There’s no doubt about it, Matt and Cassie Cameron exude good health.
With their megawatt smiles and bouncy personalities, this attractive duo certainly have the look of two people who live and breathe a healthy lifestyle. And it’s lucky they do, because as the founders of Australian supplement chain Fit Nutrition, they’re literally the face of the company.
Fit Nutrition isn’t just another health food store. In an age where the market is saturated with brands hunting down the lion’s share of Australia’s lucrative wellness industry – Fit Nutrition has instead been created as the solution to a problem. A very personal problem, actually. Matt has type one diabetes, and as a result has spent the better part of his adult life looking for sports supplements that wouldn’t disrupt his body’s careful balance of insulin.
“I was really struggling with my type one diabetes,” says Matt. “It was difficult to find solutions to suit my physical goals, whilst taking into account my health issues.”
Joining Matt as he navigated the congested world of health supplements was his partner Cassie. Cassie was equally as health-focused – for the past ten years she has worked as an international model. Like any elite sportsperson who relies on their body for their work, Cassie had made her fitness a full-time job. She could see Matt was struggling to find the information he needed to reach his health and fitness goals, and so together they decided to find a solution.
The concept behind Fit Nutrition is simple: their stores give you the chance to personalise a supplement program specific to your needs. Using world-first technology, they will review personal factors such as age, sex, intolerances, and heath goals, working out a customised program for you to try. In a market overflowing with hundreds of thousands of products, Fit Nutrition finally work to bring some clarity in where you can begin in your journey to better health in a quick, tailored solution.
“What was frustrating was that there were tens of thousands of products available, and I didn’t know what to take,” says Matt.
“We flew all throughout America, Europe, and Australia, and did a lot of research into the supplement market. We interviewed brands, their customers – we even became customers – and what we identified that there is so much on offer; but no clarity on what to take.”
The supplement game, says the couple, seemed to be divided into two camps: firstly, the bodybuilders. They were all about protein powders and pre-workouts, serious products designed for rapid muscle gain and committed gym-goers. Secondly, there were the health stores. They ran stores selling natural vitamins and herbs, and a broad range of products that didn’t necessarily appeal to the fitness crowd. Matt and Cassie saw an opportunity.
“There are a lot of elements in the health, wellness and fitness industry, and the reason we landed on supplements was because we spotted a gap in the market for something that was not exclusive to bodybuilding,” explains Cassie.
“We wanted to create a place for everyday people who want to look better, feel better, increase focus, and lose weight, in a really easy to understand way.”
Underpinning their business concept was a shared desire to pursue a more authentic career. For Matt, working in marketing for big agencies meant taking on clients such as Krispy Kreme, Magnum ice cream, and KFC; directly competing with everything he believed in when it came to health and nutrition. For Cassie, her experience in marketing and her degree in communications lay dormant as she pursued modelling.
The same question kept popping up in their conversations about the future – ‘Why don’t we put our energy into something that can change people’s lives?’
Today, Fit Nutrition has a series of stores, and a swag of industry awards to boot. They received gold at the 2016 Retail Customer Excellence Awards, and gold again in the 2017 Retailer Awards. Their stores feature smoothie bars and music listening stations, their staff given the instructions not to seek out customers, but to create fans of the brand. Matt and Cassie’s original vision of a smoothie bar has expanded into a full service supplement store, showcasing world-leading technology to tailor your health needs. It’s been an impressive few years.
Looking ahead, however, and it seems the best is yet to come. Just two and a half years into their business, Fit Nutrition Fix is gearing up for a busy 24 months ahead. Matt and Cassie are looking to open 40 stores over the next two years, collaborating with their in-house team of experts including naturopaths and nutritionists on how to create the best offering they can.
“What we love about what we’re doing is that we’ve created a brand that’s just cool,” says Matt.
“What we’ve done is try to create a brand that sits between the sports supplements, and health supplements, that all types of people love and feel at home with. Everyone that works for us lives and breathes the brand.”
In a nation that is buckling under a growing obesity epidemic and record number of people with type 2 diabetes, Matt and Cassie are passionate about bringing health advice to the masses. Their vision was never to settle for anything less than a nationwide strategy – if this power couple were going to walk away from their hugely successful careers, they were going large…or not at all.
“We came at our business plan with the idea to go big,” says Matt. “I had been offered a job in NYC running a global marketing agency, Cassie was travelling all over the world – so starting a one-store-business wasn’t an option.”
With this vision in mind, the couple drew up a business plan and begun the process of pitching to prospective investors. In the end, they signed on with one private investor. A combination of personal and business contacts, they were able to secure a generous sum that could scale the business globally.
“Without investors that believed in the vision, we wouldn’t have made it through the first twelve months of our business,” says Matt. “We had never started a brand from scratch, so we really had to teach ourselves most things.”
Between Google and the wisdom of their committed staff members, Matt and Cassie did make it through that first year. It was a steep learning curve for the young couple, who found maintaining a normal relationship outside of a hugely stressful work environment pretty challenging.
“We learnt a lot about ourselves,” says Cassie. “We worked really hard to set up boundaries, but also to have a sense of humor and keep things light.”
For first-time retail business owners, Matt and Cassie have performed exceptionally well. In a highly congested industry, they have managed to carve out their own unique offering that not only captures both of their passions, but also offers genuine benefits for their customer.
So when it comes to health supplements? We’ll have what they’re having.