Today, we talk to Karen Brown, a former athlete and pharmacist who co-founded Batch Tested, a one-stop shop for batch tested and certified supplements and sports foods. Batch Tested aims to provide simplified and safe access to a comprehensive range of batch tested protein, supplements and electrolytes for the benefit of athletes, dietitians, physicians, sports scientists, as well as national and state organisations.
ISB: What motivated you to conceive Batch Tested?
KB: The concept came from a friend who is a Sports Dietitian and was struggling to access the “tested” versions of supplements and nutritional products that they were recommending for their athletes. She thought the fact that I was a pharmacist and already had connections with the suppliers of these products that I might be able to make the whole process simpler for both the dietitians and the athletes.
ISB: How has your background as a former athlete helped in getting the venture off the ground?
KB: The fact that I was a pharmacist and a former athlete meant we started with a solid credibility foundation. I understood the drug testing process, I understood the paranoia around inadvertently testing positive, I understood the high-performance mindset, and I understood that athletes and dietitians have far better things to do with their time than source products.
ISB: How do you ensure the quality of the products and that they are safe and certified?
KB: Supplement and nutritional companies engage third-party testing facilities, such as HASTA and Informed Sport, to show their products do not contain substances that are listed on the WADA banned list. Batch Tested guarantees that we only range products that have received either a HASTA batch tested certificate, HASTA Certification stamp or Informed Sport stamp. We ensure the HASTA certificate is sent with all orders where applicable.
ISB: What has been the reception thus far from customers, especially from athletes and sports professionals?
KB: The overarching theme from individual athletes has been that Batch Tested gives them peace of mind, they no longer have to stress, nor waste time, sourcing the tested product. Also, that we form part of their support crew to ensure they can perform to their peak. For the dietitians and team personnel from nearly 100 professional sporting clubs/organisations in Australia that we supply, it is simple and time-saving. Before Batch Tested, they were placing, tracking, and paying for numerous orders. Now, they can place one order through our platform, know they are receiving the tested batch and we invoice the club directly. For both athletes and dietitians, Batch Tested enables them to focus their time and energy on what they do best and leave the sourcing products to us.
ISB: How do you envisage Batch Tested developing in the next couple of years?
KB: So much of what we do is education. Educating athletes, health professionals, and well-meaning loved ones about the difference between general and tested versions of sports and nutritional supplements. A recent study showed that one in five supplements you will find at the supermarket or pharmacy could result in a positive drug test for an athlete due to contamination. Our mission is to ensure no Australian athlete returns a positive drug test due to a contaminated supplement or nutritional product. Non-tested fish oil is simply not worth the risk.
ISB: And, finally, what is the most important lesson you’ve learned in this business journey that other budding entrepreneurs can learn from?
KB: As a former athlete and business owner, goal setting has been a big part of my life. Whilst beneficial, it is important that it does not create tunnel vision. Make sure your peripheral vision is always switched on as you never know when an opportunity will present. My favourite quote is “Build the plane whilst you are flying it”. When that door does open, remember you may need to give it a little push, put your shoulders back, walk through it and hang on for the ride!