What's our story? 🐋
Fresh out of college, we both had jobs we weren’t enjoying much. Long hours filled with spreadsheets, numbers, and documents were sucking the life out of us day by day. It was during that one fateful night when Vergil mentioned starting our own thing, inspired by our own needs.
Being active twenty-somethings that spent their evenings lifting weights, running track, and playing ball, we knew a great deal about fitness, wellness, and nutrition. And we sure enjoyed drinking protein shakes. You name a whey protein brand, we’ve probably tried it!
Trying to make ends meet with our entry-level salaries, the savings you get on huge tubs of whey protein was too good to ignore, so we liked pooling our money to buy them.
Imagine burning a hole in your wallet for a hundred servings of protein powder… then finding out the flavor is pure horror. That was us too many times than our hands can count!
It’s that experience that started the conversation that would spark Wheyl.
We both wished someone would come up with a way for us to enjoy multiple flavors of high-quality whey protein, while keeping it easy on the pocket. Then Vergil said it.
“Why not us?”
Being a light-hearted night-out with our good friends, we didn’t have the opportunity to discuss what he said much. But it sure got us thinking.
Vergil and I have been really close friends – brothers, really – for most of our lives, so it was normal for us to talk every day and catch up on the mundane. But after that night, our talks felt different. We never could get it out of our heads, so we kept coming back to the topic of building something special. Our daily conversations went from the Lakers and Call of Duty to business plans and branding strategies real quick.
Many weeks passed and we both felt we had a solid plan in place. That’s when we took the biggest leap of our lives. We left our jobs and invested the little savings we had on what would be Wheyl.
Why the name Wheyl? Honestly, it’s just us playing with the words “whey” and “whale” for fun. What happened to be a joke at first became a reality when our friends and family loved it. Back then, we would have never guessed that such a fun pun would inspire our branding so much:
“Friendly, fun, and for everyone."
In an industry dominated by gender-extreme brands pushing unhealthy and unattainable body and beauty standards, we wanted to be different. We decided to embrace friendly language and fun colors to create a brand that’s for everyone. Essentially, we believed excellent nutrition is something that should be enjoyed by everybody – especially your average Juan and Maria.
And that’s how what originally began as “a solution to offering multiple flavors in one affordable bundle” became even bigger. We started building the foundations of a community built on diversity, inspired by a single sentence:
“Whoever you are or whatever your goal is, you have a place in the Wheyl community.”
Establishing our identity was an easy process for Vergil and I, but creating our world-class product was a different story.
Not many suppliers and manufacturers could trust two fresh-eyed, bushy-tailed millennials who had nothing to show. We were going to meetings almost every day presenting our ideas, getting many rejections in the process. That didn’t bode well for our confidence, but we kept at it… until enough said yes.
(Until today, these partners still work with us. Y’all know who you are. Thank you for taking a chance on us. We don’t know where we would be without all of you.)
With the support of our new partners, we were able to create our very first product, JUST Salted Chocolate whey protein. We started selling to our friends and family, expanded to our university’s trade groups, then built our social media presence. And from there, our community began to grow slowly but surely.
In the months after our launch, we focused on three things: creating unique world-class products, building an excellent service-oriented culture, and developing strong business relationships. We happily spent nearly 80 hours a week juggling these three goals between the two of us, while processing and packing every order ourselves. Our efforts paid off when the community started to grow exponentially. But that’s when a reality hit us.
The community started to get too big for just the two of us to handle. Vergil and I realized we had to start growing the team already. Patty joined by mid-2018. It didn’t take long until Vismen, Antonio, Lia, Czari, Chai, Gela, Jelly, Anela, Katya, Nige, and Deejay joined us too! And with the community’s outpouring of support, operating from our homes just wasn’t possible anymore. We had to get ourselves an office and warehouse just to keep up.
Writing all of this in June 2020, it’s hard to believe it’s been three years since Vergil asked that very important question. So much have changed, but one thing always stayed the same.
Throughout our entire adventure, you’ve been our constant. It’s your unyielding trust that fuels our daily grind. It sounds very cliché but it really is how we all feel in the team:
Thank YOU for supporting us.
We promise the Wheyl experience is going to keep getting better. We’re confident that the future is bright because you – our amazing community – are beside us to build it.
We’ll sea you around! 🐋
Jason and Vergil