We all get cravings for sweet or salty indulgences, but why is the first thing we reach for usually a bag of chips or a chocolate bar? Why can’t snacking be both healthy and satisfying?
That’s what Neil Thomson, founder of Naked Snacks, was asking himself in 2014; and after years of being teased for unhealthy eating habits, Thomson decided to take measures into his own hands.
“Many people think that healthy food is boring and tasteless and that’s what I thought at first too. But it doesn't have to be,” says Thomson.
And so, with a fresh idea in his mind, determination in his heart, and a vision for reinventing snacking, Thomson knew he had the right ingredients for a new business.
Applying the 80/20 rule
Funded through Kickstarter, Naked Snacks launched with a mission to help people get more from their food.
“Our snacks are designed for the wholesome goodness they provide, without compromising on amazing taste,” Thomson says. “We achieve this through what we call our 80/20 nutritional philosophy. It’s 80 per cent whole grown goodness straight from the source and 20 per cent earned indulgence as a reward for making healthy decisions.”
Once Thomson launched and business began to pick up, it didn’t take long for him to outgrow his home base headquarters.
“It started out with me keeping hundreds if not thousands of boxes of snacks in my living room,” he said. “My wife could barely find a spot on the couch.”
Eventually Thomson moved the company to a larger facility in Vancouver, BC. With just two full-time employees and a handful of part-timers, the ebbs and flows of business often keep everyone on their toes.
Launching online with a .CA domain
“From the very beginning I knew that a website was necessary for the success of the company,” says Thomson. “Going with a .CA was important to us because it really ties in with how we are proudly Canadian.”
From housing their online store to supporting day-to-day customer relations, the website has become a critical business tool for the company, Thomson added. He also mentioned that getting his website up and running cost him less than $10.00, helping him keep costs manageable during the startup process.
Having a unique name meant their first choice domain, nakedsnacks.ca, was available and ready to go. Once the design was finalized, the website setup was quick and simple. Before he knew it, he was operating online.
All of their ordering, transactions and deliveries are organized and processed online. Automatic billing and receipts, collected through the site immediately after purchase, are used for tracking orders and processing deliveries.
“Right now our main focus is Canada and we need our website to help us not only gain customers but also communicate with customers who may live on the other side of the country,” says Thomson.
So far, the site’s biggest source of customer traffic has been through social media.
“I don’t see the purpose in spending thousands of dollars on paid advertising when we can try to circulate and promote our business through social media, especially on platforms like Facebook and Instagram,” says Thomson. “People love looking at photos of food and sharing different food related posts.”
A word of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs
Persevere. Starting a business can be hard, but Thomson says perseverance was the key to his success.
“That moment when you receive an email or order from someone you don’t know who aren’t your friends or family, that's the moment you know and feel like you are running a real business.”
This article was produced with the support of StartUp Canada to profile Canadian businesses.
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