Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
I’m Max Way and, alongside my wife Caroline, I am the co-founder of Longevity Box. We are a UK company on a mission to help everyone be younger, for longer. That probably sounds crazy to many folks, but it effectively means that we develop products that help optimize health today and support healthy aging for tomorrow.
We have a range of supplements and health diagnostic tests that are designed to support this mission, with the most well-known being NMN (a product that boosts NAD levels which naturally fall as we age), a super greens powder with no-less than 100 ingredients, and a magnesium complex with 8 types of magnesium.
We have grown fast and are seeing 5%+ month-on-month growth with monthly revenues currently of £75k.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
My wife and I have been focused on our family living healthily for the last 15+ years. We came across the science of longevity almost 10 years ago. Longevity science is NOT ‘anti-aging’ which has connotations of skin creams and face lifts.
It’s all about the science of understanding the biological mechanisms behind aging and finding ways to slow them down, or, in time, even reverse them.
I know… it sounds crazy but do some Googling on terms like “hallmarks of aging, Longevity science, and longevity investment” and you will see that $10’s of billions (with a B) are being invested into the science of aging which will help us all live much longer, healthier lives, with less frailty and disease in the final years of our lives.
As we began to learn more about this space, we were stunned that it is real and there are many things available today that we can all be doing, yet hardly anyone was aware. It also troubled us greatly that the cutting-edge supplements and treatments available were so expensive, making them out of reach for most people.
As we delved deeper into this area, it struck us that there were almost no consumer-facing companies that were exclusively focused on this space and that this could (and should), in time, be one of the biggest industries of recent times.
Years later you will now find many companies focused on addressing this market and the mainstream media (including folk like Oprah) also paying attention.
I come from a marketing and digital retail background and my wife is a solicitor (a lawyer in the UK) we both wanted to refocus our energies on something that we are passionate about and that we could call our own. And so Longevity Box was born!
Take us through the process of building the first version of your product.
Whilst there are many aspects of healthy aging, we decided that the immediate opportunity was in the supplements space. We began our journey by studying, for three years the, potential compounds that have life-extending properties and the mechanisms that drive them. We wanted to be sure that we understood the underlying science and the way these miracle compounds interacted with the human body.
We also needed to be sure that there were safe methods to produce these supplements. To get to the bottom of this we dived deep into the natural and synthetic methods of creating each target compound. Almost two years later, we came up for air with 100% certainty that the longevity solutions we wanted to develop would be beneficial and safe for human consumption.
We cautiously built relationships with a few key suppliers and launched our first range of 4 products in January 2021.
For 20-plus years I’ve been a big believer in taking bold action you have to bet on yourself to learn, grow, and succeed. In fact, studies show that when people are on their deathbeds, one of the most common regrets is what they didn’t do, and rarely what they did do that didn’t work.
Get stuck in, learn along the way, and don’t beat yourself up when things don’t go perfectly.
Describe the process of launching the business.
When it comes to funding Longevity Box, I have always been into nice cars and racing motorbikes. I sold my car and a race bike to raise the initial £20k that we started with. We still had a family car and I’m pleased to say the race bike has been replaced now :)
We started initially by establishing our online presence with a UK-focused website, developed on the Shopify platform. We are still on Shopify and have expanded to other channels and territories over time.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
We have focused on SEO to gain a better presence and work hard to deliver a class-leading customer experience. We invest in most digital marketing platforms as well as Instagram with an ever-increasing focus on social media.
Invest more money and time than you think you should on SEO and less than you think you should on PPC.
As we started to see some success we studied our customer demographic and were surprised to learn that the average age of customers was much lower than we expected. We assumed that, in our early 40s, we would be at the lower end of the market we were looking to serve. But in fact, our customers come from a broad age range, with the largest cohort being 35-50 and with many more 20-year-olds than you would expect.
With this in mind, and in seeing the market beginning to evolve with more brands coming into the space, we decided to lean into a younger market and shape our brand around a more vibrant and energetic brand language.
Our strapline when we launched was ‘let’s grow young’ but is now ‘Life. Upgraded’ and our visual language speaking more to health optimization than age reversal.
We had a subscription model in mind when we launched the business (hence the name) and this continues to be a critical part of our success, with a heavy focus on converting single-purchase customers into subscriptions and subscriber retention.
We are also on the Amazon platform which was a massive learning curve as it has its way of doing things. We’ve seen great success through that channel and put a lot of energy into being at the top of page one for critical product search terms.
My advice here is to appreciate from day 1 that Amazon is an entirely different way of working and selling, and don’t just copy/paste your content from your other channels. There are good guides on YouTube but we saw great value in signing up for an Amazon course that is run by an Amazon seller doing $20+ per year.
It’s a lot of work but worthwhile as we believe we have to meet customers where they are, and like it or not, many people are avid Amazon users. Our advice in this area is to go straight to the ‘fulfilled by Amazon’ model whereby you send your stock to Amazon warehouses and they ship for you.
You get Amazon ‘prime’ status which is a big driver of sales. Other advice would be to create unique creative for Amazon and study closely what the competition is doing.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Nearly two and half years in and we are achieving monthly revenues of £75k per month. With revenue growth comes sales volume which means our buying power increases and this will drive both growth and profits.
We are expanding into the USA and investing more in our social media presence. We also have a focus on PR as we are now seeing mainstream media pick up the longevity agenda and intend to be positioned well for the increasing societal awareness of how people can live (much!) longer and healthier lives.
We launched with supplements and have recently added health diagnostic tests to the range, plus a range of clothing that speaks to the longevity agenda. We have plans to extend the portfolio further, both in terms of broadening the supplement range and expanding into other longevity-related product categories.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
We use Shopify and use more than a dozen apps from the marketplace. We chose Shopify because it meant little reliance on developing the website ourselves, knowing that we could buy into an ecosystem of proven apps that can do anything and everything you can conceive of.
Probably the most important app that we use on the Shopify platform is the subscription app ‘Seal Subscriptions’. It’s not as full-featured as some others but delivers great value and does almost everything we’d want it to do.
We use Klavyio as our email platform which is an important part of our marketing strategy. We have dozens of automated flows and send emails weekly, as well as running site-wide promotions once a quarter.
We have a fulfillment partner that manages all non-Amazon customers' orders. It was important to us to work with a partner that had great integration with Shopify and an excellent back-end to manage processes.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
When it comes to business books I’ve read dozens over the years and couldn’t call out anyone that stands above the rest. Seth Godin’s work is great and very accessible.
On the business podcast front, I have listened to Tim Ferris's podcast for years and really like Finding Mastery which has many business leaders on it as well as many other leaders in their fields (including longevity!)
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
I will say to anyone who will listen that life is not a dry rehearsal and that they should leave with no regrets. Get stuck in, learn along the way, and don’t beat yourself up when things don’t go perfectly.
Start by leveraging freelancer marketplaces like Upwork for all the things that you can’t do yourself, but try to learn how every aspect of your business works, even if you outsource it from day one.
For most people entering most markets, invest more money and time than you think you should on SEO and less than you think you should on PPC. Build an email list quickly and develop and brand tone that is instantly recognizable as “you”.
Where can we go to learn more?
- Instagram: LongevityBoxuk
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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