Episode 106 | How Vital Proteins Built a Billion Dollar Brand in Less Than 5 Years,

with Vital Proteins Founder & CEO Kurt Seidensticker

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Kurt Seidensticker thought he was building a paleo running company. Turns out he was building a billion dollar beauty brand.

Kurt is the CEO and founder of Vital Proteins, an all-natural collagen brand and category leader. Vital Proteins make collagen-infused water, lattes, and powders, and their collagen comes from natural sources like pasture-raised cows in Brazil and wild-caught fish in Hawaii.

And while he originally thought Vital Proteins would appeal to long distance runners like himself, it really caught fire with a different demographic, one who loves Vital Proteins for its anti-aging effects.

The rapid ascent of Vital Proteins is undeniable. The brand has been featured in top-tier outlets like Vogue, Men’s Health, Well + Good, and People, and has celebrity fans like Jennifer Aniston and Kourtney Kardashian. In fact, Vital Proteins was the first product launched by POOSH, Kourtney’s new wellness and lifestyle site.

We talked to Kurt about his unconventional path to entrepreneurship (he spent his early career teaching astronauts to fly the space shuttle), his successful influencer marketing strategies, and why #wesprint is his team’s internal motto.

Takeaways
  • Your customer chooses you. Kurt’s actual customers turned out to be very different from who he thought they would be. Understanding and accepting this has been a catalyst for success.
  • The case for vertical integration. Kurt lays out why relying on distributors and co-manufacturers can hurt your brand in the long term, and advocates building capabilities in order to add to your gross margin.
  • The importance of creating a framework for speed and agility. Vital Proteins’ internal motto is #Wesprint, and Kurt even has a skunkworks program that enables the company to move even quicker and take advantage of market opportunities. He tells us why that’s so important.

Links

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