Golf Entrepreneur Profile:
Name: Max Colman & Cat Vickers
Company: Max Golf Protein
Location: Epping, Essex, United Kingdom
“BE BIG, BE BOLD AND GO FOR IT” – Max Colman
Max Colman and Cat Vickers, the founders of Max Golf Protein (the first golf specific protein drink), are true hustlers. In the process of creating Max Golf Protein, they showed no fear of being bold, putting everything on the line to build their brand. And that is simply what it takes.
A year and a half ago, Max Golf Protein launched their first sale at Stoke Park. Since that time, sales have skyrocketed. They are now in four countries, backed by an investment firm, grown to a warehouse full of employees, support professional golfers through their brand ambassador program, and sponsored Richard Branson’s golf tournament – the Necker Open.
Max and Cat are on a fast path to making Max Golf Protein a worldwide recognized brand in golf. Their secret: hard work.
Max and Cat’s Backgrounds
Max Golf Protein’s origins date back to Max and Cat first meeting four years ago in London.
Max grew up a golfer. He started the game at a young age and turned pro at 18. He played on tours throughout Europe such as the Alps Tour, EuroPro, and EPD Tour. After four years, he decided that his chances of making a living were better in business and transitioned into a sales and marketing job in Central London.
Prior to Max Golf Protein, Cat worked in fitness and nutrition. She was a professional dancer and instructor while simultaneously working in media. When she met Max, she was with an online sports channel.
The Origins of Max Golf Protein
The idea for Max Golf Protein reaches back to his playing days.
Being an avid golfer and fitness fanatic, Max grew up making his own DIY protein shakes for the course. Purchasing on course snacks were limited. His best options commonly included sugary energy drinks and candy bars, leading to a back nine crash.
Max always had this idea of a golf specific protein drink that would provide energy for a 4 to 5 hour round. Finally, he and his fellow golfers would no longer have to bring their ingredients to tournaments in zip lock bags.
When Max would tell others about this idea, they would often think it was a bit crazy. That was until he met Cat, who saw his vision from the start.
“When you tell a lot of people about your idea’s they sort of look at you a bit funny as if you were mad, but Cat backed it 100 percent, she was there from the very start.” – Max Colman
“It made perfect sense to me. I was all about making people healthier and building a better lifestyle. It really rang true with me. If we could make something that was ready to drink and convenient that it would fly in the UK.” – Cat Vickers
Building a Brand
It didn’t take long for these go-getters to start building. While maintaining day jobs, the two dedicated nights and evenings to their new product.
For two years, they stayed in hustle mode, self-funding the entire research process. They developed the perfect recipe, found the ideal manufacturer, designed the product, built a website, and more. The list goes on and on as they spent countless hours building the foundation of MGP.
The first two years were a real learning curve and they were just a massive gamble really because we were putting everything on the line and didn’t know if the world was going to appreciate a protein drink for golfers. – Cat Vickers
They both have a fantastic sense of humor when telling their story. With a laugh, they explained there was not much sleep at this time. They are in good company. Many great entrepreneurs have maintained a job while working nights and weekends to build their business.
At the end of year two, Max Golf Protein was becoming an established brand. The duo decided to take the bold leap, quitting their jobs to pursue MGP full time.
It was scary because we both had good jobs as well (laughs). We both abandoned ship and thought let’s go for it! – Max Colman
The first taste of success
After countless hours of grinding to make a market ready product, it was time to start selling the drink.
Instead of starting small, Max and Cat went big on their first sale. Their first pitch was to the prestigious Stoke Park in England.
And they loved it.
Stoke Park agreed to stock the drink in their shop. This first sale was their launchpad to success. All of the hard work and self-belief in their product was about to be embraced by the golf world with open arms.
It was mad. I dont even remember walking in, saying the pitch, or saying anything. I just remember walking out and thinking wow he just bought some. It was a bit of a surreal experience!” – Max Colman
Now the real work begins
Win first, then go to war. – Sun Tzu
Max and Cat’s story brings Sun Tzu’s famous quote from The Art of War to mind. The takeaway, preparation is key.
Two years of development allowed this first victory to lead to much more. They created a fantastic product, crafted a beautiful design, and found the perfect manufacturer. Max Golf Protein’s foundation was rock solid. They were fully stocked and ready to sell their product to the golfing world.
Stoke Park was their starting point. Their next goal, sell the drink to the top 50 golf clubs in the UK.
The next few months were a selling rampage. They drove around the UK pitching the drink to the premier courses and were seeing rapid success.
Selling to the most luxurious golf courses in the UK lead to some new, unexpected clients. The original thought was that more expensive clubs were going to be their main demographic. Little did they know, it was about to become an even bigger hit at the smaller courses.
This was a massive turning point for us and one of the most exciting moments. We knew then that it doesn’t just do well in prestigious expensive golf clubs, it will sell in all the golf clubs. – Max Colman
Expanding the business
The protein drink was a success, and it was time to grow the business. Creating an energy bar that coupled the drink was their next move.
Max and Cat spent a year researching the perfect golf specific bar. The result, an all natural, organic bar made with just the right amount of carbs to get you around the course. Let’s not forget that it taste delicious.
Even better than the bar’s taste, was their game plan for distribution. Their thought process: clubs who bought the drink will buy the bar too. The two entrepreneurs were spot on with their prediction.
The bar launched in August 2016, and the first batch sold out in record time. Max Golf Protein was blowing up throughout the UK and golfers were loving it.
Over the upcoming months, the brands reach exploded. MGP is now in the UK, Ireland, Spain, and most recently Dubai.
Adding to their speedy growth, Max Golf Protein got backed by a venture capital firm. All of a sudden they no longer had to package and ship their product out of a garage. This allowed them to expand to a warehouse with employees.
Their expansion did not stop here. MGP entered the online retail world as well, becoming the first nutritional product available at trendygolf.com.
The fitness world has exploded into the game. Gary Player was ahead of his time as it is now the norm for professional golfers to be in fit and athletic shape. Max and Cat saw this trend and took advantage. Max Golf Protein is quickly conquering the fitness market in golf and they are showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Interviewing Max and Cat was a true pleasure. The two entrepreneurs are an inspiration to anyone looking to build a brand from scratch. There are many lessons one can learn from their story, but nothing more than the fact that there is no substitute for hard work.