According to Stephen Zieminski, Founder and CEO of internationally-renowned protein and supplements company Naked Nutrition, running a business is quite similar to cross country and track. He says, “In running, I believed from early on that you get out what you put in. Success doesn’t come overnight but if you keep at something long enough, those efforts will often, pay dividends.”
“I approach business in the same way,” Stephen adds. “It’s not one day or one decision that makes or breaks you, it’s the constant effort you put in day in and day out that determines whether you will be successful or not.”
Naked Nutrition is founded on the principles of less is more, offering nutrition products that strip away marketing and gimmicks and focus on the good stuff. It started with a core range of five single-ingredients protein powders in 2014 and now has a thirty-product strong offer which will soon include a multivitamins line.
Stephen’s mission is to “be a nutrition company with nothing to hide,” and Naked Nutrition does exactly that; foregoing artificial additives to focus on the high-quality ingredients that your body really needs.
We sit down with Stephen and talk about the early days of Naked Nutrition, how his own background as an athlete has informed his approach, and why consistency and focus are the key ingredients to success as an entrepreneur.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background. What inspired you to start Naked Nutrition?
I have been into physical fitness all my life. At the University of Florida, I was on the cross country and track teams and while there, was a two-time All American. My experience as an athlete created an awareness of how everything we consume affects athletic performance and overall health. The idea for Naked Nutrition was born in 2014. Looking for protein powder for myself, I found that most products were filled with long lists of artificial ingredients that I knew offered little to no nutritional value. I envisioned a line of products that would be simple, transparent, healthy, and effective. We launched with five single-ingredient protein powders and have grown to offer over 30 products.
We love your ‘Nutrition with Nothing to Hide’ mantra. Can you elaborate on some concrete ways that Naked Nutrition is promoting transparency across its supply chain and product offer?
Our goal has always been to be a nutrition company with nothing to hide. As our name implies, Naked Nutrition strips away the marketing and gimmicks many companies use today. We are constantly looking at products and highlighting the proteins and supplements that can be improved through better ingredients, fewer ingredients — or both. We meet with farmers and suppliers in person as much as possible to source ingredients that meet our strict standards.
In what ways has your own past as a cross country and track athlete influenced your approach to Naked Nutrition? What were some of your biggest learnings?
In running, I believed from early on that you get out what you put in. Success doesn’t come overnight but if you keep at something long enough, those efforts will often, pay dividends. Matter of fact, when I first started running Naked Nutrition, it took over two years for my efforts to start surfacing in the form of results.
I approach business in the same way. It’s not one day or one decision that makes or breaks you, it’s the constant effort you put in day in and day out that determines whether you will be successful or not. Since I’ve never been one to shy away from work, running and business are very appealing to me.
What are the biggest challenges to offering protein & supplement products with just 3 ingredients or less?
The challenge I most often face is finding the right people and companies to work with. The protein and supplement industry can be a scary place. So, finding people who care about the quality and integrity of their processes and the end product hasn’t been the easiest. When your products contain so few ingredients, you must ensure consistency and minimise variation as much as possible. The way we do this is through testing and various other checks and balances throughout the manufacturing process.
In your opinion, what sets Naked Nutrition from other brands in the protein and supplements market today?
Transparency, premium ingredients, and as few ingredients as possible.
What’s next for you? Any exciting projects in the pipeline?
Naked Nutrition’s goal is to offer solutions for everyone, at every time of the day. We are launching several new protein and supplement products in the coming months including a multi-vitamin and even more plant-based products.
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to start their own business?
Focus on what motivates you. My motivation is growth so I focus my attention wherever will support that most. Often that means being a problem solver. Even the most competent and skilled teams will encounter challenges. Success is determined by how you tackle them.