Alex Blodgett is a fitness and wellness entrepreneur who just launched her second business. She’s now CMO of Revere, a company that makes pre- and post-workout energy powders derived from whole foods.
Blodgett is also a founder of Cyc, an indoor cycling studio. The idea for Revere came from her days working behind the desk at Cyc and hearing students ask repeatedly what they should be eating or drinking to make the most of their workouts. She knew there was a market for a new kind of energy powder.
“We’re trying to overcome the stigma of supplement industry and turn it upside down,” says Blodgett. “People assume ‘supplement’ means chemicals or something unhealthy. We’re doing everything so differently.”
She has negotiated challenges at every turn, from getting scientists on board to overcoming pressure to include questionable ingredients. She’s managed each one by consistently communicating her values.
“I’m a connector,” says Blodgett. “I love creating and maintaining relationships, and I never want to feel like someone thinks I’m trying to get them to do me a favor. I want my business relationships to be based on mutual interests and respect. I like to say, we don’t burn bridges, we run them.”
Dietary supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, which means health claims aren’t verified. When she was looking for a manufacturer to make Revere products, she faced intense pressure to include an ingredient that’s common in pre-workout energy drinks called beta-alanine. Manufacturers said including BA was the norm and that customers would be expecting the feeling it gave.
“Many people feel the effects of tingling from BA, which some brands believe increases its ‘feeling’ of efficacy,” said Blodgett. “But ultimately, we didn't want to add an ingredient for a ‘feeling,’ and it wasn’t in line with our vision to keep our products natural."
She was insistent that Revere products be entirely derived from whole foods, betting that consumers would respond to a more natural product.
Blodgett also had a hard time convincing scientists to get on board because they had a negative impression of the supplement industry.
Dr. Jennifer Sacheck, a nutrition scientist who ultimately joined the team, “was skeptical at first, but she realized we are going to stand by our values,” said Blodgett. “No, we’re not going to use artificial sweetener. No, we’re not going to use that questionable ingredient that would make the powder a tiny bit less chalky.”
As a second-time entrepreneur, Blodgett has found her feet when it comes to asking for what her business needs.
“In my first business, I was more timid about asking for the order,” she said. “I’ve learned this time around that if you don't ask for something that you want, nobody’s going to give it to you. You’ve got to go out and get it yourself.”
Recently, she was meeting with a high end gym in the hopes that they would agree to carry her product. She was excited, and also a little nervous.
“It was almost unfathomable that we could actually have a partnership with this place,” she said. “Towards the end of the meeting I thought, ok, I just have to ask. And they went for it! I’m so excited to launch a partnership with a company I respect.”
Ultimately, Blodgett is thoughtful about her relationships when she asks for something. Her strategy has helped her $2M in seed round funding so far.
“If I don’t feel that Revere’s value is really going to shine through in something that I’m asking for, and it’s not going to help the other company as much as it’s going to help us, I’d rather keep my connection than jeopardize it. Unless I really believe in the ask, I’m not going to ask.”
This post originally appeared in Women@Forbes, where Alexandra Dickinson is a contributor. She writes about how to use a negotiation mindset to achieve your goals.