May 30, 2019 Product

Natural protein supplements.

Here is a classic story that started in a small garage and become a multi-million dollar enterprise.

Mat Stillone moved to Brisbane in 2008 to restart his life. He was a sole parent to a 4 year old boy, and working casual and part-time jobs in health food and pharmacy businesses. Within a couple of years he hit breaking point and needed to build something for himself. From the work Mat had been doing and his own passion for health, he could see a gap between what customers were looking for and the quality and type of products available.

“I was sick of selling supplements that I felt were ripping off consumers,” explains Mat. “I thought I could make a range that was healthier, had better ingredients, offered real value for money and real benefit to the customers health.”

Mat contacted Konekt Employment in Brisbane in 2011 about NEIS training and his business idea. “I had a vision, but I didn’t know a lot about running a business, outside of my own experience,” explains Mat. “There are so many over-looked elements to understand when you kick-off a new business. NEIS helped give me that start with a realistic analysis of what I would be encountering. It gave me many tools to work with, so I could process the risks and work on ways to make my ideas viable.”

Protein Supplies Australia was Mat’s new business name. A sports supplement brand focusing on ’natural nutrition without the crap’.

From early on, the demand was there and sales were good. A new facility was soon needed. True to Mat’s goals for the brand, production followed some of the highest standards in the world and were independently certified and regularly audited. Protein Supplies Australia is Australian Certified Organic and Safe Food QLD Certified for Dairy. The range is marketed to athletes and bodybuilders who need extra nutrition to reach their performance goals; and as clean, quality supplements for vegan, paleo, ketogenic or allergy-prone people.

The research put in, as well as the supply and distribution networks Mat had assembled, were very valuable. Other producers and brands reached out for assistance, to create and manufacture their own products. Mat expanded operations from his original business to include this additional research, development and manufacturing. The methodical analysis and ‘big picture’ thinking that started with his NEIS training had led Mat in new directions. “I found a gap in the market of ‘contract manufacturers’ in Australia who were passionate about making healthy, ethical products and were interested in scaling up small brands,” says Mat. He launched Integrity Food Co in 2017 and it grew from $0 to $4.5 million revenue in the first financial year.

As part of the service, Integrity Food Co can advise brands in the health food and supplement industry. “We also manufacture these products and have a number of our own brands to distribute and manage,” says Mat. Integrity Food Co have joint-ventures with global supermarket chains to produce their own lines. These unique products are manufactured here in Australia; from natural whey protein isolates, instant probiotic organic porridges to vegan macaroni and cheese products.

In 2018, Mat launched a new brand called Botanika Blends with Aldi. It has been a massive hit in Australia and internationally, focussing on plant-based nutrition, as an alternative to the usual dairy proteins.

The size and variety of products Mat’s businesses tackle are impressive. I’m sure he will be proud to tell his son the story of big ideas that had their start in a small garage with a little help from NEIS.

If you have an innovative new business idea, take the first step to self-employment with free NEIS training. NEIS is an Australian Government sponsored new business training program, to assist with self-employment. Use the postcode finder for your local provider and contact them for a chat. 

Share This: