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Jazz Shaper: Melissa Snover

Posted on 07 October 2023

Melissa Snover is an award-winning entrepreneur and disruptor in the world of food technology and 3D printing.

Melissa Snover - Jazz Shapers

Elliot Moss                      

Welcome to Jazz Shapers with me Elliot Moss, bringing the shapers of the business world together with the musicians shaping jazz, soul and blues.  My guest today I am very pleased to say is Meliss Snover, CEO and Founder of Remedy Health, home of the brand Nourished, creators of 3D printed personalised gummy vitamins and yes, don’t worry, we’ll be finding out what that actually means.  Having launched, aged 23, a financial advisory business which she grew by 750% in less than three years, Melissa sold her stake and moved onto her first passion project, in 2010 she created the world’s first vegan, natural and allergen free fruit gum called Goody Good Stuff which became one of the fastest growing confectionary brands in Europe.  Drawn to the challenge of creating more personalised products unique to each consumer, Melissa created her own 3D printing technology despite previously having no experience in this field and being told it couldn’t be done in less than ten years.  And in 2020 she launched Nourished using her patented technology to personalise and disrupt the vitamin supplement world.  Hello.

Melissa Snover

Hi.

Elliot Moss

It’s very nice to meet you.

Melissa Snover

It’s great to meet you too, thanks for having me.

Elliot Moss

It’s a pleasure.  You’ve also come bearing gifts. I in front of me Nourished Collagen Energy in a beautiful bag and this is a, I’ve got 28 orange flavoured gummy snacks.

Melissa Snover

That’s right.

Elliot Moss

Right.  Now, you’ve got to explain to me and anyone that doesn’t understand, how does 3D printing – we’ll get into all the things, amazing things you do – but just give me the 30 seconds on 3D printing.  How can it do what it says it’s done over here, which is create a gummy which I might eat later.

Melissa Snover

Sure. So, there’s lots of kinds of 3D printing so I’ll caveat with that for those who are enthusiasts, I don’t want to upset anyone, but the type of 3D printing we use is called Fused Deposition Modelling or FDM and what that refers to is, basically depositing single dimension layers, one after another after another on top of each other in different orders in order to create something that becomes 3 dimensional. Now, most of the time when you hear about 3D printing, people are talking about using them for the printing of plastic, where plastic is fed in by a little rope called filament, it’s melted and then as it dries it becomes solid again in a certain shape and you can go on YouTube and you can see a zillion different ways of creative people around the world are using that. What we do at Nourish and what I’ve been doing since 2015 is different because we actually using it to create consumable materials, so things you put into your mouth, and we’ve used it now to make things like medicine, preventative health products like nutrition, like Nourished, personalised protein, personalised oral care, personalised skin care and this is not as easy as the plastic printing because it has to be food safe and it has to be done in a extremely controlled way so that dosages are correct and by using 3D printing now with Nourished, we can combine a huge number of different possible options in a special combination that is uniquely suited to an individual at that moment in their life.  We can make over 60 billion different products today and every product is made uniquely for the individual.

Elliot Moss

And basically without 3D printing that would cost a hell of a lot to do. You couldn’t do, you couldn’t create 60 however many you just said, million or billion different versions of those individual gummies, of course you couldn’t. 

Melissa Snover

You could but it would not be scalable so if you think about it, a nutritionist or chef is personalising your menu but you can’t do that in a scalable way because it’s all relying on one human making things in a personalised way so by using added to manufacturing we can control things to a far more great level of cuteness and we can scale it up by making more printers that can make more products that can go out to more people around the world. 

Elliot Moss

And how did you happen upon the idea that 3D printing might change your life, Melissa?

Melissa Snover

Well, when I started my first food brand, Goody Good Stuff, I didn’t own my own facilities, that’s very common, very few food brands are actually owning their own manufacturing and I had to work with some extremely large manufacturers and I was really, really happy that I got such high quality product but very frustrated by massive minimum order quantities, really, really lengthy new product development cycles, two to five years to bring a new product to market and I just really felt that that wasn’t fit for purpose so when I had the opportunity to sell that business, I had this huge bug in my ear just trying to get me to think of ways that we could basically reduce that aggravation, reduce that huge minimum order requirement and offer more personalised solutions and so I started using Google and looking everywhere for alternative manufacturing.  At that time, 3D printing had just, some of the very basic FDM technology had come out of patent protection in 2012, it was actually invented in the ‘70s, most people think it’s new, it’s not new, and so I was able to get access to a tonne of background information. I then went to every major 3D printing company that I could get to take a meeting and, as you said in your introduction, asked them to help me because I didn’t actually have an appetite to develop something from scratch that I knew nothing about but yeah, I got a lot of, ‘It can’t be done’, ‘It shouldn’t be done’, ‘It can’t be done in less than ten years for, you know, $10 million or more’ and I didn’t have that kind of money or patience and so I decided that I would buy 3D printers, take them apart, put them back together, I learned G coding, learned how to do too path overriding. 

Elliot Moss

Completely normal behaviour. And we’re going to hold it there because I want to find out why Melissa Snover is utterly normal and decided she would do all this and then invent her own way forward, I think that’s exactly the point about why she is a successful serial entrepreneur. Where did that desire and that tenacity come from to actually go into it and go I’m just going to find this out myself because you had no right to go and understand what 3D printing was about, did you? I mean that wasn’t your background. 

Melissa Snover

No, you’re right.  I think it comes from when you’re growing up, I think my parents fostered in me a positive attitude about finding the solution. So, I remember my mother when I was young, me asking a question, you know children ask tonnes of questions, which is a good thing, and this is before the internet okay and so she couldn’t just Google it on her smartphone and she had encyclopaedias and she would say, ‘Let’s look it up. Let’s find out if we don’t know the answer’ so I think that started this kind of thing with me like if someone tells you it can’t be done, you know use your own initiative and find a solution and I think I live my entire life that way, which has served me pretty well but can get a little bit hectic, yeah. 

Elliot Moss

Well I imagine you never stop asking yourself the question once it’s planted in your head, you have to go resolve it, which can give you a bit of a headache, I imagine. 

Melissa Snover

Yes, absolutely.  But you know it also allows you to do things that have never been done before, which is very scary because there’s no, there’s no rule book, there’s no case study but if you can do that it give you a huge sense of pride, it also gives you uniqueness and you’re alone in your market. 

Elliot Moss

I was going to ask you about the fear though because I was thinking you sounded fearless but then you’ve just immediately said that it can be pretty scary.  How do you harness the scary bit? 

Melissa Snover

Yeah, I think when you are younger in your career, you can have more fear because you have no idea what’s going to happen, there’s too many questions.  I think as you get used to doing it, I mean this is now, I made you know the food product was the first of its kind, then I did the first 3D printer for food, now we’re doing the first 3D printed personalised health products and I think we have 19 patents so all of those were firsts as well.  Once you get into like the second or third time, you start to adopt like a positive innovation mindset.  We have like a big sign in our office, Always in Beta, nothing is broken but everything can be improved forever.  And it’s just kind of a mindset and instead of being fearful, it actually makes you excited when you start to encounter something that’s not been done because it means you have an opportunity to do something completely new, to add huge value but also to create massive optimisation and that gets me and my team very excited but it takes time and you have to train your mind to really fall in love with that kind of on the edge-ness. 

Elliot Moss

And, I mean, people would have detected that you’re American.

Melissa Snover

Yes.

Elliot Moss

Do you think coming from the Land of Opportunity has also inculcated in you that kind of it’s possible, let’s go do it, or is it just happenstance and nothing to do with who you are as a human?

Melissa Snover

I think that’s a very good point, I think that America as a civilisation is a lot younger than the United Kingdom and as a culture has a much more you know anything is possible, innovate, you can do it, entrepreneurship kind of thing in their just general cultural attitude and perhaps that has played a part. 

Elliot Moss

And also the way people react to you I imagine, it’s like oh, it’s the American, I mean if she’s saying we can do it, we can do it, but do you know what I mean, if you can, people feed off of that belief in you. 

Melissa Snover

Yeah, I think anyone coming in, being confident and maintaining constant positivity, people will want to follow that and will want to believe that what that person is saying is true. It is when you are alone on your own that you have to have those moments where you cheer yourself on as an entrepreneur and you have no one really that’s above you that you can talk to, you have to have a lot of heart to hearts with yourself to make sure that you don’t lose that because your whole team are counting on you to maintain it and to lead and to be the cheerleader of all cheerleaders for the business. 

Elliot Moss

I want to talk about that and that self belief because I think that’s a really important point in any entrepreneur’s journey. Much more coming up from my guest, Melissa Snover, in a couple of minutes but right now, it’s time to hear a taster from the Mishcon Innovation Sessions which can be found on all the major podcast platforms.  Lydia Kellet invites business founders to share their industry insights and practical advice for those of you thinking about getting into an industry and starting your very own thing.  In this clip focussed on the wellness industry, we hear from Richard Chambers, Founder and CEO of Get a Drip, what a good name, the first UK high street vitamin drip and booster shop provider. 

You can enjoy all our former Business Shapers on the Jazz Shapers podcast and you can hear this very programme again if you pop Jazz Shapers into your podcast platform of choice. My guest today, in case you haven’t noticed, is serial entrepreneur Melissa Snover, Founder of Goody Good Stuff – great name – the vegan, natural and allergen free fruit gums and most recently the CEO and Founder of Remedy Health and Nourished, creators of 3D printed gummy vitamins personalised to your health and lifestyle goals. I’m sounding like a commercial but I’m not being a commercial.  You talked about the inner voice, you talked about you know if you’re leading a lot of people and you are, you’re the boss, leading a lot of people you’ve got to be able to kind of coach yourself. You’ve talked quite openly in the past about saying, ‘Listen, it may look easy from the outside, it’s not’.  Tell me about just a couple of the lessons you’ve learned about the importance of acknowledging that you were struggling with mental health and then coming through that.

Melissa Snover

Absolutely.  So, I think, I think it’s important to start with an adage that I keep on a repeat in my mind, which is if it was easy, everyone would do it.  I repeat that to myself a lot and I think I constantly reinforce the idea that if it’s really difficult, it means we’re on the right track and no one said it was going to be easy and there shouldn’t be a shortcut, contrary to some generational beliefs that might exist today and I think that those kinds of re… and I don’t just believe them, I know them to be true and so that helped me my whole life but that didn’t make the individual moments or time periods easier because when you are going through something of that level of intensity, where money is literally on the wire and every day you’re making the bet that could make or break you, it feels like you are literally on an edge which is why you say ‘on the edge’ of a nervous breakdown, that’s where that phrase comes from and I spent in my younger days, not just like a month but like a year and a half in a nervous breakdown, like constantly, constantly on the edge, winning a little back, losing a bit more, constantly teetering on the edge, I mean when I look back at that part of my life that’s how I actually see it.  But I now look back at that time period and realise that that was one of the greatest educations of my life, more valuable to me now in what I do today than all of my university, all of my previous jobs, which there werent’ that many, and all of my previous experiences combined, that two year period gave me such a humungous amount of learning and confidence in my ability to overcome extreme adversity that that has, I’m 100% sure that that is why I am able to do what I am doing today. I think the biggest difference is when I was younger I did not have the same level of confidence in my ability to overcome those things, I really did feel like any day was make or break, like literally break, like you’re going to go bankrupt.  And now, although the things I’m overcoming with the help of a hugely supportive and very, very powerfully gifted team, is much bigger in the scheme of things if you were to look at it from the outside, it’s not as mind racking because of the level of confidence I had in our ability to overcome the challenges that we face. 

Elliot Moss

How did you know that it wasn’t too much at the time, you know, how do you when enough is enough because we all, I like to push myself, I’m kind of going I know it’s possible, I’ll just read a bit more, I’ll just work harder at preparing for that meeting, I’ll be totally focussed in the meeting, all those things that you can do but sometimes the head’s really hurting, sometimes you are feeling quite desperate. How did you know that you weren’t going to, or that you were going to come back from that?

Melissa Snover

I didn’t.  And I think that that’s something that maybe isn’t a popular opinion but I don’t believe that there ever is enough. I believe the only difference between people who fail and succeed are the people that continue and I think this is something that’s been shown in scientific development which is what I live in every day so I constantly have analogies towards it but you know the person who keeps going and keeps testing and fails the most number of times is the one that will figure it out, is the one that will actually succeed in the end and so although I don’t agree that you should push yourself to a place where you become physically unwell, I believe that a lot of that comes from inside your mind and you telling yourself whether it is going to break you or not and having an inner voice inside, you know pushing you forward because I think in the end the only things that I’ve regrated in my life are the things that I quit, the things that I didn’t pursue, the things that I let go of and so yeah, I don’t do it very often anymore.

Elliot Moss

People like visualisation and they say if I visualise it, it will happen and of course there’s the contrary thing that says if you visualise it, you’re deluded and it may or may not happen but it’s nothing to do with visualising. When you set this business up, as I look at it, you kind of went, you’re going to reach for the stars.  You’ve got this thing moving, you’ve got this audacious bit of technology which you’ve got patents behind and then you go start talking and collaborating with really big brands and doing interesting stuff, Colgate’s in there, Neutrogena’s in there, that’s kind of ballsy, I mean did those opportunities just arrive or did you engineer them?

Melissa Snover

We did not engineer them.  I think when we first launched Nourished we had no intention or line in our business model for corporate collaboration, that was not part of my original business plan and I was really flattered and humbled by the amount of attention that we received when we launched but and to this day, that we were receiving inbound enquiries to work with us, it just continually reassures me that what we’ve done is very unique, is very interesting to people, is hitting the mark in many different ways and that’s great but I think with the corporate collaborations, I think a lot of those companies have huge amounts of innovation in their pipeline but they suffer from the same kind of challenges I talked about at the beginning where to do a proper new product development is really costly, it takes a huge amount of time and by collaborating with startups and other innovative businesses, they can actually do different things in a more efficient way or a better way…

Elliot Moss

And quicker.

Melissa Snover

…and quicker and so, you know, I don’t think we’re unique in that but I love working with Colgate and with Neutrogena, both of those relationships were you know a fantastic meld of them bringing worldclass, world leading expertise in their individual field, Colgate is world leader in oral care and Neutrogena is 90 years dermatology, you know, led skincare, it’s excellent, you know stuff that we could never like recruit in or fast-track to and so by working with them, we get to combine their incredible body of knowledge and different ingredients that they may have in their core business with our innovative manufacturing technique and you can create something that is the result, the marriage of those two things, which is really impactful and really beneficial to customers and so both of those relationships are fantastic examples of how you know corporate collaboration can be really successful and benefit both parties. 

Elliot Moss

And the belief that they have, to me, is also, it makes me think about the belief that your funders have had in you, you have raised a lot of money, I think in one year, it was 2019 if I recall, you were the highest female founder-funded business, is that right?  I mean that’s a…

Melissa Snover

I raised the highest ever female founder of seed round but that has to be caveated with, it was not a lot of money, and I would really like someone to beat my record immediately, it was, it was £2 million was the highest ever female founder of seed round. 

Elliot Moss

Okay.  So, talk to me about that because I know that with the Buy Women Built connection and your focus on that and indeed if you haven’t heard about Buy Women Built, I have interviewed a few people from that movement let’s call it, Sahar Hashemi, that’s why you’re here, she was the Founder of that movement, it’s all about buying products built by women.  Where should it be from a funding point of view and why isn’t it there yet as regards to female founders?

Melissa Snover

Well, you know, I’m sure people have already quoted this so I won’t harp on about it but the Rose Report showed that less than 1% of all VC capital goes to female founded businesses and I find that that’s, that’s not an acceptable variance.  I would accept that there is a variance because I do believe there are less women leading businesses that raise VC capital and that’s an important distinction because I think women are running businesses all the time but just not raising money from VC but I do think 1% is not explained by less women are raising VC money and so, I think that that’s not okay, I don’t, I don’t have a number in my mind that would make it fair and I also don’t believe that the fault lies 100% with the financial allocators, I think that there is a general movement which Sahar and the BWB ladies are helping to progress and raise profile of, which is when young girls are growing up, they need to see other women running businesses in a big and serious and impressive way that will encourage them to think of that as a possible path for them because I think that up until even now I certainly didn’t have female business owning icons that I looked up to when I was a young girl.  I think you can’t be it if you can’t see it and we really need to do a lot at the very early stage to get more women up to the level, yeah. 

Elliot Moss

Stay with me for my final chat with Melissa Snover and we’ve got some music from H.E.R.  That’s all coming up in just a moment, don’t go anywhere. 

Melissa Snover is my Business Shaper just for a few more minutes.  Most of the people I meet have their businesses, if they’re not in the UK, they’re not in the UK but if in the UK, they’re generally in London.  You’re not based in London, you’re based in Birmingham.  How did this happen?  How did the, the, the woman from New York/Pennsylvania/wherever else it was that you ended up being, how did you end up being in Birmingham and what does it do, what kind of ecosystem is there there for entrepreneurs?

Melissa Snover

Basically, when I was starting the 3D printing business, for the very first one around confectionary and consumables, I searched the internet for universities that had additive manufacturing or 3D printing degree programmes and University of Birmingham, Birmingham City, basically have five within ten miles of my first site that have Masters and Grad level additive manufacturing and so that’s why I chose it in the very beginning.  In 2015 it was still very much a fringe thing, like people were not you know studying it, it was not available to study at school, it just came out of patent protection and so that was like almost a necessity but then I came to the city and I saw how you know it was in a massive regeneration phase, it really excited me because you know when I lived in New York I remember being in Brooklyn before it got completely, you know, fancy and it was way more fun then when there was a lot happening and you could feel it breathing and you could feel it moving and that’s how I felt when I went to Digbeth in Birmingham, which is where I first site is.  Now since then, we’ve continued to enjoy the benefits of being in that area because not only do we have an awesome talent pool at every level of our labour force requirement, never had to have a recruitment agent, ever, and we have 257 people now and so that’s, that’s just a testament to the talent pool and the people available in the area but we also have now four sites and my largest site is huge, huge and it cost less than like 8 man serviced office when I lived in Manchester, a month, and that kind of economy allows us to spend our money on more important things like our team, like our innovation platforms, like our growth of our business instead of on a you know renting an office and I think you know we are not a normal startup, we are a manufacturer, very few startups are manufacturing and putting a manufacturing centre in London would be extremely irresponsible. 

Elliot Moss

Yeah.  Yeah, that makes perfect sense.  As you’re talking and I’ve seen like now this is the fruits of your labour over a number of years, you seem to have it mapped out in your head.  That doesn’t mean there aren’t really difficult days but in terms of the financial piece, in terms of manufacturing and the location, in terms of the patents and the technology, it all feels like it’s coming together.  Without jinxing things, is that how it feels for you too versus your other start… other businesses in the past?

Melissa Snover

I, I’ll say this in…

Elliot Moss

Or do you never get there?

Melissa Snover

I don’t think I ever feel complacent, never, I think that’s a really dangerous thing to feel but I am very confident that we will get there and I’m very, very happy and very grateful for the amazing team that I have who are all shareholders in the company as well and I’m super proud of the business culture that we built and I think that this is, this is the most incredible thing that I’ve ever had the opportunity to lead and to be a part of and, yeah, I’m very, very happy with where we’re going. 

Elliot Moss

And that thing about innovation.  It doesn’t scare you, indeed it sounds like it’s the lifeblood of this business.  At what point do you go, I will have got there?

Melissa Snover

I don’t think I ever will feel like that.  I think there will be a time and I don’t think it will be soon, where I will feel like I’m not the right person to keep it going and I will step out of the way to ensure that the business and the technology has its maximum possible chance of making the biggest difference in people’s lives.  I want to be that person, I hope I can be for a long time but if I’m not, I will step out of the way. 

Elliot Moss

It’s been really good talking to you, Melissa.

Melissa Snover

You too.

Elliot Moss

It’s been brilliant, thank you.  Really good luck you know, it feels like you’ve got a fabulous attitude and that whole point about stepping out the way, I’ll believe that when it happens but let’s see because she’s smiling now, she’s going yeah, you know, they’re going to have literally lift me out but no, I know what you mean, if the scale is just huge and it requires different things.  Just before I let you disappear, what’s your song choice and why have you chosen it?

Melissa Snover

So, it’s Midnight Train to Georgia by Gladys Knight and The Pips and I used to listen to this with my father in our family room on Sundays when my mum was cooking dinner and I have lovely memories of dancing around when I was a little girl with him, so it always brings me back.

Elliot Moss

Gladys Knight and The Pips with Midnight Train to Georgia, the song choice of my Business Shaper, Melissa Snover.  She talked about her childhood and her mother always saying when they wanted to find something out, ‘Well let’s look it up’.  She talked about a positive innovation mindset and how she has inculcated her team with that very thought.  And finally she talked about the difference between failure and success is that those people who continue, succeed.  A really, really simple way of putting it, keep on going.  That’s it from Jazz Shapers, have a lovely weekend.

We hope you enjoyed that edition of Jazz Shapers. You’ll find hundreds more guests available for you to listen to in our archive, to find out more just search Jazz Shapers in iTunes or your favourite podcast platform or head over to mishcon.com/jazzshapers.

She is passionate about developing innovations which offer solutions to her customers, challenge her competitors, and innovate current market offerings. She is currently the founder and CEO of Rem3dy Health which pioneers personalised solutions across preventative and curative health under the brands Nourished (Personalised Nutrition) and Scripted (Personalised Medicine). 

Melissa has been a successful entrepreneur for over 15 years, is a registered nutritionist and the inventor or several new patented technologies. She is a visionary for the use of 3D printing in mainstream manufacturing on a global scale and recently raised the highest ever female founder seed round in UK history for Rem3dy. She is an ambassador for women’s equal access to finance, as well as being an avid supporter and mentor; supporting young people of all backgrounds to begin studying in STEM fields. She is also a regular guest on radio and a published writer. 

Highlights

I think my parents fostered in me a positive attitude about always finding solutions. 

If someone tells you it can’t be done, use your own initiative and find a solution. I think I've lived my entire life that way.   

I think when you are younger in your career, you can have more fear because you have no idea what’s going to happen, there’s too many questions. 

Instead of the mindset of being fearful, it actually makes you excited when you start to encounter something that’s not been done because it means you have an opportunity. 

You have to train your mind to really fall in love with that kind of on the edge-ness.   

It is when you are alone on your own that you have to have those moments where you cheer yourself on 

You have to have a lot of heart to hearts with yourself because your whole team are counting on you. 

I constantly reinforce the idea that if it’s really difficult, it means we’re on the right track. 

When you are going through something of that level of intensity, where money is literally on the wire and every day you’re making the bet that could make or break you, it feels like you are literally on an edge. 

I believe the only difference between people who fail and succeed are the people that continue. 

The only things that I’ve regretted in my life are the things that I quit, the things that I didn’t pursue, the things that I let go of. 

I raised the highest ever female founder of seed round. 

I would really like someone to beat my record immediately. 

The Rose Report showed that less than 1% of all VC capital goes to female founded businesses and I find that that’s, that’s not an acceptable variance.   

I will step out of the way to ensure that the business and the technology has its maximum possible chance of making the biggest difference in people’s lives. 

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