COVID Creativity - Drink Wholesome
Client Name: Jack Schrupp
Business Name: Drink Wholesome
Business Website: www.drinkwholesome.com
Location: Gilford, NH
SBDC Advisor's Name: Rita Toth
First, what is your business? What do you do?
Drink Wholesome has taken a better-for-you, better-tasting approach to protein powder by using only real food ingredients – ingredients you can pronounce and find in your kitchen. Our vanilla protein powder, for example, is made with just 6 real foods: egg whites, coconut, chickpeas, vanilla, monk fruit, and sea salt. This is a radical departure from the typical, looks-nothing-like-real-food ingredient list. We're proud to be from NH, and to have successfully launched a business during the pandemic!
When the shutdown began, what was the immediate impact on your business?
I launched Drink Wholesome in early 2020, just before the pandemic, and had hoped to grow my community through event marketing. This included attending sporting events like triathlons to share product and solicit feedback. Unfortunately, almost all large events were canceled in light of the pandemic, which meant that I had to find new ways to spread the word. This demanded an unprecedented amount of creativity and resilience.
My supply chain was hamstrung by the pandemic. Global ingredient shortages and sluggish manufacturing made it impossible to source several of my ingredients.
How were you able to adapt (or not) during the first few months of the pandemic?
Unable to demo in person, I created a sample program on my website. This program allowed me to share my product with a larger audience.
In order to rebuild my crippled supply chain, I partnered with other small food/beverage businesses. We pooled resources and shared contacts.
Once businesses were able to open in NH, how did you adapt your business, services, products, and/or physical space?
The pandemic forced me to rethink my business model, and I am only now pursuing partnerships in brick and mortar retail. I had hoped to do so months ago.
The pandemic drove my business online, which is a blessing in many regards. That said, it is challenging for a small business with limited resources to get visibility on the internet.
Will you continue the changes and adaptations you have made once concerns over COVID-19 are behind us? Are you planning to institute more changes in the near future?
Moving forward, I hope to partner with other local businesses, including natural grocers, gyms, and smoothie shops. I will also partner with a number of amateur/professional athletes. The idea is that we will support each other in the pursuit of our respective goals.
Fun fact – I am also a high school teacher and coach!
How are you communicating with customers now? Are you marketing in the same ways you were prior to COVID-19?
Given that Drink Wholesome was born into the world of COVID-19, most of its growth has been through word of mouth. I am very grateful to everyone who generously shared my products with friends, family, teammates, etc.
How has SBDC helped you and your business, especially in the last year?
SBDC has been instrumental in the growth of Drink Wholesome. My advisor has served as a much needed sounding board and has helped me refine my business model.
This client story is part of NH SBDC's ongoing collection of COVID Creativity stories about businesses surviving and thriving during COVID-19.