Back in 2008, Clark County resident Mark Effinger’s former wife Leticia died of an oxycodone overdose. When he found her upstairs in their home, she was surrounded by six empty bottles of painkillers. Checking the labels, Mark said he found five different doctors’ names, and realized “she was cleverly working multiple small clinics to get her prescriptions met.”
“Her death led me to reexamine my life and focus,” Mark said. “When she (Leticia) passed away, I returned to my background in nutritional supplement design from the mid-1990s. But now, with a focus on helping people recover from drug addiction and harmful meds.”
“Since I already had a bunch of smart customers from my other businesses, I tapped a little over 1,000 of them to test our early prototypes and give feedback,” Mark continued. “Almost four years later, we released our first product: A Smart Drink and a Smart Capsule. The rest, as they say, is history.”
From there, the company now known as WebNutrients was born.
WebNutrients – owned and operated by Mark and his youngest child Olivia Dae, who is COO of the company – is “the world leader in customized, personalized nootropics and experiential nutritional supplements,” according to Mark.
“Which is sort of a high-level way of saying ‘we make custom vitamins that are matched to your goals, and your mental and physical traits,’” he said. “We help customers perform better by providing them with better quality, more powerful, cleaner and more effective supplements. Basically, we take a handful of specialized, mostly organic extracts and blend them into custom combinations called ‘stacks.’ These combos help people with everything from ADHD to lack of motivation, depression, hormone issues, mood, pain, memory, cardiovascular and reversing toxicity.”
Mark is CEO and head formulator of WebNutrients, and daughter Olivia is COO and does much of the hands-on customer engagement.
“And too many other details to mention,” Mark said of Olivia’s role in the company. “Just suffice to say, she’s critical to our success and day-to-day business operations. She knows every facet of the company.”
Mark said they are also putting together a Phantom Stock program for their employees, so they can participate in any upside of the business as well. Currently, WebNutrients has five full-time employees, and up to 16 employees during peak periods. At one time, Mark said that all three of his children – Olivia, Dustin and Kaleigh – worked for the company.
“Our teams do everything, from sourcing the farms that grow our herbs, to developing extraction technologies, to crafting custom extracts and assembling every pill, powder, drink and spray,” Mark said. “Even labeling packages is often done in-house. We feel vertical integration is a solid way to add value. Reduce supply chain issues. And better control the quality of the final project.”
WebNutrients, which Mark started officially in 2012, has seen huge growth since its early days. Mark said that from April 2012, the company has grown 11,900%. He said they’re currently on a fast growth path as they’ve moved from direct sales only, to working with resellers, channel partners and acting as a private label manufacturer for other companies.
“So, we have a bunch of growth happening now,” he said. “We anticipate a 400-550% growth the next 12 months. That will allow us to invest even more in employees, technologies and customers. So, we create a large enough base to really make an impact.”
When describing a couple of the advantages of running a family owned business, Mark said speaking a common language and trust first came to mind. He said he and Olivia can “almost read each other’s minds,” something that makes any communication they have “richer, more fun and we get more done with fewer discussions.”
“We have implicit mutual trust,” Mark said. “So, our energy isn’t going toward trying to protect ourselves from each other. It goes toward making better products. A stronger company.”
Mark illustrated this thought with a quick story: “When we were just about four months in business, we received a call on my speaker phone. It was a Friday evening, and we were ready to hang it up for the week. In fact, we are talking about just quitting the business. It was really hard. We were making and doing everything. It was relentless: 24/7 work. And far from profitable. The gentleman on the other end of the line was crying. I was worried we had hurt someone with a formula. Instead, those were tears of joy. He was thanking us for turning his life around. He was letting us know he went from bed-bound for the last three years, to back to work. Even speaking with his former sweetheart, as he finally had his health back.”
“Olivia and I looked at each other and said, ‘well, that answers that! We can’t quit now. So, let’s talk about why we do this.’ So, we wrote down the five key reasons we’re doing this, and we framed it and hung it up in the living room. That became our mantra. We continue to see the business and customers through that lens. The one of ‘Making a Monumental Contribution to Every Life We Touch.’”