So... how did we get here?
You probably already know this, but in case you don't, here is how Vivo Life started.
Picture this: two young men full of enthusiasm for life and passion for nutrition, trying out, mixing, and tasting all sorts of powders in their own kitchens.
I'm talking about Salv and Josh - Vivo Life's founders - in 2015, when Vivo was only an idea, impatiently waiting to be born.
A lot of things have changed since then (although the enthusiasm and passion have remained exactly the same). Josh and Salv have now built a team of incredible people, a well-organised warehouse, an efficient production facility, a wonderful community... and new products are no longer created in their kitchens, but in a professional lab.
Well, this was until Covid-19 came along, and lockdown brought up a whole set of new challenges. This is also when I joined the team - a weird time to start a job, huh?
But wait until you hear the best part:
I started my role in New Product Development at Vivo from another country.
That's right! Being originally from Italy, I remained stuck there for 3 months, after visiting family just before lockdown, and that's exactly when I received Vivo's offer to start working – remotely, of course.
I was confused.
What is an NPD technologist without his or her ingredients?
How do you create delicious products without a team to taste them?
In what way do you understand and connect with people that you’ve never met?
But sometimes the answer is easier than you think.
We simply went back to the origins. In the same way, as Salv and Josh were mixing powders back in the day, I started creating new products from my Italian home.
Parcels full of ingredients were sent to me by the guys at the factory, I contacted suppliers to get hold of new raw materials... and soon I was transforming my kitchen into a lab.
There I was, protein powder in my hair, yellow turmeric all over my face, and a house that smelled like cinnamon and blueberries (my parents were rather bemused!)
And this is where the Magic happened during lockdown!
Remember, If you really want to do something, there is always a way.
Once my first formulations were created, I sent samples to every single member of the Vivo Life team for their feedback, exactly like we would have done if we were on site. Unfortunately, we couldn’t all sit down together around a table to taste and share ideas, but we used all the tools that we could to discuss, listen and make sure that all voices and opinions were heard.
Other samples were sent for pesticide, heavy-metal, microbiological and nutritional analysis, because, even during lockdown, compromising on the quality of our products was never an option.
Yes, most tasks became a challenge, and there are a lot of things that I simply missed, as you all probably did during lockdown: saying “Good Morning” to the people around me, fighting for whose turn it is to make coffee, or just talking to people who are three-dimensional really…
But I’ve also learnt that ideas are way more powerful than a dodgy Wi-Fi or a lost parcel, and that they can make their way through videocalls, envelopes and feedback questionnaires. And, in the end, seeing those products come to life was even more satisfying than if we had made them under “normal” conditions.
Not to mention the feeling of entering through that Vivo Life door when lockdown was over: being in the place where the Magic usually happens, meeting a team that I felt like I had known forever, exchanging those smiles… real live smiles!!
I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason. If it wasn’t for lockdown, I would never have found Vivo, and all the amazing people that I’ve met along this journey. And if it wasn’t for lockdown, you wouldn’t be able to taste our new launches.
If you work with amazing people, they will also be amazing on the other side of a Zoom call. Thanks to the collaboration of every single one of them, this autumn will see some MAGIC come to life.
So yes, it’s been hard, but let’s look at the positive side - we can always be grateful for what we have.
It’s been a pleasure to meet you all!
P.S. After all this, you are probably wondering what are these new products that I keep mentioning? Well, I’m afraid that’s still a secret, but I promise that you’ll find out very soon…