Behind the Brand
It’s the turn of Susan Warris-Liepa from TMC Ventures Europe, along with her husband Arnie Liepa, they have built an international distribution and marketing company and they are the exclusive distributors of the Enzymedica Digestive Enzyme brand in the UK and Ireland.
Tell us about yourself and your company…
Like many family owned businesses, my husband and I started our boutique distribution and marketing company because we couldn’t find “good-enough” health product for our needs.
We moved to the States about 20 years ago, and got introduced to a very talented integrative doctor, who used plant-based supplements, particularly digestive enzymes, as part of the repair and healing process for the body. I’ve always been a healthy eater and a fan of natural and organic products, yet had no idea back then as to the wide range of health benefits that digestive enzymes can bring.
As I was in my early 30’s and began to have more digestive issues when eating my favourite foods such as bread, pastry and pasta. After a pancake brunch, I would need to lie down and take a morning nap. I began to bloat around the belly whenever I had eaten, and found myself drawn to elastic waists and lycra leggings! It became clear that I was sensitive to wheat and I already knew from a younger age that I had a sensitivity to cheese and milk. The introduction to digestive enzyme supplements was very timely.
When I realized what a difference it made to me personally, to take an enzyme supplement with each meal, I also learnt to cut back on foods that contained gluten or dairy. I was feeling happier and my belly was much happier. My husband also started to take supplemental enzymes and we saw positive changes in his digestive health – no more acid reflux and not as much bloating after a big meal.
Having experienced the benefits of digestive enzymes first hand we started to research and learn more about them. It was fascinating to learn how vital enzymes are for every chemical reaction that takes place in the body, and as we only have a finite amount of digestive enzymes, it is really important to supplement them to support our health as we age
You may remember from school biology lessons that proteases, amylases and lipases are all forms of digestive enzymes and help the body digest food and assimilate nutrients from proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and plant fibres. Our body needs enzymes to function properly. Not only do we need them for healthy digestion, but we also need them to live as without them we wouldn’t be able to breathe, swallow, drink, eat and digest our food. Enzymes truly are “the spark of life”.
What had also begun to happen at the same time, was that on my visits home to England I was packing different supplements and increasing amounts of enzyme products to help our family members with various health issues. Living in the States back then we had access to so many great products that the family couldn’t buy in the UK.
The family used to joke that my suitcase was like a travelling health food store! As well as helping our own family members with health issues we started getting requests from friends and their family members for nutritional help. The most common requests were for “something natural to help with my indigestion” and “one of your products that makes me feel better after I’ve eaten”. The more we read and researched the more drawn we were to digestive and therapeutic enzymes as a very natural way to help the body with many different health issues.
What exactly are digestive enzymes?
Enzymes are complex protein molecules that are manufactured by all plant and animal cells.
Enzymes are some of the most valuable “tools” within our body. We like to refer to digestive enzymes as being like “a pair of scissors” that cut the protein chains of all foods we eat, enabling the nutritional elements to become small enough to be absorbed effectively by the cells of the body.
According to Dr. Edward Howell, pioneer of Enzyme Therapy, “Enzymes are substances that make life possible. They are needed for every chemical reaction that takes place in the human body. Without enzymes, no activity at all would take place. Neither vitamins, minerals, nor hormones can do any work without enzymes”.
We know that good health starts with proper digestion and good digestion relies on the right enzymes in the right amounts being at the right place and time. As we age we become more challenged by various forms of stress, environmental pollution, chemicals, and our emotional issues. These deplete our body’s natural ability to make enough enzymes to meet the demands of daily life.
In addition, enzymes assist in all chemical reactions taking place in our body; including the regeneration of cells/tissues and the elimination of waste products/toxins as well as supporting our immune system. In short, enzymes make things happen!
How did you get started as the exclusive UK and Irish distributor for Enzymedica?
Digestive enzymes are probably one of the least understood yet most beneficial health food supplements available. They can make such a positive health change in so many people’s lives, whether adults or children. It was an irresistible opportunity to be able to bring the highest quality digestive enzyme supplements to the UK.
We’d been introduced to the Enzymedica brand of digestive enzymes after listening to a presentation by Tom Bohager, the founder of Enzymedica. Once we tried this brand ourselves (and with our family members in England) we knew this was a far better product than others we had used. The Enzymedica brand simply wasn’t available in the UK, so my husband picked up the phone and connected with their International Sales Director. The rest is history………
What were you doing in a previous life?
I studied Food Marketing Sciences at university, and my first corporate role was in the Head Office of one of the UK’s largest supermarkets. My role was product and brand marketing in the food division, so I learnt a wealth of business skills that help me today. After relocating with my husband’s company to America, I decided to leave the corporate world and follow my passion – to help people with their health and wellness – initially training to become a clinical reflexologist.
Overtime I opened my own health studio and brought together a team of practitioners, providing a range of integrative health services. This, combined with learning from doctors and health practitioners in the integrative health field led me to an increasing awareness and understanding of using natural, healthy supplements to support my own health. As I became healthier myself I started to share my knowledge with my friends, family and clients.
My husband has a wealth of business experience in international sales and operations, working with manufacturers, distributors and re-sellers worldwide. So, together our skill sets are very complimentary for our work today.
I come from a family of keen gardeners. My parents and grandparents both owned allotment plots when I was a child, so I grew up with the taste of fresh, seasonal and locally grown produce. So as far as I’m concerned working with natural products is the only way to go. I’m very interested in health and nutrition, and as a clinical reflexologist I’ve been working with natural health treatments for a long time. There are far too many chemicals and pollutants in today’s world, and so many health problems that are created by eating unhealthy, processed foods. If I can bring natural, healthy supplements to the UK market place, that help people with their health, then I feel that I’m doing something extremely worthwhile.
What’s your USP? What sets you apart from your competitors?
From a TMC Ventures company perspective I believe that we have four key elements that sets us apart:
Our Partners – our supplier partners are carefully selected using our key quality/ efficacy/ trust/relationship criteria that we have developed over the years of working closely with American manufacturers. We become the exclusive distributor to the brands that we choose to work with, providing them with a unique UK/European presence. The name TMC Ventures is not known by the consumer, as they just see Enzymedica UK.
Enzyme Education – Enzymedica, as a company, places a high value on education, which fits very well with our belief that education is key and knowledge has the power to change lives.
Our goal of educating people about the importance of enzymes in overall health keeps us motivated every day.
Our Product Portfolio – we only supply “Best in Class” nutritional products, that are differentiated from anything else in the UK market place. There is nothing else available in the UK like the Enzymedica digestive enzyme supplements. The Enzymedica products are anywhere from 5 to 20 times higher in efficacy than any other enzyme supplement available on the retail shelf. This makes Enzymedica supplements by far the best value in terms of price per capsule. Enzymedica has won over 50 awards in the last decade (awards from both retailers and consumers alike). Enzymedica continues to be the best selling digestive enzyme brand in the USA (as measured by SPINS a 3rd party market research company)
Our Customer Service – we are a family owned/run company and we work hard at doing our very best in caring for our customers. We treat our customers like we want to be treated and have built some wonderful relationships & friendships. We stand behind the Enzymedica brand and offer a 100% money back guarantee.
From an Enzymedica perspective they have many great points that set them apart from other enzyme supplement companies:
Enzymedica are known as The Enzyme Experts. Creating proprietary blends of high quality enzymes – nothing else out there like these enzyme products. Highest potency products, 5 – 20 times the effectiveness of any other enzyme brands.
Unique technology called Therablend™ – multiple blends of enzymes that work at all Ph’s and all temperatures in the body.
Most manufacturers use just single strains of enzymes, i.e. a single strain of protease, or a single strain of lipase. Each enzyme strain only works at a very specific pH and temperature. Enzymedica uses their unique Therablend™ technology, to include enzyme strains that work at every pH and temperature in the human body. This allows them to works 3 x stronger and 6 x faster than other enzyme products. So, due to this blending technology Enzymedica is always the best value for money (amount of enzyme activity per capsule).
Vegetarian, Vegan and Kosher ingredients – no fillers, flow agents or excipients.
Award winning company – In the past decade, Enzymedica has received more than 50 industy awards including multiple Better Nutrition Magazine’s People’s Choice Awards, many Best of Supplements Awards and numerous VITY and Nexty Awards.
Green initiatives at point of manufacture – As responsible members of the business community, we desire to leave the environment better than we found it. At Enzymedica, we understand that there is an emissions footprint associated with our business operations. We partnered with Green Mountain Energy Company to take a leadership role in calculating and offsetting 100% of the total calculated carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions associated with our annual electricity, corporate owned vehicles and corporate air travel. Through this process, Enzymedica is taking responsibility for its share of CO2 emissions and has committed to being part of the solution to global warming. By means of these initiatives, Enzymedica’s business operations since 2009 have been “carbon neutral.”
- Corporate Facility Improvements and Responsible Commitments in Day-to-Day Operation:
- 113 solar panels to reduce C02 emissions and conserve thousands of kilowatts of energy each month
- “Carbon Neutral” Certified by Green Mountain Energy, with continual offset of carbon footprint including facility, vehicle and air travel emissions
- Solar block shades installed in all office windows
- Low energy fluorescent lights throughout the facility
- Facility built using all recycled steel
- Volatile organic chemical (VOC) -free paints, drywall and carpet
- Motion detection lights throughout the building hallways, offices and restrooms
- Virtual IT servers to save in electric usage
- Recycled paper used for packing and shipping
- Green Seal Certified® and environmentally friendly cleaning agents used
Community Support and Educational Outreach – In 2009, the Enzymedica Founder, Tom Bohager, founded The Autism Hope Alliance (AHA). See http://autismhopealliance.org/
The Autism Hope Alliance embodies hope for families facing the diagnosis of Autism through education, financial support and volunteerism.
- The Autism Hope Alliance is the first non-profit foundation for Autism to emerge from the natural foods industry.
- Providing Hope and Help for Autism Families
Annual sponsor of several other noted non-profits within the autism community, including Generation Rescue, Talk About Curing Autism (TACA), and AutismOne. Enzymedica also donates to Vitamin Angels, which provides vital nutrition to individuals and families in need.
(Scientific research has discovered beneficial links in using digestive enzymes to help re-balance the gut-brain connection.)
What kind of feedback have you received from customers?
We have a rather unique situation in that choosing to create an international Distribution & Marketing company we have two sets of customers; our wholesalers and retailers (mainly independent health food stores) and a growing base of end-user customers, who purchase direct from our web-site
Customers love the Enzymedica products. Once they try them and get a positive health benefit we get plenty of repeat purchases and customer referrals.
We get to hear customer stories on a regular basis, and to know that the Enzymedica supplements are making a positive difference in someone’s health is extremely rewarding.
It’s not just the adults with their digestive health problems; indigestion, acid reflux, wind and stomach cramping; it’s hearing about a child’s health that has improved dramatically after taking an Enzymedica product. Those customer stories are so heart-warming.
What’s the next big launch / project coming up for you?
At the beginning of April, we’re introducing two new Enzymedica products, BeanAssist™ and LypoGold™, at the Natural and Organic Products Expo. This show is the UK’s biggest trade show for buyers from health food stores. We also get to meet nutritionists, dieticians and pharmacists – it’s a great event for the British natural health industry.
What’s your big dream?
To have digestive enzymes as well-known as vitamins and minerals. Through education, to help the British public gain awareness and understanding about the critical importance of digestive enzymes. Increasing the understanding that enzymes are essential for the long- term health of everyone that eats cooked and processed foods, and how Enzymedica is a truly best-in-class product, that makes a real difference to our digestive health.
To spread the educational word about the benefits and value of taking digestive enzymes on a daily basis. To have Enzymedica enzymes be a first-choice purchase, when people are looking for a natural alternative for health issues like indigestion, bloating after meals, digestive health problems and food intolerance issues. To know that even more people are finding digestive comfort by using the Enzymedica products.
Where can we find your products? Independent Health food stores, all Revital Health Food stores and select Whole Foods Stores stock the retail range of Enzymedica supplements. Other Enzymedica supplements can be found at www.enzymedica.co.uk