To hear Eric Ryan tell it, fear was the fuel for his two-year-old company, Olly, a line of gummy vitamins and supplements that is reshaping the wellness aisle in major retailers such as Target, CVS and GNC.
After co-founding Method, his wildly successful brand of eco-friendly household and personal-care products, and then selling it to Ecover in 2012, Ryan says he reached a turning point in his life. "I just wasn't scared to go to work anymore," he said. "As an entrepreneur, that fear is what drives me, and I really wanted to start something from scratch again."
Ryan seems to have found his adrenaline rush with Olly. In the process, the serial entrepreneur is proving that with the right shift and focus, even big consumer-product categories like soap and vitamins can be reinvigorated and made relevant again for new audiences. The Olly brand is geared to millennials and has about 35 products that address the health-and-wellness issues they care most about — sleep, stress, good skin and energy. And because the products come in a sweet-tasting gummy form, Ryan figures that consumers are more likely to remember to take them.