Why did you start ProteinPow?
“If what you want doesn’t exist, create it” – that’s what inspired me to start POW. The company started as a recipe website – proteinpow.com, back in 2011 now! It started as a recipe website featuring what are now over one thousand protein powder recipes, of all kinds. My goal with the recipes was to offer people creative, easy and delicious ways to not just drink but cook with their protein powders. Back then, to most people ‘protein powder’ = ‘protein shake.’ Protein powders were niche; they were seen as a ‘bodybuilding’ product; as the basis to a muscle-building shake – and only a shake.I wanted to show people that it didn’t have to be that way. Protein powders are absolutely incredible as an ingredient to make all kinds of nutrition-packed and tasty meals and snacks! From protein cookies to pizzas, cakes, and more. You look around you now, and the world has moved in that direction now, which is great in my view. You now have plant-based foods like Beyond burgers and milk alternatives becoming extremely popular; you see ‘pea protein’ in things like wraps and breads, cereals, donuts, etc. Protein powders are being increasingly used as a mainstream functional ingredient. This the world I wanted to see and didn’t back in 2011. So I created POW.
How did you come up with the name?
Ah, great question! Proteinpow.com was actually originally called couched.blogspot.com. Isn’t that horrible? It turned into proteinpow.com in 2012 though, when I was with some friends talking about needing a different name for the website, one that would also work as a stand-alone brand. I said I wanted something punchy and powerful to convey the excitement of the recipes and that feeling people always have when they try their first homemade protein snack. I said something along the lines of, “I want the name to capture that feeling people get when they bite into these foods, it’s not just a feeling of satisfaction, it’s a feeling of… POW!” And it clicked.
What do you think is the most challenging part of starting a brand and running a company?
I think it’s absolutely essential to have the right team beside you (and behind you) from day one – or as early as possible, because complementary skillsets are a key ingredient to success. It’s not always easy to find the right people though and that can be a challenge. Competing with bigger brands with much deeper pockets than yours can also be a big challenge. Not an unsurmountable though! Not if what you have is different, delivers value, and demand is there for the products and/or services you offer.
Entrepreneurship seems to be on the rise. What would be your advice to someone starting a business?
I would say to stay humble! Keep learning; never assume you know it all. Look out and find your weak spots early (because we all have them) and bring in people who can help you in those areas. Don’t sit still. Keep innovating! Don’t lose sight of what your customers/consumers want from you; always deliver value to them and listen to what they tell you. Engage. Connect with other entrepreneurs too! They will support you when you’re in the valleys and celebrate with you when you’re in the peaks. Don’t get discouraged if things ever get hard – just reach out to others and remember to always look at the bigger picture. Stay centred. Make a list of why you’re doing what you’re doing and read it if/when you ever feel low. Remember that all challenges can be overcome and you have what it takes to overcome them. Eyes ahead, chin up. You’ve got this!