Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
My name is Margaret Morse and I studied Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at Yale University. I teamed up with Liam Mcclintock, a D1 athlete with experience and expertise in nutritional supplements, to develop Tomo (previously known as Mentis), a post-alcohol recovery supplement.
Tomo is engineered to restore balance and function to your body after drinking with ingredients that help attack the underlying causes of discomfort. It comes in a powder format that can easily be taken anywhere with you right before you begin drinking.
Our customers span all ages but primarily consist of those between the ages of 25 and 45. With limited marketing, we sold over $45,000 of our product in its first week on the market.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
Through founding a couple of extracurricular clubs in college, I discovered that I love to build things. When I found a pain point for many people around me, I was excited to find a solution. I realized that I could create something to help people be happier, healthier, and more productive.
While Liam and I were seniors in college, we noticed that many students around us accepted that they would have an unproductive morning after a night out. We wondered why there was no solution. Passionate about both health and science, we were determined to eliminate the crippling feeling after drinking.
With the help of Yale professors and accomplished advisors with extensive knowledge in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and dietary supplement industries, we spent months in Yale’s lab and found our solution in 2017.
We have listened to feedback from our community of loyal customers over the last 5 years and are excited to introduce Tomo, our new and improved product with better taste, branding, and efficacy.
One of the biggest lessons I have learned was to not be afraid to go out there and start trying things out. Find something that you are passionate about and prove out the demand through experiments.”
Take us through the process of designing and testing the product
A lot of research went into creating our proprietary supplement. After examining precedent studies on discomfort after drinking, we conducted our own to determine the most effective grouping of nutrients for combating the identified causes of that nasty feeling.
Many of the body’s basic and natural processes are overwhelmed by alcohol, making them unable to carry on their usual functions and depleting key nutrients. We designed a supplement that attacks the three underlying causes of a hangover: oxidative stress, antioxidant depletion, and immunologic disturbances.
Dr. Joris Vester, an associate professor at the Division of Pharmacology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, advised us during our product formulation with his extensive knowledge and research.
Describe the process of launching the business.
We launched in 2017 through an Indiegogo campaign that generated $45,000 in its first week. The word quickly spread from us to our close circles and then beyond and we received extensive press coverage and fanfare, including features in Time Magazine, Men’s Health,Vice, Forbes, Cosmopolitan, and many more.
Highlighting our strong efficacy and proprietary technology, within our first week we amassed hundreds of backers showcasing to us that there is a need for a supplement that targets hangover prevention in a way that is simple and effective.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Focusing on online and word-of-mouth channels through a plethora of techniques has helped us. Targeting specific reporters with custom email marketing to feature us has proven beneficial in getting a large stream of visitors to our site. In addition, we revamped our website with a fresh, easy-to-navigate, and friendly design. Just as it is important to attract customers to the website, it is important to turn visitors into customers.
In addition, we have boosted our online presence by SEO efforts such as focusing on creating backlinks to our website. This included featuring our start-up on high-traffic boards and submitting applications to be showcased on popular websites.
Finally, spreading Tomo by word of mouth has been extremely effective. With the help of our family, friends, and company ambassadors, word-of-mouth increased our organic growth in a way that was cost-effective and efficient.
It is important to focus on personalization and targeting promoters in a way that provides a tailored experience where they feel as if they are a part of Tomo’s growth. Retaining our customers is the other side of the coin and we have done so with continuous iterations of our product by listening to 4 years of customer reviews and making improvements. All-in-all it is with commitment, focus, and pure intent that we were able to reach so many people both online and in-person.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
We just completed our Indiegogo pre-order campaign and are gearing up for our official launch in Q1.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
There is no right answer. You always have to conduct small but controlled experiments to understand what your customers really want.
It’s so important to conduct a ton of customer interviews early on. We have talked to over 250 people from all walks of life to understand our target audience.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
We are on Shopify.
We stick to simple, yet effective, tools to minimize our costs and optimize our output. Utilizing resources such as Google Drive, Microsoft Office, Slack, and Zoomare staples of our products that we use daily.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I love How I Built This podcast episodes. They are extremely inspiring.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
One of the biggest lessons I have learned was to not be afraid to go out there and start trying things out. Find something that you are passionate about and prove the demand through experiments.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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