What if I told you that you could buy protein from a company that allows you to customize your own protein mix and have it tailored to your exact specification? How about choosing your own additives, sweeteners, and selecting the exact percentage of protein blends? Is this too good to be true? How about if I told you that it was LOW COST, AFFORDABLE and it TASTES BETTER than your Mom’s homemade cookies, would you believe me? Well, I’m here to tell you that this remarkable company called “True Protein.com” has made it possible for you and I (the average hardworking, tax paying citizens) to afford this type of luxury, once thought to be reserved for the rich and high paying athletes! They have made it simply affordable by cutting the cost on pretty labels and flashy ads you see in the magazines. The company was formed by Owner’s, “Doug Smith” and “Dante aka DoggCrapp Trudel,” who had a dream of providing the highest quality supplements for the lowest prices. We spoke with Carl, General Manager of True Protein, who took this moment to tell us about the company and how it all started out.
Interviewer: Carl, thank you for taking the time to do this interview, can you tell us your role at True Protein.com and how long you’ve been with the company?
Carl:I have been with the company for approximately two years. I started from the ground up and worked my way to each of the various ground level positions here at True Protein. I finally became the Manager and as a result of that, I have a complete understanding of each and every operation in the shop. My responsibilities here would include: Generating purchase orders, contacting manufacturers, providing unmatched customer service, completing payroll, to any other possible duty from filling orders to testing samples. I also frequent many of the bodybuilding and nutrition forums like MuscleMX to establish individualized customer service and rapport with our customers.
Interviewer: How did True Protein first come about and what was it like entering a market that was dominated by large supplement and research companies? Can you give us a little history?
Carl: A long time ago, in a gym far, far away, Doug Smith dreamed of a day when he wouldn’t have to spend outrageous amounts of money on his own personal supplements. We have all felt the pain of emptying our pockets trying to scrape as much protein together as possible. With his background in Kinesiology, Doug began researching the manufacturing process involved in the supplement industry. After months and months of research, he decided that by buying in bulk and launching a “No frills” campaign to lower prices by doing away with flashy ads and labeling, he could create a company that would revolutionize the industry and lower prices tremendously over the large players in the industry. The only thing he needed was access to the bodybuilding community to begin establishing a reputation with strength and integrity. Enter Dante “DoggCrapp” Trudel.
“Our company has built itself from the ground up solely through Doug and Dante’s good names, and our dedication to accuracy and customer service."
Dante has been a major player in the bodybuilding community for many years. At one point he owned his own muscle magazine and a separate supplement company. Some time after the magazine disbanded, Dante began to post on several online forums under the pseudonym DoggCrapp (a name that has lived on longer than Dante would ever believe). When users began to recognize that the writing style and lifting strategies being posted were identical to the ones that had previously been posted in his magazine, Dante’s guise was lifted. DC Training has since become a household name, and has produced many of the top name lifters in the industry.
This was the key Doug needed to break into the industry. After months of hounding Dante to consider going back into the supplement industry, the two formed a partnership strictly under the belief that this company would provide the absolute highest quality supplements at the absolute lowest price and that the company would always be “true” to themselves and their customers by providing as much information and documentation on the products as possible.
"We simply do not advertise in any major way, we sponsor several bodybuilding forums and have representatives that deal directly with customers through these avenues, but the majority of our new customers are brought in from existing happy customers through word of mouth."
Interviewer: If you open any fitness and bodybuilding magazine and flick through the pages you'll see highly colorful and eye catching advertisements front to back, with beautiful fitness and bikini models, ripped male models, and competitors. You walk into a supplement store, and find yourself surrounded by labels designed to get your attention. True protein has taken a different approach and decided to build the company on reputation rather than advertising campaigns. Was this difficult to begin with or did it take off better than expected?
Carl: Looks like we got a little ahead of ourselves! Breaking through an industry with such high barriers to entry can definitely be intimidating. We had to start small and fill a specific “niche” that the major players in the industry have not been able to fill, “Customizable products.” Our site does require a lot more user knowledge and can be quite intimidating when confronted with the huge array of products, which is why it was important from the start to have a knowledgeable and friendly staff that is available to answer any and all questions. Once we were able to get the ball rolling with a small group of customers in the beginning, there was an immediate snowball effect as more and more people became aware of us. There simply is nothing else like what we are doing available on the market.
Interviewer: You offer the highest quality and best performing powders, for just a fraction of the price that others offer, customers can custom design their own supplements and are guaranteed what they ask for. There are no hold backs when it comes to percentages and contents of each container. Why do you think it is so important to let the customer know exactly what they are getting?
Carl: Walking into any supplement shop, you will notice that you are extremely limited in what you are able to choose from as far as content and flavor. You buy what they want you to buy. Reading a label, you would never be able to determine the actual contents in a specific mix. With True Protein’s Custom Mix Solutions, you are able to build your own mix from the ground up, and you will know EXACTLY what the contents of the mix are. No more cryptic labels. If you order twenty-percent Whey Isolate and eighty-percent Concentrate, you are getting just that; no filler, no confusion, only exactly what you ask for. I would only hope to have the same assurance buying from any other company, but the truth of the matter is there are often times when a pretty label or expensive marketing campaign are able to cloud our judgment. By eliminating advertising and packaging from the equation, we are able to pass those savings directly to the customer, so essentially our customers are saving money by buying higher quality products instead of giving in to flashy marketing.
"You will not see a True Protein ad in any health or fitness magazine because we do not need to pay huge dollar amounts to show off flashy labels. Our products speak for themselves, and our customers will attest to that.” –Carl Manes, General Manager.
Interviewer: Along with product quality and great customer service, True Protein is known for its low pricing. Can you give us an example of how much money a customer could save buying a container of high quality whey from you and buying a container of standard whey from any supplement and nutrition store?
Carl: Unfortunately, as many of us know, the milk and dairy market is in crisis at the moment, which is causing price increases across the board. We have managed to fight these increases better than any other company, and have incurred much of the loss ourselves rather than raise our pricing and affect our customers. Because we hold such a high level of integrity, we try to avoid direct comparison with retail products, but we are more than happy to provide some quick quotes that everyone can feel free to compare themselves.
Whey Protein Isolate Cold-Filtration:
As low as $7.78 / Lb - This is our highest quality Whey Isolate available on the site, which contains no fat, only trace carbohydrates, tastes cleaner than any other product on the market, and mixes with ease. It is completely customizable, which means you have control over the flavoring, sweetening, additives, and packaging options.
Creatine Ethyl Ester: As low as $3.64 / 100g
Whey Protein Concentrate: As low as $5.12 / Lb
Egg White Protein Powder: As low as $9.78 / Lb
Branch Chain Amino Acids: As low as $18.99 / Lb
Amylocel (Waxy Maize Starch): As low as $3.41 / Lb
Also, don’t forget that these prices do not reflect the additional savings you receive if you apply a True Protein Discount Code or Promotional Code that can easily be found on the web or in our True Protein Newsletters!
Interviewer: There are so many people who have yet to discover the internet, many of whom would be confined to buying from stores or ordering from the back of a magazine which will be more expensive than buying online. Some of these people might have heard from someone at the gym, but have no way of ordering for themselves, so instead you've come up with a way where one customer can sell to another and both customers benefit from it. Could you explain a little on that and how it works?
We receive a surprising amount of e-mails and phone calls from customers that have never been to our website and have found out about us through word of mouth, as you mentioned. The majority of these people found out about us through our True Protein Referral program, where we designate special discount codes to anyone who is interested in the company and would like to help promote us to friends and colleagues. Essentially, each new customer that uses one of our existing customer’s discount codes receives 5% off of their first order and every order they place using the code subsequently. As our way of saying thanks to those customers who are able to direct attention to our company, we take the totals of each unique first orders from new customers and track them towards monthly awards. Each month, any customer whose discount code was used to attract more than $300 in new customer orders is awarded eight pounds of FREE protein! This program is stackable, so each $300 mark that is achieved accumulates eight more pounds. This has been a huge asset to the company in attracting new customers, and we continue to give out huge amounts of protein each month!
Interviewer: What types of shipping do you offer? Do you ship worldwide?
For domestic purchases we currently offer UPS for three services: Ground, 3 Day Select, and Next Day Air. We have been continually working to improve our Canadian shipping method, and using UPS International Surface we are able to have packages arrive in Canada within 5-7 business days. For our APO and International customers we are currently using the USPS. Unfortunately, USPS no longer offers surface mail for international packages, however they have now improved their International Priority Mail, which includes tracking on every package and 6-10 day shipping.
Interviewer: Carl, what is a typical day for you?
Carl: I get into the office around 7:00 to address any e-mails or phone messages from the previous day, after which I make a quick trip through each of the forums we sponsor to ensure that all questions have been answered in the morning. From that point, I revise my daily “To-Do” list and begin to complete each of the tasks on my list as far as running inventory, scheduling wholesale shipments, etc. Throughout the day I continue to answer e-mails and phone inquiries as they come in, and when I have completed my main objectives I go back through the forums to answer more questions or just get to know the community. Sometime in the afternoon, Doug and Dante will come in to go over the numbers and to meet with clients.
Interviewer: What is the best thing you like about working for True Protein?
Carl: True Protein has offered me the opportunity to refine my personal skills while learning the nutrition industry from the ground up. Though there is a managerial staff, we believe in an equilateral workforce, and each employee under our company is treated with equal respect and authority. I only answer to two people, and even then our meetings consist of collaborations rather than orders. This creates a very relaxed but professional workplace where each person is dedicated to the overall success of the company.
Interviewer: Does True Protein offer any samples of their products?
Carl: We are currently promoting our Premium Flavor Sample Pack, which consists of 13 individual packets of our Whey Protein Isolate Cold-Filtration flavored in each of the 13 Premium flavors we offer on the website. Outside of the flavor samples, we are always open to sending samples of any material along with an order if it is requested in the comments box of the checkout page.
Interviewer: What if a customer is dissatisfied with the Product they've ordered and the expectation wasn't met, how do you guys deal with that?
Carl: Customers can get in contact with my production manager Mike at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org to resolve any order inquiries, or they can contact me directly through either Private Messaging on any of the forums we currently sponsor or directly at email@example.com. Unfortunately, since we deal in customizable products, mistakes can sometimes occur, but we are more than willing to offer full refunds or replacements in the case that a customer either receives an incorrect product or has a missing item.
Interviewer: Does True Protein Sponsors any athletes?
Carl: We currently have several national competitors under the True Protein name, as well as a growing number of Mixed Martial Artists that have signed with us. Justin Harris and Eric Broser are two of the top trainers we support. Though the list continues to grow, Doug and Dante are extremely selective when it comes to new athletes, and we are not currently accepting applications.
Carl, thank you for the interview. Do you have any last thing that you want to announce?
Carl: Thank you for taking the time to get our name out there, I have several big announcements but unfortunately, I am not at liberty to make them just quite yet, but I can assure everyone that there are very big things happening right now at True Protein!
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