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Inspiring Conversations with Thom Cooper of People the Nutrition Company

Today we’d like to introduce you to Thom Cooper.

Hi Thom, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
My career in the health and wellness industry started in 2004 and my journey into this space happened somewhat more by chance rather than being something that I had sought out. I was in my mid-twenties, playing in a local Orange Country rock band and didn’t really care what job I had so long as I was able to pay rent and eat whatever terrible food I could afford. I had been looking for a new job and sending out lots of resumes and had sent one to a company that sold nutrition products without really even realizing I had done so. Fast forward a few interviews and I was in. I was such a scruff ball back then and had absolutely zero corporate experience and no college degree, it’s amazing that I got the job. To this day, I’m still so grateful to that hiring manager that gave me a chance. My start at that company changed the entire trajectory of my life.

I got my start working in a position that supported the Nutrition Product Manager in the R&D department. Primarily doing research to help answer technical questions that came in from customers. Day-to-day, I was creating FAQ’s, product information sheets and answering emails. This ultimately grew into an R&D Coordinator role and then a Project Manager role. All this time, I was learning about all things related to dietary supplements. Ingredients, formulation, regulatory requirements, stability, competitors, marketing and more. When I became a Brand Manager, this was where I applied all my previous experience in ingredients and development and dove into product marketing and brand. Not only did I have the technical experience, but by this time I had learned about marketing nutrition products, balancing regulatory requirements while delivering the experience and benefit that customers wanted. I led the launch of new brands in Sports Nutrition, Weight Management and lots of other individuals products and learned with each and every successful launch.

In all, I stayed at that company for 12 years, about six years as a Brand Manager. Although I moved on to new organizations, I stayed in the supplement industry and leveraged my experience to continue to take roles in Product and have continued to lead the development and launch of new products for several companies. Starting in 2019 or so, I started to feel that there was something missing in the branding that I was seeing in the industry and with many connections in the industry and the experience of developing and then launching new products, I started to think deeply about launching my own product brand.

By 2020, I was ready to start the journey of creating my own brand. I’d always loved the fact that nutrition supplements were products that supported improved health and wellbeing. These were products that could help people feel better, to help improve confidence, to have more energy and to have the peace of mind that they were supporting improved wellness and longevity. I did however feel that the spotlight that many brands focused on were the elite fitness types. Lots of perfect looking people leading seemingly perfect lives curated just for social media. Where were the real people?

I decided I would leverage the relationship that I had maintained with an old employer that had manufacturing capabilities to launch my own products. I would focus on offering premium, on trend nutrition products featuring a causal and fun perspective and we would seek to connect and highlight the health stories of everyday people. After a year of developing the brand name, products, creating labels and setting up business infrastructure People the Nutrition Company launched as an e-commerce business in the Fall of 2021. Currently offering a modest portfolio of 5 products, People the Nutrition Co. is looking at introducing new products in 2022 and continue trying to get the word out.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Starting the business was a lot of fun. Developing the products, brand, writing the copy, setting up the business and even building the website was a lot of work but also felt so exciting. People the Nutrition Co. launched officially in September of 2021 and we were off to the races! Or were we? Six months in, we’re definitely contending with the fact that the supplement industry is very competitive and it can be challenging to convince consumers to try something new.

At the time of this article, People the Nutrition Co. is not funded by any capital investment and is currently supported wholly by savings. So we don’t have big dollars to dump into large social campaigns or any costly marketing initiatives for that matter. Brand awareness is nearly 100% driven by organic social and word of mouth. This means that getting the word out on People has been slow, but we’re continuing to do what we can to bring awareness to the brand and we’re hoping for great things in the near future! Additionally, we’re looking for people with a passion for supporting wellness that have experience in digital marketing, e-commerce and social that want to help build a new company and reap the rewards of coming in at the ground level.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
People the Nutrition Company specializes in premium dietary supplements formulated to support everyday health and wellness. All People products contain no GMO ingredients, are gluten-free, free of any artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners and all products are produced in the U.S.A. in a cGMP facility. Our Proteins powders are cold-processed and micro-filtered, Omega-3 features fish oil that comes from a sustainably harvested source and our mushroom immune product contains USDA Organic mushroom mycelia.

We’re proud of the high quality of our formulas and we’re excited to share the stories of everyday people that have found a path to health and wellness. We’re proud to be a brand that wants to have fun with nutrition, be a little silly and break the mold to change the face of what so many see coming from larger nutrition brands today. We’re currently e-commerce only (delivering to the whole U.S.) but seeking opportunities where ever we can find them!

What matters most to you?
What matters most is supporting the improved wellness and happiness of people. There are so many things dragging us all down today. Whether it’s overstimulating our brains with social media, work, the general stress of living, or not having energy or confidence in our day to day lives, there’s one thing that’s for sure – we are all in need of nurturing ourselves a bit more. We love that we can provide products and healthy insights that may help steer people in a better direction and to help support improved longevity, energy, confidence and more relaxed mind.

A close second is sharing the stories of everyday people. There’s so much inspiration in the story of someone who had to work hard to change their habits and make a better life for themselves. “Changing eating habits” is a really easy phrase to type on this keyboard, but it’s immeasurably harder for some people to actually do. Learning what others have done, what worked and how it impacted their life is a great way to support other people that are struggling to change. So we’re excited to continue to build a community of people that want to share their journey and help others on theirs!

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