Meet Nancy Chan, CEO of Epion Brands, the makers of Kori Krill Oil, a multi-benefit Omega-3 supplement sourced from Antarctic krill.
She is a veteran marketer who has successfully created brand love across diverse categories including Food, Personal Care, and Beauty for brands like Dove, Knorr, Nexxus Hair Care, and eos. Nancy is a self-proclaimed foodie, skincare junkie and, in her down time attempts to keep up on the tennis court against her two boys.
Kori Krill Oil delivers sustainable essential Omega-3s in their most natural form to provide multi-benefit health support including heart, brain, joint, eye, skin and immune health.
Made from 100% pure Antarctic Krill oil, a unique source that delivers Omega-3s in the phospholipid form preferred by our bodies which provide the further benefits of superior absorption and no fishy aftertaste. Additionally, krill oil naturally contains essential choline to support brain and nervous system health.
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Table of Contents
In the past year, what is the greatest business achievement you’d like to celebrate with your team? Please share the details of that success.
Nancy Chan: In 2022, we achieved our biggest revenue to date for our young company and brand, growing 89% over 2021. Within the broader Vitamin and Supplements category, our specific category of focus of Omegas continues to be challenged.
However, we continued to invest in establishing the multi health benefits that Kori Krill Oil provides through Antarctic krill. We’re creating awareness and interest amongst younger consumers who historically may not feel a need for Omegas until they are older. We are experiencing great momentum in our online business and some of our key retail partners, which we are working hard to sustain and accelerate this year.
Quiet quitting, The Great Resignation, are an ongoing trend causing many businesses to struggle keeping talent engaged and motivated. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. In your experience, what keeps employees happy? And how are adapting to the current shift we see?
Nancy Chan: Company culture, respect and communication are absolutely parts of a strong foundation for keeping employees engaged and happy. Trust, transparency, having common goals and empathy I have found are also key pillars. With remote and hybrid offices now, mutual trust is critical because our team is not together during the entire workday.
There’s a greater need for flexibility which may require the team to hold non-traditional office hours, and without trust, it could derail a team’s effectiveness.
Transparency, especially when it comes to the feedback loop, has also been really important to help employees have the awareness of where their strengths and weaknesses are – no one likes to hear about what they need improvement on, but recognizing these weaknesses when you have shared goals as a team allows the team to rally in support of each other and step in to help, instead of harboring expectations of the capabilities of an employee or colleague that may be difficult to meet.
Online business keeps on surging higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for the year to come and how are you capitalizing on the tidal wave?
Nancy Chan: While the majority of our sales being done offline, we have certainly experienced some of our largest and fastest growth from our online channels. For the year to come, we’re planning on increasing our capabilities and investment in this space. Investment in marketing, analytics and infrastructure, as well as seeking new partners to deepen and expand our presence online.
As a team, we’ve evolved through COVID into one that’s geographically dispersed, even though our team is small. I’m expecting that the technologies that enable the virtual work environment improve to address what must be common pain points – especially compatibility and consistency across platforms.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as THE real challenge right now?
Nancy Chan: As a new brand, inflation and the economic downturn coupled with the category dynamics are likely to continue to be big challenges we’ll face. The ability to explore and try new products becomes dampened as consumers continue to be challenged to make their dollars work harder for them.
Consumers can lean into legacy brands because they have a history of experience with the brand that the consumer can lean on in. For new brands who have the task of building awareness and trust, the economic environment makes it more challenging for consumers to want to take the risk in trial for a brand they may have no experience with.
It means we need to continue to find ways to get Kori Krill Oil into the consideration set and into the hands of new consumers, because we know that once a consumer has tried the brand, the satisfaction and loyalty rates are very strong.
In your experience, what tends to be the most underestimated part of running a company? Can you share an example?.
Nancy Chan: I think one of the most underestimated parts is the emotional fortitude needed that comes with the highs and lows of a start-up business launching a new brand. In some ways, the force of both the highs and lows feel amplified when you’re involved in every step and event firsthand and you know that you and your team have given so much to get to that specific point.
For Epion, one of the most exciting moments was when CVS and Walmart agreed to take Kori Krill Oil into distribution. They were the first retailers to believe in our vision and ambition. Then, seeing the first bottles of Kori come off the production line ready to ship… both were unbelievable moments of pride and joy. At the same time, when a retailer passes on the brand, it’s hugely disappointing and can feel terrible.
But being able to get over that low quickly and keep trying is what I believe will eventually pay off. As a new brand, we’re going to experience a significant amount of these peaks and valleys and it’s important to expect this because I believe the ability to have this resiliency can be an underappreciated asset to develop.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Nancy Chan: Our customers are the core of our business, so I’d choose a superpower like telepathy that would enable my team and I to understand the unbiased, unfiltered, unmet needs and pain points of our customers. It would be taking our consumer research beyond boss level to let us exponentially accelerate our mission to bring solutions to improve health through the power of Antarctic krill.
From understanding opportunities where our customers need more education on the powerful benefits of krill, to new product offerings that we can bring to market to address their needs and help support their best health.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Nancy Chan for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Nancy Chan or her company, you can do it through her – Facebook
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