Torquay tradie Scott Mackinnon had dabbled in selling protein powder to a few gyms around town when he felt the urge to turn his side hustle into something more meaningful.
He had watched as his mum, Cherie, faced a breast cancer battle and some good mates lost their mothers to the disease.
“It was something that felt very close to me and I wanted to do something where I could give back,” he explains.
“I was already making a little bit of money selling protein powder so I thought maybe that was a good place to start and see how it might grow.”
The entrepreneurial plasterer came up with the name NUDE Nutrition Australia and set his mind to donating 100 per cent of profits to breast cancer research.
He developed the branding himself, sitting for hours at the kitchen table rearranging bits of stickers he had cut up until he was satisfied with its clean and contemporary look.
As NUDE started to grow, and the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) flagged its interest in a partnership, Scott approached his good friend and former housemate, Jo Hakaraia, to join him in building the budding social enterprise.
That was in March of this year and they’ve since dedicated much of their spare time to growing their not-for-profit supplement company, while staying true to its commitment of helping find a cure for breast cancer.
“When I made a choice to do NUDE, it was never a decision to make money for ourselves,” Scott says.
“It’s easy to say five per cent or 10 per cent but it’s like ‘five per cent of what?’. For me it was like, if you are going to do it, you do it 100 per cent.
“We want to donate it all and see what comes of it.
“Maybe one day, if we work for NUDE full-time, we might receive a wage but for now it’s not something we even talk of.”
Jo, who is a chartered accountant with a background in corporate finance, says she is proud to be part of the NUDE mission.
“I don’t think there is anyone who doesn’t know someonewho has been touched by breast cancer and I’ve had scares myself,” she says.
“It’s something that Scott is pretty passionate about so it was good to get involved.
“During COVID I was here working from home and it was surprising how much extra time I had not driving to Melbourne.
“We would do bits and pieces through the day and in the evenings, we would chat and get really excited.”
Jo recently took a redundancy from her role as head of finance for supply
chain with Coles and is looking forward to solely focussing on NUDE for a while.
“I really enjoyed my time with Coles but I really want to concentrate on trying to grow this and put some new products in at some point,” she says.
“It’s definitely been a good move and I’m really proud of the brand – Scott has done so much with it to bring it from nothing really.
“We want to give as much money to breast cancer as we can and we are still only quite small.
“But, like the lady at the National Breast Foundation tells us, every cent counts.”
Scott started making protein powders to assist in his own recovery after training at the gym and says people soon started asking him if they could buy it.
“I started making it myself because I didn’t want to pay ridiculous prices,” he recalls.
“I would look at the ingredients of the products I was buying and a lot of companies were pretty shifty around how they made it.
“A lot of it is skim milk almost but you’re paying top dollar.
“I wanted to make something that was nice enough on the palette, a little bit of flavour and good grass-fed protein.”
The range includes flavoured whey and vegan protein powders, as well as a variety of branded merchandise.
Sales to date have resulted in thousands of dollars being donated to the NBCF, with NUDE sharing weekly social media updates on how much is donated.
“Every time we donate and I send Jo the receipt it puts you in a good mood,” Scott says, smiling.
The owner of Bells Beach Plastering says he would not have been able to get the brand this far without Jo and support from other local businesspeople.
“Emma Barr from Yogi Peace Club has been like a mentor to us,” he says.
“She has been superb – I couldn’t thank her enough for how she has given us advice and ideas for trying to take it to the next level.
“Lynne from MCG signs has also been amazing.”
Jo agrees, saying their coastal community fosters an entrepreneurial spirit in a special way.
“That is the good thing about the Surf Coast – the local support is amazing,” Jo says.
“Even Jamie from the Salty Dog gets our product for the protein smoothies.
“As we grow, we want to pay it forward and help other businesses as well.”
Scott envisages big things for 2021 as NUDE continues to reach more customers and support the critical work of the NBCF.
“They are the people we respect and it is amazing what they are doing,” he says.
“We are a very small part of the cog but it’s nice to be part of that cog, that’s for sure.
“The funny thing is that when we say 100 per cent of profits go to breast cancer, people say ‘you don’t get anything from it’.
“But there is so much goodwill I get from it and I’m finding that everything in my life is great at the moment – I’m super busy with work, there are people helping me out and everything seems to be aligned.
“As soon as we started donating money from this, life just started getting better.”
Discover more about NUDE. Nutrition Australia products on Instagram
@nude_nutrition_australia or by visiting nudenutrition.com.au.