- Joseph and Justin, why did you become entrepreneurs? (what were the drivers to start up)
Joseph: I’ve always wanted to become an entrepreneur since I was young. I feel the only way to live a life of true freedom is to create it yourself.
- Joseph, as the CEO of Umoro what do you value most about your job?
As a CEO of a startup you are constantly faced with new challenges that you need to figure out how to surmount. This constant process of learning is what I enjoy most.
- Justin, as the COO what do you think is the most critical part of running a smooth operation?
It begins with understanding the business in and out. Like an engine, if one part fails the whole engine falls apart. With this in mind, staying vigilant and organized ensures a smooth operation.
- Are you both pretty health and fitness focused guys?
Justin came from a background of yoga & I was a competitive fitness models prior to starting Umoro.
- What’s behind the name Umoro, why did you choose that name?
Umoro is derived from the latin word Umor, which stands for liquid. Water is essential for life. The O, in Umoro, is a circle. The circle is a universal symbol with extensive meaning. It represents the notions of totality, wholeness, original perfection, the self, the infinite, eternity, timelessness, and all cyclic movement, which captures our founding principles, vision and values.
- Who invented the Umoro One shaker? How quickly did that idea go from conception to product?
It was a collaborative effort between Justin’s industrial design & Joseph’s mechanical design experience. From conception to official launch was about 2 years.
- How was Umoro founded, did you two know each other prior to forming the company?
Umoro was founded after Joseph approached Justin with the initial concept. We both met through a mutual friend.
- Has it been everything you expected?
The journey to where were are now was definitely a lot more work than expected. However we both knew the journey was going to be tough & were prepared to stick it out no matter what.
- What advice would you give to others ahead of making a decision to jump in and start their own business?
Be your own worst critic and be a realistic visionary instead of just a dreamer. Too many people believe that they have a million dollar idea. The truth is very few actually do. However just like race horses they are often wear blinders and only see their end goal. Missing all the red flags around them. With that being said however, if you have truly done your due diligence & you still believe in your vision. Do not let anyone stop you.
- What kept you motivated during your setbacks?
You have to learn as an entrepreneur that no obstacle is unsurmountable. Setbacks are an inevitable part of life. You are either in one, past one or heading towards one. Just figure out how to fix it and move onto the next.
- What were the biggest challenges you faced while building Umoro?
Trying to change an entire industry’s sentiment towards shaker bottles & how much they were willing to pay for them. ($8 vs $28.99) Thankfully both Justin and my past experiences with modeling gave us insight towards marketing.
- How has running Umoro impacted you personally? (what personal gains have you made/what personal trade-offs have been made?)
Joseph: Running a company forces you to grow up really fast. You have to deal with the entire gamut of emotions, from depression to elation. So while it has been a very stressful time. It has made me stronger and more aware of what every individual is truly capable of.
- Knowing what you know now, would you do it again, or what would you have done differently?
Joseph: Absolutely, I would do it all over. I can never see myself working for someone again. Other than the obvious hiccups here and there, I wouldn’t change anything.
- How has the Umoro One shaker affected your customers in the long run? Has it become a staple product in their everyday lives?
We love social media as it lets us really connect with our community. We’ve seen our bottle brought from the gym to the mountains of Nepal. People are receiving them as gifts for birthdays, fathers days etc. Even if it’s just a bottle. It’s good to know that their loved ones are giving the gift of health.
- How often do you personally use the Umoro One?
- Joseph what do you typically put in your shaker?
Protein, creatine, and drink flavoring.
- Justin, what about you what can we usually find in yours?
Typically I store one scoop of vanilla flavoured whey isolate in the lid. My beverage of choice good ol’ fashioned water. There ain’t nothing quite like it.
- How has the business increased the quality of your life?
The business has created so many incredible opportunities and we’ve managed to steer it towards our collective vision. Realizing this vision has allowed the both of us to share a wealth of knowledge and thoroughly improve our quality of life in almost every facet.
Were you surprised to be selected to present Umoro on Dragon’s Den after applying to be on the show?
Dragon’s Den immediately followed our Kickstarter Campaign. We were quite confident after successfully crowdfunding our project and Kickstarter helped cement our idea. However, we did apply on such short notice and it was a great surprise to learn we would be given the opportunity to pitch to the Dragons.
How was the experience of being on the show?
The experience was truly one of a kind for us both. Neither one of us had experience pitching projects to investors and to do it in front of CBC’s cameras was mindboggling. We couldn’t believe how long the pitch transpired. It had felt like the pitch and negotiations took forever! All in all a remarkable and memorable experience.
Can you tell us why you decided not to move forward with the deal from Dragon’s Den?
We had decided not to move forward with the deal for many reasons. Simply put, the deal ultimately did not make sense for all parties.
Do you have any advice for other entrepreneurs looking to pitch to investors on shows like Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank?
The best advice we can provide is to be yourself, know who you are as a business and study your numbers. Investors fear of missing out is your one true leverage. Dreams that come true are the ones served with purpose.
You’ve recently launched Umoro Kitchen, what’s the premise behind that service?
Umoro Kitchen is a service driven by our customers well being in mind. We know how important diets are to keeping the mind sharp and body healthy. Umoro Kitchen addresses a need to inspire the fun, healthy and simple pleasures associated with cooking.
Umoro has been wildly successful, what do you attribute most of that success to?
Our customers. They have been loyal since day one and are the reason for so many of the things we aspire to do.
And which was more rewarding: making your startup a success, or being able to continue keeping it successful?
Both have been and still are equally as rewarding. The most successful companies today are the ones that don’t forget their roots and the edge they develop as a start up. The moment you become complacent your company is dead in the water.
Umoro also has a wildly popular Instagram and social media following, how has your social media following become what it is today? Any tips for other businesses looking to expand their social reach?
Our following has become what it is today due to hard work and perseverance. It requires a great deal of attention and content to stay relevant. Social media is a fickle medium. It is important to never forget that social media is constantly changing and everyone no matter how big or small has a voice.
How important is social media marketing for your business?
Social media plays an important role for our business but it is just one of many avenues that provide us the necessary traction to be successful.
What other products and ventures does Umoro currently have in the works? Anything we can preview soon?
We have an exciting product and collection in the works. One of which will be revealed within the next couple of months.
Has Umoro become what you had envisioned when you started it?
Umoro has definitely became and continues to become what we had envisioned. To see through and through all the steps from the very beginning is a unforgettable experience. We have great aspirations of where we plan to take the company next.
What does Umoro’s future look like to you now?
Umoro has a bright future ahead. As we continue to navigate our place within the vast consumer market we see us returning time and time again to our roots and our customers. Umoro strives to make instrumental change in our daily lives and to bring attention to the importance of our health and well being.