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AMA: Chris McDonnell, founder of Black Label Creations

AMA: Chris McDonnell, founder of Black Label Creations

Nosey as we are, we love interviewing founders and business leaders to find out what makes them tick.

Yesterday, we interviewed Chris McDonnell, founder of one of the UK’s fastest-growing private label supplement and nutrition companies, Black Label Creations.

Hi Chris! Let’s kick this off by learning a bit more about your company…

Black Label Creations is fast becoming the UK’s number one go-to for bespoke private label supplements & nutrition products.

We’ve got a very strong team who live for product development, exceptional branding and superior ingredients. We are all extremely passionate about creating and launching high-quality nutrition products into the market.

We have a huge list of bespoke nutrition products that we can develop, and with our simple 5-step NPD process, we take the typical headaches away from developing new products to market. The result is that we deliver quality finished goods, every time.

So if you have an idea, bring it to us and we can make it happen!

How did the idea for your company come about?

Prior to creating my company, I was Head of Product Development for a supplement company called Protein World.

The idea came about after I did some work on the side as a consultant for a startup business entering the sports nutrition market. They needed a lot of help developing and launching their first products (a protein bar and powder range) and spent months struggling with the typical industry suppliers and manufacturers.

It was through this process that I noticed the range of problems within the industry that needed solving. Products were not being developed effectively with price, quality and speed in mind. This gave brand owners more headaches than solutions when it came to developing new bespoke products from concept to launch.

What’s the big aim?

Our mission is to provide businesses with a one-stop solution for high-quality branding and bespoke product development. Our ethos delivers unique and high-quality finished products that help our clients stand out from the crowd in a busier than ever marketplace.

Our biggest goal is to do this on a global scale with a presence in the USA and Australia and to cross into other consumable goods industries such as cosmetics.

Can you share any practical tips or processes to help people work remotely?

Number one, use ​good software to keep productivity high.

Two, use project management software such as Trello, or Asana to streamline operations.

I would also advise a good communicative platform for passing on information around the team. Everyone is most familiar with WhatsApp, but this can get too hectic when there are too many projects are going on, so I would suggest Slack.

Zoom is a must for meetings and for face-to-face interaction!

How do you keep your team aligned?

I regularly remind the team of the vision. Of what our goals and mission are. What our values are and what we believe in. When the team believes in the same values, it’s easier for them to make decisions and steer in the right direction.

Who has had the most impact on your life, and the decisions you make in business?

​My Dad, who had an incredibly successful career within the Ministry of Defence as a research scientist. He was very supportive of my risky jump into entrepreneurship and his advice, particularly in my early career was absolutely invaluable.

I still seek counsel from him when certain key issues arise and tough decisions need to be made.

What is the biggest mistake you’ve made as an entrepreneur?

Not having tight enough business contracts. The legal side of the business is sometimes the last thing on the mind when excited by sales and growth, but it can be the costliest if it’s not done correctly. In our third year, we heavily invested into this area.

What impact has your Vestd share scheme made to your business?

Without an experienced Investor in my journey, and as a bootstrapped founder and CEO, I have been heavily reliant on advice from the expertise within my team. It is often how I make key decisions through the counsel of my team.

As a startup, to build an A-team of true experts within their fields, you must find very skilled people who are willing to get behind your vision and sacrifice in the beginning for the greater reward later on.

The share options scheme enabled me to entice key people into the team. They are invested in the company for the financial long run. Their shares and investment grow as the company grows, which is perfect for motivation and loyalty.

I’m very thankful for the Vestd option scheme as it took the headache away from the whole process.

No problem Chris, we are happy to have helped you on your way! Ok, so big question coming up, if you could resurrect any long-gone genius for advice, who would it be and why?

Steve Jobs. Given the massive amount of success and fame he achieved within business, there would be so much value in the advice given.

Probably the most important question here so I want you to give this some serious thought.

Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter or the Marvel Universe?

Lord of The Rings.

Solid choice. Cheers Chris, and thanks for your time!

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