People are too busy to prepare a proper diet, and food intolerances are one of the top challenges people have to face. Gutsii is the solution that is simple, convenient and affordable.
Name: Gutsii Pty Ltd.
Product / Service Offering: Functional Snack Foods
Founder Interviewed: Janine Zappini
Other Key Management Team Members: Tamara Loehr
This article is part of our Women Entrepreneurs Spotlight Series featuring female entrepreneurs and their companies. We hope these founders’ interviews will inspire and motivate you as you undertake your own entrepreneurial journey.
Tell us a little about yourself with a focus on what motivates you.
My focus and passion lliein simple, ethical, honest, healthy, convenient, great tasting functional snack solutions. It is a mouthful, but I know that we can have it all. The food/diet industry gets more confusing by the day. Available information is incredibly overwhelming. My purpose is to find solutions that tick all the boxes and create simple, convenient and affordable solutions.
When did you establish your company and where did the idea originate?
Gutsii is my third company and was established in early 2018. The idea for functional snack foods specifically grew with my frustration on time I spent on snack preparation, consumption of supplements and the money I invested in both. I was determined to create a solution for snack foods that is convenient, affordable, meets a list of dietary requirements and tastes amazing at the same time. I did not want to compromise on either nor did I want anyone else to miss out. I was determined to provide the best solutions possible with the best quality.
What need or needs does your company seek to fill for its customers?
Gutsii provides the following:
- Dietary requirements (for example: vegan, keto, sugar/gluten/dairy free, low carb, etc.)
- Healthier, clean, simple snack solutions
- Improve gut health
What is the one thing that sets your company apart from its competitors?
Most companies that focus on cleaner food solutions, generally focus on one or two dietary requirements. I do not believe that is enough anymore. Foods have to be as dense in nutrition and its functionality as possible. Unfortunately, we do not get the nutrition anymore like we used to from just eating vegetables and meat due to the lack of nutrition in our soil. Additionally, most people are too busy nowadays to prepare the best health solutions. To top it all off, gut health and food intolerances are one of the top challenges people have to face. We are focusing on all of the above and more.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while getting your company up and running, and how did you overcome it?
We faced three challenges that were the most crucial to get the business up and running.
- Creating the right recipes and product concept.
Solution: Years of trial and error, listening to consumers, taste testing and market research
- Finding the right manufacturing partners.
Solutions: A combination of trialing factories globally as well as with already established relationships. Building close relationships is key, you have to support and trust each other.
- Securing seed capital to finance a launch for Australia and the United States.
Solution: We raised capital large enough to expand the business across Australia and the United States.
Are there resources you have utilized that other founders might find compelling or useful?
I have learned to ask when I need support. The secret is to learn what your strengths and weaknesses are. Only then do you focus on your priorities. That way you will know how to allocate tasks and put experts in charge of your weakest areas. Ask for favors wherever you can and ensure you return those wherever possible. Nurture relationships and be grateful.
What steps have you taken to secure funding for your company and what, if anything, would you do differently if you had to start over?
We tapped into our immediate network. Investors around us knew us as business owners/operators and our track records. They have followed and seen what we have created. Thus, they trusted the value we can build and the understanding of market trends. We are very fortunate to have investors on-board who fully trust and support us, to whom we can reach out to when needed. I would not change anything, I am very grateful for all the support we are receiving and the people who believe in us and the business.
Have there been any questions you have had as an entrepreneur of a fledgling startup that you had a particularly hard time finding the answers to?
There are so many questions on a daily basis I do not have the answers to. I have been doing this for 10 years. Every business is unique and you cannot prepare for a smooth ride in the first 12 months in particular. However, if I really had to pinpoint to anything in specifically, I would be the most concerned about the way we communicate to our consumers. The message we are trying to get across and our voice, while keeping it simple and interesting. There is no straight forward answer. Truth is, you have to start communicating and listen to your customers. Their response is key to your business. Try to do as much consumer research as possible before you launch.
What challenges, if any, are you grappling with?
Right now it is timelines. With product businesses, you always work towards a launch date. You can be as organized as you possibly can; however, we prepared to expect the unexpected and leave enough room for delays. Communicate with all parties involved as much as possible to ensure you are all on the same page and working on the best possible outcomes for everyone.
What is the most helpful tip or “hack” you’ve ever learned, stumbled across, or been given?
My first mentor taught me these 8 wise words. “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”. I live by these words every day since. It is my number one rule.
Is there anything else you would like to share about your company?
Gutsii has a range of functional sugar free prebiotic chocolates and six in one shakes. We would love to hear which one of your favorite snack foods you would like to see turned in a healthier, functional snack.
Advice to female entrepreneurs…
Fill up your bucket first, only then can you fill other peoples’ bucket. It might be challenging; however, it may be the most crucial path to your success. Do not feel guilty about living your dreams, as it is the purpose of your existence. Do what makes you happy; everything else will fall into place.
Are you familiar with other Women-led startups? If so, we would like to hear from you. Tell us about them in the comments below!