Leaving a 15-year career in IT, Rhys Cazenove, founder of Brothee, learned about the amazing healing properties of bone broth while studying to become a nutritional consultant. Unable to find the good stuff at the local grocer, he's since been on a mission to make nutritious, high-quality bone broth made from ethically-sourced ingredients accessible and affordable. I sat down with Rhys to discuss the beginning of Brothee, how they support doing good for the planet, and what's next for the brand.
LM: Let's start by giving me a snapshot of you and the company.
RC: Brothee wants to be the place you go when you want the highest quality bone broth. We use the best organic ingredients sourced locally from ethical farms, prepare it in a traditional manner with no salt, preservatives, or artificial flavors. All our products are made to the highest standard. Our bone broth has up to 30g of protein per cup. We have many customers who have used our broth to aid them in their health goals, including surgery, arthritis, pre and postnatal, IBS, weight loss, weight gain, low iron, and other conditions.
LM: Tell me about your origin story. Why did you start this company?
RC: Back in 2012, I had a string of bad luck; both of my parents had recently passed away and my e-book startup had shut down. I realized that I was burned out, and I could no longer continue my 15-year IT career. Through my own health journey, I became interested in nutrition and decided to go back to school. I found Bauman College in Santa Cruz, California and signed up to train to become a certified nutritional consultant. It was during that course that I learned about bone broth. My teachers told me of the incredible versatile benefits of a good bone broth, but there was a catch - no one sold the good stuff; you had to make it yourself. I went home and followed their instructions, and they were right! I LOVED the broth and it made me feel amazing. Sure enough, when I went to the store, all I could find was watered down salty commodity broth, not the nutritious broth I was making. I set out to change this, and Brothee was born!
LM: What was your favorite part about starting this company?
RC: Creating the brand with Tricia, who is now my wife. I had worked with several other designers before meeting Tricia, with no success, and we sat down together and nailed the logo in an afternoon! It was such an exciting moment.
LM: How did you think of the concept and what/who was your inspiration?
RC: I really enjoyed the course at Bauman college; it taught a non-dogmatic approach to nutrition. Both vegans and non-vegans can eat a healthful diet if done correctly. I appreciated the embracing nature of
it, and I was fascinated by the biology of the energy systems and detox pathways. Finding a category like bone broth, that can be highly nutritious, really appealed to my product marketing / management mind set.
After lots of research, I settled upon BROTHEE as a union between BROTH and COFFEE - promoting broth as a beverage alongside coffee and tea. The domain was available, it translates fine into other languages, the name describes the brand, and I was able to get a worldwide trademark on the term.
LM: Talk to me about your mission and doing good for health and the planet.
RC: Customers are welcome to give us back their used jars, and in this way we've managed to reduce our purchasing of new jars by about 25%. We have also partnered with LA Compost to deal with our organic waste - we compost all our vegetable waste. We are currently looking for a bone grinder so we can make better use of our used bones, but at the moment we do not have the capital to purchase one ourselves.
LM: Talk to us about what makes Brothee successful?
RC: We really sweat the details to make the best possible broth we can. We use a five stage water filter process, only cook in stainless steel (no aluminum or plastic because of risk to leaching), package in glass, always fresh never frozen. If you're looking for the best, this is where you'll find it.
And we don't stop there. We offer a local delivery service to Los Angeles, and we partner with Healthcare Professionals to help them get our products to their patients who need it. For us, service is as paramount as product.
LM: How else can emerging brands in the space be successful?
RC: If you can't distinguish yourself from the competition, then there's little reason to exist. So play into your differences, for what can be perceived as a weakness, can also be used as a unique selling point.
I'll give you an example. As we were getting Brothee off the ground, we assumed that we would have to follow the same path as everyone else, and partner with a co-packer (someone who has the industrial equipment and manpower, but not the recipe) to make our products. After failing to find a co-packer who was willing to produce our products without significant changes to the recipe, we discovered that the vast majority of our competition use the same co-packer, which is why all their products taste remarkably similar (and not very good, I might add!). All of a sudden, the fact we were making the broth ourselves became a strength, not a weakness. What we lack in capacity, we gain in quality and control. This is why our customers keep on returning to us; because no other commercial broth company can compare to our finished product.
LM: What is your take on the future of Brothee? What's next?
RC: We have a lot of things coming in 2018 - new flavors and new partnerships, and a lot of new vegan products too! We also doing A LOT of growing, so behind the scenes we'll be moving to a bigger kitchen and improving our nationwide distribution.
We got to try a few samples of Brothee, and we loved the delicious broth and creamy ghee infusions. We can't wait to try Brothee's new flavors.