Many would agree that a plant-based diet helps in keeping us away from diseases. To make more people, especially those that are underserved, aware of its benefits, Claude Tellis and Kareem Cook, two African American entrepreneurs, founded VeganSmart, a company that produces and sells plant-based protein powders and shakes.

Claude Tellis and Kareem Cook, founders of VeganSmart.

Starting out as a small business, they sold their products locally and online. As the business continues to grow, they thought that Amazon would help them reach more customers. Even though most of their peers advised them not to work with the distribution giant, they still pursue with it.

“As a business owner you have to be forward thinking in order to ensure your company’s success,” Tellis said. “When other small businesses were avoiding Amazon we knew working with them would allow us to reach wider customer base and attract potential retailers.”

And so they did with Amazon’s help. They can even bring their high-quality products to underserved customers which is one of their goals. “It’s not fair that my mom from the Bronx, NY can’t walk around the corner and buy nutritious meals the same way a rich family on the Upper East Side of New York can,” Cook explained. Now, other retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Costco wanted to become distributors of VeganSmart.

Through their own research, they discovered that despite the growing healthy food industry, a lot of people are still pre-diabetic or at risk with other diseases due to lack of access to clean and healthy yet delicious products.

Amazon’s algorithm has been an effective tool for Tellis and Cook to fully achieve their mission. With 70% of over 1,200 verified buyers giving 5-star reviews on Amazon, VeganSmart does not only receive exposure but it also allows them to get their products into the hands of those who can really benefit from it.

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