Katerina Markov Schneider

Founder and CEO of Ritual

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON November 01, 2016

Discussion

Katerina Schneider@katerinamarkov · CEO + Founder of Ritual
Hi Product Hunters, this is Katerina Schneider, founder & CEO of Ritual. Ritual is a new kind of health company that believes in simplicity, traceability and luxury products at a fair price. We just launched our first product Essential For Women, a reinvented multivitamin on ritual.com. You can trace every ingredient to where it comes from and why. It includes only the things that most women are lacking from their diets alone. Ask me why it’s different :)
Olena Prykhodko@olena_prykhodko · Co-founder at @lingtwinsapp
Hi! As a young woman who just married and building a company would like to ask for an advise - how do you manage to do so much work and enjoy family life? Any tips about how you organise your work day/schedule? Many thanks!
Katerina Schneider@katerinamarkov · CEO + Founder of Ritual
@olena_prykhodko great question! It's all about balance. For me it's important to be balanced in my personal life (my relationship with my husband, time with my daughter, my health) to build a great company. I do this by making sure I have a scheduled date night with my husband at least once a week and that I spend my mornings (6am-8:30am) with my daughter every day. I also walk or bike to work and incorporate everyday fitness in my life organically.
Olena Prykhodko@olena_prykhodko · Co-founder at @lingtwinsapp
@katerinamarkov thanks! how many hours per day do you generally work? And also - any advise on how to find and select great team members? We all know that a good team is the key to success... sorry for bombarding you with questions, was looking forward to you being live :)
Katerina Schneider@katerinamarkov · CEO + Founder of Ritual
@olena_prykhodko I am always working :) As you know, starting a company is not a 9-5. Our team keeps me sane, I trust my team members implicitly. Everyone on the team is motivated by the mission to build a better company and transform an industry. It's what keeps everyone working really hard. My advice on finding great team members is finding people that share your values but have the skills & knowledge that you feel like you are lacking yourself.
I assume this multivitamin is designed only for the US woman? Does it mean it is not suited for women from other geographies like India, as their diets are wholly different?
Greg Moore@gmoore131 · http://thegregmoore.com
@neeharikaj Great question! I hadn't thought about how location could impact this kind of product.
Katerina Schneider@katerinamarkov · CEO + Founder of Ritual
@neeharikaj EFW was designed for US women using the latest research. But the same essential nutrients are commonly suboptimal around the entire world so Ritual's formula would be helpful everywhere.
Hayk Yaghubyan@haykoyaghubyan · Serial entrepreneur and digital marketer
Hi Katerina. How difficult was getting first investment for Ritual and in which stage was the company at that time ? Did it generate revenue ? What were your first steps before haveing a pitch for investors ?
Katerina Schneider@katerinamarkov · CEO + Founder of Ritual
@haykoyaghubyan I raised my first round of funding while I was 4 months pregnant. I was clearing out everything in my house with questionable ingredients from my deodorant to my toothpaste but when it came to my vitamins, I couldn't find a brand I trusted, so I decided to build my own. I started raising money on an idea to transform an $80 billion industry. The company had no revenue and the product hadn't been created yet. Our angel investors backed us on the vision and the team behind the vision. Many investors asked if I could build a company and raise a child. I got a lot of questions like that. But I was extremely determined and knew I had to build this company because no one else was providing traceability in an industry that needed it the most.
Greg Moore@gmoore131 · http://thegregmoore.com
Hi Katerina! 👋 I'm curious about the early days at Ritual. Could you talk through what it was like developing your vitamins, who you had to work with, how you figured out manufacturing and whether or not the idea of an "MVP" applies to your type of product? Thanks!!!
Katerina Schneider@katerinamarkov · CEO + Founder of Ritual
@gmoore131 The first hire I made at Ritual was a full-time scientist with a background in biochemistry who had 30+ years of experience leading research at Schiff. I also immediately formed a medical advisory board. Since my background was in tech and not in nutraceuticals, I needed to work with the best scientists there were. Especially as this was something that was going to be ingestible. The idea came about for our first product, when I asked our scientist "what do women need every day?" I was not sure if I was already getting everything from my diet. I was skeptical of the typical multivitamin. And it turned out that the standard multivitamin doesn’t take an average person's diet into account. They also tend to contain well over twenty ingredients, and most of the time, their dosages are based on outdated daily value requirements that haven’t changed since the 1960s. So we spent months of looking at thousands of peer-reviewed studies, which show that more than half of the most commonly-used ingredients are unnecessary to supplement daily for most women. We identified the 9 vitamins the average American woman needs based on what she’s already getting out of her diet and has created a formulation using the right forms and dosages to work best in the body. The idea of an MVP applies because we went through countless iterations of our product until we settled on the form we are using today (beadlet-in-oil) and the 9 ingredients (you can go to ritual.com to check them out).
Cup Condom@thecupcondom · Cup Condom
Hi Katerina! I have a similar question to Greg about how you started marketing with an MVP product (if you did) or if you waited till your product was perfect. If you did market an MVP, how did you handle that transparency with your audience?
Katerina Schneider@katerinamarkov · CEO + Founder of Ritual
@thecupcondom the product we put out in the market is not an MVP. We went through hundreds of iterations of our product before we put it in the market and into consumers hands. We also went through rigorous testing. We not only tested for stability with our manufacturers, but also did 3rd-party testing for potency of active ingredients, adulterants like heavy metals and microbes, allergens, rancidity and other unwanted contaminants. As a consumer, we think it’s important to do your own due diligence as well. That’s why Ritual has made it so easy for you to learn about our products and where they come from. It's something that is really important to us. New research comes out every day so I don't believe there is such a thing as a "perfect product." We are always keeping abreast of new research and updating our ingredients, dosages and forms. So in that way, our product is constantly changing for the better.
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
Hi Katerina, Great to have you on ProductHunt and Congrats on Ritual! What's your long-term vision for 1) differentiating your products in the crowded vitamins and supplements space, 2) becoming profitable, 3) growing Ritual into a global brand?
Katerina Schneider@katerinamarkov · CEO + Founder of Ritual
@tomstocklein Hi Thomas, those are great questions. We’re different in a few key ways: 1) Formulation: When we formulate our products we look at what we are missing from our diets alone. We don't load consumers up with dozens of pills. For us simplicity is key. For our first product (Essential for Women), we identified the 9 most essential nutrients for women’s health backed by the latest data, then we sourced the most effective forms of those nutrients from all over the world that actually work in the body. 2) Traceability: For us traceability is transparency 2.0. On our site, we invite our customers to trace each and every ingredient back to its origin. We’re proud of the labs we work with and our fully traceable and transparent supply chain. And, for the first time, Ritual is showing consumers exactly where their ingredients come from and why. 3) Fair price: We designed our product and made it available for just a dollar a day. Bought individually, these ingredients would cost 5x more, but by having direct relationships with labs and suppliers and selling direct-to-consumer, we’re able to pass the value onto customers. For a monthly subscription of just $30, we’re delivering the hardest working,highest quality ingredients at a fair price. Right now we’re focused on delivering the best possible product to our customers. If we can do that, the economics of the business are compelling and we can see a clear a path to profitability over the long term. The focus today is the US. As we grow we’ll continue to look at opportunities to take the brand into other markets.
Lesley Wu@deleted-407305
hi! how to keep friendship with female co-workers? because i found that if 3+ women work in a team,they easy to jealous and fight! what do you think?
Katerina Schneider@katerinamarkov · CEO + Founder of Ritual
@lesley_wu we have a mostly female team and mostly female investors. It wasn't something that I sought out but it just happened that way, and I feel really lucky. We joke and say our current EFW is "for women by women" :) Our team is really strong and easy going, in fact we haven't really had any conflicts to date. Everyone has there own lane and together we are transforming an archaic industry. Everyone is focused on something larger than themselves, so there is very little time or space for emotions like jealousy etc.
Lesley Wu@deleted-407305
@katerinamarkov thanks your reply,you are lucky!
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
What's your take on offering custom/personalized supplements based on a person's unique DNA and health data/profile? How about a partnership with 23andme?
@tomstocklein that's a fantastic idea! Would love to hear Katerina's take on this.
Katerina Schneider@katerinamarkov · CEO + Founder of Ritual
@tomstocklein Our goal was to take something 1 in 2 women are already doing every day - taking vitamins and supplements - and not change a habit or make people put in extra work, but instead just make that experience exponentially better, from where our nutrients are sourced to how they work in the body. When our scientific team looked at the latest research (including government-funded data), we saw that most american women were already getting a lot of what they needed out of their daily diets, but are not getting enough of 9 specific nutrients. For example, over 90% of women aren’t getting enough vitamin D and over 70% of women aren’t getting enough magnesium or omega-3s. We’re excited about hardware and personalization down the line, but think hardware has a ways to go before it’s mass-market. We wanted to first build a brand with products that worked (and worked well) for the largest amount of women.
Andreas Finstad@andreas_finstad · Developer, http://nRadio.f20.be
So...why IS it different? :-)
Katerina Schneider@katerinamarkov · CEO + Founder of Ritual
@andreas_finstad see above :)
Uhma@deleted-594972 · Brr
Hi Katerina, Thank you for giving us an opportunity to ask you anything. Seems like you guys are tailoring your products to women only, how come? Will Ritual.com be offering carbohydrates, proteins and fats in a pill form at some point? Thank you!
Katerina Schneider@katerinamarkov · CEO + Founder of Ritual
@victorpolyushko We wanted to narrow our focus initially to what we knew best: women. I started this company when I became pregnant and started asking my friends what brand of prenatal vitamins they had taken or would recommend. Not only did I discover a complete lack of brand loyalty, but most women had no idea what was inside their vitamins or if what they were taking was even doing them any good. Our brand is focused on women initially because we wanted to do one thing and do it well, but we have built a gender-agnostic brand that can expand into other products including men’s vitamins down the line. Our supplements are meant to fill the gaps in the average diet; our initial focus is not on meal replacement.
Greg Moore@gmoore131 · http://thegregmoore.com
Also, I'm curious if you consider yourself / your company as being part of the biohacking movement? If so, do you have any suggestions for people who would like to learn more about biohacking?
Katerina Schneider@katerinamarkov · CEO + Founder of Ritual
@gmoore131 for us it came down to focusing on the basics. It turns out that by improving basic things in our lives (walking, drinking more water, sleeping, taking a daily vitamin) we can greatly impact our health and how we feel. That is foundational before we go into biohacking.
Tomas Eglinskas@deleted-689514
Hello! I would like to ask - how did you always find the motivation to pursue your goals and the creation of Ritual? In your opinion, on what qualities should a person work on in order to be noticed by stakeholders, make an impact to the customers? Thank You!
Katerina Schneider@katerinamarkov · CEO + Founder of Ritual
@pikachu I started the company because I had a problem that I faced myself. I knew that I needed to take a vitamin but I couldn't find one I trusted. I asked myself, "how come I know what's in my bag of chips or milk but not my vitamins?" and it turns out lots of other people feel the same way. This is how our idea of traceability came about, where we allow consumers to trace all of our ingredients to their source. The motivation that keeps me going is knowing that we have the potential to impact the health of millions. That is really exciting and what keeps me going every day.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hi Kat, thanks so much for joining us. What has been the challenge in getting ritual started?
Katerina Schneider@katerinamarkov · CEO + Founder of Ritual
@ems_hodge The initial challenge was staying focused. We could have gone into lots of products and categories with our approach of traceability. However, we decided to start with one product, EFW and build the best in class daily vitamin. That was a challenge and an opportunity.