My name is Glennis Winnett and together with my business partner Scott Slaman we started Formulite, a Melbourne based wellness business that creates healthy meal replacements. Our products include shakes and soups designed specifically for patients undergoing Bariatric Surgery. This was a significant career change for me having worked as a MRI tech and radiographer, although not completely foreign as I have supported my husband in his business as an Abdominal Laparoscopic surgeon for many years.
Having witnessed first-hand the low quality of meal replacements available for his patients, I realised there was a huge gap in the market for products that did not incorporate artificial sweeteners, fillers, added sugars and other poor quality filler ingredients. I undertook the task to research all the suppliers in this space, and subsequently teamed up with Scott who is an expert in sports nutrition to formulate our own ‘healthier’ shakes. Our products only use pure whey isolates and concentrates, natural Stevia to add sweetness and incorporate ‘good fats’ found in LSA and sunflower oil. Our meal replacement shakes also contain micellar casein, added fibre in the form of Fibresol and LSA to ensure that our customers feel full and remain regular post operation.
Our initial business aim was to support people who’ve made a conscious decision to pursue a healthier lifestyle, however today we look after customers with a variety of different needs, including those looking to lose weight, office workers who haven’t the time to get away from their desk to eat a fully balanced meal, and fitness focused clients looking for a high protein post workout supplement. The ‘clean’ ingredients within our products make us attractive to allied medical practitioners, including dieticians and nutritionists whom recommend us to their patients.
One of our greatest challenges when we began was sourcing a high quality manufacturer to produce small runs of shakes, which we overcame by capitalising on Scott’s reputation within the sports supplement industry.
Our advice for those of you embarking on a start-up business is to know that in the beginning you will be required to wear many hats at once! These include managing the marketing, distribution, social media, customer relations, accounts, product/packaging development, website creation and IP requirements, just to name but a few. A good tip is to surround yourself with qualified people who you can turn to for advice.
It’s really important to remember that progress can be slow and in the early stages, you may need to keep most jobs in-house. For the last two years l have processed and sent out all orders from my home, having only recently enlisted the services of a third party logistic company.
For those entering the industry it’s important to learn from every setback and never compromise on your product. Make the time to look back at where you started and take stock of what you have achieved to date, and always celebrate the small wins along the way. Very quickly you’ll look back and be amazed at how far you’ve come!