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Spartan Health Shop was founded by Marek Doyle in 2011, with the aim if offering a better option for clients to source the recommended supplements. We aim to make this process and simple as we can, getting packages dispatched on the same day wherever possible and offer a human touch whenever needed.
Want to know more about the history of the project? Well here is a word from Marek:
“I have provided advice on food, lifestyle and supplements since 2006 (since I began working as a nutritional therapist). I can reflect on the advice I gave at the time and, while this may have been sound, it was certainly not unique. Painfully aware of this and full of the idealism I now associate with people 12 years younger than me, I made the decision that I would not sell supplements like many of my peers and instead adopted a moral position that it was “better” to not provide this option; that it would make my advice more “independent”.
In the years that followed, several things changed. I began to specialize in chronic fatigue issues, the single most complex area in human nutrition. The list of recommended supplements began to become longer and to contain more specific products. They went from recommending two products from one website to six from four. Something very predictable happened; more and more supplement orders were getting jumbled. Making an order from four different websites didn’t just mean paying four lots of postage. It also meant four times the risk of delays and four times more opportunity to select the wrong-but-similar-sounding item. Things were getting complex and it was actually harming the progress of the people I was working with.
At this point, a number of individuals asked me if I could make arrangements with particular shops or create a system to sort things. After five years of requests, I took action. And I so I came to terms with setting up a shop, on the basis that it achieved three things:
I committed to setting this shop up in 2011. Spartan Health Shop began life from my spare room in Basingstoke loaded with boxes and temporary shelves. Fortunately, after two weeks of jumping over boxes and furiously putting together a manual on the processes involved, I was able to fully outsource the operation to friend and the project was underway!
There have been a number of individuals who have managed the ‘back end’ of the shop but, since 2015, this has been handled by the wonderful Claire in Basingstoke, who ensures that the parcels are dispatched with both urgency and care.
Six years in, has the shop been successful?
Like any project, Spartan Health Shop can only be judged on how well it has achieved its aims. The shop quickly achieved “two out of three”, but this remained the case for some years.
From the first fortnight onwards, the management of the shop was fully outsourced. Some were disappointed by the lack of telephone support but most have been very positive about the ease of finding items; specifically, that the labelling system was clear and the targeted (smaller) stock list made it easy to navigate. Many appreciated being able to source all the regular items from one place. However, I was acutely aware that clients were still paying a largely similar amount, and the moderate savings made were only from reduced number of postage charges. Offering discounts was challenging on a low volume of transactions.
Spartan has gradually grown and, from making a loss in the first four years of operating, the shop has actually recorded a profit two years running. As of September 2018, this years accounts are yet to be put together but, once they are, I am hopefully of offering discount codes to my one-to-one clients.
Further changes to the shop
As hopeful as I am of offering significant discounts to clients, I’m aware that the success of this project is still limited (and even a 10% discount of supplements will not make them cheap). Many of my clients have had their earning power affected by their illness, and this means a speculative purchase will always be an additional financial challenge. I am currently listening to clients’ thoughts on a ‘marketplace’ area, where registered clients can trade redundant supplements with one another.
The idea is that this user-only area will help clients who show a need to trial certain protocols but may struggle with the cost of sourcing supplements. Instead of having to buy an entire bottle of 90 capsules to discover if the item is suitable or not, they can now shell out for a much smaller amount. Equally, new products that turn out to be unsuitable no longer represent the same loss, with the marketplace offering a way to recoup most of the cost.
Spartan has certainly evolved in its seven years of existence and I hope that regular users are as happy as we are with this journey. Once the dust from the recent changes has settled, I will be looking at ways to offer telephone support without having to significantly increase running costs. This may come in the form of online chat.
I am entirely open to new ideas and, if there are any further changes that you would like to see, please feel free to email these ideas to email@example.com.”