MAT STILLONE ON BUILDING A HEALTH EMPIRE & QUITTING WHILE AHEAD
Written on the 13 June 2017 by Yasmin Bonnell & Paris Faint
STARTING with only $3,000 and a desire to bring quality health-conscious sports supplements to the Australian market, Mathew Stillone built his multimillion-dollar company, Protein Supplies, from the ground up.
As a young father without a university education or prior experience in running a business, Stillone knew he had to go the extra mile to make Protein Supplies a success for both himself and his son.
In just three years the company went from a garage operation to a nationwide manufacturer and distributor operating out of its Brisbane factory headquarters, boasting multi-million-dollar turnovers.
Now Stillone plans to step away from the Protein Supplies giant while the business is at its peak performance, in order to focus on his new health food company the Integrity Foods Co..
The idea for Integrity Foods came after Stillone decided he wanted to help other health food businesses find a way to reach their full potential, utilising all the know-how which made Protein Supplies such a heavy hitter.
"I found a lot of small start-ups and even existing brand businesses in the health food space really thought there was a big gap between the services that a large manufacturing company could offer them in terms of support, guidance and mentorship," says Stillone.
"The whole idea is to help brands and businesses create incredible health food products, from product development through to research and development, through to a product sitting on the shelf.
"Not only that but mentoring them along the way and taking them under our wing in helping them develop their business from all aspects."
Stillone believes sharing his own experiences will help other businesses avoid the same problems he faced.
"I've learned a lot along the way of what not to do in business, and basically my whole idea with Integrity Foods is to help all the new start-ups and lead them by example of what I have experienced in my seven years," says Stillone.
It's only been trading since the start of the calendar year, but already Integrity Foods has hit the $1 million mark in revenue.
Stillone credits this fast growth largely to the reputation of Protein Supplies and positive word-of-mouth referrals from existing clients.
"Word of mouth has been our strongest point so far with growth," he says.
"This is coming from my original company Protein Supplies Australia, because we were making our own products and doing really well and a lot of people were coming to us and saying hey we see your products out there can you help us make out products.
"[Protein Supplies] is in a really good position, and I think I'd rather sell while on top than sell for the wrong reasons, like if I'm struggling or the business is in a bad position.
"I've also got a real passion about the Integrity Food business and I'm really excited about that as a new chapter in my life."
In 2016, Stillone took out the manufacturing, wholesale and distribution title at the Brisbane Young Entrepreneur Awards for the second consecutive year.
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Author: Yasmin Bonnell & Paris Faint