Alison Stroh, Dr Coy’s Health Foods
18th June 2015
Every month we speak to women entrepreneurs who have just launched into the business world.
In the hot seat for June’s Women Who Launch is: Alison Stroh, co-founder of Dr Coy’s Health Foods.
The Elevator Pitch
I founded Dr. Coy’s Health Foods Ltd. in Ireland in 2014 to offer innovative, patented, healthy chocolate and beverages based on the medical research of biologist and oncologist Dr. Coy.
Based in Greystones, the co-promoters of Dr. Coy’s Health Foods Ltd. are Dr. Johannes Coy and Aaron O’Donohue. We also have two people who assist with sales and marketing. Our short-term aspiration is to upscale marketing and advertising for the current nutritional chocolate range as well as to ensure the successful launch of our new beverage line early next year. We are now looking at a global rollout and our longer term goal is become the brand for innovative, scientific research-based, healthy nutrition.
Initially the company was self-financed and is now talking to potential investors. We received funding through the Hothouse New Frontiers Programme and have also been awarded Enterprise Ireland’s Competitor Start Fund.
We have identified 4 key critical Target Market Segments for our Flagship chocolate range as well as our exciting future drink range :
– Female household gatekeeper between the ages of 35 and 55
– Sports Enthusiast
– Free From Consumers, (aged 24-45)
Brands You Love
I have to say I love Apple – the simplicity it has given my life everyday with my mac, iPhone, iTunes, iPod. I am so grateful to have FaceTime – my husband is currently on extended travel for work and having the ability to talk on the go when suits us, despite time zones, is wonderful. Once you know when and how to turn all these devices off, I believe they are amazing!
Biggest ‘Win’ To Date
I believe having the opportunity to participate in the SuperValu Food Academy programme. This provides us with a launching pad to sell our products nationwide. It has also given us an invaluable opportunity to meet an amazing bunch of determined food producers with fantastic food products. However we are also thankful to have the opportunity to sell into the likes of Avoca and Brown Thomas.
Biggest ‘Slap in the Face’
On the 29th of April this year our warehouse and fulfillment facility caught on fire and we lost all of our stock and marketing materials. We pretty much had to start the business from scratch while stressing about business continuity. I’m not sure who slapped us in the face that day but we are still getting back on our feet from the incident.
Despite all the business planning, as in life there are always going to be things obstacles along the way you simply cannot plan for!
Are You Social When It Comes To Media?
Social Media is critical for Dr. Coy’s Health Foods Ltd. We currently use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and to some extent Pinterest. We hope to launch our YouTube video shortly as video has become an invaluable medium for brand communication. It also enables us to network online with similar healthy food enthusiasts and to create an effective social business network.
Technology and Innovation
Our goal in launching these products was to bring innovative nutrition born out of Dr. Coy’s groundbreaking medical research to market. Dr. Coy discovered the TKTL1 gene in 1995 enabling research of the relationship between cancer cells, sugar and health. Our unique nutritional chocolate was patented due to the certified health benefits that it offers.
If You Had A Blank Cheque
Ok considering only the business side: I would upscale our marketing spend to let the wider market know about the unique certified health benefits our products have to offer. I’m a firm believer in cutting out refined sugar out of the diet. I believe many people when on specific “diets” fall of the bandwagon as sugary treats are too easy to succumb to.
We offer with our chocolate bars a guilt-free treat that avoids the sugar spikes and more importantly the spikes in insulin production. This is possibly the single largest benefit to our lifelong health outlook. I would use the same cheque to help launch our exciting beverage range, which is currently being developed at an international level.
Best Advice To Pass On
Make plans but don’t be ground to them. Be flexible as so many factors in particularly in starting your own business will not work out as you planned them!