We’re Dr. Paula Gaynor and Mark Clifford, founders of SOMEGA, an Irish food supplement company. We are a nutritionist (Paula) and a food scientist (Mark) and we have over 30 years’ experience in this area.
What inspired you to join the natural health sector?
As you can imagine given our backgrounds, we have always had an interest in food and nutrition and the role they can play in our health. A couple of years ago, we decided to take the leap and set up our own company and brand.
Where did you get the idea for your brand?
The idea for our brand literally came from our kitchen table. Like many families, we always try to ensure that we are eating a well-balanced diet that provides all the nutrients that we need. We noticed that the levels of fish oil/omega-3 in our diets were low. Unfortunately, some of our children were not ‘lovers’ of fish and they even liked it less when they tried fish oil supplements. To be honest, we couldn’t blame them in relation to the supplements! We weren’t too keen on them either (like a lot of people) and that’s when we thought there must be a better way to create a fish oil supplement that people would want to take, that contains pure and natural ingredients and yet is without any unnecessary additives etc. This is how we created our first product – a creamy liquid omega-3 supplement containing fish omega-3 oil with a natural peach-mango flavour and no fishy taste! We then applied the same concept to other nutrients and we now have a range of Vitamin (B, C, D & K) supplements with more to follow.
What makes your brand unique?
Our approach is similar to what many of us look for in our food choices. We start with the origin or source of the nutrient - we’re looking for as pure as natural as possible and also from a sustainable source so that the environmental impact is minimised. We then need to prepare those nutrients in a format that at least doesn’t impact negatively on their integrity and better still allows our bodies to optimally absorb and use them. We also want them in a format where they look and taste good - just like food you’re are more likely to continue to use supplements if the eating experience is a pleasant one. We always say that good nutrition shouldn’t be chore or a bore!
What are your company’s core values?
Our core values are honesty and transparency. SOMEGA supplements are founded in science with more than thirty years of food science and nutritional expertise in every bottle and it is our mission to help you support your health and live life to the fullest. There is nothing hidden, and every ingredient comes with a very specific purpose, allowing you to get on with your day knowing you are giving your body what it needs to feel its best.
How do you support your community?
We support local and national charities and we are especially interested in supporting those organisations involved in creating a better and more sustainable environment. We also support local businesses where possible either through purchasing their products and services or through collaborations.
What has been the most rewarding part of your brands journey?
It’s always great to see the work we put into developing a product from concept through the developmental stages coming to fruition with the final product packaged and ready for the shops. However, the most rewarding aspect is seeing the impact our products are having on our customers’ health and lives and the positive feedback we receive from them - it’s really great to have that sort of relationship with our customers and to know that what we’re doing can make a difference.
What in your opinion makes Irish brands unique?
I think in Ireland we have access to fantastic natural food ingredients and we also have a community of people that are really interested in producing and consuming food products that are rooted in good quality and sustainable ingredients. Allied to this, many Irish brands remember to ‘connect’ to their customers – from the products they make to the type of customer service they provide.
What is your favourite product from your brand?
Paula: My favourite product is Liposomal Vitamin C - it’s easy and enjoyable to take; sometimes I take it straight from the spoon, other times I add it to cold drinks. Taking the product in the morning gives me the energy I need throughout the day. It is also good for my immune system and skin health because it promotes collagen formation.
Mark: It’s hard, but if I have to select one, I still revert to our first product, our Omega-3 product, which now also has vitamin D for additional immune and bone health support. Omega-3s are very important to our health from our infant years to our later years and our product is a tasty and convenient way to ensure that I’m getting my fair share of these essential nutrients.
Tell us about something that has shaped your brand?
When we sat around the kitchen table ‘brain-storming’ about our brand and products, we decided that despite whatever unforeseen obstacles lay ahead of us, we would always remember to enjoy our work, to enjoy the interaction and relationship with our customers and that nobody ‘forced’ us to do this. We think this really helps to ensure that you don’t let the stress of running your own business (& there can be plenty of it!) overwhelm you to the point that you don’t enjoy what you’re doing anymore.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
We would like to continue to grow and develop the business with new pure and natural products that will help promote the optimal health of our customers. We will also work to create even more lasting and deeper relationships with our customers. And we will remember to keep smiling and enjoying what we’re doing.