When nutrition scientist Mark Timon founded Vibrant Health in the fall of 1992, the marketplace for a powdered nutritional supplement was practically non-existent. However, consumers showed a strong interest in health supplements and natural living, and a record number of health food stores were opening to meet demand. The opportunity was clear.
In 2007, Ted and Paige Parker—one of Vibrant Health's top retailers at the time—purchased the company. Since then, they’ve grown the company to $30 million in sales from $7 million and nabbed a few NEXTY Awards along the way. The company, New England Greens LLC, ranked 81st on the Black Enterprise list of Top 100 Black-owned businesses and was included in Forbes' 100 Black-owned Businesses to Support feature in 2020.
Here, owner and co-president Paige Parker talks guiding principles, defining a marketplace and creating a legacy.
How has Vibrant Health stayed relevant in the natural products industry for 30 years?
Paige Parker: Celebrating 30 years in the natural products industry is a testament to the quality and efficacy of our award-winning formulas. Each and every product in the line is clinically formulated to improve health by supporting human biochemistry. The ingredients in our formulas work synergistically to address specific conditions and to enhance overall well-being. Our approach to nutrition has always been holistic in practice with a goal to rid the body of illness or disease. We have remained hyper-diligent in our mission to create the most trusted and effective nutritional supplements to aid in the healing of illness and to empower people everywhere to achieve optimal health.
Why do you think Vibrant Flora won the Best Condition-Specific Supplement NEXTY Award in 2016? What was especially innovative about your product at that time?
PP: One of our guiding principles is to lead the way and be ahead of the times. Vibrant Flora (now called Digestive Vibrance) was the epitome of that philosophy. Before gut health became the buzz word of the decade, we realized that thousands of people were suffering from some level of gastrointestinal problem. Mark Timon, the company’s original founder, has a son who suffered from Crohn’s disease. He wanted to find a solution for him and formulated this advanced gut support formula. It worked! For the first time in his son’s adult life, he was able to get through the day without a dozen trips to the bathroom and severe abdominal pain. This product was the first of its kind on the market. It combined 100 billion probiotics from eight unique strains with specific amino acids and healing plant antioxidants. The combination healed, repaired and supported a strong gastrointestinal system. Customers who suffered with IBS and other issues finally found a healthy solution.
What about in 2019, when Vibrant Health received the NEXTY Award for Best New Product Supporting a Healthy Microbiome?
PP: As I mentioned earlier, consumers were just starting to understand the link between gut health and overall health. In many cases, microbiome became the new buzz word, very much like probiotics and "healthy bugs" was the buzz word a decade earlier. This fast-acting formula gets to work immediately upon using, and various benefits such as reduced bloating, gas and inflammation are experienced within days. Overall, the product rebuilds the intestinal lining, reduces pain and helps set an environment for healthy intestinal flora.
Since winning your first NEXTY Award, how has Vibrant Health evolved?
PP: Vibrant Health is the most award-winning supplement brand in the industry, with a total of 48 awards and counting. As nutritional science evolves, so do our products. We practice formula obsolescence, which simply means we review our formulas consistently and we utilize the most up-to-date research to reformulate and to make our products even better. We call this being dynamic by design and this is reflected in the version numbers stated on our product labels. When customers use our products, they feel different, and they’ve come to understand and appreciate the long-term health benefits that they provide.
What are your plans for the future of Vibrant Health?
PP: To keep doing what we’ve been doing for the past 30 years: provide best-in-class supplements to the market that change and save lives. We are committed to evolving and improving current formulations and to launching new and innovative products to help improve the health and well-being of consumers everywhere.
Do you have any wisdom to share with other supplement brands?
PP: I would recommend that supplement brands think about the end consumer and not follow trends. Be truthful in your messaging and educate the end consumer on what your product will do for their health and for the health of their family. Make products that help improve the lives of others. To stay on track with the development of your brand, create a mission statement and a set of guiding principles. Read them often and stick to them when you reach a fork in the road.