In 2011, John Horwell quit his business management course at City College in Norwich, England and decided to create Hench Nutrition, an online supplement shop. His one-man operation was set up in a spare bedroom in his parents’ house with a single credit card. Now, at 26-years old, Horwells’ online business has a client base of over 30,000 customers and sells more than 500 products.
Horwell says, “It’s come a long way from where the industry began with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Muscle Beach – the sports nutrition industry is not like that any more. Now, it’s everyday people who are trying to stay healthy and seeing the benefits of having protein-enriched products to support their active lifestyle.”
He is now crowdfunding to raise $395,352 (£300,000). With the help of Crowdcube, an equity crowdfunding site, he is planning to acquire the money his company needs, and Crowdcube will, in return, secure 6.25% equity. Horwell plans to use the funds to create new product ranges, stay ahead of the competition, as well as help popularize protein-enriched products. He is determined for his business to flourish especially since the sports nutrition market in the United Kingdom – a market currently worth around $395,352,000 (£300 million) per year – is predicted to grow and expand even further.
According to Horwell, the funds would allow him to hire someone to help lead the sales, and another to head Hench’s social media and branding, which would help elevate the firm’s market share. Currently, they are operating their business 95% online. However, the company is eager to set up deals with high-street retailers and gyms to make Hench Nutrition better known.
“We want to build the brand to stand out and be different. There’s lots of competitors out there and they all merge into one, so it’s about developing a unique brand,” Horwell states. Horwell referred to the company’s wide array of products, such as Hench’s protein mug cakes and protein pancakes, as evidence of the innovation they are developing to gain new clients.
Most of Hench’s customers are between 18 and 35 years old, whom the founder hopes will invest. Horwell said, “It seems a nice way to get people involved and passionate about the brand. Once they find out about the products they just want to be involved, so owning shares is just the next step.” He added that the firm has already achieved high net profit margins and was, in fact, paying dividends.
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