Cameron Fischer and Alfred Schofield, Co-founders of VitalFit Nutrition, wanted a different approach to the already crowded marketplace of health & wellness. The two young entrepreneurs who met in business school, came up with a way to interrupt the supplement industry and began their mission with a plant-based business that operates through design and influencer business models that are unique to the industry. Fischer and Schofield began working with an extensive amount of people on the research and end-user levels to identify problems. By staying flexible in their supply chain, they were able to come up with an idea, get everything they need, test it with people in their market and then innovate and iterate just as quickly. Fischer and Schofield spend several days out in the field a week and conduct demos where anyone can sample the product and give them the opportunity to directly engage with their audience.
While in grad school, how did you know that you wanted to be in the supplement business? CF: VitalFit actually started out as a grad school thesis project. Everyone in our program was asked to pitch a business concept to solve a real-life problem. At the end, a few ideas were selected to work on and refine. I pitched developing a network of mobile pop-up shops on college campuses where students could work with someone to create their own safe supplement routines based on their goals. Like I said, a lot of C ideas. The business would be impossible to scale, but the notion that misinformation is so rampant in the supplement industry resonated with enough people to be selected. Even though Alfred and I were in different groups, we’d stay up late at night developing and refining the idea for VitalFit together and noticed a few things. One, a gap in the market between lifestyle and performance products. We saw there were a lot of companies releasing your basic greens powders and multivitamins and plenty of others creating products for athletic performance, but few were creating products for the person in the middle—the fitness forward, health conscious person like us who maintain and active lifestyle without training for a particular sport. Two, the fitness landscape is quickly evolving: new workouts, new goals and new environments, but the vitamin and supplement industry, especially the plant-based side of it, is not. We wanted to utilize a different design approach to create a modern product line, tailored for the modern workout.
You’re in one competitive space. How do you define yourselves to remain out of the clutter? AS: Yes, it seems like there’s a million different companies out there and in fairness, there are a lot of companies that make great products! That being said, there are a few things that we do that make us different than other companies out there. It all starts with our process. At Babson, we learned the “design thinking approach” where you start with the problem and then work with a community to create a solution – and that is exactly what we do. We work with the fitness community to find out what the biggest needs are and then we work with our team of doctors and nutritionists to identify ingredients that might help solve this problem. We then test extensively as we work to find the perfect solution! Beyond that, we also source all of our ingredients independently – something that is really unique in the space and results in products of the highest quality – even if it complicates our supply chain a bit! Finally, we have a keen focus on recovery. This is an area that hasn’t been a focus in the past but as we keep our ears to the ground, it’s the area that most people struggle with. CF: A big differentiator for us is our relation-based approach to product development. At Babson, we learned a lot about the design-thinking process, something we’ve made a core competency of our company. We design all of our products with our end users, incorporating their needs and feedback throughout the process. We invite fitness professionals, wellness experts and health-conscious people like us to pinpoint real needs and create products that solve them. From ingredients to functions, testing to design, we rely on collaboration as a means for building trust with our customers and better, purpose-driven products. We read that you both were awarded with the Entrepreneurs of the Year Award. WOW! WOW! WOW! What do you attribute this huge acknowledgement with? AS: Yes – that was quite an honor that we were extremely grateful to receive! I think that one of the reasons why we received this award was because we are genuine in our mission and stand behind what we’re doing. There’s so much distrust in this industry and so many companies out there to make a quick buck, so I think the fact that we are passionate and really involved at the ground level and within the community is what resonates most with people.
We know you have a large online presence. Can you list where your products are currently being sold? AS: Absolutely! We started our brand in Boston and you can find our products all over the city whether in fitness studios, health stores or gyms! We actually launched our brand at Cambridge Naturals, which is one of the best natural products stores in the region and an absolute institution! We are also partnered with various stores throughout the country with one of the most notable partners being Erewhon Market in California – their stores are absolutely breathtaking! Another one of our favorite partners is The Feed, a brand based out of Boulder – and the largest e-commerce sports nutrition site. They have a strong vetting process and only sell the best products in the industry – we are so proud to work with them and actually just finished our biggest promotion to date during the Tour De France! We also sell our products on our e-commerce platform and will be available on Amazon shortly as well!
What is in the future for VitalFit? Any additional supplements? Partnerships? AS: There is so much in the pipeline it’s hard to even know where to start! We are actually in the process of releasing a new product and have a few more in the pipeline. We’re also constantly looking for innovative, natural ingredients and will hopefully continue to release new products as our discovery and learning continues! We just completed our first year of sales and while the growth has been exciting, we’re focused on bringing VitalFit to the next level and expanding to an ever-wider audience. So, we are launching with a few amazing partners (keep an eye out!) and continuing to bring our products to alternative channels where you may not have seen supplements in the past.