Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Hugh Williams, co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Lyric, located in Santa Monica, California, USA. Lyric is a state-of-the-art massage device.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
The Lyric is an intelligent handheld massager, the result of a two-year project aimed at addressing consumer (and retailer) needs in the handheld massage device category, which is currently dominated by ugly, cumbersome, athlete-focused devices (“guns”). We partnered with team of world-renowned product designers, to deliver a very un-“gunlike” innovation that addresses these needs.
In September, we unveiled the fruit of this effort: The Lyric - a revolutionary self-care companion that takes the guesswork out of wellness, fitting seamlessly and stylishly into any home or lifestyle and offering breakthrough Rhythm Therapy, which stimulates the nervous system (as well as muscles) to help users relieve pain, relax or energize.
We believe (and have been told) that the Lyric is breaking the mold in a category that has been flat to down. Retailers have not experienced new or exciting technology in this category for years, and the Lyric is just that! This is why retailers like Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, REI, and numerous specialty-run stores have signed up to sell the device.
Tell us about yourself
I joined the company in early 2020 after spending 25 years in PR and marketing at global communications agency Weber Shandwick, where I helped establish and lead the multi-million dollar Built With Chocolate Milk marketing campaign. Over several years, we repositioned what was ostensibly a chocolatey treat for kids into a credible sports recovery beverage for serious athletes and turned around a lagging category. So the transition from sports recovery nutrition to recovery and massage tools was a natural progression.
I met my co-founder - a serial entrepreneur - through a shared passion for endurance sports and hit it off immediately, sharing ideas on how to build a best-in-class massage technology (a business he was already in). I saw an opportunity to apply my relevant integrated marketing background, especially in the wellness and active lifestyle space, to help build a company from obscurity to the world stage. I also saw a category with very little innovation, filled with overpriced brands that seemed very cold and ‘transactional and only catered to athletes (millions of people suffer from chronic pain everyone wants to relax). Effective massage technology should be within reach of everyone, so building a brand from scratch - and one with a genuine desire to help people - was exciting to me and continues to motivate me.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment was to help lead a team to design the Lyric, sell it to retailers and bring the technology to market in around 14 months - all during a pandemic no less (and the associated supply chain challenges)! It was a team effort. We are lucky to have such a strong team and valued partners.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
All of the people and their families that are counting on a regular paycheck. While my co-founder is the one with the unenviable task of fundraising, the success of the business helps drives what he does and obviously drives our income. Starting a brand from scratch, let alone in a highly competitive category during a pandemic, has been a huge challenge and has taken a team effort, but as a co-founder, marketer, and brand builder, I've felt a massive sense of responsibility for all of our staff. However, the reward at the end of it all wouldn't be as sweet if it was all plain sailing!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make sure you are not only addressing an unmet need but make sure the solution is 10x than anything else out there (invest in the thinking to take you there, if needed).
- Protect it, future proof it. In other words, not only invest in IP protection but also make sure you have a vision to where you will take the business 2,3,5,10 years down the line.
- Plan for all worst-case scenarios and never get complacent.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.