Vilosophy: Titus Wouda Kuipers, Ged Shudall and Markus Bonke
Vilosophy offers a range of premium brands that use active ingredients
Name of founders: Titus Wouda Kuipers, Ged Shudall and Markus Bonke
Location: Liverpool, UK
Date launched: September 2020
Number of employees: 10
Age of founders: 53, 52 and 48
What university, if any, did you attend? The University of Groningen, The Netherlands and Hamburg University, Germany
Aiming to tap into the potential opportunities of the global CBD and tobacco markets, V&YOU is the first brand that Vilosophy has launched, offering CBD and nicotine products. Founders Titus Wouda Kuipers, Ged Shudall and Markus Bonke explain more…
Tell us what your business does:
Vilosophy is a consumer goods company pioneering a range of premium brands that use active ingredients to enable people to feel better in everything they do. We bring experience, credibility and transparency to the alternative products market, offering people the freedom to choose how they live their life.
We launched with our first brand to market, V&YOU, which has a range of products that use active ingredients, such as CBD and nicotine, to enable people to enhance their daily vibe – be that calm, chill, focus or boost.
Where did the idea of your business come from?
We have a passion for creating outstanding consumer brands that use active ingredients like CBD to help people feel better in everything they do, and we are using our expertise in Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) to build these.
For many years, active ingredients have been used to enhance people’s lives, whether that’s lavender to sleep or CBD to assist with pain relief, stress or anxiety.
We want our customers to advocate and be proud to shout about how active ingredients support their lives so that others can experience the same benefits.
The focus on excellence is incredibly important for the business – from product ideation and development, through to the ingredients used and the manufacturing process.
How did you know there was a market for it?
Over the next five years, the global CBD market is expected to accelerate to $23.6bn and Europe’s CBD market is set to grow by 400%. Similarly, the legal global tobacco market (Euromonitor 2018) is worth approximately US$814 billion.
With almost 1 billion smokers worldwide, and greater education around the risks of inhaling tobacco and smoking cigarettes, the market for alternative nicotine products will continue to grow.
We know there is an opportunity to create accessible premium products using active ingredients from a credible business. There’s a lot of mistrust and confusion about the use of active ingredients such as CBD, and Vilosophy wants to be the company that brings credibility and excellence to the market in everything it does.
What were you doing before starting up?
We were busy in the corporate world. Our personal pedigree covers product innovation and development, manufacturing, organisational design, brand development and experience, and sales.
Now, we enjoy using our experience from corporate professional setups and processes with the freedom to run our own business.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
This desire has grown over the years. Having direct influence on everything we do and the way we shape our business is hugely exciting and rewarding.
How did you raise the money?
We have been lucky to attract a number of very committed seed investors who share our passion and belief.
Describe your business model and how you make money.
Our inaugural brand V&YOU drives the business, with consumers enhancing their mood by choosing one of the brand’s four vibes.
We offer CBD and nicotine products like pouches (that you place between your cheek and gum) and oils, via our website and other resellers.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
The biggest challenge we have faced is the mistrust and confusion about the use of active ingredients. We create premium products using active ingredients that adhere to the strictest quality standards.
We aim to be honest and transparent and uphold the highest standards so people know they can always trust our brands and products.
We have an independent advisory panel of industry-leading scientists and experts to ensure superior quality for consumers, the efficacy of our product and the legitimacy of our industry.
What was your first big breakthrough?
Getting smashing product reviews from well-known influencers in week one after launch.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Don’t hire suppliers – consider them as part of your team. A brilliant team will make all the difference!
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
We want to be the global number one brand and producer of progressive products that contain active ingredients. With our transparent approach to product development we want to champion best practice and for people to always feel safe using our products.
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