Your Name: Hallie Rich

Business Name: alternaVites, a maker of non-pill multivitamins

Type of Business: Health & Beauty

Business Location: New York, New York, United States

Twitter @alternaVites

Reason for starting
I am the third generation in my family to be part of the vitamin industry as formulators, manufacturers and marketers. Over the years, the most common question I had been asked is “What vitamins do you take?” and my answer had always been the same…“None. I can’t swallow pills.” I had to admit to everyone that I couldn’t benefit from the vitamins that I not only spent years promoting, but that I also passionately believed in. Since I wasn’t experiencing any of the benefits that so many studies report or that I had personally witnessed, I became very aware of the fact that vitamins can’t help if you can’t take them. When I discovered that I was not alone, and that everyone had reasons or excuses as to why they didn’t take vitamins, I was motivated to create a new product that is versatile, accessible and fits into everyone’s lifestyle.

How do you define success?
I define success in two ways. First, that people are liking and continually taking our products. This means that we have helped to make vitamins more accessible and are helping people lead healthier lives. Second, is making sure our products are available to people wherever they live and shop and that is something we are continuing to work on.

Biggest Success
I think our biggest success has been the overall response to the products. On the consumer side, it has been amazing to see that we have given people a product that has eliminated excuses as to why they can’t take vitamins. From children to adults, we have heard from so many that not only do they now take vitamins daily, but they look forward to it…even kids! We have developed a network of true fans of alternaVites who have helped to spread the word about our products and validate its reason for being. On the industry side, we have won numerous awards and distinctions for both the product itself and its innovation. To be recognized in this manner is truly humbling. Moreover, we have also garnered wonderful reviews from local and national press (including the Today Show), resounding approval from the mom-blogger community and praise from respected pediatric dentists and nutritionists.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Very often, vitamins (especially the multivitamin segment) are viewed as a commodity item, as the category is filled with many undifferentiated products that offer little or no perceived differences. I believe we have done an outstanding job of re-energizing the category, letting consumers know that there are many new factors that can drive purchase decision when it comes to a multi. alternaVites has provided both adults and children with a solution to the many problems associated with taking a multivitamin each day. Whether it be difficulty swallowing pills (it’s a powder), horrible taste (the flavors are delicious), the consumer forgets (they come in portable stick packs), or problems with formulation (these are free of animal products, sugar, additives, colors, preservatives, etc), we came up with a solution with which to combat it.

Who is your most important role model?
My father was my most important role model because he was masterful at making sure science and quality were just as important as getting out the message to consumers. He was also extremely loyal and generous to those he worked with. Most importantly, he never forgot those for whom he made products for and what it is they are looking for in supplements and in trying to make healthy choices. Having had the honor of working by his side for many years, I remember the lessons he taught me.