Life Equals started in our program with the idea that a better ‘you’ could create a better world, and their growth since proves that they're on to something special. Founders Kyle Fitzgerald and Chris Thowe embraced a "one-to-one" business model, in which each purchase of a vitamin product corresponds with an equal amount of multivitamins given to malnourished children worldwide. Now a year out of the SparkLabKC accelerator as members of our Class of 2014, their health, vitamin, and lifestyle company is thriving!
I recently had a chance to catch up with Kyle and Chris to discuss their progress since Demo Day 2014 and hear their insight on growing a startup company.
Creating a Comprehensive Product Line
Although they started with a single product (Focus & Energy), Life Equals has expanded to offer multiple health supplements and vitamin products. Most recently, Life Equals has developed a new line of vitamins slated to roll out in September. They are specifically designed to make up for nutritional deficiencies commonly caused by the standard western diet. After a large amount of research and consulting with medical advisors, the duo have formulated a product that provides the greatest possible benefit to its users.
Implementing a New Sales Strategy
Life Equals has found a great customer base in the active lifestyle and yoga communities. One of the keys to their success in that demographic was the implementation of a brand ambassador program, which has become their main marketing and sales plan. Life Equals is partnering with holistic health coaches to get their product more exposure and help people across the globe make improvements to their nutrition. If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a brand ambassador, check out their Affiliates page!
“What’s really great is that these coaches have fully embraced technology,” says Thowe. “It’s interesting, because you find that people tend to be more forthcoming and honest about poor nutritional habits through things like email or Skype. It’s a good way to make sure people are getting what they need.”
Embracing the "Fail Fast" Philosophy
I asked the Life Equals team about some of the lessons they had learned from their first year out of the SparkLabKC program.
“Embrace a fail fast philosophy,” Fitzgerald told me. “Work concurrently, do as many of the things you can at once so you can figure out what works and what doesn’t as quickly as possible.”
Through the fail fast philosophy, they've learned to stop stressing about all the minutiae of a "finished product" and push towards a "MVP" (Minimum Viable Product) approach that allows them to put their ideas out there for customers to interact with at an early stage. If something isn't a hit, it gets withdrawn. When something resonates with their customer base, they develop it further. In this way, failing fast focuses their time and effort on the products and strategies that demonstrate sticking power.
Life in the Future
Looking forward, Life Equals is moving toward a technology relaunch later this year in order to give customers and ambassadors a better online experience. This relaunch also includes a "look and feel" update that will bring their site design and logo further into alignment with their updated branding.
We’re excited to see how Life Equals continues to grow and are proud to count them among our SparkLabKC graduates!