Spotlight: Calgee Stands Out By Focusing on Both Health and Sustainability

Nutritional supplements can provide many health benefits. But the ingredients in mainstream products don’t suit everyone’s needs. Many people also have sustainability concerns surrounding the production and packaging of these items.

Luckily, Calgee provides both a sustainable and ethical option for these consumers. Read about what the company offers and how they stand out from competitors in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

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What the Business Does

Offers sustainable, vegan Omega-3 supplements.

Business Niche

Keeping it sustainable.

Co-founder Prateek Agarwal told Small Business Trends, “What sets our business apart and makes us truly unique is the integration of sustainability into every aspect of our product, packaging, and business practices.”

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How the Business Got Started

To help with their own health concerns.

Agarwal says, “I started Calgee with my wife, Shreya, in 2020. That year, during a routine check-up, I was surprised to learn that my cholesterol levels were in the “very high” range. Despite being young and healthy, they were higher than they should have been for someone my age. To make matters worse, I discovered that both Shreya and I were at a higher risk for cardiovascular diseases due to our family histories.

“With everything else happening in 2020, our health became our top priority. We fine-tuned our diets and increased our exercise routines. It still wasn’t enough. Our doctors suggested taking fish oil supplements, but as vegetarians, we were reluctant to consume fish oil. We didn’t want to compromise our principles for the sake of our health.

“Convinced there had to be a better solution in nature, we discovered vegan omega-3 oil supplements as a sustainable alternative to fish oil. However, we learned that most of these capsules contained carrageenan, an ingredient known to cause stomach inflammation. Frustrated by the lack of suitable options on the market, we decided to create our own product.”

Biggest Win

Creating a successful website and content strategy.

Agarwal adds, “We did this using a user-friendly website design, effective SEO, and data-driven optimization. By prioritizing these factors and continually refining my strategies, I have achieved significant success in driving subscriber growth and establishing a strong online presence.”

Biggest Risk

Changing to a more environmentally friendly packaging solution.

Agarwal explains, “Switching from bottles to pouches presented risks and rewards, with potential subscriber loss and seal maintenance concerns. However, customers loved the new packaging, appreciating its convenience and sustainability. Our attention to detail ensured air-tight seals and preserved product integrity, solidifying customer trust. This transition differentiated us in the market, attracting new customers and partnerships. The success of this switch boosted retention, highlighted our commitment to sustainability and customer-centric innovation, and propelled our growth. Overall, it affirmed our dedication to meeting customer needs while making a positive environmental impact.”

Lesson Learned

Don’t be afraid to ask for support.

Agarwal says, “Reflecting on our startup journey, one aspect we would have done differently when starting is to actively engage in discussions and seek advice from others. While we believed in our idea and were enthusiastic about its potential, we now recognize the immense value of collaborating and seeking insights from experienced individuals.”

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Developing new products.

Agarwal adds, “Investing in product development and expanding our product line is an essential strategy for growth and staying competitive in the market. This additional funding would enable us to research, design, and produce new offerings that align with our customers’ needs and preferences.”

Favorite Quote

“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” – Robert Swan.

Agarwal says, “I feel this quote is more relevant today than ever before. We have a collective responsibility to address climate change, but we often hope someone else will do it for us. I too believed that technology and science will come up with an answer. While that may be true, we still need to do our part. Our collective micro decisions can eventually have a meaningful impact.

“That’s why, when I started Calgee, I decided that I wanted sustainability to be a core principle of the business and a factor in every decision we make.”

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Find out more about the Small Biz Spotlight program

Image: Calgee, Prateek and Shreya Agarwal Comment ▼

Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

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