Adam Cleevely, CEO of FutureYou Cambridge tells us about their health supplements & vitamins scientifically proven to deliver more of the good stuff to the body.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Adam Cleevely: We have all remained healthy over the last year, which is the most important thing. But I must say that working from home is much easier when the children are at school.
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined FutureYou Cambridge.
Adam Cleevely: My background is more in data than nutrition. After university, I worked for a production engineering consultancy and then for a biotech company (Abcam PLC). I led the data and project management teams, kind of like an internal consultancy for data analysis and innovation projects. After helping with a couple of acquisitions, I left to join a food delivery startup, Hubbub, in London. After that, I had a few contract positions (including an interim role running a charity in Cambridge), and it was one of those contracts which turned into my current job. I had undertaken some analysis for an old colleague, Tim Dye, who was interim CEO of Cambridge Nutraceuticals (now known as FutureYou Cambridge in the UK) at the time. I was fascinated with consumer data, and Tim and I saw a way to build the business in a new way, creating multiple supplements available on subscription. In 2015 he asked me to join the business as CEO to make that change happen.
What is innovative about FutureYou Cambridge?
Adam Cleevely: We were the first supplements business to sell supplements on subscription almost 10 years ago. And we set a high bar of clinical proof for products before we consider listing and selling them. One of our products has over forty clinical papers published supporting it. Products like that, proven products, just work. They make a real difference in people’s lives. Based in Cambridge, we have close ties with leading institutions, including the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (Addenbrooke’s), and we’re supported by a board of experts with world-leading knowledge in everything from natural ingredients and nutrition to joints, heart and immune health. Plus, if consumers choose to call our award-winning customer care team (as against buying online), it’s a very different experience to most. There’s no script, no ‘needing to check with a manager’ each and every one of them are empowered to do what’s in the best interest of the customer, and we’re constantly rated ‘excellent’ on Turstpilot for our excellent service, nutritional advice and kindness.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Adam Cleevely: I worry about the lack of social contact for staff – I think it makes working in teams harder, and we are a team-focused organization.
Service-wise we never missed a beat: we knew lockdown was inevitable in 2020, and we prepared for it. By the time lockdown was announced, we were all already working from home.
Demand wise, consumers are now more acutely aware of their health than ever, and I think health supplements are seeing a boost in demand as a result.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Adam Cleevely: If there weren’t difficult choices, everyone in the world would have an easy time running massive companies! Whether it’s staff, marketing, competition, strategy, funding, or anything else you can think of, being an open, transparent and thorough communicator is always important, as is taking decisions as quickly as you can. It’s often more important to take a decision quickly than to have 100% confidence you’ll be right.
What specific tools, software and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Adam Cleevely: The fact that we were already on Google Suite (Drive and Meetings set up), as well as VOIP (via Zendesk) for Customer Care, made the transition to working from home relatively easy. Some of our traditional competitors had fixed landlines, and we know that was a huge struggle for their call centres.
How do you plan to stay in the game?
Adam Cleevely: We offer extremely high quality, clinically proven supplements that are highly absorbable. We’re not the biggest player in the market, but we have very loyal customers who support us not only by subscribing to our products but also a large proportion invest in us when the opportunity arises – which is hugely satisfying.
We are constantly innovating through our own product development and have recently acquired Prime Fifty Ltd, a specialist supplement company targeting the over 50s. Over the past 6 years, we have grown from 3 employees to 32, and our revenues have increased over 30 times. We also have a growing international network. We’re always looking for new domestic and international opportunities for the FutureYou Cambridge brand.
We intend to stay in the game by continuing to do what we do best: providing innovative science-backed supplements that are proven to work, as well as offering consumers first-class customer service.