Importance of Gut Health: Deeply Foods

Importance of Gut Health: Deeply Foods

In a world where the importance of gut health has captured the attention of many, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Clara Latham, Co-Founder and Joint MD, Deeply Foods. Clara shares insights into the inspiration behind Deeply, the challenges she has encountered, and her career journey up until this point.

About Clara:

Clara’s professional background has seen her build brands which have both developed and lead in their individual categories. 

 

She began her career working for healthy snacking brand Bounce, where for 7 years she worked across various sales and marketing roles; her achievements spanned winning and growing the health & specialist retail landscape, to being the brands spokesperson across PR and all major trade events and finally developing and overseeing the export strategy for the brand, in an International Key Account Manager position. Working closely with Bounce MD, they led the smart-snacking category to become the number 1 energy ball, with a Bounce protein ball now sold every 1.9 seconds globally. 

 

Clara was subsequently appointed as Head of Sales at Seedlip, during which time she worked closely alongside founder, Ben Branson, to establish and develop the no & low spirits category. As Sales Director, she oversaw a 15-strong commercial department, and supported the business in gaining 7000+ distribution points globally, Seedlip emerged as the undisputed category leader, before being sold in just 4.5 years to alcohol drinks giant Diageo, in a successful majority deal acquisition. 

 

Clara was shortly after head-hunted to lead the launch of Delevingne Sisters’ wine brand, Della Vite, in the role of GM. She lead the brands growth successfully through Covid, launching in the UK and US, before parting ways to focus full time on her Founder & MD role for Deeply. 

Clara Latham

Co-Founder & Joint MD, Deeply Foods

Interview with Clara

Clara, could you please provide a brief introduction about yourself to begin?

I’m a passionate foodie, born and bred Londoner, an extrovert – and have been working in the world of food & drink start-ups my whole career which now spans sixteen years. I live with my wonderful husband Ben and care deeply about my family & friends.

Deeply Foods is your own start-up, which is very exciting! When did you launch the company, and could you tell us more about what it specialises in?

Deeply has been on the market for only a couple of months (we launched in September 2023) but I’ve been working on the development of the business and brand idea for over two years with my fellow founding team members.

After discovering just how impactful a thriving gut microbiome can be on our overall health, I was inspired to research and find out what it takes to truly build and maintain a healthy gut. The latest science now proves that consuming 30g of fibre per day is key and plays a fundamental role, yet in the UK alone, only 10% of us are managing to reach the daily goal.

At Deeply, we’re passionate about helping people bridge their fibre gap so we developed a range of powerful prebiotic fibre blends, which can be enjoyed as part of a repeatable morning ritual, a simple morning dose.  Our recipes are proven to directly tackle many of the most common gut health issues (bloating, constipation, digestive discomfort) with a growing number of consumers now feeling the benefits and converting to the power of prebiotics.

What inspired you to start Deeply Foods? What’s the story behind its inception?

Having worked at several really interesting and innovative start-up businesses, I love the fast-paced & entrepreneurial environment. Work has never really felt like ‘just a job’ to me, in fact, I’d go as far as to say my career has likely moulded a part of my personality. Along the way, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some fantastic founders and gained a lot of experience and insight into what it takes to build a successful business.

The key was succeeding in developing a product & brand within a space that truly resonated with me. Given I’m always trying to optimise my health I knew I wanted to launch a brand within the health and wellness space. The positive impact I believe Deeply can have on people’s lives excites me hugely.

Your business partner is Mark Tanous…how did you meet him and how did you know he was the right person for you to join forces with?

I met Mark years ago when he was MD at Bounce Energy Balls which was the first company that I ever worked at. For seven years I benefited from his great leadership and mentorship and experienced first-hand many of the business attributes I deem as important for the effective running of a company. We share a lot of the same values when it comes to building brands & teams. We reconnected several years later, both keen to start building something for ourselves from scratch, and the stars aligned for us to co-found a business together. Mark is incredibly hard working, very passionate about health, but most importantly he is someone that I can trust, which is a key attribute when looking for a co-founder.

Can you share some success stories/milestones Deeply has achieved so far?

It is still very early days, but I am incredibly proud and happy with the brand we have launched. The recipe, its proven efficiency as well as the name Deeply. I love that it’s packaged in innovative aluminium which is a key differentiator.

We’re already seeing lots of consumers subscribing to Deeply, which is a key part of our strategy – getting people to invest in a daily gut health routine. We’re also well on our way to better understanding who our target consumer (and shopper) is, which is a fundamentally important thing to define.

I’m also proud to see us winning significant shelf space in retail within the gut health fixture as the leading and only prebiotic brand. Deeply challenges the status quo within the category and it’s lovely to be able to see that in front of my eyes after years of it living only on a slide or within a strategy deck!

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in getting the company off the ground?

Lots of the usual start-up mayhem including supply-chain delays that pushed our launch back. We’re also faced with the everyday challenge of choosing what we must prioritise, as we’re currently only a small team. I do however believe that it’s mastering these challenges with the right level of resilience that will help us to differentiate & ultimately win over other companies. The other interesting challenge which is specifically relevant to this space is that no two people’s gut microbes are the same, which means Deeply can benefit people in entirely different ways. It’s a fun puzzle to put together, but it does add some complexity!

What does success for Deeply look like for you long term?

We want to be the leading household, premium prebiotic gut health brand, by 2030. We hope to be recognised for being a true leader in the gut health category, that is recognised for the genuine positive impact we have had on people’s lives and their health. I believe that prebiotics and fibre are a fundamental driver of that, and we hope to achieve enough commercial impact to make a notable difference.

Which has been the role that’s had the most significant impact on your development or career and why?

A tricky question to answer as every role has been hugely beneficial. Before starting Deeply, I have worked at three fantastic companies.  Seven years at Bounce, over four years at Seedlip and almost three years at Della Vite. At Seedlip I was employee 2, hired as Head of Sales and grew with the company from shortly after launch until post-acquisition to Diageo. The role gave me so much exposure to launching, growing, scaling, and selling a brand and we did it in four and a half years. It was undoubtedly a start-up success story and the experience I gained from being part of the leadership team that created a category, responsible for developing the commercial strategy and growing my team was hugely valuable. People often refer to a step in their career as being a transformational phase, so I would have to say that that was my time at Seedlip.

Could you share a memorable success story or experience involving a candidate you have hired into one of your teams? What made them stand out or contribute to the company's success?

There are a range of people I’ve hired along the way and a good segment are from New Chapter. Sam Gummer was a New Chapter candidate, and he was my third hire into the sales team at Seedlip. Before being at Seedlip, he worked as an estate agent selling properties in Knightsbridge. He walked up to his interview, suited and booted, and pitched that he was passionate about moving into the food and drinks industry. He had no real industry-relevant experience, but he was super hungry, incredibly polite, and very ambitious. I felt that although he was a bit of a wild card, he was showing all the right attributes that we looked for and the right kind of behaviour and culture fit, so I went for it and offered him the job.

As Seedlip began to scale into the national retailer landscape, listing with the likes of Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, Sam was responsible for defending the Speciality channel and through a very focused strategy managed to maintain channel growth, which was against the odds. He executed it fantastically. Now he’s the Sales Director at Longbottom! What an amazing progression story. One of the many Seedlip alumni.

You mentioned that this time felt different when making hires for Deeply Foods. What were the unique aspects of this experience, and what challenges did you encounter?

Fundamentally, everything is just put under a microscope when it’s your own business. I care a lot, and it’s just a unique and challenging experience. When you’re hiring at the start of the journey, the first people set the tone for the culture and performance expectations. You need doers, but also expertise which can sometimes be a challenge on start-up budgets. I have always viewed the budget as if it were my own, but in this case, it really is my own, it’s our livelihood. It’s a challenge but it’s exciting!

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs or individuals interested in starting their own business?

Linking to my previous point I think the biggest thing I have learnt so far, is that the highs are higher, and the lows are lower. It is more extreme, and my advice is to have the right support system around you. Whether that’s family, your partner, your friends, or mentors – people that you can bounce ideas off and trust. And also, always try to remember, you are still your own person, and your professional role however personal it can feel at times, shouldn’t define you.  

Take a look at Deeply Foods below and explore the benefits prebiotics can have on your health.

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