Caitlyn Vanderhaeghe is the President, CEO & Co-Founder of KidStar Nutrients, a clean and natural supplement brand formulated just for kids. Outside of running a company, she is a well-known mommy blogger, published children’s author, certified teacher and health advocate. Her love of all things natural health was the motivation that propelled her to develop nutritional supplements that only contain essential nutrients.
On this episode, Caitlyn explains the philosophy and inspiration behind KidStar Nutrients’, Along with concerns about the industry at large. On-going issues like lack of product development and lack of product enhancement are reasons she felt compelled to build her own brand. Additionally, she offers up insightful advice to women on a similar journey and shares her thoughts on how best to develop leadership skills.
Today’s episode is hosted by Diana Fryc of Retail Voodoo, connect with her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dianafryc/
-The Philosophy behind the KidStar Nutrients brand and product
-On-going issues and problems in the supplement industry and community at large
-The importance of supplementing kids diets
ABOUT THE GUEST:
President & CEO, KidStar Nutrients
00:00 | Introduction
02:30 | Products Produced with Clean Ingredients
04:27 | Pivoting in a Pandemic & Supply Chain Issues
06:45 | Supplements with a Guiding Philosophy
08:32 | Shifting Product Expectations
09:52 | Known Issues in the Supplements Industry
12:31 | Supplements Are a Family Tradition
16:22 | Mother Mentorship & Career Advice
19:52 | Creating a Competitive Edge in the Marketplace
22:14 | Advice for Aspiring Women Entrepreneurs
29:33 | Product Launch in The United States
31:52 | The Importance of Supplementing Kids’ Diets
33:15 | Kid Nutrient Market
33:53 | Quality Products with Real Ingredients
38:06 | Learn More About Caitlyn Vanderhaeghe
This episode is brought to you by Retail Voodoo. A brand consultancy focused on building, growing, and revitalizing brands in the food, beverage, health, and wellness industries. If you are ready to find a partner that will help your business create a high-impact strategy that gives your brand an advantage, please visit retail-voodoo.com/contact to set up a discovery call today.
Produced by Heartcast Media
Diana: Hi, Diana Fryc here. I’m the host of the Gooder podcast where I get to talk with the powerhouse women in the food, beverage, and Wellness Industries categories about their journeys to success and their insights on the industry. This episode is brought to you by Retail Voodoo, a brand development firm providing strategic brand and design services for brands in the food, wellness, and beverage industries. Our clients include Starbucks, Kind RCI, PepsiCo, High Key, and many other market leaders. So if your goal is to crush your competition by driving growth and disrupting the marketplace with new and innovative ideas, give us a call and let’s talk. You can learn more at retail hyphen voodoo dot com. Well, today I get to introduce Caitlin Vander Haig, who is the president and CEO of Kids Star Nutrients, a Canadian nutritional supplements company that makes clean nutrients for kids and families. Her experience spans over a decade of supply chain and ingredient sourcing in the natural product industry. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in education and social sciences, which I think is important as we talk about some of the things that you’re doing right now. And a mother of three daughters. Caitlin is an advocate for clean ingredients and kid’s foods and supplements. Well, hello and welcome, Caitlin. How are you?
Caitlin: Thank you. I’m doing wonderful. How are you?
Diana: I’m okay. So you’re in Canada? It is me. I’m going, official. This is recorded. I’m going, official. Favorite country in the world.
Caitlin: Love it.
Diana: Now, I have not been to all countries, so I have to put that disclaimer on there. But where in Canada are you?
Caitlin: We are in Vancouver, B.C.
Diana: Oh, you’re on the west coast?
Diana: Are. Yes, absolutely. Wonderful. Okay. Well, one of the first things I like to ask everybody is like, you know, let’s start before we get into you, let’s talk about your brand. What are kid star nutrients and what does it stand for?
Caitlin: What kids are nutrients is, as you said before, a clean supplement line for the entire family. Don’t let the word kid fool you. He has something for everyone from infants to seniors. And really, the brand came to be because I was looking for something for my own family and I couldn’t find it. So I knew that making a clean supplement line was going to resonate with all the parents in Canada and hopefully the world.
Diana: Awesome. Well, Kaitlin, let’s go back in time a little bit because this is a newer brand. Why don’t you tell us about the inspiration for Kids Star Nutrients of Canada, and the journey of starting it?
Caitlin: Well, for about ten years I was in the raw material side of the business, so I was in the supply chain for now known as Smart Solutions, but previously known as Learn of Enteric Health Solutions. And I really gotta know how to make amazing products, and great ingredients backed by science. And so then I had my own children throughout this process, and when I was looking for products for them, I came up empty-handed even when I was back there. So once that company was sold and our office was closed and we moved on, I realized that the need was still there one of my daughters ended up having iron deficiency at the age of two, and I searched high and low for a supplement. And really, she didn’t like the taste of anything, and I actually didn’t like the ingredients of any of the products available. So that really was the driving force of finding products that for everybody’s families that they could take that their kids actually liked.
Diana: Well, so your timing is uncanny with the 2020 launch. I always normally when I ask this question, I ask. Tell us a little bit about those early days. Your early days are a little bit different than other people, so maybe take us on a little bit of a journey. If you launched in 2020, things started to get rocky right around the time, maybe just before or in the middle of the launch. Tell us about those. You know, that first year.
Caitlin: So we were set to go for 2020. We had our Canadian Health Food Associate Association booth. We had everything ready. And actually, the show was great and got lots of buzz. Everyone knew we were happening and it was coming. And about two weeks later, everything closed. So we went from having back-to-back consumer events and trade shows and media to having absolutely nothing. So we really had to pivot right away and focus on the parents, because if we couldn’t call stores, we couldn’t go into stores and we couldn’t get into trade shows. We really needed to make sure that the parents knew about our great products so they could go to the stores and almost be our own sales reps. Because really, in the early days, we had nothing to go on. So we definitely pivoted right away and had no choice. We had no choice. We got our website works better with SEO. We started reaching out to dietitians and mom bloggers to make sure that the word was getting out there. So we didn’t lose the momentum of our launch. And then depending on what province you were in and definitely with you guys, different states had different rules. So, you could really see the sales were different based on what was happening with the government. So, it was a very interesting first year, but we made it through. I think we had lid supply issues, ingredient supply issues, shipping delays, and of course lockdowns and all these things. And then, of course, the American dollar, and Canadian dollar fluctuations. So I think every time something happened, everyone said to me, well, if you make it through this, you’re going to make it. And so we’ve made it into a year with two full years. So we feel very, very happy about actually making it through the cycle.
Diana: Yeah. Yeah. Well, and because of COVID, I think, you know, what I have here in my notes is supplements are increasingly considered important for healthy living and immunity. And I think that accelerated with COVID. And as a category grows and matures, there’s a fair bit. Well, there’s also a fair bit of confusion and noise about efficacy and functionality. Can you tell us a little bit about your philosophy of communicating about clean nutrients and supplements in this crowded space?
Caitlin: Definitely. You know, we’re lucky in Canada we have a process called the NPN, so a natural product number. So, there’s a little number on the front of the bottle. And so every product goes through this process with Health Canada. And so, whatever it says on the front of the bottle is actually accurate because it has gone through the efficacy of the Canadian government to ensure that what you are getting and what’s on the label is true. So that’s one great thing that we do have that we can help relay to consumers. But the other thing is, as such, with social media, we focus on educating consumers and retailers. Basically, the general public through education is really a science. So, we make sure that we attach those peer-reviewed journals. We make sure everyone sees that the research has been done, that there is merit behind it, and that taking these products really will help you and the clean side of it. You know, growing up, we’ve had some of the same brands in the early eighties that we still have today, and they have not changed. They haven’t changed the medicinal ingredients or the non-medical ingredients. And you know what? They are in a position where they can change. They have economies of scale. They have this huge amount of money behind them. They can make these products cleaner and they’re just currently not doing it. So really, we want to make sure that people know that there are better ingredients, they are there, and yet it takes some effort to change, but we can do it well.
Diana: So I’m curious, in your opinion and you’ve been working you were on the supply chain side, so you might have some different insights. Do you feel like the lack of desire to change is at a? I hate to use the word laziness because maybe it’s just easy to kind of keep things or is it more of a margin issue and the reeducation of consumers may be something different?
Caitlin: I kind of think it’s more the first. So, you know, you’re right, it’s not lazy, but it’s like the status quo. Well, this is how we do it. It works. Why would we change it? Well, that’s a big issue for parents when they’re like, why are there seven fillers in this product? Why? Why can we not remove them? And if we remove them, maybe that product would be cheaper. And those products and those ingredients could be used because of making it faster. So efficiency on the manufacturing side. But once we make those changes and we look at new ingredients, you know, that could have been like, oh, why haven’t we been doing that all along? Now it’s easier. Now it’s cheaper. So you’re right. It’s kind of like a status quo. Do we need to? No one’s pushing the envelope.
Diana: Yeah, got it. Yeah. Well, so what are those? Main questions. I don’t know if you can think of a couple. I know you get lots of questions, but are there a couple, 1 to 1 or two that consistently come up or maybe a factor when it comes to addressing? Some of these items around clean labels for parents in the industry like what do you find answering more frequently are well what do you wish was being answered more frequently?
Caitlin: So on the consumer side with parents, we actually get the opposite. We get a lot of thank you. Oh, thank you for making this product. I’ve been looking for something like this. Most of the stuff we find is full of X, Y, and Z, and we’re just really happy. So the parents’ side is actually really awesome. We get great testimonials. We actually have a lot of parents that call saying, Our pediatrician has recommended that we do this. We haven’t been able to find anything. Thank you for helping us build this need on the other side with manufacturers. I think a lot of it is they actually come back with saying, what can we use? What would you allow to put in the product? And then we have to go through. So we actually go to a lot of trade shows throughout the year looking for alternatives to the status quo ingredients, which is actually a lot of fun at the same time.
Diana: MM Are you, are you in the channel or are you strictly DTC right now? I don’t recall.
Caitlin: Both were.
Diana: Both. Okay. So on the retailer side, are you getting the similar kind of questions as the parents are asking, or are they different? Like what? What are they looking for you to answer on a regular basis?
Caitlin: You know what? I don’t know if we get too many different questions. Okay. We definitely have different products. Do very differently like sales wise if our channels are shut. It is shocking. We have people that like, oh, that product just doesn’t sell for us. And then we’re like, Wow, what? The online store, that’s all they’re selling. So clearly there’s a search engine thing happening where parents are looking for something and we pop up as their solution. So they’re actively searching for the answer versus being in a store. And maybe you’re looking at a wall of supplements and you’re not quite sure what you need to get right. So that’s probably the biggest difference between the different channels. The question of why there is a lot of it is, you know, they want to make sure there really is nothing in the product. So they say, is this where you use this? And we keep saying, no, no, no, no, you’re not using those.
Diana: And you’ve got a procedure, you’ve got a process by way of sort of a certification that that is your validation there. So I love that. Right. So I’m curious now, let’s step back a little bit. Because I’m always interested in people’s career paths now. Kit. Kit star nutrients are relatively new, but if you’ve been in the industry for a while and I’m curious when you look back, were there any experiences that you had that were maybe in the moment not great, maybe lost opportunity, or a mistake that sort of changed your trajectory and helped pivot you in this direction?
Caitlin: Yeah, I actually there’s quite a few. So I actually was born into this industry and now my mum is learning Van Der Hague she is a women’s health expert in Canada and she has been an educator for North America and parts of Europe for most of my life. So I actually kind of grew up in this industry, which is like a double-sided there because I actually, as a child had no idea it was an industry.
Caitlin: Because my life, you know, I was like people would say, oh, do you want this? And I was like, I don’t know what that is. You know, I’d be like, We didn’t have that in the house. And so there’s a lot of like, Oh, what? These things exist out there. I was always on the other kind of path. And then in high school, I started actually working for my mom when she was doing certain things. And there was always a family business and she’s been an entrepreneur my entire life, so we’ve always been part of that. Yeah. So then I got to university and I was like, You know what? I’m going to be a doctor. I’m going to go into the health field, I’m going to do all these things. And then I got into university. I was like, Oh, maybe this isn’t what I want to do. But I loved educating. Yeah, I was like, You know what? I’m going to keep going ahead. And I love social sciences. So that just focused on why people do what they do.
Caitlin: Basically, the basis of it. And there was a large economic portion of it like why the industry was where it was. So that part really interests me. So I kind of was like, I’m going to do this. I’m an educator. And I did, and I became a teacher for a few years. But then my mom actually started a different company and she was like, Why don’t you come work for me? I was like, You know what? Yes. So I do. Every once in a while, I’ll kick myself thinking I could have finished that science degree. Yeah. And it would have probably pushed me down a different path, but may have. Yeah, it could have opened some different doors here and there, but. Yeah. And then actually the second biggest part was about a few years into her having her own company. She said, are you going to want to take this over now? And at that point, I was in my mind. I didn’t really have too much of a huge plan ahead of me. Yeah, I knew I liked what I was doing. And then I met my husband. We had three kids and I was like, you know what? I don’t think this is where I want to go. Yeah, I don’t want to do this. But I did not I didn’t want to do this. Just I didn’t want to follow in that and take it over. Also, if you’ve ever met my mom or anybody out there, you know, it’s a little daunting taking over your mother’s, for sure, behind, you know, stepping in her shoes. I love the behind-the-scenes. It was my favorite thing and she was very much all of it. And so I kind of was like, You know what? No, I’m not going to take it over. And so then she did move on and she eventually sold the company. Yeah. And, then of course, now here I am doing what I’m doing, which is basically the same thing, different demographic, different kind of style. But yeah, yeah. I definitely think that there are a few avenues that I could have branched out on along the way.
Diana: Yeah, that. Well, it’s so curious that you say this about your mom because I think of any company that has a really established or strong personality leading like for example, Califia that had Greg Stafford Apple as the leader for so long. And it was almost like at least in the industry, you know, they were synonymous. You said Greg and it was Califia and one and the same. And I can imagine that maybe some of the concern for you was when you take over a brand that is your mother’s persona, you have to step into that. And I know it might be daunting to you to kind of take on somebody else’s persona. And then do you change it? No, because people want it. You know, I think that it could be a little bit tricky. So I wonder if that had a bit of a play to it.
Caitlin: Oh, I think I definitely think so. And, you know, I would never want to fill her shoes. You can’t be amazing. And I would rather walk next to her and have, you know, be hand in hand as an entrepreneur than really trying to be like, okay, now I’m going to be in this position. So I think that it, you know, and I was also in my twenties, I was like, this is, you know, I’m not I wasn’t ready yet.
Diana: I wasn’t ready to get ready to play a little bit more. I guess I get that. Yeah. So. Well, so who’s guiding you during this time? You know, I always think you’ve got your mother. And of course. And perhaps there you have a. For a young relationship. And I understand that she’s a mentor, but are there any other people that have been instrumental to the development of this brand or maybe who you look to now? What kind of advice have they provided you that you have found invaluable during the growth of this company?
Caitlin: I’m actually I think I’ve been really lucky from being on the supply chain side that, you know, I know manufacturers and I know the people that run the lines and I know the people that sell the ingredients. So through the whole process, you know, I get to call them up and say, you know, this isn’t running the way that I want it to. What am I doing wrong? And so, they actually say things like, okay, well, it’s this or it’s this. You should really try this. You know, we’ve been noticing the same thing and the same with raw material. They’ll say, Oh, actually we have new things coming up, or We’ve changed this or like anything like that, or there’s research coming out that you’re going to really want to see. So I’ve been able to kind of call the people that are at the source of this kind of avenue and then get really where I need to go. I’m really lucky because of my mom. When I grew up in the industry, I also had her peers around all the time. So it was really great to see everybody else that’s very knowledgeable in all their different fields. Mm-hmm. And, you know, when I run into them, I get to ask them questions that many people may not want to ask. But, yeah, you know, it’s like, okay, you’ve known me since I was a little kid, and I really need an answer. And so I think the biggest thing that I’ve learned from my mom and from all these people is you have to ask those questions. If you have a question, ask someone because, you know, you really want to get the experience of people who have come before you. Yeah. You know in Canada we have about thank you that I know of about four or five big companies that are all run by women, the female CEOs or founders. And they’re still around today and they’re amazing companies. And I think that I’m really lucky to have had those women pave pathways for us in the next generation and also then for my daughters to step in. And it’s like, it’s just a woman. It’s not, Hey, wow, we have these women finally. It’s yeah, it’s a person. Yeah, it’s just great. Just like you said, you know, normalizing the women, being in the room. And they have really done a great job of paving the way for the rest of us.
Diana: That’s brilliant. I can really appreciate that. I’m wondering at this moment right now, you know, you talked about. You’ve got a lot of. You’ve got a different path than a lot of people just having grown up in the industry the way that you have. And it might be hard to kind of nail down just one of these, but I’m curious about what you’re really most proud of right now. And it could be with Kid Star Nutrients, it could be in something else. But I always like to ask that question.
Caitlin: I have a few things I think that I’m quite proud of right now, and mainly with Kid Star. So I think the biggest part is, is that, you know, recently we got into Whole Foods in Canada and the program is a long process. And when I was there helping put the products on the shelf, I looked, I stepped back and I looked at that shelf and I thought to myself, Wow, your product is next to all those big guys, the big companies out there. And I thought to myself, while I was there, I got it on the shelf. Yeah, obviously with my team. But you know, like it’s, it’s there, there and it’s amazing and just being able to pan across and see all the competitors and being like, I am one of them. And that’s amazing. And that was pretty much I think I stood there for a while and just stared at that wall and like, we did this and this is amazing.
Diana: Yeah. Just getting to the market or getting to the shelf. I mean, all of our listeners, I won’t say all of our listeners, we have a good mix of listeners that are early stage mid-stage, and then some people who’ve never been in an entrepreneurial brand, they’ve been with big CPG their whole life. And even then, even in those moments when you are going to say birth to a new brand, seeing it on the shelf for the first time is something pretty amazing I think for an entrepreneur especially so because your fingers are in so many different areas in order to make that happen. So I think I can appreciate that moment in time when we work with brands, sometimes we get to sit alongside them. When that happens too, and the energy just radiates, that’s pretty awesome.
Caitlin: It is. I love it. And then the other part is actually so on our vehicle, we have a little logo, you know, just to self-promote, the company is building a drive around town and I love the fact that my daughter is actually one of my biggest fans. They kind of think that that’s my mom’s company and I’m running a company one day and this is this and this is great and I love it. And I’m like, every time they say it, you know, I’m always like, Yes, you are. If you want to run a company, you’re going to run a company and you know you can do it. There’s nothing stopping you.
Diana: They got a little swagger going on, man. I love it. Okay, so what advice do you find yourself giving others on a similar
Caitlin: A number one is having, so depending if you have a family at home or not. Yeah, you know, a big part is having a support system. So, for us in Canada, we do have maternity leave. So we get the first 12 months where you have some support and some financial. Yeah, but you know, after that you have to find someone, either a family member or someone for your children to go to because you do need to have access to childcare, whatever form it is. We do need child care because someone has to look after your children and you want to lead them in trusting and loving, trusting hands. Yeah. So that is huge. In Canada, we are trying for universal childcare.
Diana: Oh, that would.
Caitlin: Gotten very close. I believe we’ve now approved it, but it’s like a five-year rollout, $10 a day daycare style, and oh, it can, it has some holes, but it is amazing that we’ve gotten to that point. So I think that is huge. You know, having your home means you don’t have to worry every 5 minutes that your home is also having issues. So that’s big and really the partner you choose. I think this is huge. If you do not have a supportive partner at home, I think that having an entrepreneurial business will be very difficult because you then have you don’t want to be fighting with your home life. Yeah. You know, it’s yeah, there’s no balance and it’s not perfect. You’re never going to have this perfect balance. But if you have support at home and you have it in all forms, then you know yeah. You’re not fighting at home as well. Yes, I think it’s huge. Who we choose to have in our lives and who supports us is a big, big portion. But we hear a lot of these women’s breakfasts that we go to where a number of people, you know, they end up divorcing and they have these issues. And it is because, you know, you have a dream, you have two dreams. You have a family dream and you have your entrepreneurial dream. Yeah. And you know, it’s really hard to do that if you don’t have support.
Diana: Well, so I’m going to let’s do a little devil’s not a devil’s advocate here, but let’s talk this through for a minute because I remember speaking with Kiera Dilley. She’s SVP over at Frito-Lay and part of a program that helps women entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground. And she provided some sort of statistic, which I don’t recall off the top of my head that said. Some really significant percentages of women-owned startups are single moms.
Caitlin: Well, yeah.
Diana: Yeah. So, I believe.
Caitlin: I believe it.
Diana: Because they find that they feel like there’s the greatest amount of flexibility in order to provide a future for their children in that particular way. So like when I hear you say, find a good partner, what happens? What kind of advice can we give from your perspective for those women that are in transition of partners? Like what? Like, you know, so find your network, I think is what I think you heard is like find that support for your children. And it may be maybe it might be unconventional like it might be not an aunty, it might be I’m not sure what anything else that you can think of that would be valuable. Just I know it’s hard because you’re not in those shoes, but just kind of from your POV. What else might we consider as being valuable input for those single moms?
Caitlin: Yeah, you’re right. It’s. And like, I was raised by a single mom, you know, and she was an RN that was also so she was this huge entrepreneur and obviously taking off while we were little. So there was a lot of who’s going to look after the kids. And that’s why I say, you know, having that support network because if you have to go to work or you have odd hours, what’s going to happen, right? Yeah. And I think the biggest thing is, you know, making sure that you make time for both. If you’re a single mom, you know, you just have to. It’s a lot more work. Yeah, because you’re doing two things at once when you’re at home because you have to. And then when you’re at work, you’re probably doing two things at once as well because.
Diana: Making more than two. I know.
Caitlin: I remember when cell phones became the thing, right? And my mom got me one because I’m the youngest of four. And it was actually because she wanted to know where I was when she was at work. So it wasn’t like any other reason. I can call them and they’re ah they’re, they’re safe, they can tell me where they are because she was at work traveling and she got to go some to amazing places around the world. Yeah. And as we got older, obviously it was significantly easier.
Diana: Well, what I’m hearing, though, based on what you just said, is you are a daughter of a single mom and a single mom who had multiple children. And there is a success. Like, do not be afraid.
Caitlin: Oh, no.
Diana: Yeah. Do not be afraid. And bring your kids along for the journey. Might be part of it. I don’t know. I don’t know how that might be. But maybe that is like learning for those women that are like on the edge of am I insane for considering this?
Caitlin: No, you’re definitely not insane. I would say go for it one day at a time. Take it and run with it. Yeah. But I do agree with you. Take the kids with you, even metaphorically, because like, you know, if your kids call you and you’re in a meeting, I’m sure everyone knows you have children. Pick up the phone. Yeah, answer that call. It’s going to be 5 seconds. Hang up the call. Get back to the meeting because you are their parent. Yeah. So there’s a lot of that and I don’t think we should be ashamed of having children. We’re in the business. We have kids.
Caitlin: Show it. Yeah, it’s okay. It’s okay that they called. It’s okay that they got sick. It’s okay that you’re at home with them. Yeah. You know, I don’t think we should be so worried about it. About pretending like we can do it all. And we have no kids.
Diana: Have some strange facade.
Caitlin: Yes, exactly.
Diana: It’s like I call it the nineties facade. You know, when I was beginning my professional career in the nineties and it was still kind of a continuation of the eighties, where it was all women that dressed and looked like men, men, with short hair, business shoulder pads. Yes. You know, and where, you know, the women were not allowed to show their feelings or anything like that. So we’ve come a long way from there. But I still think that for whatever reason, there’s a little bit of that historical legacy that lives in the ecosystem. And we just said it like, yes, we are all parents. Let’s just manage and have compassion for single parents in general, male or female. Like, all good, all good. I love that we agree.
Caitlin: And then, you know, don’t forget about the women that don’t have children because it is just as hard to become an entrepreneur. Yeah. Just being female, and for those women, it’s the same thing. Get a network, create ideas, find a mentor, and find many mentors in different avenues. And you know what? And go for it. Yeah.
Diana: Yeah. Ask lots of questions as your mom said.
Caitlin: Yeah, yeah, you have to because you learn so much from even just different perspectives on the answer you learn. You’re like, I never would have thought of it that way because a lot of the answers, yeah, like both answers are correct, but maybe you never have thought about it from that angle before.
Diana: Mm. Mhm. Oh my goodness. Okay. So let’s share what’s next for you or kids’ star nutrients. What’s up?
Caitlin: So right now, we are hoping to launch in the next 12 months into the U.S… Okay, a big part. So we actually realized through our CEO that a lot of our customer base is actually American, really. But of course, they contact us for which we currently can’t ship. So we’ve been finding, you know, other online stores that ship to the US, but we haven’t been able to. So we’re really working hard, and we have to support our American friends to get our products across the border. And also for me personally, I love ingredients. So I’ve been on the hunt for new and exciting ingredients and to see what else is out there. Yeah, like some great new products for really expanding the line, making sure that at every stage of our lives there is something for you to take because really that’s what we do. Clean supplements for every age and our needs do not go away as we grow. But the biggest part is educating young families, getting everyone started early in knowledge and education so that as they get older, they know. So you don’t find it at 25? Oh, I never realized that I had low iron and that’s why I felt horrible for the last 25 years, you know. So we really want to get that education early.
Diana: Yeah, agreed. And I think we still don’t know how to I don’t know to maximize this sounds like a productivity thing that I’m about to say and I don’t mean this in any way, shape, or form, but I think supplements and filling in the gaps, especially when we have kids that go through those eating phases where they won’t eat a balanced diet because whatever is going on and stubbornness or just an intolerance for a flavor profile or a taste or something like that, that we don’t know how much more assistance we can give our kids with sleeping well and learning well and adjusting to life and emotions. And I think supplements are a really great tool to help their kids go through those growing phases so that once they become adults, they have everything. Well, hopefully, they have everything they need to kind of live a healthy, happy, and fulfilled life. So I’m a big fan of supplements for the kiddos.
Caitlin: And you’re right. You definitely got the point there. It’s a supplement. The entire point is you’re supplementing the diet. So if you aren’t eating it, your kids aren’t eating it. They’re not getting it. Yeah, we really fill the gaps and we have to fill the gaps with clean nutrients because what is the point of giving your child a nutrient that goes to make them healthy? Yeah, it’s covered in sugar or artificial colors and flavors. You know, Europe has banned a good amount of artificial colors and flavors and preservatives. Yeah. And Canada and the U.S. are definitely very far behind. Yeah. So, yeah, we really need to do something about it. And yeah, if it’s if it ends up being the brands, the brands need to do it. The brands need to ban it for themselves. Yeah. So that the government is like, oh really this is huge. We need to do this. We need to shoot that. Why don’t the brands just ban it and in the industry write a little note to yourself and say, this is gone? We’re not using it. It doesn’t.
Diana: Exist. Oh, my gosh, how.
Caitlin: Do we move on? Because you’re right. It’s like we need to.
Diana: We. It’s time. Oh, my gosh. Caitlin, I am really enjoying this conversation. Our time is getting close to wrapping up, but I have a couple of questions that I’d like to ask everybody. One is about trends, and it could be in your category or our industry or not. But I’m curious about what you’re following right now and why.
Caitlin: So we actually have noticed that we think we’re creating the trend in our group here. So we really did start the clean nutrient kind of push in Canada for us and kids. And we’ve actually seen a number of big brands copy our products already in the last two years. So it’s been very interesting seeing them pop up.
Caitlin: Very similar products right next to ours. Yeah. So we’re seeing that the big guys are noticing what we’re doing and our niche market is becoming less niche. You know, I think that with everything, the trend really should be that it should be clean. We’ve been noticing the organic trends and that’s been gaining and gaining and gaining in our food industry and needs to move into processed foods and supplements. Absolutely. But that’s the biggest thing that we’re doing. And then besides that, I would say, you know, just great quality products. I actually think there are so many amazing ingredients out there that have been around for so long. And they just need attention. They need to be brought back and say, hey, we’re still here. This is amazing. Get back up. Like, get back to the basics and use it. Use some of the ingredients that have always been around. So we’re kind of a little bit of a backward trend. Yeah, bringing the old new again and I am staying on the clean trend.
Diana: What, what in what in particular are you I mean, do you have your eyeball on, or can you say?
Caitlin: Well, I was really lucky. So last year I was looking at an ingredient to make a few products with and we ended up getting an exclusive on the ingredient. Oh, which was amazing for Canada. So we have the exclusive for Magic Air in Canada. Okay. Which has been around since the nineties actually. I remember it coming to Canada in the nineties and I’ve been taking the ingredient for most of my life. Yeah. So when we got the exclusive three kids star, you know, it really was almost like bringing new life into it, almost making it cool again. So I was like, You know what? These ingredients are here. And you know what? Sometimes when the noise dies down, we forget about them, but they’re there and there’s yeah. So yeah, that was great for us. And then even simple things like iron, you know, it’s been around. Yeah, but no one’s talking about why it’s so important. Yeah. And you know all of that around that. So we’ve been able to refocus everyone’s energy and say this is really important to be paying attention.
Diana: Mm. I love it. Okay. The next question is, are there any women leaders or rising stars out there in our industry or not that you would like to elevate or simply admire for the work that they’re doing right now?
Caitlin: Well, there are a number of them, I have to say. It’s vast. And I actually think that LinkedIn has been amazing for that because I get to see different things like different areas. So like the food industry and I’m watching the food industry happening and they’re blowing up and it’s amazing. Yeah. For us, particularly with kids, you know, we work with a lot of registered dietitians, holistic nutritionists, and even some OB-GYNs. And so those women actually, I love to mention, because they’re actually the ones that are direct with the consumers, they’re very sure everyone knows they’re educating at that level. And I think those women definitely need a shout-out. So, you know, we have a new Walmart and the dietitian. She’s out of Ontario and we have two amazing OB-GYNs from when she found motherhood and they are on Vancouver Island. Okay, they’re great. We have Jen Messina. She’s a registered dietitian. She does awesome work out of B.C. And then also Andrea Saliba. She has a registered holistic nutritionist and she does a lot of positive affirmations and workouts and basically just gets yourself, yeah, the love yourself and get out there. So, you know, there’s some all with a holistic background. So it’s I think it’s wonderful to know, we need to promote the women that are also promoting us because that’s the most important level. I think that we really should remember that these people and these women are doing amazing work.
Diana: Agreed. Oh, wow. Thank you for sharing those. Those. Women in the work that they do that it’s. It’s awesome for me. That’s it. That’s my favorite question to ask because I never know what the response will be. And most of the time it’s somebody that’s not really not directly related to the business. It might sometimes it’s tangential just like what you’ve done. And then other times it’s somebody that’s complete, you know, out of the ballpark. And that’s my favorite, way to be inspired is to hear that feedback. Thank you. Well, we’ve been talking with Kaitlin Vander Haig, president, and CEO of Kids Star Nutrients. Caitlin, where can people learn more about you in your brand?
Caitlin: Our Kids Journey TRANSCOM has everything about our brand and also kids star nutrients on Instagram and Facebook. We do some awesome social media information and education through that, but the website really has everything you’d need to know about us.
Diana: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Okay, great. And one thing that I didn’t mention earlier that I really loved on your website is the black hole ingredients. If you guys this is where the whole education and I’m so sorry I didn’t bring this up earlier. Those of you guys want to see how simple you can talk about new supplements, nutrients, and clean labels. And I work with hundreds and hundreds of brands and I talk with many, many people. But I will say that your website just does a great job of distilling it down, taking all the rhetoric out, and making it really understandable. So thank you for doing that. I would love to see more of it in this particular category of our industry. But I wanted to point that out.
Caitlin: Yeah, sure. It was fun. It was actually a lot of fun writing that website. Yeah, because you’re right, you know, like, it is very simple. It is simple. And of course, there’s a lot of stuff behind the scenes that’s not simple. But yeah, what you need to pass on is a very simple message. Yeah. And you know what? Through that actually, we found, and when we were making the product line that there are ingredients within the ingredients, right within those ingredients right in the manufacturing line. And it was shocking how many we had to cross off and were like, can’t use that case that you can’t eat that. And everyone kept saying, why, why, why? And you’d be like, No, because you’re using this to make it. And so, you know, it really does cut down on your ingredient list. Sure does in the end. But it’s really important.
Diana: Love it. Well, thank you so much for your time today, Caitlin. I’m so happy to have spent this time with you and I look forward to seeing what you’re doing through all the great work out there. And I want to thank all of you listeners for your time today. If you like this episode, please share it with a friend. Otherwise, have a great rest of your day and we’ll catch you next time on the Good, our podcast.