The Juliette Interviews: SmartyPants by Courtney Nichols Gould
JH: What was the impetus for you to get into the vitamin market?
CG: Because there were vitamins that were affordable, there were vitamins that used the best ingredients and there were vitamins that were enjoyable to take (and therefore we or our kids would stick with), but they were three different products. We thought we should be able to have all of those things in a single product and that if we were successful in doing that, we could make it a lot easier for more people to stick with a vitamin regimen and therefore get the benefit.
JH: What was the most challenging aspect of getting this business to where it is now?
CG: When you grow fast year after year, your trailing revenues can’t cover the cash needs of your forecasted growth- so finding ways to fund our growth without taking away ownership from ourselves or our employees was the biggest challenge we faced.
JH: Tell us a bit more about the product, for example, what are they made of and, without revealing any secrets, what is the process in which they are made?
CG: Well, one of the nice things about our product is that what’s in the product is printed on the label (except for secret info about flavors-all of which come from natural/organic sources). Transparency is a core promise we make- including stamping the bottom of each bottle with a lot code so they can look up the test results for that exact batch online- so they know what’s on the label is in the bottle.
JH: Your brand is very fun – was it designed to be marketed for children and then shifted from there or was the plan to always target everyone?
CG: We had a choice to change our branding when we started making the same all in one vitamins for adults, but really, we thought branding in our market could use a little levity. We take the science seriously but not ourselves. I am so glad we didnt walk away from our name. Everyone deserves to be a SmartyPants once in a while.
JH: Tell us about your typical customer – who are they?
CG: Our typical customer is someone who cares about being healthy, is willing to invest in better ingredients but is frankly pretty busy with all the life stuff and appreciates a brand she can trust to sweat the small stuff so she doesn’t have to.
JH: Who is your biggest influence?
CG: My heroes are people like the Thompinks of NorthFace/Patagonia and anyone fighting daily to help restore our planet to health. My biggest influences are really my kids and my husband- they are the mirror that constantly asks me to be better tomorrow than I am today, to admit my faults, my weaknesses, my failings, to know that I am human but that as long as I keep trying, I am more than enough.
JH: What are some of your favorite products?
CG: I am obsessed with our new all-in-one comprehensive capsule product (SmartyPants PHD) we worked for several years and i am so grateful to my team who managed to do the impossible and fit all the things I need into two small minty capsules. I LOVE this poncho (which my husband calls my Jedi cloak) I got out in Ojai at a friends wedding. I love my SUV that runs on a battery. I LOVE my skin care stuff from my incredible long time friend who takes care of my face: Dayle Breault, @goddessofskin – she makes all of her products herself. And I love my cowboy boots- cuz you can take the girl out of Texas but…..
JH: If you could, what would you go back and do differently when you started out on this path?
CG: I would have hired more senior people sooner to help us scale as it would have made it a lot less stressful. Grateful to have an incredible leadership team now!
JH: What is the ultimate goal with SmartyPants? Where do you see it going next?
CG: Our goal has always been more health for more people. Whether through our products or the matching grants we have in place with Vitamin Angels (10mm and counting!). It’s easy to get distracted but we dont want to be a lifestyle brand. we dont want to be all things to all people. We just want to be the absolute best supplement brand we can be while also taking care of each other, our planet, our employees. We all feel so incredibly lucky to work with a group of extraordinary people committed to giving their best every day towards a shared goal of making people feel better. I can’t imagine anything more fulfilling. Really.
If you like to learn more or purchase SmartyPants Vitamins, please visit: smartypantsvitamins.com