Tell us how Love Good Fats began. Where did the idea for the company come from?
Melanie Webb: As a company, Love Good Fats has a lot of good stories, and this is one of them. Suzie Yorke, the founder of Love Good Fats, is an elite athlete. She has done 11 Ironmans, marathons, half-marathons, and all sorts of races. When she created Love Good Fats, she hadn’t been feeling great. She had IBS, so she was on medication for that, on top of being on heart medications for her high blood pressure. Amidst all that, she was eating a low-fat diet and still eating a lot of sugar.
Nobody had devilized sugar for my generation growing up. What was villainized was fat. Suzie came across Nina Teicholz’s book, The Big Fat Surprise. The gist of the book was that sugar is the real villain here, not fats. Fats are, in fact, good for your brain and your body. They give you more energy and make you feel fuller longer. Suzie read Nina’s on a plane, and once it landed, she decided to change her diet.
She felt better within days, felt substantially better within weeks. Within a month and a half, she was off her medications. And she was loving it. She was feeling so much better.
She was like, “I’m on the go. I have kids. I’m traveling. When I’m at home, I can cook a steak. But when I’m in the airport, there are very few snacks out there that were full of fats and low in sugar.” That’s when she thought, “Hey, I’m going to create these bars so that they can be what people need when they’re on the go.”
At fifty years old, she took a huge chance, investing all of her life savings to start the company. Love Good Fats launched in October 2017. The first bars were on the shelves at WholeFoods in Canada, and, after that, we entered US shelves. We’re now just over three years old. We just hit the 100 million sales mark two weeks ago, which was a huge celebration for us.
Congratulations. Can you walk us through some of the flavors you guys have?
Melanie Webb: We have ten different flavors. We started with truffle bars. They’re very soft. They have a whipped center, almost like a chocolate truffle without the sugar. Then, we introduced our chewy nutty bars, which have full pieces of nuts in them. Both bars have the same premise: high fat, low sugar, super clean ingredients. There is nothing artificial in them. NON-GMO certified, gluten-free, soy-free, kosher. Our bars are also keto-friendly.
From the very start, Suzie wanted to do it right. She wanted to make the best bar that she could, whether it was for someone who was trying to lose weight, or someone who just wanted to eat better, or someone trying to cut sugar.
Marketing is a common pain point for a lot of the younger brands. It must have been challenging to enter a highly competitive market. What factors worked in your favor and how did you introduce yourselves to your initial consumers?
Melanie Webb: We’ve had the most unbelievable start. We got picked up by Whole Foods very early on. I’m also Suzie’s partner, so we used to joke that date night was a trip to Whole Foods. We would go to the local Whole Foods every single week just to check the bars and see how they were selling. The numbers were mindblowing. We were stunned, to be honest with you. People compare them to chocolate bars all the time. The fact that people often call it a treat shows just how much they look forward to eating it!
Suzie’s amazing. She goes to all the consumer shows. She’s always out there, meeting everyone, answering questions, receiving feedback from consumers. And she enjoys it! She has a whole fan club because she’s so genuine. She is the face of the brand. We’re still only twenty-one people, we’re very much a small company. And she is involved with everything, talking to people not just about the bars, but also about fitness, and eating healthier.
I think our edge comes down to Suzie and having an honest, interesting story to tell and backing it up with a product that’s not only full of all these good ingredients but also tastes delicious.
Aside from your delicious bars, what is the biggest strength that you guys have as a company?
Melanie Webb: I can’t focus on one specific thing. Love Good Fats grew at quite a phenomenal pace. We built a strong fanbase in Toronto and spread out across Canada. Then, people took notice in the U.S. WholeFoods called us. Walmart called us. They thought our numbers in Canada were insane. And they wanted us to do the same in similar markets over there.
So, Suzie flew everywhere and met with all the buyers. She met with the stores herself. One of the places we do well in is California because, in general, you guys eat really well there. She met with the different store managers and made sure they knew who she was. Not just as the face of the company, but also as who she was as a person.
She gave each store four to five boxes of Love Good Fats so that the staff could try them and become knowledgeable about the taste and the flavors. Suzie is always super involved and goes that extra mile.
Let’s talk about the people that you currently work with. On your website, you talk about how diverse your team is. What brought this team together and what do you think makes you guys work so well?
Melanie Webb: Good question. I think we’ve been lucky with some of our hires. Suzie has a very strong CPG background. She brought in people that she worked with before. A lot of the other people that we hired were people that we clicked with during the job interviews.
Suzie, as a gay woman, has always embraced diversity. It’s easy for a lot of companies to say that but not do much about it. Suzie has always made an effort to hire minorities of all kinds. So, our team is super, super diverse.
I think, during the hiring process, one thing that we try to do is emphasize Love Good Fats as a start-up, which can be a different experience for a lot of people. We’re not a big company where a project takes months and months of planning, and you’re checking all the boxes, and you’re writing a paper.
We’re more like, “Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!” You have to have that mentality. We’re going 100 miles per hour. We jump-start projects quickly. A lot of people enjoy that and they like being involved in all parts of the project. Of course, other people don’t like that. They like a more peaceful pace and checking boxes, and that’s great. Nothing wrong with that.
But we tried to find people who wanted to experience the small, quickly moving start-up. So, I would say, diversity kind of binds us, but so does like-mindedness.
This month, we’ve been asking founders questions about sustainability. As Love Good Fats, you do a lot of good for people’s health and people in your community. How does sustainability fit into your day-to-day operation and your brand vision?
Melanie Webb: Right from Day 1, we‘ve tried to be sustainable in everything that we do. Initially, when we were selling at Costco, we’d have these huge boxes because that was kind of the Costco thing. As a result, there was so much waste. So, we came up with a different product that would help reduce our packaging waste by at least 60%.
Even as a small company, we always gave back to our community. We supported Gay Pride here in Toronto. We’ve donated to food banks and shelters. We get ten to fifteen requests a week for donations. We try and spread our giving where we can, and help as many people as possible. If we can help schools fundraise by selling our bars, that’s great! So, we always try to help local as well as big events whenever we can.
Did you experience a boost with the sudden consciousness for healthy eating out of the pandemic?
Melanie Webb: 2021 was certainly off to a great start. We think that has a lot to do with people becoming more active. We live in an area near a beach and there’s a boardwalk and a running trail. And when you’d go out on a winter day, it would be just you and one other person. But, now, literally, it’s like a summer’s day. So, people have, for the sake of their sanity, become a little more active. You hear all these crazy statistics about bike sales.
So, I think people are becoming more active. For us, it’s a combination of people staying active and being on-the-go, going on bike rides and stopping by a friend’s house. People who weren’t active and were doing a lot of baking, sitting on the couch, watching Netflix during the pandemic, they’re certainly going to be out and about, eager to become healthier.
If you could ask any entrepreneur who’s able to balance success and sustainability, who would that entrepreneur be, and what would be the question?
Melanie Webb: I would probably hit up one of the big companies. You know, I’m a cautious shopper. I’m always trying to pick brands that are giving back. The more brands that trend for doing good helps in the long run. I would like to talk to the CEO of a major corporation and say, “Hey guys you’re the ones pulling in millions and millions, yet it’s the little companies giving back.” Maybe they do give and we just don’t know, maybe it’s more quietly done.
But I’d like to say, “Hey, big guys, the little guys are trying to balance giving back while we’re still tiny. And if you gave just a portion of what the little guys give, you can change the world.”
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently? If you have a lesson that you can pass on to younger brands trying to follow in your footsteps, what would that be?
Melanie Webb: I think, no matter how successful, any company has its share of mistakes. I can’t think of one specifically at the top of my head. But, as a company, and I think Nike has a similar saying, we also abide by the idea of “fail quickly.” Don’t drag something out. If something isn’t working, change it. If something isn’t selling, don’t wait until next week or another six months. Don’t keep pouring money into it. Focus on the one that is selling.
Learn quickly. You’re a start-up. And one of the biggest issues is the lack of funds. So, don’t put money into something that doesn’t work. That’s the biggest lesson that we’ve learned.
Where is Love Good Fats headed to in 2021? Where do you guys hope to see yourselves in a year?
Melanie Webb: We have a lot of huge things going for us. As I said, we’d done a soft launch with Whole Foods in the U.S. We want to do as well in the U.S., as well as we did in Canada. Especially now that the U.S. is opening up, more so in the next couple of months. People are going to be a lot more active. People who have been eating chips in the past year and a half would want to change and eat better, and we want Love Good Fats to be there for them when they do.
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