Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
My name is Julien, I’m 29, I’m French (Bonjour ;-)) and I am the founder and CEO of Natura Wellness. I’ve created the brand in 2017 from scratch at 27 years old after selling my first company.
Natura Wellness is a food tech company that created unique and healthy Superdrinks 🌱 for your personal objectives.
We have been live since April 2018, after 9 months of R&D to elaborate the best and natural product on the market. We started with 3 references and have now 12 references available on our website.
We closed our first year with $40 000 in sales and will be closing our second year with almost $500,000 with a 1,200% growth.
We truly believe that this is just the beginning of a nutritive revolution with more qualitative and traceable products and we want to build this future with our customers.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I’ve started some research about the food industry when I did some abroad years and became a student at the University Of California, Santa Barbara. I was playing for the soccer team of the university (Big up to the Gauchos) and I had to control my weight almost everyday.
Learn from what you’ve done wrong and always try to improve yourself.
I learned the ingredients of almost every product on the market and I became obsessed to know exactly what I was giving to my body.
After my short but intense soccer player career done I was in the best situation that an entrepreneur can dream for: I was in need of money. So I moved to Florida where I started to work as a real estate agent. The plan was to put some money on the side and build my own company not long after that.
Luckily (or not, depending on the perspective) the French people were buying massive real estate at this time because of the financial crisis. I worked two years before deciding I had enough savings to start building something from scratch.
I opened a French concept store which was sourcing products from France like wine, champagne, macarons, chocolate.
First entrepreneur experience, first employees, first daily incomes. But kind of the first fail.
Not financially but deeply I knew this was not really me. I wanted something with a real story to tell but also something scalable very fast. With the store, at best I would have ended up with 5 stores after 10 years… Not enough sexy from my perspectives.
I had a proposition to sell the store from a french couple who wanted to live the American dream. I took the decision in less than 24 hours, I sold the store and went back to France.
Back to zero, I was looking for something new to create, something fresh and fun. Something I could talk about 24/24 and 7/7.
At that particular moment, I thought back about my Californian years and start looking at what kind of products were on the french market back then.
Since I did not find any brand proposing what I wanted to see, I decided to create my own one.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
I’ve created Natura Wellness at the end of 2017 with $5,000 after sourcing at least 20 nutritional laboratories. We worked for weeks to get the perfect formula. Testing every time by sampling them to friends or family.
We started with some very basic formulas but always with the perspective of having a natural and tasty final product.
In our formulas, you will find some classic natural ingredients like Curcuma, Ginger, Green Tea leaf, Hibiscus flower, etc and some secret ones that we can not reveal here :)
We started building an Instagram community with a healthy lifestyle theme. At the very early start, we did not use any brand neither told anything about product development. We were posting some inspiring food, sport, lifestyle pictures. Sharing content every week at first and rapidly every day.
Then seeing people's interest we decided to start communicating about our future project. We were asking about feedbacks to help us elaborate on the best formulas based on people's wishes.
After a few weeks, we had a few thousands of engaged followers that were waiting for us to launch our super drinks and were ready to pay for it.
Very important tip: You can not be sure of the success of your product until an unknown client is willing to pay for it. (by unknown I mean not your mom, brother or cousins)
Concerning my knowings of the digital market, I had absolutely none. I knew nothing about the digital world and I had no idea how to run an E-commerce store. I watched tutors and learned from successful entrepreneurs through books and videos almost every day for 6 months. I subscribed to hundreds of newsletters and I remember very well reading the ones from Starter Story and especially the one about BruMate.That story really knocked me out “How come this dude made so much in sales with such a cool but basic product” I even sent a DM to the founder to congratulate him. He never replied, dude if you are reading these lines CHEERS.
Describe the process of launching the business.
The Natura Wellness website was live a few months later, in April 2018. Our website was slow, we had only three references and the pictures on the website where pictures from Pixbay.
But remember: If you are not ashamed of your product when you go on the market, it means that it is already too late.
We did our first sales the very first day after doing some announcements on Instagram since people were waiting for our magic drinks to be launched.
The account was about 5 000 followers back then and we proposed to our first clients to use a promo code to get a 15% discount on the first orders.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
We tried to make our packaging different from what was on the market. The guidelines to our designer were simple: Fresh, natural but more than everything, easily recognizable on pictures for social media use.
We first started by sending samples to bloggers and influencers who would talk about our superdrinks and get the people to know us.
This process takes time. You can be frustrated because in the first days of the company every dollar counts and sending free products feels like selling your work for free somehow.
But bloggers, Instagrammers are now real stars and they know it well. It is part of the deal if you want to work with them. We used to target micro-influencers (which means between 5K and 20K followers) to promote our brand. Now that our brand starts to be well known, we are targeting only big influencers and micro get to us naturally.
Also and this is really important: You have to tell a story about your brand and have a long term vision.
Break the codes to be known and to get exposure!
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Today Natura Wellness has a 1,300% growth with almost 500K sales in its second year of activity. We are 100% self-funded.
It is in our plan to raise funds and open our Capital in the near future.
The funds will be affected to grow our human resources, develop new product references and start thinking about the Offline market. We want to keep growing big, fast and our ambitions are limitless.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
In the digital world, data is key so make it your priority and be obsessed about it.
You will have to understand your clients, get feedback from them and try to improve everyday your customer experience.
I am deeply convinced that your consumer must be your priority. Treat the first one like it was your mom but more importantly treat the 10,000th one exactly the same.
Of course, as entrepreneurs, we all make a lot of mistakes. I made a lot of mistakes. And I still make. It is ok. The most important thing is to learn from what you’ve done wrong and always try to improve yourself. Entrepreneurship is not a sprint but a marathon so get yourself ready, the road to success will be long.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
I think depending on how sure you will make a real business out of your idea, there are nowadays many easy supports like WIX to start at almost no cost.
Note to yourself: Even if your company is growing fast, “feel broke” like the very first days.
It is a terrible mistake to think that money is key. Return on investment is key. So keep an eye on what you are spending your budget and cut off if it does not get any return.
Different tools that we use at Natura Wellness :
- Mailchimp for emailing, automation and retargeting
- Hypeauditor for social media
- Google Analytics for data
- Fiverr and Upwork for Freelancers
- Similarweb for competition
Personally, I do almost everything with Evernote: To-do lists, notes, etc.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
For myself reading was the most inspiring thing and still is.
I started listening to a lot of podcasts as well. There is an excellent one in France called Generation Do It Yourslef by Mathieu Stefani. Go check it out if you are a French speaker, he interviewed the best french entrepreneurs!
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
My best advice for entrepreneurs is the best one that was given to me: Don’t follow advice.
You will be misunderstood, ignored and rejected by average people most of the time. So do your thing and dream big.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We are hiring and we want to build a great and ambitious team so if you are in France send your resume to Contact.
Where can we go to learn more?
Good luck to the future entrepreneurs out there! You will do great, you just don’t know how for now. Be patient, trust yourself and work hard! Cheers
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