For a little context, we felt there has been plenty of thoughtful content created around how start-ups can navigate the current COVID-19 pandemic, mainly focusing on how to survive. We have shared many of these posts on LinkedIn and will continue to do so. My background is at the very end of the post.
What we wanted to contribute to the discussion was the perspective of a company that decided to keep their foot on the gas, describe why we moved forward and how we are facing all of the uncertainty that lies ahead.
We invested the last 18+ months in building Amari, a new active lifestyle brand dedicated to providing active lifestyle consumers with convenient, effective products that help them to play longer and recover faster. We started by conducting consumer research, undergoing product development, creating packaging, raising capital and jumping through all of the hoops along the way. We overcame our fair share of challenges and managed to have all of pieces fall into place to release our 1st product in April.
Then March 2020 hit the world like a freight train.
Myself, the team and most of you were left wondering how did we not see Black Swan that is/was COVID-19, as it slowly shut down the world. Many of us learned new phrases like social distancing and shelter in place. We started consuming all of the information we could to theorize how COVID-19 would play out and the impact it would have on the world, society, the human race, trickling down to an early stage company like Amari. We looked to people smarter than us like Ray Dalio, to explain the macro financial environment and to others who could remind of what is truly important. Additional experts like Naturally Boulder and Nutrition Business Journal provided their perspective on what the future holds.
After listening, absorbing and digesting the information, we came to the following perspectives about the natural product and supplement industries and the impacts of COVID-19. Yours may be different than ours.
•We are in uncharted waters. Old playbooks are going out the window and the massive uncertainty has leveled the playing field
•We will still launch first week of April, but remain flexible given rapid changes in the world
•There will be a massive upsurge (already happening) in supplement sales and consumer interest in health and wellness will increase post pandemic. Amari needs to be around for that.
•Opportunistically pursue retail locations that can remain open. I had a store (outside of our target) tell us they were interested in bringing Amari on last week. They might be closed this week with governor’s orders.
•Financing is going to get challenging. We needed to manage the company accordingly and explore all debt financing options available
As strange as it sounds, we came to the conclusion that this is a good time to launch our first formula. We’ll go into more detail on the why in our next post.
Prior to Amari, I spent 10+ years working with early stage CPG companies and commercializing technology from a University setting. We leveraged a community-based model that put the best domain experts in the room with our client companies. I was fortunate enough to learn from those experiences and now apply those lessons as an operator.