I am here today with Jason Rickaby, former champion natural bodybuilder and MD of PhD Nutrition.
Hi Jason, thanks for doing this interview. I’m sure many of our readers use PhD Nutrition products and are keen to find out a bit more about the company and its ethos.
So I’ll start with the cliché question that always gets asked but is to me very important. What do you feel it is about PhD nutrition that sets it apart from other brands?
HI Adam. Firstly, thanks for inviting me to answer the questions. I have seen Fitmag grow rapidly over the last year, so it’s great to have my chance to make my voice heard.
Ok, so onto the question. Well, I’m a big believer in the intelligence of the consumer. Remember, I was a natural body builder up to the age of 28 and still am to a large extent (I train hard 4 times per week and have never and never will touch steroids).
I’ve been on the same side of things as every member of your forum, from dieting for a holiday, cutting up for a competition, bulking up for winter etc. I’ve literally done everything a natural body builder can do. I think it’s largely that mindset that helps PhD stand out from the rest.
We won’t run disingenuous adverts featuring a 270lb monster alongside a tub of Synergy iso-7 because the consumer is smart enough to realise that guy in the advert probably doesn’t even know what the product is, he’d just be picking up a cheque at the end of the month.
So with this in mind, PhD believes in being a very community-led, transparent brand. Our brand ambassadors are our athletes and all these guys are very visible on forums, face book, twitter, you tube etc and are very much “what you see, is what you get”. None of them are superstars, they all face the same issues the rest of us do on a daily basis, they struggle with body image, struggle to make sure they eat enough food during the working day, sneak off during a shift to eat a crafty protein bar etc, none of them get paid for the dedication they apply to their sport, but that doesn’t stop them aiming for the very top.
So, whilst we put a lot of time, effort, research and stress into our product developments and the taste of our product ranges, the customer is smart enough to realise that there isn’t a radical difference between the signature products of many of the leading brands. With this in mind and from day one, PhD had a steadfast ethos of only producing products that I would use myself. By and large we’ve never deviated from that path in over 5 years on the market. There have been trends come and go that would have brought the company added turnover, but we didn’t believe in them and if we don’t, why should we expect the consumer to?
Fantastic. Do you feel that these aspects will help you to become Britain’s largest supplement manufacturer? Is that the goal?
That’s the age old question, Adam and one I can never answer. I’m a die-hard like you and feel very precious about my brand. Whilst growing the brand is every business-owner’s goal, as the sports nutrition becomes more mainstream and more “normalised”, there is a hint of sadness that comes with the thought that as the brand grows bigger and bigger, some new customers won’t know the end of a protein shake from the back end of a mass gainer, they’ll just know that their mate said they need one and PhD tastes nice. I gain pleasure from serious guys like your readers buying PhD, it’s rewarding and satisfying that guys who know their stuff, can make an informed choice and it’s PhD. So, the answer is- I want PhD to be the best. If that doesn’t make PhD the biggest, I’m not too bothered.
I notice that PhD nutrition sponsor a few athletes. With the Olympics coming to London next year is athletics an area of sport that PhD are hoping to assert dominance in?
Well, Andy Turner has had great6 success over the last 12 months and he is adamant that PhD products have played a massive part in his European and Commonwealth games gold medals. He’s also just recently won a world championship bronze, so the guy is on fire at over 30 years of age, which is rare in sport. We have a few other Olympic hopefuls on our roster and we’re looking to recruit in the area too. So watch this space.
And now a few personal questions if you don’t mind. What is your personal favourite PhD Product and why?
Recovery 2:1- because it’s a product I always wanted to make from the beginning and it’s one we didn’t make until 2009. I just love the taste, ingredient spec and the fact it’s so purpose-designed for one slot in your entire day. Post workout is much neglected and has been since I first began in this industry some 16 years ago.
If there was one product that you could make (money no object) what would it be and why?
Adam- I can’t answer that because PhD WILL make the perfect product and money will be no object.
Finally what do loyal PhD customers have to look forward to from you and the team over the next year?
Well, without giving too much away (I’m aware that brands wait with baited breathe for PhD to move) we have at least 2 new products planned for 2011, both very exciting for us. We have another 2 for early 2012- maybe as many as 4. We also have the new and improved Synergy iso-7 and Pharma Gain ready to launch in October and November of this year, so times are very busy here. As for the team, we have a new website launch planned for September/October of this year as the existing one doesn’t do justice to the brand, but that tends to be how things happen when you move so quickly. The PhD brand ambassadors are also very busy and very active at the moment, Roger and Tony both competing at the Musclemania Britain finals and all the guys very active on their social media projects, showcasing us their training, diets etc and sharing their expertise with us. We believe this sets us apart from other brands that are quite faceless. Our athletes live our brand and it shows in their dedication to PhD.
Thank you for your time Jason, both myself and the readers very much appreciate it.