Lauren Bensadoun is the Cofounder of BUZZD Nutrition, a food and beverage company that produces dairy free superfood creamer products, using ingredients such as Turmeric, MCT oil and Cinnamon.
Lauren studied Civil Engineering at Queens University and got her MBA from UNSW in Australia. Her analytic skills have been key to building BUZZD Nutrition with her Cofounder Alex Burrows. She is responsible for managing the finances, operations and social media of BUZZD Nutrition.
In our interview with Lauren we explore her origin story , entrepreneurial journey and her career influences.
We also look at the value proposition of BUZZD Nutrition and how they went about creating BUZZD Nutrition recipes.
Lauren was also kind enough to provide advice to new and aspiring entrepreneurs on how to launch and grow their businesses.
Hello Lauren. Thank you for participating in this Q&A session. Please give us an overview of your background and career to date?
Lauren: My career actually started in Engineering. I studied Civil Engineering at Queen's University and then worked in the field for a couple of years before leaving to do my MBA. I realized I really hated the engineering industry, and was really passionate about business, but I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to do. During my MBA I found a real passion for entrepreneurship and knew I wanted to start a business of some sort. I tried getting a few start-ups off the ground but none of them were the winning idea, and they all ultimately failed. I ended up joining Deloitte as a Senior Strategy Consultant, and then one day we came up with the idea for BUZZD and we knew we finally had a winner!
Looking back, my background as an Engineer, my MBA, my consulting experience, and all my failed start-up attempts prepared me so well for starting BUZZD!
What are the key challenges you have faced in your career as an entrepreneur, and how have you manage them?
Lauren: There are endless challenges as an entrepreneur! Each day I'm faced with something brand new that I've never had to deal with before and I have to constantly learn and adapt very quickly. When we first started BUZZD, we thought we could make and launch the product within a couple months... it ended up taking us a whole year and significantly more money than we expected! That's one of the biggest challenges.. things take more time and more money than you realize, and you constantly feel like you're not moving fast enough!
Has your entrepreneurial journey been influenced by any past or present business leaders?
Lauren: Michele Romanow was someone I really looked up to! She also studied Civil Engineering at Queen's, so I could really relate to her! I thought it was so cool and impressive that she went in a completely different direction after her degree. Up until then, I thought if you get an engineering degree, you have to stay in that field forever otherwise it was a waste of time and money- but she really opened up my perspective that there's so much more out there beyond engineering!
Arlene Dickinson is another bad-ass that I really look up to! She cares so much about the food and beverage industry in Canada, and she does so much to help support small businesses in this space!
Now that I'm in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, I am learning from and looking up to someone new every day. Each brand has an amazing story, and there's something I can learn from all of them.
What’s the origin story behind your startup BUZZD Nutrition?
Lauren: BUZZD all started because of some bad joint pain I was having! I love F45, but the high-intensity workouts were giving me a lot of pain in my knees and lower back. I knew that taking supplements would help me and would help to optimize my body, but I just hated taking pills, powders on the market tasted bad, and there was nothing that I would remember to take consistently (and consistency is key if you actually want to see benefits!). So my partner (and co-founder) Alex created a blend that I could add into my daily coffee! Something that tasted great, was dairy-free, and full of incredible supplements! Once he came up with the idea I knew we had a real winner! There was nothing like it on the market and it's such a great solution for a problem that most people have!
What makes your Turmeric Superfood Creamer unique when compared to other products in a similar category?
Lauren: Most turmeric products out there taste terrible. The only way to have them is by adding them into your smoothie so you can mask the flavor, and even then it can be hard to mask! Our product is unique in that it actually tastes great and can be added right into your morning coffee to add a nice flavor but also to ensure consistency! We also stand out in the ingredients we use, not just focusing on Turmeric but adding in other amazing ingredients like MCT oil and Cinnamon to make it an all around great blend!
Our Turmeric blend is amazing for reducing inflammation, supporting brain function, and eliminating those unwanted coffee jitters.
What’s the story behind your recipe for creating Turmeric Superfood?
Lauren: To be honest it took us a VERY long time to create this recipe... It was a lot of trial and error! We used to drop off little plastic bags of our blend with our neighbors and friends, in exchange ask for feedback. People really didn't like it at first so we had to keep iterating and iterating until we got the perfect recipe!
At first we were just really focused on the health benefits, but we quickly learned that if it doesn't taste amazing then people won't take it, even if it has amazing health benefits. We've just finalized a second recipe for a new blend coming out, and this one took about 4 months to finalize, so we're getting quicker!
How does BUZZD Nutrition manage its supply chain to ensure it has enough inventory for production? Additionally, did the pandemic impact your supply chain in any way?
Lauren: Inventory management has been tough for us. We've run out of stock a couple times since launching. Luckily for us our product has a very long shelf life (16 months) so we started just ordering ingredients and making inventory in bulk so that we don't have to worry about going out of stock again. The pandemic didn't hit us too hard on the creamers, but for our milk frothers it really killed us. Shipping the milk frothers from overseas cost us an arm and a leg and the lead time was something like 6 months! It was INSANE, and cost us an absolute fortune.
What is BUZZD Nutrition‘s geographical reach and expansion plans for the future?
Lauren: Right now we are shipping to Canada & the US, but our retail focus is in Canada for now. We think it's important to build our business here in our backyard, and then when we feel we've tapped the Canadian market potential, we'll move down south! But for now there is still a ton of growth we can still accomplish here in Canada!
What advice do you have for new and aspiring entrepreneurs trying to launch/grow their business?
Lauren: Talk to as many other entrepreneurs as you can! No one will understand your struggles or be able to give you better advice than someone who is right there in the trenches with you.
I couldn't believe how amazing the network of entrepreneurs is here in Canada! Everyone is willing to talk, give advice, share resources etc.
Another piece of advice is to stop every now and then and be proud of any accomplishments you've made to date! Being an entrepreneur is HARD, and it's relentless. There is always another challenge ahead and you constantly feel like you're drowning... the only way to keep your spirit going is to look back on all your progress!
Even if it's something small like finalizing your packaging design, getting your website ready, getting your first 5 star review... whatever it is, don't forget to appreciate the good moments because that's what will keep you motivated through the hard days!
Before concluding the interview, is there anything else you would like to add? Lauren: If there are any budding entrepreneurs out there that want to chat, please don't hesitate to reach out! I'll always make time to share my experiences and share any advice & resources that I have. There were so many people who have helped me (and continue to help me) along my journey, and I will always pay that forward! The best way to reach out would be on LinkedIn!
Thank you Lauren for participating in this Q&A session, we wish you and BUZZD Nutrition all the best.
Lauren: Thank you!
This article was originally published in Issue 11 of The Business Anecdote Magazine. To download your free copy subscribe at https://www.thebusinessanecdote.com/subscription