Today we meet Chad and Hanna Nasci, co-founders of Nash Nutrition. The couple run the entire business by themselves, self-producing and selling the popular Nash Bar, a nutritious protein bar that tastes great and is perfect for health-conscious people on the go. With a strong background in sports and nutrition, Chad and Hannah started their business selling their homemade protein balls to friends and clients at the gym. Quickly realizing the business potential of their product, they threw themselves full-time into Nash Nutrition and have been thriving ever since, riding out the challenges of the pandemic with the support of loyal customers. How have they overcome the challenges they’ve faced? What is next for Nash Nutrition? Let’s find out!
Hi! We are Chad and Hanna Nasci, Co-Founders of Nash Nutrition, makers of the Nash Bar. We are currently the only two employees at Nash and are excited to continue to grow that number in the coming years.
In 2020 we got married, moved, and both quit our jobs/businesses to pursue Nash full time. In the midst of the pandemic, the most transformative social justice movement of our lifetime, and everything else 2020 was, we’re extremely thankful for our customers who continue to support what we do.
Before going full-time, Hanna worked as a nutritionist while also running a successful healthy lifestyle blog called The Healthiest Me. She routinely baked and cooked what would be traditionally unhealthy “sweets” into incredibly tasty, nutritious versions and shared them to her blog. She’s always had a passion for coming up with healthy creations in the kitchen, which ultimately led to the creation of the Nash Bar.
Chad’s first career was as a strength and conditioning coach and gym owner. Since 2011, Chad has coached hundreds of athletes at Nashdog Barbell, his training facility in Youngstown, Ohio.
At Nash Nutrition, we produce the Nash Bar – The Good For You Protein Bar. We personally felt there was a need for an all-natural protein bar that tasted great, had an adequate amount of protein, and was gluten and dairy free. With nothing we loved already on the market, we decided to make our own with no real intentions of turning it into a business.
Hanna had experience with product creation through her protein balls that she would sell to her clients. This original base is what gave the Nash Bar a starting point that we could work with. At first, we were just making them for ourselves while Hanna shared the recipe to her blog. People started asking about them and without really thinking about it, we told them they’d be for sale.
After selling a few “boxes” (we literally went to the store and bought a tin holiday container for our first order) of them to clients at the gym, we started working on a real logo, package design, website, and really a legitimate side business. In January of 2019, a couple of months after the initial interest, we officially launched the Nash Bar and mynashbar.com.
Over the past two years, we’ve been able to outfit our own commercial kitchen where we make the bars fresh every week. Instead of going the traditional route and finding a co-packer to make the bars for us, we decided to self-produce. While it has its challenges, keeping the production in-house has been a vital factor for ensuring the quality of our products is on point every time. We’re also able to scale up and down production as much as needed, which was so helpful through the unpredictability of 2020.
Moving forward, the plan is to continue to introduce the bars to as many people as we can. Our main strategy for growth is to continue to provide the best possible customer service, keep our product quality and consistency top notch, and eventually get out to events to meet more people when it’s safe to do so.
The really awesome and unexpected thing we noticed was just how many different kinds of people have been utilizing and enjoying the bars. Being gluten and dairy free, Nash Bars are easy to digest while still packing 20 grams of high-quality protein. Whether someone is on the go in the morning and doesn’t have time to make breakfast, just finished up a tough workout, or simply wants something sweet that they can truly feel good about eating, the Nash Bar has been able to be all of those things.
Unfortunately, when most people think of protein bars they think of chalky, highly processed bars that’ll leave you more bloated than satisfied. We’re trying to change this perception and set the new standard – high protein, delicious, all-natural, and zero digestional issues. Something that literally anyone can enjoy and benefit from.
With in-person events being our main way of meeting new potential customers, having that completely wiped out this year has been a huge challenge when it comes to growth for a small business like ours. We want to grow organically and decided to not pursue any outside investment, so taking the slow road has been even more of a challenge without being able to get out and demo.
While the pandemic has been an obvious speed bump, we’re fortunate that we’ve still been able to keep our business open and support our customers the best we can. We’ve used this time to continue to dial in our marketing messaging, evolve our brand and social media platforms, and take time to educate ourselves on important topics moving forward.
The motivation has always been to do something bigger than ourselves and to make as much of a positive impact on this world as possible. We love being able to provide real, nutritious, convenient products. We also love helping other people. The more we grow our business, the more we can do both – which really is all the motivation we need.
Old-school, in-person marketing has been the biggest driver for new customers and sales. Whether it is sponsoring events, sampling product with our private retailers or going to makers markets, we always have success in person.
With events being on hold for the moment, we’ve shifted focus to simply serving our customers and being there for our community. The support we’ve received from our customers has truly been incredible, and the very least we can do is continue to serve them the best we possibly can.
It’s also important to note that previous to this year, we would have shied away from important topics such as racial inequality and the environmental crisis on our business pages – but we’ve decided to speak up and use Nash as a platform. In order to build a community of like-minded people who want to make a change, we can’t sit quietly. We are exploring new ways that we can support those in need and highlight their experiences and stories.
Learning how to ride the wave is really an underappreciated skill to have in business.
There are going to be times when things are REALLY good, everything is going right, and it seems like you can’t lose. It’s important to stay humble and continue to do the things that put you in that position in the first place. Celebrate the small wins, but don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. Keep doing quality work!
On the flipside, there are going to be days, weeks, and even months where it seems like you can’t catch a break. I don’t care who you are or what your business is, you’re going to have times like this. It’s important to not get too down on yourself, focus on one positive thing at a time, and keep moving in the right direction. As long as you focus on doing the right thing and are working to the best of your abilities, you have to trust that it’ll all work out.
Like most business advice, this could extend into your personal life as well. The focus should always be on being a good person, doing the best job you can, continuing to learn, evolve and improve, and enjoy the ride. Don’t let yourself get too high or too low, learn to ride the wave.
A book that we can’t recommend enough is The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman. It’s such a valuable resource for anyone interested in business in general.
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