Facility Location: Bryan, TX
CEO: Doss Cunningham
In operation since: 2002
Prizes and Awards:
Best New Brand 2010
Fat Burner of the Year 2012 for Super HD
Top Products: C4 Extreme, Super HD, COR-Performance Whey, P6 Black
As the world's number one most visited bodybuilding website, Bodybuilding.com would like to shine a spotlight on those great supplement companies whose products and services are making a positive impact on the industry as a whole. Each month we will shine that spotlight on a different company.
This month we are proud to feature the company that had thousands upon thousands of requests to be available on Bodybuilding.com by their many great customers and fans, Cellucor.
We had the opportunity to interview Doss Cunningham, CEO of Cellucor, to tell us more about the company, their products, and many other topics.
Can you please tell our readers how your company started?
Cellucor was founded in 2002 with the primary focus of bringing new technology and innovative product solutions to the dietary supplement industry. Although relatively unknown until recent years, Cellucor has been in existence for almost a decade, working to bring the latest developments in science to consumers as quickly as possible.
The business model is unique. Just like Apple or Oakley, you won't find Cellucor products everywhere—we work with a very exclusive and select group of retail partners.
What made you decide that you should start your own supplement company?
I actually didn't start the company. Poul Bodholt, former CEO, and Robert Wood, the company's President and Director of International Business, founded the company in late 2002.
Poul and Robert saw an opportunity to fill a void within the industry. The industry needed an innovator, and they were determined to be the company that brought that innovation. In the beginning, Poul handled the product development side of the business and Robert ran the books and facilitated the day-to-day operations. I didn't join the company until 2004, and didn't become the company's CEO until 2007.
Can you tell us about some other important people that helped you out in the beginning?
Like any start-up, help comes from everywhere in the beginning. Woodbolt had quite a bit of luck in finding some really great people, including our Senior VP of Sales, Jason Duran and our COO, Nathan Kleiman, who were both with the company from the very beginning. Without these great hires, Cellucor never would have made it past year one or two. There are also several other directors/managers who have played important roles during the developmental years, including Markus Trillsch, Jeff Weisser, and Kevin Dalaeli.
Can you tell us a little more about yourself and your background in the industry?
Truth be told, I am not really a traditional industry executive. I joined the company on the financial side, not knowing the first thing about dietary supplements or bodybuilding. My education was in accounting and corporate finance, and my work experience was a brief stint at Deloitte and Touche in their Audit and Assurance Group, not the classic resume of an industry CEO. Fortunately, I think this background was exactly what the company needed to navigate the early years.
After spending a few years managing the financial affairs of the company and learning the business, the partners asked me to take over managing the day-to-day operations as the company's COO. I spent nearly two years in this position before I was made a partner and given the opportunity to become the company's new CEO.
Since becoming the company's CEO, I have had to fully submerge myself into the lifestyle of the industry to try and gain consumer perspective. I have always played sports, but now I also lift weights, follow a strict diet, and take supplements.
Through actively participating in the lifestyle and keeping up with all of the major media publications (offline and online), I have found that I can better relate to our customer audience. I may not have started as an industry guy, but I have really gained respect for this line of work.
What are some of your top products right now?
We have several popular products representing the sports nutrition and diet space categories. Our best selling diet product, and a product that is quickly gaining a loyal following, is D4 Thermal Shock, an extremely effective and wildly poplular thermogenic.
M5 Extreme is also very popular amongst the sports nutrition crowd. M5 is a 2-in-1 (pre/post workout) supplement. We have recently launched N0, pronounced N-Zero, as one of the first pre-workout supplements made without creatine. N0 is an example of us really listening to our customers. They said, "Hey, what about a pre-workout supplement that still gives you energy, pumps and noticeable increases in strength and endurance without the creatine?" We said OK. So, here you go, it is called N-Zero (N0).
Those may be the headliners, but the entire line is first in class. We have one of the best recovery formulas in R3 Extreme and one of the best innovations yet, T7 Extreme, a stimulant-free weight loss product.
Are there any new and exciting products that you are coming out with soon?
There are some great things in the making, including several redesigns. We have a long history of reinventing ourselves every couple of years, and this particular face lift is going to be nothing short of spectacular. So, for all the fans out there, Generation 3 is coming soon, possibly by late this year.
Is there any other big news about your company that you would like to share with us?
I would just like to tell all of the current and future customers that we are going to keep innovating and enhancing the customer experience. As Cellucor grows and expands, we will keep the customer experience as our top priority. This means that we will not let spreadsheets and profit targets compromise our position as a leader in innovation, quality and service.
Have you sponsored any people? If so, how have they impacted your company and the industry?
We are not the average company in this regard. We don't go after big-name IFBB pros and try and convince the consumers that we had something to do with their success. Instead, we look for up-and-coming amateur athletes who have aspirations of making the big stage. We have programs that spot talent and offer opportunities to those who stick with it and show continued progress.
We also won't sponsor an athlete who doesn't have good people skills or who isn't looking to help others. Our athletes are role models for their sport and those who are capable of attracting people to the lifestyle of fitness and self-improvement.
Ed Cook, more popularly known as "Old Superman" is a prime example of the type of athlete we sponsor. Ed is an inspiration to others and has a remarkable story that is capable of motivating the unmoved. You will never see Cellucor deviate from this philosophy, because it is not what we are about.
Let's say a customer comes to you who is just starting out, and can only afford one product. Which one do you recommend, and why?
That is a question that can't really be answered easily. Knowing that every customer is different, it would first start with a question aimed at assessing the customer's goals. The right product for the customer may not even be something we make. But for the sake of answering the question, a good protein is a pretty good start for most people.
What do you believe is the best and worst things about the supplement industry?
I think the supplement industry is heading in the right direction. Due to some of the recent FDA guidelines, including the newly required GMPs, I think the industry is regaining some of the credibility that had been lost. This is a great industry to operate in, but just like any other industry, where there is financial opportunity there is greed and with that sometimes comes dishonesty.
The supplement industry is a great space to do business. Today, more people care about the importance of their health than ever before. People are more informed. Many people are finding that dietary supplements are great solutions.
Before we wrap this up, is there anything else you would like to share, or is there anyone you would like to thank or give a shout-out to?
I would like to thank Bodybuilding.com for giving us an opportunity to share more about who we are and what we are about. I think Bodybuilding.com is an exemplary company and an incredible partner to our business.
I would like to give a special thanks to everyone on team Woodbolt. I have 53 great employees, who without their daily contributions, this would not be possible. I would also like to thank my first mentor and company co-founder, Poul Bodholt, for building the foundation and teaching me so much about this industry.
The same thanks goes to my current partners, Co-Founder and President Robert Wood, and our Executive Vice President, Manish Patel.
I would also like to thank my wonderful wife for being very supportive throughout the years.
And last, but not definitely not least, I would like to thank all of our loyal customers. The growth over the last 8 years is ultimately due to your support. Thank you.