To someone uneducated in the area of supplements, hearing of and meeting Jules Miller, the founder and creator of the world's cleanest supplement brand - The Nue Co. - could be revolutionary. As an almost reluctant pioneer of the health and wellness movement, Jules has done something that the industry has never seen before. She has created supplements that you can trust and, in the mean time, has managed to make them cool.
The creation of a product often comes from the frustration of not being able to find anything like what you have in mind. Disenchanted by the misleading supplements carelessly marketed in high street chains, Jules had an idea. She wanted to create supplements dedicated to sustainability that are 100% organic, unlike any other supplement brand on the market, and leave no room for conspiracy regarding the actual contents of the products.
Thus The Nue Co. was born. The chicest, and possibly only, luxury supplement brand that the world has ever seen. In production for two years, after much painstaking research and development, and also due to the harsh regulations around supplement creation, The Nue Co. finally launched in March 2016.
Though it is thought that the regulations around selling supplements could be harsher. “There’s a lot that happens with supplement companies that goes completely under the radar,” Jules tells me, about a number of companies that mislead customers with inaccurate ingredient listings on their packaging - studies have revealed that, with some brands, only 50% of ingredients are often displayed on the product! I am quickly re-assured that everything The Nue Co. does is done to the highest possible standard, with utmost sincerity.
“We don’t use more than six ingredients per blend, they are all sustainably sourced, we pitch them out as basically the next best thing to food!”. With absolute transparency to their customer, all of their plant based ingredients are listed on the glass packaging that was incidentally chosen for its recyclability.
Now, already available all over the world, The Nue Co. sets it sights on September when their new collection is to be released alongside the five products they currently have on the market. From a needed mid-day energy boost with “Energy Food”, to a way to de-bloat after a large meal with “De-Bloat Food”, Jules’ aptly named products will ensure that your body stays balanced at all times, especially when you can’t stay balanced yourself. This week, walk the tight-rope of wellness right, with Jules Miller as your guide.
Semaine: What is it that drew you to supplements?
Jules: I think people are really starting to care about the products that they’re putting on their skin, is it organic, is it non-toxic, is it effective? When you compare that relationship with the relationship that we have had traditionally with our supplements it’s like black and white, people don’t know what’s in them, they don’t care about the brand, they don’t have a connection to the brand or the brand philosophy. They might be eating organic food, but they’re still consuming off the shelf supplements. I have a fascination with the philosophy of the ritual, and looking after yourself does become ritualistic, I guess it also probably originates from my studies of philosophy back in the day.
Semaine: Though you studied Philosophy at university, was it your family’s history with pharmaceuticals that made you want to pursue this instead?
Jules: Pharmaceuticals sort of run in my family, so my grandfather was a pharmacist and he then became a lecturer at Cambridge University, and he dedicated his whole life to vitamins and supplements and was even a part of the development team for vitamin b12, but he actually hates taking vitamins and supplements, except now he has taken my products.
I think the problem with supplements is that 50% of the ingredients that you’re consuming through supplements don’t have to be there. They serve no other purpose than to be a preservative, a filler or a sugar. So you’re attempting to consume something that is going to improve your health, but you’re actually consuming all of these naughty things that shouldn’t be there. The other half the problem is that the active ingredient, so something like vitamin C is extremely highly processed, so when you take a vitamin C it’s really hard for your body to digest, which is why people feel nauseous when they take vitamins on an empty stomach. So pharmaceuticals sort of run in my family, but what really interested me was how overcrowded the market was and how ripe it was for somebody to disrupt it.
Semaine: How is The Nue Co. disruptive?
Jules: Our main objective is that we are trying to change the category and we want to be the brand the changes the way people think, feel and consume supplements, and that is really exciting, leaving our mark on the world a little bit. “Eat your food”, that’s the main message, but if you can’t this is going to be the next best thing. Nothing annoys me more than consuming rubbish, I want to be consuming sugar, and all the things that I enjoy, through things like chocolate or a glass of wine. Not by it creeping into my diet through pills.
Semaine: Would you say that supplements are essential or transformative?
Jules: I would not say that they are essential if you have a good diet. People act like this world of food, supplements and nutrition is so complicated, and I just don’t think that it has to be. I try to eat natural food most of the time and that’s my rule. I know that if something has come from a packet isn’t going to be as good for me as something that has come from the ground. That’s how I eat most of the time, but then when I want to eat a bowl of pasta I refuse to feel guilty about it, but I’m just not going to do it every day of the week because I know my body doesn’t feel good after doing that. I think we need to debunk things and just say that we all need to try and eat natural food most of the time, enjoy life and not stress about it too much.
I use my experience in the last few months as somebody who does need to be using supplements more regularly and launching a company that is growing at a scale that we never predicted, it’s so exciting but it transforms your life. I run off of adrenaline all the time and that has really affected how hungry I am, and as much as I know that it’ll impact my energy levels and it’s good for me to commit to having breakfast every single day, the truth is that I can’t sometimes, sometimes I just don’t want to.
I just want to wake up and have a coffee and run out the door. I’ve been supplementing with all five products at the moment. Listen to your body, it’s not normal for you to feel exhausted every morning when you wake up, so if you feel like that there’s probably something that you need to address. Try and eat a balanced diet, but if you can’t then fill in the gaps with something that is as natural as our products.
Semaine: What was the inspiration around the branding?
Jules: I was walking through all of the cool concept stores in Copenhagen and just thought about how people are consuming fashion and they’re consuming homeware and they’re consuming beauty in the context of really cool, thought provoking, creative experiences. There is no way that any of these stores would stock a supplement brand, and why? Why isn’t there a brand that is trying to do this? So that is something that really kicked things off.
Semaine: Do you think you’d still have your own business if you didn’t start a supplement business?
Jules: Yes, but only if it was something that was going to make a lot of noise. Our strapline is “not what you expect” that’s been something that I, and everyone working for the company, really live by. People might underestimate what we’re capable of because we’re a young, female team, but we want to do something that is going to leave an impact and hopefully change the world in some way.
It starts off with a product that proves that wellness can be credible, and can use science effectively. But when you look at our packaging, what we’re trying to prove that you can be luxurious and beautiful, but you can also be sustainable, which is why we limit the use of plastic in our packaging. I would have always had my own company but would have to be something really meaningful other wise I wouldn’t have done it.
Semaine: There has been a massive boom in the wellness industry recently, and you’ve seen it first hand, is it all as it seems?
Jules: What’s interesting is that I’ve been both in and out of the wellness industry and I’ve also seen it in the US vs the UK and it is completely different. Five years ago, when everything started to explode here I actually did have really bad IBS, and in response to that was so much of the information that is coming out from bloggers and other brands, I think I latched on to a lot of information that really did me no good. So I stopped eating sugar, dairy and started consuming every supplement under the sun that could potentially help with bloating. It was doing me absolutely no good. I was still consuming dairy, sugar, wheat but just through those supplements that I was buying in off the shelf, so I just stopped everything and re-assessed all of the information that was given to me and then I just went back to the original philosophy that me and my family have always had which is to not eat food out of packets, just eat food that comes from the ground.
I think it is unfair to critique the wellness industry in the way that the masses are, although I can at times be one of its biggest critics. Unfortunately, in the UK it has become a faddy trend, and that’s shit, but it is taking over from other faddy trends when it comes to food. It’s taken over from the Dukan diet, the cabbage soup diet… It’s taken over from some really awful things. I think it can be destructive for certain individuals, but my point is that if they weren’t latching on to this craze, they would be latching on to another food craze which is probably worse for their health. I also think it’s made everybody a little bit nuts. I always say to people that wellness starts in the brain rather than in the belly. You could eat a bowl of kale and if you’re going to obsess about it and feel guilty, and just have this weird perception of well being, I don’t believe that you are going to be well. If you are just living life and eating the way that you think your body responds best to, that to me is being well.
Semaine: You have experience of the industry in Los Angeles, New York and London, how different are they?
Jules: In New York, it’s not even a point of conversation, if you sit down with someone and you’re like “so, what are your views on the wellness industry?” everyone just responds with something like “What are you talking about? I’ve got shit to do, I’ve got places to be and I need to eat right otherwise I’ll have to slow down and I can’t afford to do that”. Which is probably why I don’t really make smoothies, The Nue Co. is functional, I can have it on my desk and when I feel like I haven’t eaten properly I’ll mix it into some water, and have it there and then. New Yorkers really see wellness as part of their lives, that is a necessity.
In LA it’s trendy, but it’s there to stay. It’s part of their lifestyle but in a slightly different way. Everyone there is outside, they’re investing a lot more in the way that they look rather than the way that they feel.
Then the UK, I don’t know what to make out of it yet. It’s a relatively new concept for us and it grew so quickly that you’ve got as many people excited about the wellness industry that are sceptical about it. Because we’ve been so reliant on bloggers and brands, people just don’t know what to believe here anymore.
Semaine: What do you live by?
Jules: I live by this golden rule. If it’s not absolutely incredible and the best, it’s shit and there’s nothing in between this. We have never ever, ever gone for second best, with anything that we’ve done. Whether it’s the retailer that we’re launching with or the publications that we talk with, like how we announced our launch through Vogue, they have to be the best. All of the people I hire, I have pinpointed that I wanted to work with them, I still do this, I have no back ups and they are my number ones. I think people assume that when you start out and you’re a start-up you have to aim small and climb up, and I just don’t believe in that. I just think go for the best and try to close it. The mantra is if it’s not amazing, it’s shit.
By Kezia Navey for Semaine.