Editor's Spotlight: Startup Focus

Organic sports nutrition startup finds its niche with health-conscious mums and teachers

By Nikki Cutler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Motion Nutrition range
Motion Nutrition range
A former professional swimmer is making a splash in the sports nutrition sector with his 'genuinely healthy' organic supplements for physical and mental performance.

Joseph Welstead, a 2014 Common Wealth Games finalist, has co-founded the brand Motion Nutrition after finding himself longing for sports nutrition products that don't pose a risk to his long-term health.

Growing up in France, Welstead says he developed a love of healthy and fresh food right from the starting line but it was when training as a swimmer at the university in Scotland that he realised he needed to up his nutritional game to boost his performance.

“I went from training 12 hours a week to 25 hours a week and I realised I needed to fuel myself better, and by 'better' I mean 'more'!

“That was when I really started experimenting with how I can tweak my nutrition and get the most out of it for incremental gains, and that’s where my interest in sports nutrition began.

“I got great results – I increased my performance every single season which was pretty exceptional, but I was left with a sense of frustration as I was cooking healthy meals but when I wanted to supplement my diet throughout the day I was taking products filled with additives that weren’t good for my long-term health.

“I think this was quite a strange mindset to have in comparison to most professional athletes who are willing to take whatever's needed to improve their performance!”

After retiring after the 2014 Commonwealth Games he started working for a sports management agency in London, owned by Charles Matthews.

Motion Nutrition founders
Joseph Welstead, co-founder and CEO and Charles Matthews, co-founder and COO

After a few months working together, the men started discussing their shared disappointment in supplements on the market.

“At the same time, we realised the commercial opportunity as there was a lot more interest in sports nutrition coming from those with more health ambitions than pure sports performance.

“But whilst the market was evolving, the products weren’t evolving to meet their needs, some brands were changing their marketing or branding but the products themselves were the same old formulas.”

It was then that they decided to create their own range of high quality, approachable, organic and ‘genuinely healthy’ supplements to meet the demands of all health-conscious consumers.

Self-funding their new venture, the men launched Motion Nutrition in January 2016 with a sizeable 12-strong range.

“We decided to put all our resources into launching with a really strong range. We didn’t want to just release one or two products as that might be perceived as a hippy product as opposed to a trust worthy brand with a full range of products all following the same ethos.”

joseph motion
Joseph Welstead

For body and mind

The line of products has changed very little since launch and still includes the vegan and whey protein shakes and a number of sports supplements.

All contain all-natural ingredients. The recovery shake includes vegan protein, coconut electrolytes, Maqui berry (for sweetness), and Maitake mushroom (for immunity). The energise pre-workout blend includes matcha green tea, guarana, Lucuma (for energy) and Panax Ginseng (for mental clarity).

The only additions to the line-up are the Nootropics products.

Nootropics Power Up contains L-Tyrosine for better decision making, Korean Panax Ginseng for mental clarity, Gotu Kola to improve circulation in the brain, and Lion’s Mane mushroom to support brain protection mechanisms.

Nootropics Unplug contains Ashwagandha to sooth anxiety, Montmorency Cherry and Bacopa Monnieri for better sleep and L-Theanine for feelings of calm.

unplug

Welstead says he takes both every day.

“I find they make a really difference. Personally, I found I got real bad decision fatigue at the end of the day, to the point where the simplest decision could make me quite irritated.

"Power Up helps keep your mind feel fresh and effective.

“The Unplug helps me to switch off and I find I get a restful night’s sleep every night.”

Nootropics might be trendy now but mental and physical enhancement combined has been the brand’s aim from the beginning.

“Our physical and mental performance go hand in hand and we talk about this with all our products, not just

power up

our nootropics.

“We want to help our shoppers to gain stable focus and energy levels and enjoy their life to the fullest and that’s not only a physical enhancement.”

The emerging market: Mums and teachers

The brand has attracted more females than males, which Welstead attributes to the fact women tend to put more importance on the organic, natural and healthy ingredients in the products.

Interestingly though, he says mothers have become a big part of their shopper demographic.

“We’ve noticed mums are buying the products for their husbands and children.

"Imagine, in a household where the mum does the weekly shop, they’re making sure their family eats healthily but the they see their family is buying unhealthy supplements on the side, so they’re taking it into their own hands to find healthier alternatives for them.”

He says he's even been contacted by some schools who are struggling to know what to say when parents ask them for advice about healthy sports nutrition options for their children.

“I think, because we look trustworthy and we have the organic label and our ingredients are essentially just food in condensed forms, they often choose us as the healthy option they’re after.”

Expanding opportunities

After undergoing a full re-brand at the start of this year, the packaging is now even more approachable than before, as well as being completely compostable and plastic free.

The packaging boasts very gender neutral bright and bold colours created to stand out in the retail environment, as opposed to online.

The brand certainly seems to be hitting the mark with retailers as Welstead admits they haven’t really put any time or money into marketing their company yet many health food shops in London now stock the products and they’ve even secured a national listing with Holland and Barrett.

Now with five full time members of staff, the company is looking to continue to build its presence in the UK before expanding across Europe.

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