This week we talk to Shaun Sargent, founder of Be Spunki, a men’s supplements start-up that is achieving a 130 per cent increase in month-on-month sales in a highly competitive market.
ISB: What was the issue you identified that wasn’t being addressed that led you to giving up a full-time job and starting your own business?
SS: I had spent over $100,000 in my lifetime looking for things that improved me physically, mentally and spiritually, from the age of 13 competing in British National Schoolboy Moto -x, through a career as a partner at a major UK accounting firm to rapidly approaching 50 years of age and adapting to life on the other side of the world.
So, my wife, Samantha, and I set out to create new supplements from scratch – with the very best Australian research into male andropause, using the exact ingredients in the exact doses as set out by Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration approved clinical trials – that would rejuvenate me and reset my body back to how it was in my 20s.
ISB: Tell us a little about the science behind the way Be Spunki helps achieve this aim.
SS: We wanted to create supplements both organic and Australian made, given that Aussie-made stands for world-class quality, especially in Asia – a region we aim to expand into. We are fortunate to work with a world-leading science team who specialise in male aging, who conduct cutting-edge research into the issues that men face as they age. It’s not just about putting more fuel into the tank, its more about preparing and repairing the engine to be able to use that fuel. Be Spunki REBOOT supports the body to deal with the effects of daily stress (Adrenal burnout), stimulates the metabolism, and helps it reduce insulin resistance, so that when the body produces more of its free testosterone naturally, it is utilised as efficiently and effectively as possible.
The ingredients are key – the “bio-signature” of herbs is not always the same. One of our hero ingredients, fenugreek, for example, is touted in many male health products, however, not all fenugreek is created equal. We get it from a specific source and test that it has the effects we seek.
ISB: You have created certifiable products and negotiated significant red tape to get them to market – how did you go about doing that?
SS: It’s really important that customers, both existing and potential, have supportive evidence to be able to make an informed decision about our product, so being certified by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration, is key for us. To have the support of one of the leading science teams to help us through this was vital, and to know they are on our doorstep, even better.
ISB: Why did you decide to create Be Spunki as an online business?
SS: As we are a new business, and still fledgling, we cannot operate the same way as the big, long-established businesses in our industry. We need to “Guerrilla market” and look at how our target audience make purchasing decisions and actions. Most of them are time-poor and want the convenience of “one click” service. With this in mind, our website is designed to facilitate easy, secure professional purchasing, and then provide as much or as little information, as the person desires.
We provide a lot of free information too, because our target is to create a community where men can go, and find out accurate unbiased information that works, that allows them to be the best they can be. As the late, great Kerry Packer (one of our inspirations, alongside my father-in-law, John Sample) says, “Life is not a dress rehearsal”.
ISB: And how have you gone about getting the message about Be Spunki out to potential customers?
SS: We invested a world-class purchase service and we are working with a top Autralian PR/ Marketing agency (Umm Communications) to help us get our message to market.
What we have learnt from our mentors (John Sample and his friends) is that you need to invest in the dream. It’s a long-term commitment, but to be the best, you need to invest in the best you can.
ISB: Finally, what’s the best piece of advice you would pass onto others with an idea they’d like to turn into a business?
SS: Follow your dreams, and don’t be deterred by failure. You only fail when you stop!
Australians are great pioneers, always pushing the envelope. I am inspired by Australia’s entrepreneurial spirit, and how people here follow their dreams. I am grateful for Samantha’s support, as I am an “Aussie-in-training”, and without her belief and pure “Aussie-ness”, Be Spunki would not exist.