next level is really determining um what is optimal and what we found is that that didn't exist in a white labeled format.

We had to create it from the ground up, We had to go to individual suppliers and um purchase raw materials that weren't stocked at a manufacturer and that process was a multi year um multiyear experience both on the, what's the ideal formulation side, working with health practitioners and then, you know, trial and error of trying dozens of different formulations to see what was what was the most palatable and the easiest for a consumer to take when it comes to specifically our prenatal vitamin, which is the powder format. So several years in the making um the brand side of things, although really important. I think it is just vastly easier to get a brand when you're talking about like the visual representation of a company, much easier to get a website up, much easier to get packaging done a logo and instagram page up than it is to really reformulate products from the ground up and then of course there are brand building is a multi year and never ending exercise that we take really, really seriously by which, I mean, you know, what is the personality of needed when a consumer interacts with us?

What is that user experience? How does, how does need to respond to consumer needs and consumer concerns? And that is something that I think we had a really clear sense coming out of those user interviews who we were as a brand, but it's always evolving as you're actually out there than selling products and interacting with consumers in a more meaningful way. Wow, that is a really long time. Were you, as in the three years of development, were you working on this full time during this period or were you working at another position somewhere else? We were both full time on this. I think that those early months at stanford were us determining okay, does this, you know, is this really what we're passionate about and is this the problem that we both want to go solve and are we the right co founders to do it together? And so I think once, once we had answers to that, upon graduating from business school, we really left into this and and started working on it full time for over a year with no salary and then thereafter, really, and to this day, I think really prioritizing not having a big team how much can write and I get done independently along with the health practitioners that we work with across all of our content and other contractors, which I think is a little bit of a different model than your typical startup.

That's raised some independent money, but we we really, I think have been passionate and continue to be super committed to investing in products and I think those are two points that for those listening, that are, it sounds like a lot of your audience is thinking about starting businesses and I mean, I think that the core comes back to one of the key things, is okay, is there a problem or you, are you well suited to go solve that problem? But basically, who are you bringing along with you in order to solve it is such an important cadence both in sort of your business partner, but also in your investment team that are you a line. Do you share a vision? And I think we, we can't stress sort of putting work into that aspect and making sure there really is a good fit enough, totally, absolutely agree with you on that one. Are you able to share a little bit about how you were financing the brand in the beginning, as in like, did you put in your own savings or did you raise investment straight out of the gate?

And how has that evolved? Sure. So I think we were very lucky that that first year coming out of business school, we both put in a little bit of our own savings and then we had a wonderful sort of mentor depose Abbas who's been a big champion of ours, who did put in a few $100,000 as well. And that gave us sort of that baseline kind of first year to really be able to, I think take it beyond just like an idea and a couple of slides and analysis of consumer interviews to really being able to go out there and product test and have some samples and you know, a website up and running to begin user testing and the like and that that foundation was hugely important and we were lucky to have the support of this amazing mentor to get us going. That put us in the position then a year later to actually be able to raise from kind of a more more traditional in some ways institutional investor, our main institutional investor is wonderful female entrepreneur in her own right turned ambassador, who we just aligned enormously with her core thesis is around how do you bring science back to the consumer space?

That there's been too much of an over emphasis and the venture world on just brand building and easy fulfillment. And let's bring back the rigor of real product development and products that can truly truly make a difference, which we're very lucky that we were aligned, but we probably needed that, you know that year to actually be able to have product samples and things like that to be able to bring someone like barb into the business. Well, she sounds incredible. Congrats on having her, love that for you. It sounds so interesting. I love, like hearing stories when you're tackling something like just a really big problem, but when I try to grasp it I'm like, yeah, I just don't know how you would do that. It's crazy. I want to switch topics now and talk about the marketing side of things, especially that early kind of beginning of the story where you're going to market, you're starting to get the word out there and finding people to come into your, into your community and into your brand. How did you launch the brand?

Yeah, so our primary focus out of the gate has been selling our products direct to consumer. But really through a deep understanding of who our target consumer trust, which is health practitioners and health practitioners are increasingly many across a range of different disciplines, are turning to social media as a way to expand their own practice reach and to be able to really speak to a wider audience than they would be able to through one on one patient appointments. And really, Covid has accelerated this trend of practitioners coming online. And so there's a natural alignment when building a digital brand that focuses on health practitioners and women in this life stage to partner with those practitioners. To spread the word about needed. So practitioners refer our products, they contribute to our content. They re share our content on instagram, which has been hugely important in building our brand and and in building consumer trust in needed as a as a brand that really is a go to for women's health practitioners that really focus on pregnancy, fertility and postpartum.

And then, you know, we do the other things that the standard direct to consumer company would do through building our own social media presence, some advertising on instagram and facebook and you know, email marketing, all of that good stuff. But I think the key insight is that we have not focused on, you know, your typical influencer as part of you know, spreading the word about needed much more. So we view practitioners as the influencer that really matters to our consumer in this life stage. Right? So true. So true. And to be, you know, to just dig a little deeper to be clear rather, does that mean you spend time just everyday going out contacting the practitioner asking to speak with them or take a meeting and telling them about your products and seeing what they say and then getting them on board that way. Kind of like pounding the pavement, but online, probably. Yeah, I think both online and pounding the pavement. Well, non covid times, there was a lot of pounding the pavement in person as as I think being able to build those in person relationships and having a group of practitioners that newest, really well accelerated others kind of coming to us and being like, oh X person has talked about you guys and therefore I'm more comfortable building sort of a digital relationship with you and sharing what you're all about without having met you in person.

But I think we do spend a good portion of our time, you know, interacting directly with health practitioners, but it's a beautiful loop because every time we got the time to connect with the health practitioner, we get the insight into all of their patients or clients and are able to need, find and understand kind of problems, what's working, what's not to both drive and I think our product development and really sort of the content storytelling so that you can come to need it as a place to get your needs met both through through products and strong educational content as well. And I think that obviously there's a question of how scalable is, you know, some of the two co founders kind of reaching out to practitioners, that is something that I think, you know, at a large scale as we've grown the brand, you know, there will be a limit to how much either of us can do day to day. But I think it's so important when you're starting a company to do a scalable things in the beginning, going that extra mile, having a personal touch, a personal relationship with a with a customer, you know, Ryan and I many days out of the week, we we do customer support ourselves and we're responding to DMS were we really have a pulse on what questions customers have, what questions practitioners have and how do we uniquely meet those needs through better products, better information and the community that we're building online.

So true. I love that with all that in mind. You know, working with the practitioners and being able to see firsthand, we'll hear firsthand what their patients are, questions are and suffering from and these kinds of things. What does the future then look like for you? Does that mean rolling out new products based on what you're hearing and what you're learning? Absolutely. And I think one of the areas that we are really excited about diving into long term, there's a number of different things but a core area is our, our products right now. You can think of them, we we offer five sort of your baseline prenatal nutrition needs. That's a baseline is an ironic term in that they are kind of more supportive than any other prenatal sweet Out there. Like basically we we learned okay, prenatal vitamins aren't cutting it. We needed to rebuild a prenatal vitamin and mineral blood from the ground up. But even that isn't alone, there are other things that can optimally support you in pregnancy and why we now offer um a pre and probiotic or collagen and iron and omega three as well.

But where we really I think are excited about sort of long term driving home is how how do we support women through more therapeutic or problematic points in time? So you are about to start an I. V. F. Process and what do you do between ag retrieval and transfer when your body has gone through a pretty you know shocking moment in time pumped with a bunch of synthetic hormones. How do you come back and normalize it? How do we support you postpartum if you do have some mood imbalances and you need some extra support to really get you back to yourself and we're really excited I think to be able to support women through those those more kind of pain points when there is a problem versus you know ironically just offering a vitamin even if it's a much more supportive vitamin to prevent some of those pain points as time goes on and I think they are they are very underserved areas in the women's health space and nutrition can be enormously sort of therapeutic and supporting them.

Well yeah it really sounds like with going deep into those particular moments in time in women's life it's creating a very meaningful connection for them to be able to have a brand that supports those things. Sounds amazing. I have a question now for both of you, what advice do you have for women who have a big idea and want to start their own business? You know, I was thinking of this in the beginning of our conversation talking about how much work we did to vet the idea. I think that I think that research is really important, consumer understanding is really important. But at the end of the day my biggest piece of advice would just be to get started. I think as women, we can occasionally, you know, talk ourselves out of taking on big challenges or become discouraged because maybe we don't have the subject area expertise in absolutely everything that is required to start a company. And I think that, you know, getting started is is the first step whether you have a ton of experience or no experience at all.

And it's amazing how much you're able to learn and how quickly you can you can adapt to the needs of your business. But you know, there's no replacement for just getting started and putting in the work. It's so true and I think that women in particular really suffer from, you know, being killed by perfectionism and being crippled by perfectionism and it's something I'm like totally guilty of and it's such a hard fear to get past, but it's such an important one to work on. Absolutely, yeah, I think mindset is everything and I think Ryan is such a great partner to me and that from the very beginning, I think Ryan uniquely has this growth mindset that is so oriented around progress over perfection and I think it's both of us have come from careers where perfection is the threshold that you need to meet, but perfectionism can very much be a hindrance to entrepreneurship and to taking big risks into putting your ideas out there into the world and it's a constant struggle, I would say to learn to let go of that because when you do so many other possibilities come into the picture, that's so true, Ryan, what's your advice for women who have a big idea?

I think it's actually pretty similar to what julie said and maybe just elaborating and on a little bit in terms of I very much I am an ideas person that that is that is that gold light that gets me really excited, that big problem, like systematic thinking of, you know to me I have to have that to get out of bed in the morning because that's that guiding light of what I want to go kind of solve and I think we're very lucky that and needed, you can come back to the mission of what we're trying to do and that can easily motivate you, but I think we we can need those like constant reminders and we even have you know, a core value built in as we spend a bunch of time kind of thinking about this, but I think I have to come back to of that like one need at a time and that's okay and just making sure you know, you you are balancing that, that need that problem at hand as you're also kind of using that bigger excitement to guide you and keep you going.

I think the entrepreneurial journey, it's certainly not for the faint of heart. I think there's so many other jobs that are, you know, easier in so many ways. So I would, I don't know, tell women if you have this big idea, you're excited about do everything you can to hold on to it because like having that kind of passion and fire is such a beautiful thing, it is such a beautiful thing and great things come from it. For sure. We are up to the six quick questions part of the episode I ask every woman on the show the same six quick questions. So julie, we'll start with you and we'll run through them, some of them we might have already touched on, but good to get through it again, Question number one is, what's your why? Why do you do what you do optimally nourishing women and empowering them. I think that is just something I am imminently passionate about helping other women to feel good about themselves and to feel like they have, they have informed choices, especially when it comes to motherhood.

Amazing question number two is, what do you think has been the number one marketing moment that's made your business pop. I think when we started offering free prenatal vitamin assessments it was just a way to show rather than just tell that we are different and that we are credible and that we are your partner and your ally in making a really, really important and totally overwhelming decision during the pregnancy experience. That's so clever Question. Number three is where do you hang out to get smarter? What are you reading listening to subscribing to at the moment? A mix? I'd say hanging out with our customers, hanging out with practitioners um hanging out with Ryan and you know the other formulae Tres that are doing research day in and day out. We didn't say this at the beginning but I run our marketing and Ryan runs our product formulation and product roadmap. So hanging out in and around nutrition science and research and consumer understanding is how I get smarter. Amazing Question # four is how do you win the day?

What are you doing to keep productive and happy and feeling successful? Yeah. So I have a seven month old and days can be long even with good child care, which I feel blessed to have. But the thing that I do every morning with my husband is well for my husband rather is I make a smoothie with our prenatal vitamin prenatal vitamins are important for men to so make a smoothie for me and my husband with our prenatal multi in our collagen and then some other good nutrients in it and it's just a way to ensure that I at least get that one thing right, you know lunch and dinner or like anyone's guess with a seven month old but it's really great to start the day off with a really healthy smoothie and and then honestly delicious way to take your prenatal vitamins. Oh totally, I love my daily smoothie on my daily juice question number five, if you only had $1000 left in your business bank account, where would you spend it? Maybe ironic as the one who thinks about marketing, there's like no no end to where you could put your money in terms of marketing but I'd have to say product putting it into launching new products or into product research because I think the quality of our product speaks for themselves and it is, it is because our products are so high quality that health practitioners trust us and in turn that word of mouth is is so powerful totally.

And question # six, last question is how do you deal with failure? What's your mindset and approach with it? I think it's reframed, I try whenever possible to reframe failure as learning and I think that's really helped by having such an awesome co founder and Ryan and friend and and really I think honestly I think becoming a mother has really helped to learn to let go. I mean it's like the ultimate experience in in learning that you're not in control of the outcome that you know, you do your best and at the end of the day, it's learning and then you can do it again the next day. More informed. So true, thank you so much, julie. We are going to switch to you now. Ryan question number one is what's your, why? Why do you do what you do? Yeah, I think in some ways, maybe a little bit philosophically, but it comes back to healthy ecosystems. Um, advocating for sort of broader awareness of the connection between human and environmental health has been a core thing that's driven me my entire life.

And it's a little bit of a loophole again in the heady ideas. But I do believe sort of fundamentally that nourishing mama's nourishing women helps us kind of support nourish communities, nourished kids, which allows for people to create that sort of broader kind of ecosystem, energetically planet wise, etcetera, etcetera. And I think that that interconnection is something that I keep coming back to, even if it's a little bit out there? I I love that. I love the out there. That is so cool, incredible Question. Number two is what do you think has been the number one marketing moment that's made your business pop? Yeah, I agree with Julian that our series of reviewing prenatal vitamins was a really great one of just again, how do you go to need it and trust me did that we're in this to actually provide you with quality information. But I think there's moments of when certain key practitioners really get behind and love and share our products that I'd have to say are some of my like favorite moments when you have someone that like, oh my gosh, I've read your, you know your textbooks I've studied with you and like you're coming behind our products and sharing it and talking about with your community why you're so impressed with how they're designed.

Amazing. Question # three is where do you hang out to get smarter? What are you reading? What are you listening to? Yeah, I'm always trying to learn certainly. And from the experts and I think you know julie and I are both probably lifelong learners. Um right now I'm getting trained to be an herbalist to spending a bunch of time. It's a 10 month apprenticeship program on the side reading a lot and kind of learning from a bunch of like wise women ahead of me that it's probably driven the majority of my free time of learning and reading right now? Cool, that's so amazing. Good for you. That sounds fun. Love that Question #4 is how do you win the day? What are you doing to keep feeling happy and fulfilled. Yeah, I have to be honest, it starts with coffee that a black coffee in the morning. There's like nothing that makes me happier. It's like in this herbal is um program, they're constantly talking about how like taking enough nourishing herbs means that you don't need coffee anymore.

And I'm grateful that through that I may be less reliant on it, but it's still something I look forward to and then paired with I think I love are needed smoothies and that it's a vehicle to just, I think it's julie said start your day with knowing you have so much nutrition packed in. I add spoonfuls of tumeric and other herbs that I wouldn't be able to eat in kind of quantities otherwise without tasty smoothie and to be able to get them all in totally. I'm really into spirulina at the moment. My husband's like dang it. What are you doing? Get it out of you. Of course he has to question # five is if you only had $1,000 left in your business bank account, where would you spend it? Product samples with practitioners that I think I like julie's answer around future product development. But I also thank our existing products are so great. If we were just able to share them more and get more practitioners to love us that be a quick way to be able to have more dollars to go create even more products.

Amazing. And last question is how do you deal with failure? You know, it's funny in that like I definitely have the orientation that everything can always be better and I'm definitely one that can be exhausting to point out problems versus um what went well and I think that's an orientation that is very helpful, but it's sort of I do with failure and then I almost see the failure and everything that I do and then I'm focused on, how do I, Yeah, I think there's a lot of learnings for me around. How do you spend more time celebrating the successes, celebrating successes and being content with what you've been able to do and achieve and that kind of thing. I totally get that. And just being first is constantly on that like road map of what, what could be better. Um, and I think there's, there's a lot of, a lot of learnings from that for sure. Yeah, totally. I really get that one. Ryan julie, thank you so much for taking the time to be on the show today and share your story and what you've been building with, needed for women around the world.

Thank you for taking the time. It was a pleasure. Hey, it's just me here. Thanks for listening to this amazing episode of the female startup club podcast. If you want to hear more head to my instagram at Dune rasheen to see my filmed interviews with incredible female founders like Erica from fluffy beauty Greta from drop bottle and Sammy leo from breeze bomb and if you like what we're doing here, visit our website and sign up to female startup club dot com to get all of the good stuff delivered straight to your inbox. And lastly, subscribe to the Female Startup Club podcast. Mm hmm. Yeah. Yeah.

Starting a vitamin company and leveraging free reviews to drive acquisition, with Needed Co-Founders Ryan Woodbury and Julie Sawaya
Starting a vitamin company and leveraging free reviews to drive acquisition, with Needed Co-Founders Ryan Woodbury and Julie Sawaya
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