Dominic Bohannan came up with the idea for Santini 7 back in 2019. A fitness fanatic, he was concerned about the quality of supplements on the market.
After speaking to a friend, who is an expert in nutritional science, he decided to create his own range of supplements.
“We spent seven months researching ingredients and stuff like that within products,” says Mr Bohannan. “I’m a bit of a stickler for looking at the back of packets and seeing what’s inside.”
Santini 7’s products have no more than five ingredients and are produced by a food manufacturer in Huddersfield.
“We came up with our own formula, which is patented,” Mr Bohannan said. “We’ve only got four ingredients in one of the flavours, five in the other two.”
The business was officially launched in January 2020 but then the pandemic hit. Mr Bohannan, who worked on railways for 13 years, also lost his job during the pandemic.
Mr Bohannan said: “We launched on January 28 – doing the normal things, going to local gyms, shops, wholesalers, health shops, all that kind of stuff. Six weeks later the pandemic happened and everything was shut.
“It was a case of what do I do now? Do I give up or do I carry on? That’s when my mindset totally changed.
“I thought to myself that I’m not giving this up. Instead of going from plan A to B to C, I went straight to Z.
“I started contacting elite athletes, organisations, clubs and that’s when it all started to change.”
He added: “We’ve done no marketing, yet we’ve still got our product in the hands of a Premier League club, into UFC and professional boxing.
“We’ve had some approaches before around the £100,000 mark but it’s got to be the right individual. I’m not just going to sell my soul. It’s got to be the right person to help take us to the next level.”
Santini 7 has secured partnerships with Huddersfield Town Women FC, MMA fighter Jake Hadley and boxer Joe Maphosa.
Mr Bohannan, who recently turned 40, says Santini 7’s supplements are aimed at “everyone from elite athletes to your neighbour next door”.
He added: “It’s for people who want a clean product. We’ve got no additives. We’ve got no fillers. No unnatural preservatives.”
While the pandemic initially left Mr Bohannan reeling, overall it has led to people becoming more aware of what they put in their bodies.
He said: “You were restricted to going out for just once a day at one point. If you’re not moving or not active it’s quite easy to gain weight.
“The pandemic at the beginning sounded like it could have been the absolute worst thing that’s ever happened to us but in fact it wasn’t because people were starting to look at what they were eating and drinking.”
Mr Bohannan says the ultimate aim with Santini 7 is to become a “globally trusted brand” in a similar mould to Lucozade.
“You know what Lucozade is about,” he added. “You know it’s a good product. That’s the kind of level we want to reach.”
Santini 7 consists of Mr Bohannan, three other directors and a marketing person. It has brought in tech entrepreneur Michelle Cowan as a non-executive director.
Mr Bohannan said: “Michelle is somebody who lives locally to me. We had a bit of a meeting to decide whether we could do some social media work. Then within ten minutes we started talking about where I want the business to go.”
Discovering the drive to succeed
The name Santini comes from Dominic Bohannan’s father giving him it as a nickname when he was a child.
“I have no idea why and it has stuck with me,” he said.
The seven signifies the day of the month that Mr Bohannan was born.
Prior to launching Santini 7, Mr Bohannan had never run a business in his life but had a bit of an “epiphany” one day as he tried to find a gym to work out at.
“The drive and determination that I have got, I never thought I had it in me,” he said. “It all just fell into place.”
The greatest challenge has been lack of financing, says Mr Bohannan.
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