A Word From Our Founder
Health became the most important thing in the world to me overnight when I was diagnosed with cancer. I was only 4 years old when I was told that I had acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a blood cancer that attacks the body’s immune system and white blood cells in bone marrow. It was a long, hard fought battle, but on my twelfth birthday, I had official kicked cancer’s ass! After this experience, I never wanted to take my health for granted, and over the years I developed a love for fitness and all different types of training. As a college student, I worked at GNC where I became an expert in every nutritional supplement they offered. I was OBSESSED with supplements and their promise of providing an edge in my overall health and training. In fact, I had an entire bookshelf in my room that wasn't filled with books, it was filled with pre-workouts, protein powders, amino acids, and other supplements that I thought was making me perform better and get healthier (spoiler alert, they weren't).
DISCOVERING THE TRUTH ABOUT SUPPLEMENTS
As I progressed in my Health and Exercise Physiology degree in college, I dove deeper and deeper into my research and quickly realized that most of the supplements on the shelf were doing more harm than good. These supplements were (and still are) loaded with fake sugars, colors, preservatives, and made using harsh chemical manufacturing processes. Most performance nutrition supplements contain ingredients that have been directly linked to ADD, ADHD, depression, and anxious behaviors. In fact, some of these ingredients (flavoring, coloring, and artificial sweeteners) are banned in most countries outside of the U.S.
Fun Fact: The FDA doesn’t even regulate the supplement industry, leaving it up to companies to add in basically whatever we want! I realized the entire industry was about the quality of their marketing, not the quality of their products. Seems a little backwards right!?
I found it frustrating that the entire fitness community was trying to do the right thing by taking supplements to benefit their health, but the companies making those supplements were cutting corners and creating products that caused more harm than good. I realized that very few consumers actually understand what’s in the products they’re taking and what impact it has on their health (good or bad). Eventually, I quit taking performance supplements entirely because nobody had high-quality products that could fuel my overall health. Even the companies that start with good ingredients just ended up packing their products full of fake additives and fillers, just to make it taste and smell pretty.
(This picture was the start of KONO in 2018.... buying bulk ingredients from just about every supplier in the world and mixing them in my own kitchen to find the perfect combination).
KONO HUMBLE BEGINNINGS
I knew the value supplements could offer, I just needed to figure out a way to make them healthy. I started investing my time, money, and research into creating my own supplements. That ended up looking like a science experiment in my kitchen with powder mixes spread all over my house. But, as expected, when taking high quality ingredients, I had no stomach aches or bloating from fake sugars, no crashes, and better results that actually fueled all aspects of my health. From here, the word spread quickly and I was getting hundreds of requests to make products that were actually healthy. This was when the idea of creating a supplement company of my own first started. After almost 10 years of research, KONO finally came to life.
To be completely honest, the toughest part of turning KONO from an idea in my head into a real business, was getting the products to actually taste decent. I didn’t want an overly sweet or strong product that made me feel like I was eating candy before my workout. But I still wanted something that was refreshing and I didn’t have to choke it down like a shot of apple cider vinegar (shoutout to ACV, it’s worth it). It took years to figure out how to “mask” the taste of certain ingredients and I started to understand why companies were using natural and artificial flavoring because it takes a lot to hide the bitter taste of certain ingredients and Superfoods.
But I didn’t give up my dream of having a supplement company with health as the number one priority. The flavors I envisioned were not blue-raspberry (it’s not even a real fruit!) that stained your tongue blue for the entire day. They were of real foods, healthy and clinically studied ingredients, and most importantly they were not just a chemical based ingredient thrown in to look, taste, and smell pretty. We take pride in the fact that our products will never taste like the other supplements on the market, because they taste REAL! And we love the way our products taste, but more importantly, we love the way our products make us feel and we know that you will too.
Thank you for taking the time to read and understand my true passion for the creation of KONO. It’s our mission to change the supplement industry by creating products that put your health first, and fuel your overall health and performance without compromise. We’re just getting started, and we hope you’ll come on this journey with us, together we can make a healthier world.
-Alex Conley, founder of KONO Nutrition