BUZZD Nutrition is a Canadian-based company that produces hand-crafted, locally sourced, organic, non-GMO, all natural, plant-based, dairy-free, superfood coffee creamers. What a mouthful!
Perfected by co-founders Lauren Bensadoun and Alex Burrows, BUZZD is an incredible entrepreneurial success story. With help from the Venturepark Accelerator program in cohort 12 this past year, the company has not only upped production, but they have recently launched a new blend! We connected with Alex to get a behind-the-scenes look at the development of the blend and the growth that's in store for BUZZD.
Venturepark Labs: How did BUZZD Nutrition get its start?
AB: It all started with a bit of joint pain! We love to live an active lifestyle and we’re always on the move. At one point our bodies couldn’t keep up though and we turned to superfoods to help out. Taking supplement pills can be a hassle and not everyone likes to take them (cough, cough - Lauren) but one daily non-negotiable was coffee. We began to experiment with different ways to get superfoods into our coffee and arrived at a powdered, dairy-free, coffee creamer!
VL: Congratulations on the new blend – what was it like expanding your product line?
AB: It was a long but really fun journey! We carried our process forward from developing the first blend which really helped. It starts with some research, then a bit of formulation, a variety of recipes and some helpful (and brave) friends and family to be guinea pigs! The feedback is the most important part. It’s great to have these superfoods in the recipe but if it doesn’t taste good, no one will want to make it part of their daily routine.
VL: What's the biggest lesson you've learned?
AB: Community is everything. Our entrepreneurial community is incredible and we’ve been able to learn so much and be inspired by so many. Our BUZZD community has grown to be incredibly passionate, full of amazing people and tons of good vibes. Both really keep us going on the days where it’s hard to find the energy.
VL: What made you choose mushrooms for the next phase of BUZZD?
AB: We really try to stay on top of the trends. We’ve been using functional mushrooms in our personal lives for years now and have been amazed at some of the benefits. There’s a reason why they’ve been used for centuries in natural medicine to treat ailments and promote health!
VL: We’ve loved watching your kitchen and production journey – from the early stages of hand making every package of BUZZD at our commercial kitchen facility to now working with a manufacturer – how has the change impacted your brand?
AB: We still joke about our first day in the Venture Commercial Kitchen. We booked in for a 6 hour session and managed to put together 25 pouches, but we were so proud. We later ironed out some inefficiencies and got quicker, we promise! Moving to the co-packer has been surreal. Seeing this product we dreamt up a little while ago, being mass produced now is a wild thing to see. We’ve been grateful to work with such amazing people at RooTree and would not be able to keep expanding without them!
VL: What’s your favorite productivity hack as an entrepreneur?
AB: Being active and taking time to recharge. When you're worn down, the business suffers and so do the relationships in your life. It’s important to take the time YOU need throughout the day and week to make sure you can give the most to everything else. Our CPO (Chief Playful Officer) Winston the doodle does a great job of making sure we take our breaks to be active with a nice hike or play. We love to work out and are always finding new activities. In the summer, you can find us in the backcountry of Northern Ontario with a tent and campfire. It’s amazing how much better you feel after a weekend like that.
VL: What's the best advice you've received?
AB: Not to compare your day one when someone else’s day 100. It can be so hard with social media to feel like you should be doing more, or moving faster! Everyone showcases all their successes online and it can make you feel like you’re not moving fast enough. But every business is at a different stage and there’s enough room in the market for us all to succeed. So we just try to keep our heads down, focus on what we’re doing and try not to compare. It’s also the reason we’ve become super transparent on our social media about the struggles we face day-to-day to break the pattern of only sharing the high-points.
VL: How do you measure your success?
AB: Pun intended: from seeing the ‘BUZZ’ about our brand and products! We still need to pinch ourselves some days when we see the response from our community and overall excitement about the brand and products. We’ve heard stories of people driving hours to pick up one of our blends, we’ve been stopped on the street to chat because someone recognized us and we get tagged on social media by amazing people who are continually finding new and innovative ways to use our products because they love them. It makes us feel like we’re on to something special and we can’t wait to keep growing.
VL: What’s the most stand out moment you’ve experienced since your business launched?