SPLIT-SECOND DECISION THAT BUILT A BUSINESS

Written on the 30 October 2015 by Laura Daquino

SPLIT-SECOND DECISION THAT BUILT A BUSINESS

FROM an organic farm to the 'dark side' of pharmaceuticals, Protein Supplies Australia's founder Mathew Stillone has almost gone full circle in his career. 

Stillone was a single dad when he started the business four years ago after working in a pharmacy, at a time that truly felt 'do or die'.

Protein Supplies Australia is now tracking a multimillion-dollar turnover and has been for three years running. To top it off, Stillone has just taken out the 2015 Brisbane Young Entrepreneur Manufacturing, Wholesale and Distribution Award. 

"I was working as a vitamin consultant and selling supplements I wouldn't use myself after checking the ingredients and had just gotten to a point where I was so disenchanted with what I was doing in life," says Stillone.

"I was actually driving to work one morning over Story Bridge and just freaked right out and said to my boss - I'm done, I can't come to work today.

"I sat there and wrote the business plan and everyone at work pretty much laughed over the next month and said I knew nothing about protein from a business point of view."

Stillone had a son, now 11, to seriously consider at the time and says he literally put everything on the line.

"It was hard times just trying to put food on the table as well as starting my own business," he says.

"Having my son at an early age was my driving force though and he really was the blessing in disguise - if it wasn't for him I wouldn't have had ambition to do anything significant with my life."

Stillone says this balancing act has been the single biggest challenge of his business journey to date, as the director of a company, a full-time single parent, friend and supportive partner.

"I had to push all day and night in the first year because I had no option, no bailout and if I failed then I'd probably be on the streets," he says.

Stillone started Protein Supplies Australia in a garage and in three years moved to a purpose-built 500sqm facility. All manufacturing and packaging of the brand's 46 stock keeping units (SKUs) is done onsite and the business has more than 1000 retailers.

He says this ensures 'creative control' with product development and also 'brings an element of craft' to the operation.

"Being that our products are natural - our motto is literally Natural Nutrition Without The Crap - we do lead in the way of offering alternatives to a world full of artificial ingredients," says Stillone.

"We've created products which are a first in Australia such as Spark which was the only completely natural pre-workout in Australia without nasties and free from anything artificial."

This is all a huge turnaround from Stillone's volatile life only a number of years ago.

"I started the business with only $5000 to my name and that was from Mission Australia's New Enterprise Incentive Scheme," says Stillone.

"I was really stupid with my money when I was younger and, with the exception of my son, I had nothing to show for my life at 25.

"I grew up on an organic farm though; my dad was a naturopath and started his own health food store in the 90s which probably had more bearing on me than I previously thought."

From his other former life though, in pharmaceuticals, the only similarity can be found in the margins.

"Selling in pharmacy is a very different environment, but it's the same in the way that margins and relationships with manufacturers are the most important things to survive," says Stillone.


Author: Laura Daquino Connect via: Twitter LinkedIn

Latest News

1700 BRISBANE APARTMENTS NOW MANAGED BY FORTUNE 500 COMPANY JLL

MULTINATIONAL and Fortune 500 company JLL (NYSE: JLL) has expanded its Australian dominance in the property managemen...

HARVEY NORMAN HITS OUT AT 'FALSE NEWS' OF ASIC INVESTIGATION

RETAIL giant Harvey Norman (ASX: HVN) has vehemently rejected reports its accounts are under investigation by ASIC, s...

RARE GOOD NEWS FOR SLATER AND GORDON AS ASIC CLOSES INVESTIGATION

ASIC has cleared Slater and Gordon of deliberately falsifying its accounts after a three-month investigation.

It s...

Q & A WITH FACEBOOK GURU ANDY MCKEON AS HE JOINS AUSTRALIAN SOFTWARE COMPANY LIVETILES

HE was creative director at Apple under the legendary Steve Jobs, and is now a senior Facebook executive. In his n...

Related News

RAY OF HOPE FOR SLATER AND GORDON AS LENDERS STEP IN

EMBATTLED law firm Slater and Gordon (ASX: SGH) has announced to the ASX that it has launched confidential discussion...

SPROUTX PROVIDES THE SEED FOR AGTECH STARTUPS

AGTECH innovation fund SproutX has opened applications for its first accelerator round, backed by $10 million from...

GAS PRICES MAY FORCE BRICKWORKS TO TAKE MANUFACTURING OVERSEAS

BRICKWORKS Limited (ASX:BKW) chairman Robert Millner says soaring energy prices may force the company to turn to offs...

CHINA CONTINUES TO COLLECT AUSSIE PROPERTY ASSETS

CHINESE coin continues to dominate Australia's offshore real estate investment market, accounting for almost h...

EVENTS COMING UP

 

Contact us

Email News Update Sign Up Contact Details
Subscriptions

PO Box 2087
Brisbane QLD 4001

LoginTell a FriendSign Up to Newsletter