Skratch Labs Keeps it Real S elling hydration and nutrition products can be a challenge for specialty retailers. Products must resonate enough with customers to drive sales, and they also need to improve performance. If a customer tries a product that leaves them feeling thirsty or tired on the trail, they’re go- ing to think twice before buying it again, and they’re liable to complain about it to friends and followers. As such, retailers should be highly selective about the products they offer to customers. One company that’s been mak- ing a name for itself in this space is Skratch Labs, a Boulder-based provider of per- formance hydration and nutrition offering products with real ingredients that promote a healthy lifestyle. We spoke with Skratch Labs Founder Dr. Allen Lin to learn more about Skratch Labs. Inside Outdoor: Please explain a bit about Skratch Labs for our readers, and your vision. Allen Lin: While working as a sport sci- entist and coach on the Pro Cycling Tour, I started making training food and sports drinks from scratch for the athletes. Too many of the pre-packaged sports bars and drinks they were given were laden with artificial ingredients and literally making them sick to their stomachs. Eventually, I started making a “secret drink mix” in my kitchen using a recipe with less sugar, more sodium and nothing artificial – no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors. It had a simple and clean taste using only real fruit for flavor. Word of the “secret drink mix” spread and it was clear that the demand extended far beyond just the pros I was working with. IO: Your market is arguably saturated. What sets Skratch apart? AL: We only create products that solve problems without creating new ones, which means every ingredient has a purpose. That purpose is to help people perform better. The creation and evolution of our products have always stemmed from evidence-based problem solving. This emphasis on real food is core to Skratch’s identity. In it there is an earnest attempt to always learn, to solve problems and to communicate with both intel- lectual humility and humor. We believe that we have the best-in-class hydration, fueling and recovery products based in science, tested by athletes and fo- cused on flavor. Our products have a lighter taste and no junk, because simple is better. Most of all, however, what sets Skratch apart are the people who work here. It’s their hos- pitality and care for every customer and the pride we all have in taking care of people that I am most proud of. IO: Why do retailers and consumers love Skratch products? AL: They’re delicious and they work. We use real food to create sports nutrition that customers actually want to eat. Our prod- ucts taste better and feel better–because they have no artificial sweeteners, isolates, colors, or preservatives that might cause GI distress–to help athletes perform better. Addi- tionally, our customer and dealer services are phenomenal. We offer retailers an unbeat- able guarantee, merchandising tools, market- ing support, and free shipping at $100. IO: What’s in store for 2021? Any new products coming down the pike? AL: We have some exciting line exten- sions in the pipeline for 2021, including new flavors and sizes, aimed at providing our customers value, convenience and variety. In addition, we are releasing fun new seasonal flavors of our Sport Hydration Drink Mix and we are working on a new innovative food product launching this spring – stay tuned to find out more. IO: Any additional messages for the specialty retail market? AL: We are committed to our specialty retail partners. Skratch Labs is rooted in specialty retail, and retailers provide trusted guidance and build vibrant communities relied upon by endurance athletes. Our part- ners have helped us learn and grow over the last nine years. As our brand and products continue to evolve, we are actively looking for new ways to sup- port our retailers. m Q&A with company founder Dr. Allen Lin Skratch Labs’ Allen Lin, photo by Greg Erwin Inside Outdoor | WINTER 2021 17