Episode
3

James Oliver

James wanted to see a better solution for keto bars in the world... so he created one. Atlas Bar is one of the top Keto bars in the world for taste & overall quality.

Ep
3

Launching a massive nutrition bar company

August 9, 2021
With
James Oliver
40:32

Launching a massive nutrition bar company

After becoming a specialized sports nutritionist through ISSA, James looked around the industry and realized that there was a need for a better tasting Keto bar. To go from ground zero all the way to the beautiful website that Atlasbar offers today is quite the journey - and that's exactly what we cover on the podcast.

James discusses his journey from the first Keto bar all the way to the 20+ flavors they currently offer. The main focus for Atlas Bar? Quality. James believes that offering a 5-star product will top marketing efforts 10 time out of 10 and his team has done just that. They have 5-star reviews flowing through every day and are working constantly to grow their company.

Throughout this episode I personally learned a ton about nutrition and James covers specific ingredients like what Ashwagandha is. If you're looking for an amazing nutritional product (that tastes extremely good - thanks for the samples, James!) then you've come to the right episode and the right product.

Head to Atlasbars.com to learn more.

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Episode Transcript

Cory McKane: 1:11I've actually never been, I went to the east coast for the first time this year in Florida. I've never been to like New York about any of that stuff. SoJames Oliver: 1:18

Really, you've never been to the east coast before.

Cory McKane: 1:21

Prior to this year. Yeah, I just, I'm a West Coast guy, like I was in LA. And I grew up in Washington State. And like, I just never really had anything crazy pulling me like now I have, like, kind of New York connections that will get me over there. But I mean, I was just like, I'm not gonna book a flight just to go see the Eiffel Tower. Like, the Statue of Liberty of our siblings, you know, wasn't a priority, but I'll be I'll be there soon. But awesome. Happy to have you on the podcast. You know, I was checking out your website. Absolutely beautiful. And the product seems great. Can't wait to try it someday. So can you give the audience a quick description on who you are and what your company does?

James Oliver: 1:58

Yeah, sure. My name's James Oliver. I'm the CEO and founder of Atlas bar, we make nutrition bars that are better for your mind and your body. So over the past few decades, the number one consumer health concern in the country has really been weight management, like since the 70s. And that actually changed last year when COVID hit. And mental health became the number one, consumer health concerns. And now the number one and two consumer health concerns are mental health and weight management. And our product is one of the only products that you can get that actively supports both mental and physical health. And all ingredients we use are backed by science. I knew I was going to be consuming these more than anybody else. So I wanted to make sure that anything we use was completely legitimate and vetted by actual research.

Cory McKane: 2:53

That's awesome. How many? How many of your own bars would you say you have a day?

James Oliver: 2:58

A day? It definitely varies by day, some days I run out, and I don't have any, like when I'm travelling, but I've had, I've had 1000s, easily 1000s and 1000s of them.

Cory McKane: 3:08

Yeah, well, and you're still alive. And you look great. So well, we'll start we'll start there. We'll just keep going up. So I'm, I didn't even take chemistry in high school. I didn't the science is just so boring to me. So like for me, you I can say describe your bars to the dumbest person in the science world. And that's basically saying, describe your bars to me, like what does it mean? As far as like, from a mental standpoint? Like, how do you guys help mental health through your through your product?

James Oliver: 3:36

Yeah, great question. So we have a active ingredient called ashwagandha. And ultra guns are really cool ingredients, it's very difficult to pronounce, took me a while to get my mouth around it. But it has over 1200 studies that have been done on it. So it's actually one of the most studied ingredients on the market. And it's been used in India for over 5000 years. So there's a long history of usage. But there's also a mountain of modern research to support its benefits, and primarily what's been used for and what research has shown that it does is it reduces stress, it actually reduces stress at a at a chemical level and improves fuel increases feelings of well being. And there are countless studies, some that are pretty, pretty incredible in terms of what the changes are that happen over a certain period of time consuming ashwagandha. So one I can think of off the top my head. It was a six week study, and participants at the end who had consumed ashwagandha versus those who had consumed a placebo, saw a reduction in symptoms of depression or depressive symptoms by up to 79%, which is pretty staggering.

Cory McKane: 4:55

That's awesome. And so I usually would save this for the end of the podcast. But now I'm very interested. So like, Where can I get one of these? Like, where did where do we order one at?

James Oliver: 5:03

Yeah, so the majority of our customers, they get the bars from online, we've sold millions of bars online through Amazon, our own website, which is Atlas bars calm. And this year, we actually launched into retail. So we're now in about 1500 retail locations across the country, our largest account is sprouts farmers market, which Yeah, Southwest Florida. And then we're actually going to be launching into stop and shop which has about 400 locations in New England. And that's going to be happening in September. So that's getting available to more and more people every single day.

Cory McKane: 5:43

That's incredible. I mean landing a landing an account like sprouts is insane. I have buddies that run have like, you know, consumer products as well. And like just some of them are in companies like that. And some of them aren't. I just know like, it's a crazy hustle to get in there because there's so much competition. So props to you guys right off the bat. And then back to the study thing. So do you guys do individual studies on like, once you compile all the ingredients, do you do studies on that or like, are you going to do that soon? Is that a requirement? Like how does that process work?

James Oliver: 6:12

Notice that you, there's no requirement to do that, that's actually something that I really do want to do, you usually have to, you usually have to work like a research institution to do it. And they're pretty expensive to do. They're like 10s of 1000s of dollars at the minimum. And I know that there are some products that have done it. And like one that I can think of off the top of my head is by the company on it. And they have a product called alpha brain. And I believe they did a study specifically on their product to show its its benefits. And I would love to do something similar with Atlas bars. But we're not at that at that point yet. But I think that's that's kind of like a next level thing for a brand to do if they really feel strongly about their product and its efficacy.

Cory McKane: 7:01

Yeah, exactly, exactly. Especially if you're confident that like, you know, the study's gonna go well. Yeah. So how do you feel about the current state? Because we talked about the like, how the general population has like these two goals they want to accomplish with like health and mental? And then how do you feel about the fitness industry as a whole, like right now, especially after COVID? Like, what do you see the industry moving anywhere? Maybe you can touch on this specific nutrition industry? like where do you kind of see it out right now?

James Oliver: 7:26

I think overall, there is a movement in a direction that I think is positive, holistically, both from a movement like fitness and nutrition standpoint, I think it's unfortunate that COVID had to be the catalyst for it. But it's clear in the data that we've seen that people are carrying a lot more and paying a lot more attention to their health and wellness and nutrition, because of COVID than they were before. And so I think that means people are going to be spending. I mean, it is it does mean that people are spending more money, more time, more energy on their own health, which I think is awesome. And I absolutely love that. But again, I think it's it's unfortunate that like COVID had to be the reason why a lot of people were forced to do that.

Cory McKane: 8:21

Yeah, I think like everything from people just washing their hands more in general maybe like adding the birth a birthday song to it. Or just so I've had a lot of buddies that are losing weights like that, that needed to lose weight basically that I don't think they would have done it had COVID nabanna thing I think was a big wake up call. But obviously like super unfortunate that like it had to happen at the same time. What is it? What is your background? You have a background in like fitness and nutrition like Were you a trainer? Were you like some scientists like what's your background, all that

James Oliver: 8:49

I'm not a scientist, I have a degree in economics. So nothing to do.

Cory McKane: 8:54

I have a degree same boat just like

James Oliver: 8:59

yeah, so nothing to do with science or nutrition or fitness. But I also am a certified sports nutritionist and my school that I went to didn't have even though they have a phenomenal graduate programme in nutrition, they had no formal undergraduate degree, but I absolutely would have gotten one in nutrition. If they did, I've always been super passionate about nutrition goes really back to like one of my earliest memories where my my parents told me that if you eat carrots, it'll improve your eyesight. And so when they told me that I was like four years old, and I ate all the carrots I get a hold of in our house. And I actually thought that doing so would would give me like supervision about there is a linear relationship between number of carrots eaten and how good your eyesight becomes. unfold. Unfortunately, I learned that's not quite how it works. But that really like planted the seed in my head that what we eat can dramatically improve what we're able to do both mentally and physically. And I think that that is I think it's just so cool because there's so many things like in the world and in your life that you don't have control over but you do have control over the food that you're putting into your body. And if that food can help you think better. Move better feel better. I just think that's such a cool concept.

Cory McKane: 10:23

Yeah, I think there's so many levels to it too. Like last summer I was counting calories eating healthy and I felt 1,000% I looked better than I've ever looked in my life. I'm kind of still trying to do that but like it's it's definitely a process to do it but I mean products like yours definitely make that a lot easier. And then when it comes to like the the bar itself like when you're like how does it nutrition will work like I obviously can't just go here's my my protein bar come by like, like is there what what regulations you have to meet? Do you have to go to some centre to get it approved? Like how do you go from, like, experimenting at home to now it's in sprouts like what is that process?

James Oliver: 11:01

Yeah, yeah, it's it's quite a process. So there are two paths you can kind of take when you are starting out with a food product and you're making it in your At home, you can't make food in your home and sell it because there are regulations. And there are government agencies that don't add that. So you can either go find a co man, who will you give your formula and you work them and they help you make your formula. Or you can go find a commercial kitchen, which is a audited space that has all of the necessary equipment and all of the necessary certifications to make and sell food. And I remember making that decision early on and thinking hard about that. And I ended up going the former route, because I wanted to find a manufacturing partner that could scale with us. And I knew myself that I was not a manufacturer. And I didn't have any expertise in that. So I wanted to leave that to them. So I can focus on the brand building. But you absolutely can do it both ways. There are successful brands that have been built by going both ways. So when you do go the kill manufacturer route, which is I think, the more common route because most people don't add a manufacturer food, most of the time that car manufacturer, they're going to take care of all of those regulations, they're going to have a compliance team to check and make sure that the information you're saying on the nutrition label, it actually matches up with the product. At the end of the day, though, it does come back to the brand that's completely on the brand to make sure that all of that information is accurate. The FDA, I believe it operates similar to the IRS where like, only 1% of brands will ever get actually audited. So it's there's not a high chance that that you will get your nutrition facts like checked out by the FDA, I think an exception to that is if a bunch of consumers complain or it's brought to the attention of the FDA somehow. But I think that actually is a bit of an issue in the industry. Because what you see on the label is not necessarily what you're getting in the product, because there is no formal board or agency that you have to bring your formula to and say these are the nutrition facts, it's basically on the discretion of the brand, to put those numbers there.

Cory McKane: 13:23

That is crazy that like people could technically just be like, this is what's on there. And then like small chance they get audited, and then just nothing. They just keep doing it. You know what I mean? That's, that's pretty crazy. Yeah, I mean, I mean, it's Same thing with like, the personal training industry, like you could get the worst cert on the planet and then go like, kill someone in the gym because they dropped the barbell in their head because they're exhausted, like, you didn't know what that you were doing. So I think I guess every industry kind of has that, that flaw to an extent. And when you go to these manufacturers, are you just also side note, I would never want to deal with manufacturing. So I would do the same thing. I can't imagine the headache of like, Okay, I think we do this now we ship it and packaged like this crazy. So good choice. The second thing was, do you just give them a like a, like a, you know, secret formula ingredients list or and then they just buy all the ingredients are like, like, how does that actually product get made?

James Oliver: 14:15

Yeah, it can go, it can go a few ways. You can just give them your formula. Everybody signs NDA is to make sure that formulas are sent to your competitor or sold on the street. It's actually it's funny, because in the food industry really there, you can't really patent a recipe or a formula, like the Coca Cola recipe, it's not actually patented, like if you had it, you would be able to, to make it and and produce it yourself. Yeah, so you definitely have to give them the formula, because they need that in order in order to make the product. And in terms of buying the ingredients, you can either do it yourself, or they can do it for you. If they do it for you, they're probably going to charge you something extra for doing it. But because they're usually buying for other products as well, they're probably gonna get better prices on ingredients than you get yourself

Cory McKane: 15:09

say way less of a headache for you too.

James Oliver: 15:13

It's, it's a headache. Because usually, like in we have over 30 ingredients total that we have to source. And if we're doing all of that ourselves, that means that we have to order from 30 separate vendors and we have to coordinate all of the different ingredients come in at the right time. And we're we just have one product, we have a protein bar. So if you think about that, with a company that has like 50 products, you just multiply those 50 products by like 15 ingredients each and you can see how quickly it gets out of hand.

Cory McKane: 15:44

Yeah, that's crazy. I mean, especially starting off letting them handle it and then like eventually increasing your margins, maybe do it yourself. You get some deals higher fly them in from like, Norway or something I don't even know. But like, but that's definitely the best way to do it though. First, for starters. I mean, I can't imagine doing that crap yourself. That's amazing. Yeah. Yeah. Good choice. Good choice. Very cool. So can you get your bars or your bars are all keto or some of them are keto.

James Oliver: 16:09

Now it's all of them are keto, and that's based on the net carbs in the bars. So the total carbs are around 20 grammes each in the bars and net carb is, the way we calculate it is we subtract out all the fibre because the fibre isn't digestible by our body, it just passed through your system. And then we also subtract out allulose, which we don't use a tonne of. But allulose if you're not aware, it's a, it's a rare form of sugar. And it's actually naturally found in pears and a few other fruits. But it's the first technical sugar ever that the FDA has said, You do not have to include on the nutrition facts label as a sugar because it's so unique. And it's unique because it has very few calories, basically does not impact blood glucose levels at all, but also has the same like sweetness as sugar. So it's kind of like, it's almost like a miracle ingredient, and we're gonna see a lot more of it, I think it's gonna be gonna become like a ubiquitous ingredient in the next few years, but it's just kind of at the beginning of an adoption phase for it, like chobani is one of the first companies that I've seen, incorporate it into a, like a large brand, like Giovanni days rolled out allulose sweetened yoghurt, and I think like a month or two ago, and I think you're gonna see a lot more of that in years to come. So yeah, we subtract out fibre allulose. And then also vegetable glycerin, which is similar to fibre where it has very negligible impact on blood glucose, if any, and that leaves us with somewhere between three and five net carbs per bar. And I actually I wrote, I did research on the keto diet back in 2016. While I was still in school before the keto diet, like became what it is because I was really interested in it because I'd heard of it. And I was doing I was training for a 70.3 Iron Men at the time. And I had heard that a high fat, low carb diet could be beneficial for endurance. So I decided to, to do a research paper on it. And from all the research that I looked at, basically being ketosis, you need to have 50 grammes of net carbs a day or less in order to maintain ketosis. So the three to five grammes that are in an atlas bar, well within that framework,

Cory McKane: 18:27

that's, that's insane, man, I'm pumped that I just learned what you said. alio So what it's called, oh, yeah. allulose Yeah. alila. So Caleb, that litter that? So I mean, a few things off that those things you just said. So, first thing was, I can't think of the name what what is the sugar alternative? And like Diet Coke and stuff like that? aspartame, aspartame. Yeah. So what is allulose and aspartame or whatever? Like how do we compare those two?

James Oliver: 18:49

Yeah, so there. There's a few different types of sweeteners. There are things called non nutritive sweeteners and those are basically sweeteners that have zero calories in them. So that would be aspartame is one of them. aspartame is chemically derived. And I don't think there's any definitive definitive evidence linking aspartame to to diseases but there's some I think, like, kind of circumstantial evidence where it's a little subtle. Yeah, exactly. And then there are other non nutritive sweeteners like monk fruit and stevia, which sure you heard of, and those are naturally derived like Mumford, stevia, those are both plants. And those sweeteners are basically just like dehydrated powders, have those plans, but they have no calories in them. And then allulose allulose is actually more similar. So it is a sugar. So it's very similar to like table sugar from how it looks and how it tastes. But just the way it's metabolised. It has very unique properties. That means it does not get metabolised at all like sugar and it it doesn't impact your blood glucose and has far fewer calories than actual sugar does. So allulose is more like a sugar and aspartame is more like, yeah, more like a monk fruit or stevia.

Cory McKane: 20:03

So would you say like allulose would be the healthiest than stevia? And then I don't know, I don't know why I did this when I did that. But why did you say like allulose is like the healthiest and then stevia and then, like aspartame kind of thing.

James Oliver: 20:15

Yeah, I mean, I would put aspartame probably at the bottom. Just because when you look at allulose and stevia there are it's like any studies that show any connections with any negative health effects. And they're actually for stevia and monk fruit at least there are a bunch of studies that show that consuming it could actually be beneficial for health. But aspartame has none of that and has a bunch of studies showing the opposite. So I put aspartame at the bottom and I think I probably put like most chemically derived sweeteners at the bottom. Another one is sucralose. sucralose is pretty common. And sucralose is the way it's made actually is they they chlorinate table sugar like that's how you chemically make sucralose so chlorine plus sugar, eagles, sucralose and fluorine and sugar are two things are not great for human consumption so difficult to see how something like sucralose would be. So in terms of ranking those sweeteners, I mean, I would put something like a month For stevia, probably at the top because there are no calories associated with it. And there are actually some proven health benefits of consuming them. And then something like allulose output a little below that because even though it's much better for you than sugar, it still is a sugar

Cory McKane: 21:27

gut joka. And I put I used to put stevia on my coffee. So it's good to know that it's not like, you know, aspartame, because when I look at CV, I think of aspartame. So that's, that's good to know.

James Oliver: 21:35

Yeah, it's really funny actually, how most people have that perception around stevia, we actually used to use stevia in the bars. But I kind of saw that in the market people. They think a lot of people think for some reason that stevia is an artificial sweetener, like a fake sugar. And so they avoid it for that reason, even though it is completely naturally derived. But because I saw that I was like, let's, let's switch it to our monkfruit. So we switched to monkfruit instead, which has a much more positive perception. And actually, I think has a better sweetness profile to stevia is pretty sharp, whereas mug for it's a little bit more like rounded.

Cory McKane: 22:10

Yeah, and I mean, it'd be impossible to re educate the entire market. Like, honestly, I could look as if something tastes good, and it's healthy for you. That doesn't make sense. So like, whenever I put stevia in my coffee, I'm like, I'm putting aspartame in my car. That's all I would think. So that's, that's good to know that I wasn't doing that. And I might actually switch back to doing sibiya because like, I hate even though it tastes kind of gross. I got used to it. So, um, but to clarify, so a keto diet is basically like low carb, like, Is there any other elements really to it? Or is that kind of the main main gist?

James Oliver: 22:38

Yeah, I would say keto is a segment of low carb, you can do low carb without being keto keto is short for ketosis. And I don't know if most people know this or realise this. But ketosis is a metabolic state that your body actually enters into, it's when your body instead of using glucose as his primary fuel, it's using ketones, ketone bodies, as its primary fuel. And in order to actually achieve that state, you have to basically empty your body of all of its glucose and glycogen so that your body is forced to burn this other fuel, which are ketones, but it usually takes like anywhere from like one to three days to make that happen of eating like virtually no carbs. And most people in my opinion, who are eating like, quote, unquote, keto aren't actually in ketosis. They're actually eating a low carb diet.

Cory McKane: 23:33

Gotcha. Okay, that's good. Let's see, I learned like 20 things already, or we're just getting really halfway. And so what what makes your guys bars different or better, like in your opinion, or in your whatever, whatever your brand would say? Like, what is your guys thing that would take up from other bars?

James Oliver: 23:49

Yeah, so first thing is the taste and texture. It's funny, because when I was starting out, I prioritise like functionality and the quality of the ingredients. And I was like, pace doesn't really matter, because I, I don't really care that much about taste when I'm eating products, as long as it's really healthy for me. So I, I learned quickly that most people do really care about taste, and most people actually consume things primarily for their tastes. So I started to really formulate the products around how good they taste, and now they taste unbelievable. The one that I have with me right here, it's all meant chocolate chip, but it tastes like a chocolate chip cookie. It's really good. And the rest of them too, we try to make them taste like like things that people recognise. Even though the names are a little more like exotic. So for example, chocolate cacau that's the first flavour that we ever came out with, but it essentially tastes like a brownie. So tastes and textures is number one because I'm sure you've had a number of protein bars that don't taste great sawdust they're actually that was when I was starting out in order to like motivate myself if I was feeling down, I would go to the protein bar section get like a few bars of other questions. And I would just be like if this brand if this product can sell there's absolutely no reason why Atlas bars can't. Yeah, so I do that like in the in the early days. So yeah, taste and texture is number one, the macros are to virtually no sugar in the product. Just one gramme in most of the bars. 15 grammes of Grass Fed Whey protein, the quality of the ingredients, we don't use anything chemical, nothing artificial. And then also that mindfulness piece where you have that functional ingredient that's given you an additional benefit beyond just calories, protein, healthy fats.

Cory McKane: 25:49

Do I love that so much? Because we basically have the exact same experience, but I'm on tech and you're on CPG. So like, the whole user experience thing, like I would go, No, no, they're not going to worry about like, for example, we didn't focus on our mobile website, because I was like, they're gonna be on their computers. Let's focus on the computer and we launched first app last year. And just like everyone, it was like 70% mobile usage, and it just did not Even function and I was like, Oh, crap. And then the second thing you said about how like, you would go test out the shittier companies, basically, I did the same thing. I'm like, I will go to our competitors that are like the worst competitors. And I'd be like, if these guys can make buddy that, why am I not making that much money so that, you know, we grow, we grow, we grow. So I exact same boat. And that's counterintuitive,

James Oliver: 26:33

because it's pretty motivating to do that. Like one of the most common questions I've gotten is like, it's such a competitive space, how do you stand out? And I actually view the competition as a good thing. Because when there's that much competition, then you know that there's substantial demand for the exam. And also, just because this competition does not at all mean that there's quality competition. That's exactly,

Cory McKane: 26:55

exactly we've got some pretty bad competitive, we got some good competitors. We have some really bad vendors, though. Like I've had some pretty decent keto bars, and I've had some that I'm like, I will never put this in my mouth again. So what are the keys to growth that you've experienced so far? Like what you know, how do you go? I mean, obviously, partnerships is massive, like sprouts, we'll just kind of count that one out, because that's obvious. But like, like growing your online because you're running an online business, basically. So like, yeah, how have you gotten people to hate your website or using landing pages, email campaigns, like, What are you guys doing for that?

James Oliver: 27:26

Yeah, in my opinion, the most important thing for growth is making sure customers just absolutely love you. And you can, you can really prove this with an equation. And that's like customer retention. The more customers you retain, the faster you're going to grow, because you're going to acquire customers at some rate, and you have a certain number of customers and your base and the customers that you retain, that's how big your base is going to stay over time. And the more customers you retain, the fewer you have to acquire in order to grow. But for instance, if you're only if you're only retaining like 10% of your customers, that means for every 100 customers you acquired, you only have 10 that are actually staying so you're losing 90 customers for every 100 you acquire. So making sure that customers really love the product and that you're treating them. Well. That's been something that I focused on a tonne myself, I've answered. I don't even know how many customer tickets personally, and I ran customer support myself for like three years. Because, yeah, it's just it's so important. And there are so many instances where somebody would write in there would be disappointed or upset or angry. And just taking one to two minutes to write a thoughtful reply and actually treating them like humans, and like acknowledging their frustration, listening to them, and doing something about it completely changed them, and they became actual advocates for the brand. And I think that if you can do that enough, and you do that sustainably, then you develop that word of mouth marketing, that is the most powerful type of marketing. Like if your friend tells you like, dude, you gotta check this out. That's way more powerful than hearing any podcast advertisement, any Facebook ad, any billboard, word of mouth is definitely the most powerful. So that's something that we we really focus hard on. And if you look at the most successful companies in the world, like apple, I think Apple's lifetime retention rate is like 99%, if you get caught in the apple ecosystem, and you can't leave, because you don't want to be that person that has the green bubble in the group chat. So they get you in there and nobody ever leaves. So they grow extremely quickly and profitably, because they only have to acquire that many customers in order to do so.

Cory McKane: 29:45

I love that. Yeah, I mean, good customer service is the number one way for sure. Like word of mouth is so powerful. And and with that being said, it's about like business stuff from a business for your business. So typically, a CPG brand is going to just have a one off sale, and then like hopefully they come back but you guys actually have an MRR model with your subscription. So like how did that come about? How's that going? And can you break down with the subscription is?

James Oliver: 30:10

Yeah, sure. So yeah, the majority of the sales that we do through our website are on subscription. And early on, I realised that the product we had was kind of perfect for our subscription model. Most subscriptions. Besides like SAS, tech subscriptions are consumables things that you consume, and then you need to replenish. And bars are like a perfect example of that, especially because they're pretty easy to ship. Like there are other things that are also consumables, but because they're heavy, it doesn't really make sense from a unit economic standpoint, like beverages, for instance, super heavy, which means it's really costly to ship them. So yeah, we've really focused on building that experience, but building experience that really works for you. Because a lot of companies they just make a subscription model in order to extract as much money as possible from customers and we really want to make a model That customers feel really flexible. And they can toggle on and off whenever they want to, we make it extremely easy to cancel or delay or skip, all you got to do is send us a message and just say like, cancel, and we'd say no problem. Here we go, you're all set. We don't, we don't try to lock people in to anything that they haven't agreed to a lot of customers, we've learned are super wary of subscriptions, because they've had so many negative experiences with different brands online, who take advantage of them by saying, in the fine print, like you have to have a minimum of three months subscription in order to sign up for this and people feel burns, and they just feel it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. So we want to be the exact opposite of that. And we've curated a really unique experience where customers can actually build their own box on our website, and that we're the first in the industry to do that. And still one of the only ones that have that. But the reason we want to do that was because when you go into a store, and you're buying bars, or you're buying most foods, you're not buying like 15 of a single pack, you're buying like one of this flavour to have that flavour and we wanted to replicate that experience online. So it took a significant investment on our part, both from a tech standpoint and a operation standpoint to make it happen. But the result is that you can completely customise a box of your own choice. And we have I think over like 200,000 possible combinations that you could create, because it's completely customizable. And our customers absolutely love that. It's it definitely takes more work on our part to pull it off. But it's worth it because our customers really love it. And that's what's most important to us.

Cory McKane: 32:58

I love the automatic go check out a box myself after the after the podcast man left. I like I got a lot of varieties of my flavour choices. So we'll we'll see what we can get going. And can you give me a day in the life like what is your like a typical boom, wake up to go to bed timeline?

James Oliver: 33:15

Yeah, so I usually wake up around six. And then one of the first things I'll do is usually meditate immediately. For like, probably 15 minutes a day, I found it's just helpful just to kind of clear the mind I used to wake up do most people do, I think just grab your phone like start checking notifications, checking email, hey,

Cory McKane: 33:37

well don't don't don't like.

James Oliver: 33:40

It's I mean, it's tough to it is tough to resist that. But I found that for me, if I do that, you immediately just start reacting to the day. So like, if you open your inbox, you're just reacting automatically to the information that came in overnight. And starting off with something like meditation allows me to kind of be a little bit more intentional as I go throughout my day. And then always doing some kind of exercise, either running or bodyweight stuff. I'm a big fan of push ups and pull ups just because you can do them really anywhere without any equipment. And I've been travelling a good amount. So that's a huge perk for me. And then usually I get down to work and about eight, I try to clear my calendar in the morning for the first two hours of the day, just so I can focus on like, what I call like deep work. So like longer term focused projects that I want to have an uninterrupted time for. And then after that period from 10 onwards, I usually have meetings until like 5pm or so and then after 5pm I'm working on all the stuff that I wasn't able to do when I'm in meetings probably stopped working around seven or so and then get outside do something social read for a bit before I go to sleep at night and probably in in bed like 930 in sleep by 10

Cory McKane: 35:03

There we go. There we go solid day. Um, yeah, my I needed like, this morning, I was very tired. I gave myself like an early morning to just like chill and I was on ticked off like 45 minutes, but usually I'm up and about the gym ready to go. So I took took a little bit of a morning off today. Um, so what is something that you want to tell our listeners? Like, go get Atlas bars? Like let's uh, you know, get a get a subscription? Padlet? What's something you like unique about your company? Like anything that you want to get out? Now's the time.

James Oliver: 35:33

Yeah, I mean, we we have a sample pack on our site, we have two versions of it. That's awesome for anybody that's just looking to try the product. One version of it's 10 bucks, and the other version is 15 bucks a month. 15 is just a one time and the one that's 10 is it's basically a trial of the subscription that I've described a minute ago. But we wanted to make a really easy like cost effective way for anybody to try the product. And I think again, we were one of the first first in the space to create a sample pack. But yeah, we didn't want to have an entry price point of like 3040 bucks or something that you never tried before. So yeah, you haven't tried them, I would definitely recommend giving them a shot. They're, they're really unbelievable. They keep you full for an exceptionally long time. Like it feels almost weird how long he stay full for like three to four hours easily. And actually most of our customers use it as a meal replacement because they are so satiating and filling and you feel better when you have them. You don't feel any crash. It's sustained energy. And you feel like you're making a healthy positive choice for your body, that you're actually investing in yourself. Which is always something that feels good.

Cory McKane: 36:48

As incredible man, I might I might become a lifer for this product because I I buy the Costco like bulk shitty like peanut butter protein bar thingies. And I just like eat like for a day. It's so bad. I just like I can't help myself the taste. I think I had to last night just by just last night. I was like, I'm hungry. I deserve one. And so it's like, it's embarrassing. But anyways, I can't wait to try the sample back. Where do you see it? Sorry, Atlas bar Atlas bars to clarify, I know there's a plural but like, what do you guys go by especially?

James Oliver: 37:18

Funny story. Our website is Atlas bars. But we go by Atlas bar. The reason that our website is Atlas bars is because when I was starting out and I went to get the domain name for Atlas bar, it was 20 grand. And so I just threw an S on to it. And Atlas bars.com was 99 cents. So I picked that one up. That's,

Cory McKane: 37:39

I feel like it's usually not that big of a drop in price. A job that you're like, oh, let me think about this. Okay, gotcha. Okay, so what do you see Atlas bar aka Atlas bars.com in the next couple of years, like where are you guys goals for growth?

James Oliver: 37:54

Yeah, so we're looking to grow pretty aggressively over the next few years. Basically, we've been doubling year over year since I started the business in 2017. And we're looking to continue that trajectory over the next three years or so. So we're we're growing rapidly, we've more than doubled the size the team this past year, we are expanding into probably 2000 retail locations by the end of this year, which is up from 300 at the end of last year, as our subscribers for this year have already tripled if not more than that from last year. So we're in we're in all out growth mode right now. But our goal is really to become a functional fitness brand that people can go to we're starting with bars and we'll probably stay in bars for the foreseeable future but becoming a functional fitness brand that people can can really trust you can feel good about the ingredients that we're using in the products and basically becoming the equivalent of what what Gatorade was to the 20th century to the 21st century a performance nutrition brand that helps you fuel all all aspects of your lifestyle.

Cory McKane: 39:14

I love that I'm literally order a bar right now. Can't wait. Thanks so much for coming on the podcast. James. I'll be sure to put all of your links and everything people can go check you out in the podcast info and have an awesome rest of your week, man. Yeah, thank you. This is awesome. Really appreciate the time. Absolutely, man.