KARL MOORE – This is Karl Moore of the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University, talking management for The Globe and Mail. Today, I am delighted to speak to Steven Singer, who is founder of Live. Love. Snack and was co-founder and CEO of Glutino [Food Group], which is one of the first companies to [enter] the gluten-free marketplace.
Steven, when you are one of the first companies to get into the gluten-free marketplace, how do you decide as an entrepreneur – you have a new startup now – how do you decide what’s the next wave you should catch in the marketplace that will take you out for a long way?
STEVEN SINGER – Well, you know, we did a lot of research on the gluten-free market overseas, internationally, to see what was working and what other companies were doing. We really studied the gluten-free market in America to see, all right, where is the white space? Where can we be? What areas can we or should we focus on? And then we just went out and tried to do that, and tried to find, to almost create, a one-stop shop and a one-brand stop for all gluten-free categories.
KARL MOORE – So how long did it take you to come up with that strategy, which is very clear. How long a period did it take to kind of evolve to that?
STEVEN SINGER – I would say between six months and a year we spent really studying various companies overseas and to understand what works. Then it took the life of the company, I’d say, and it still goes on today, to really find the right partners in manufacturing, both whether it would be ourselves in-house or finding the right manufacturer for every product-category class in that specific field.
KARL MOORE – So as a Canadian company, as a Canadian entrepreneur, Steven, where do you look for ideas? Is it other parts of the world or mainly at home?
STEVEN SINGER – I think it is all over the place. I think you have to look internationally. I think the health-and-wellness sector overseas is maybe a little more developed in certain areas versus Canada and the United States; the non-GMO [non-genetically modified organism products] and segments like that are bigger in Europe than they were here. But at the same time, the U.S., and looking at what trends are going on there and what are people eating, what are the ingredients they want and that sort of thing. I don’t think we could just look at home, it’s not enough.