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Beyond Borders

We’re officially shipping to everywhere now.

Delivery complete.

That’s right, we’re now offering international shipping! :D

This is something people have been asking about since the beginning. It’s no wonder, since it’s really hard to find a hypoallergenic or ketogenic option like ours in Europe. We’re really glad to finally get our fuel to those who need it outside the US.

So far, we’ve had successful test shipments sent to Canada, France, Germany, Austria, and even Thailand. Now that we know it works, we’re officially opening to accept orders from anywhere in the world that USPS will ship to. So step right up! :)

Of course, international shipping can be expensive! When we only shipped within the US, we included shipping costs in the base price of each product and gave a bulk discount for ordering more at once, to approximate the cost savings of shipping more per package.

But now, we’re lowering our prices and charging for shipping separately, as shipping costs vary dramatically depending on where in the world you are ordering from and how much you buy. This means that the total checkout price will reflect the actual costs much more accurately.

Based on our numbers, a majority of people buy 1-3 packs at a time and will benefit from slightly lower prices with this change. If you buy 4 or more at a time, you won’t get as much of a discount as before. Our goal is to be transparent about the relative costs of each choice rather than encouraging the largest purchases possible.

Instead, we’ll have sales and introduce rewards for doing things that actually are beneficial, like setting up a subscription or sharing with your friends or bringing in affiliate sales. Should be fun. ;)

Anyway, we’d like to extend a warm welcome to our new international customers and thank all of our US customers for their continued support. If you haven’t already, make sure you take advantage of our 10% off New Year’s sale with the coupon code RESOLVETHIS before it expires on January 10th!

Hope you all have a great 2016! :)

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Sample-able Schmilk

At long last, you can now buy a little Schmilk, just to try.

It’s sample-licious!

That is, we’ve added a Schmilk Sampler to the shop! :D

For $15, you get two different flavors of Schmilk – your choice – to try for three meals each. That’s six meals in total.

Of course, for the Sampler, the Schmilk you’re getting does not have the added vitamins and minerals of the real deal. So, it’s just a taste. But it’s a big enough taste to share with your friends! (Last-minute holiday shopping, anyone?)

So if you’ve been on the fence about Schmilk, this is your chance to try it, without a big financial commitment.

And especially for our loyal blog readers (thank you!) we have a special 20% off coupon code for your first Schmilk Sampler purchase:


Try it for $12 instead of $15. That should sweeten the deal a little. ;)

Enjoy! :)

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The Red Carpet

Some famous people stopped by the Super Body Fuel factory the other day.

Tim Schafer finds himself in a strange new environment…

We’ve had a few customers stop by the factory before, just to check out our operation and say hi. It’s always fun to meet people in-person and show off what we’ve been working so hard to create.

But this is the first time we’ve had actual famous people in our factory.

Pendleton Ward is the much-beloved creator of the cartoon show Adventure Time, now in its seventh season. Back in June, he actually sent me a nice fan email after being inspired by one of my old games, The Love Letter. And in the process of trying to find my email address, he discovered Schmoylent.

As it happenened, he was visiting San Francisco for this indie game event called Day of the Devs, and wanted to buy some Schmoylent while he was here. So I invited him to a tour of the Super Body Fuel factory.

Pendleton Ward sings “Don’t worry, be Schmoylent”.

He brought some friends.

Specifically, Tim Schafer, head of game company Double Fine Productions, and Erik Wolpaw, best known as the writer for the hit game Portal.

Turns out that Tim Schafer has lost a lot of weight by juicing in the past, so he asked me if I had a “fat guy” version. In fact, I did, I told him – it’s called Keto Fuel! Very popular for weight-loss, as it puts your body into a fat-burning metabolic mode called ketosis. He accepted a sample – chocolate, my recommendation – and a Schmoylent too, just for good measure.

Erik Wolpaw was not so fond of liquid diets, but revealed that he did in fact drink protein shakes as a post-workout meal at the gym. When I showed him the Nutrition Facts for Athlete Fuel, he expressed a grudging acceptance of the protein content (about 60g per meal), and I gave him a sample to try at home.

For Pendleton Ward, I just gave him as many different samples as I could find, so he could try all of them and see what he liked best.

Cheers from Super Body Fuel, with Erik Wolpaw and Pendleton Ward.

So if you ever find yourself in San Francisco, please stop by the Super Body Fuel factory and say hi! Let us know ahead of time and we’ll make sure to have some free samples for you too. ;)

Hope to see you soon. :)

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Back in Action

We’ve finally cleared out our backlog.

Super Body Fuel in stock and on the shelf.

This means no more long wait times. If you place an order now, we’ll ship it out the next day if it’s in stock. Otherwise, we’ll make it over the next few days and ship it out to you once it’s ready, within two weeks at the very latest. Accordingly, we’ve updated the website to show which products are in stock and which are not, so you’ll know what to expect as far as shipping times. Yay! :)

Over the course of this month, we’ll be building up our inventory until we have a couple batches of each variation in stock at all times. At that point, every new order will ship next-day, unless a ton of people order the same thing at once!

In other news, you may have noticed that the product labels – complete with instructions and Nutrition Facts – are now visible on each product page below the main product image. We’ll be updating the product pages with more detailed nutrition information later, but we hope these labels will help answer some of your questions in the meantime. If not, just send us an email. ;)

So, we’re still making very small batches, and that’s slow. But we’ve finally made it through our backlog, and now we can begin to take advantage of the one benefit that comes with small batches…

That is, variety. Flavors. Popular flavors, experimental flavors, rotating flavors, limited edition flavors, seasonal flavors… All kinds of flavors.

We’re looking forward to ramping that up. Coming soon.

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We Have Liftoff!

We’re shipping! :D

Our very first shipment, ready for pickup.

Yesterday, USPS picked up our first shipment of pre-orders, 43 packages in all.

We should be shipping out a couple dozen more by the end of this week.

This is a major milestone. The circle is finally complete! We’re leaving the runway. But we’re not yet at 30,000 feet.

Packing up some Athlete Fuel, with actual Nutrition Facts!

Does it feel good? Yes. But the work has only begun.

As we’ve mentioned earlier, it will likely take another month or so to clear out all the pre-orders. By the end of October, we hope to have caught up with our backlog, to be shipping new orders next-day. We’re looking forward to that!

But in the meantime, we just have to crank it out. ;)

I’ll be posting the Nutrition Facts next. Stay tuned.

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It Begins… Slowly

We started manufacturing last Friday.

The very first batch at Super Body Fuel. Never forget!

Appropriately enough, our first batch was a month’s worth of Schmoylent Vanilla, the first recipe we finalized earlier this month and one of our most popular options.

It took us about six hours. That’s an hour per pack, or about 12 minutes per bag. And that’s not counting prep or cleanup time. :p Let’s just say it turned out to be a late night at the factory for both of us.

A little stevia goes a long way.

Of course, it only took so long because we were still evaluating and solidifying our manufacturing process. We’re optimistic that we could get to three batches a day with a little practice. We’re already down to three hours per batch this week.

With a mixer that can churn through a thousand bags of product at a time, three batches a day would be plenty. But our mixer is small, making less than a hundred bags per batch, and in many cases less than fifty. That kind of production rate could be easily overwhelmed if we started getting more than ten orders a day.

Soon to be Schmilk Chocolate.

But the more pressing concern is, “When am I going to get my pre-order?”

Good question! Many of you have already asked this, in fact. ;)

Based on our initial calculations, it will take us about 3-5 weeks before we’ve cleared out all the pre-orders from the last few months. We’ll start shipping on Monday, so those of you with June pre-orders should be seeing a package from Super Body Fuel on your doorstep soon, but July, August, and September pre-orders may take a few weeks longer.

We’re looking into ways to speed up the process, like hiring part-time help or working on weekends, so with any luck we may be able to shorten that timeline a little. But at our current pace, we expect we’ll be done shipping pre-orders around the end of October.

Our batch record system brings health inspectors to tears. Tears of joy.

In other news, I’ve set up a nice system to track way too much information about each batch, in a convenient and mostly automated way. Most importantly, we’re recording the exact ingredients added, with lot numbers and actual measurements (individually confirmed and signed off by both of us, of course) so we know exactly what has gone into each batch and in turn, which batch has gone to which customer. Plus some extra goodies, like the starting (and ending) temperature and humidity, among other things. Why not, right? :)

For those of you waiting eagerly for the reveal of the nutritional details and ingredients for all the recipes, rest assured that I’ve got that information and I will be putting it up on the website soon – I’m just focused on putting the final touches on our shipping system so we can start sending orders out as soon as possible! Once we’re shipping, updating the website with all the latest nutritional information will be at the top of my list.

You’ll hear back from us soon.

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On the Brink

We’re almost ready to ship.

Beyond the shelves of bulk ingredients lies the mysterious clean room.

All the ingredients are in. That includes the Costco vitamins, which we will have to use until we can find a manufacturer willing to sell us a custom blend. Sadly, it turns out these vitamins contain trace amounts of gelatin, which means they are not animal-free, and therefore not vegan or even vegetarian. :/ For lack of a better option we will go ahead with these pills until we can get our own blend, but for any disappointed vegans who would like a refund in the meantime, we will do our best to oblige.

On a related note, I just found out that the Vitamin K2 powder that we bought to supplement the Costco vitamins contains sodium caseinate, which is derived from milk, and could cause problems for people who are severely allergic to dairy proteins. Because of our commitment to a completely hypoallergenic product and facility, we won’t be able to use this Vitamin K2 after all.

That’s unfortunate, because this was from the only Vitamin K2 supplier that would give us the time of day.

So it looks like we’ll have to find some hypoallergenic Vitamin K2 capsules on Amazon and grind those up along with the Costco vitamins. Thank goodness for two-day Prime shipping. :p

Ingredients labeled and ready to go, complete with lot numbers.

All the equipment is set up. An air conditioner and a small dehumidifier together keep the clean room below 50% humidity at all times, in order to minimize risk of spoilage for any of the ingredients that now line the shelves in airtight food-grade bins. We’ve got our chef coats and aprons, our gloves, masks, and safety glasses, and our expensive digital scales. We’ve got our cleaning routine down, with microfiber towels, a HEPA vacuum cleaner, and an alcohol-based sanitizer to obviate the need for water in the clean room. All the tools and containers are taken to the three-compartment sink, washed with soap and water, sanitized with chlorine bleach as per the industry standard, and left to air-dry overnight on the stainless steel wire shelving.

The sink! Three compartments and all.

And we did a test batch with the mixer this week. Unfortunately, we discovered that it can only accommodate about 30 lbs of product before it starts to have issues mixing consistently. Yes, that’s only one month’s worth of Schmoylent, or two months of Schmilk, at a time. That’s not very efficient. On the bright side, that means we could easily introduce new flavor variations on an experimental basis, because of our small batch size. ;)

The recipes are almost ready. We’ve succeeded in achieving a smooth texture and stable suspension for all five variations, which I’m really happy about. There is almost zero perceptible grit even in Schmoylent, and Schmilk will now stay mixed all day without separating into layers.

At this point, we’re just finalizing the flavors for all of the recipes. We’ve got our vanilla, cinnamon, and chocolate dialed in for Schmoylent already, and we’ll be testing flavors for the remaining variations over the next week.

Richard mixing the latest Schmoylent flavor test.

I’m proud to say that we’re using only entirely natural, authentic flavor ingredients for our recipes, sourced from Starwest Botanicals. That means vanilla extract from actual vanilla beans, ceylon cinnamon from Sri Lanka for the lowest possible coumarin content of any cinnamon variety, and Dutch-processed cocoa for a richer chocolate taste. And they’re all organic.

If all goes well, we hope to publish the final recipes and nutrition facts later this week, and start shipping next week. At that point, it will probably take a few more weeks to ship out all the pre-orders from the last three months. But once that’s out of the way, we can finally achieve a turnaround time of only a few days for each new order.

We’re so close! I’m looking forward to getting this wheel turning.

Let’s make it happen.

Yep. Pretty epic.
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Chipping Away at It

It’s the end of July.

We haven’t started shipping yet.

Instead, we’ve been busy doing this:

That’s me. Before the blisters.

And this:

Richard rocking the paint roller.

And a little more of this:

Who knew chipping paint was so exhausting?

And waiting for this:

Our first ingredient shipment, mostly intact.

The rice protein arrived on Friday. Thank you, Axiom. The rest of the ingredients we need should be arriving within the next week or so.

That’s 200 kilos of Oryzatein 80, straight from the source at Axiom.

The factory is starting to come together. It’s looking more like a place where something productive might actually happen, and less like a forgotten corner of a big, empty warehouse.

The clean room is looking pretty clean. No more paint flaking off the floor.

Where the magic happens. Or, will happen. Soon.

The shelves are starting to fill up. We’ve washed – and sanitized (you’re welcome, health department) – all the containers we’ll be using to mix and store ingredients.

We’ve got some comfy chairs and a shiny steel table to work on. We’ve got plastic strips over the door to keep the dust in. We’ve got some fancy scales to weigh everything precisely. We still need some thermometers and humidity sensors and an AC unit to make sure things stay dry and cool.

Pull up a chair. Don’t forget your hairnet.

And we still need to find a supplier that can get us a custom multivitamin blend ASAP. We’ve got several inquiries out but we’re still waiting to hear back from them. If nothing turns up in the next week or so we’ll probably end up buying a case of vitamins and a coffee grinder from the nearest Costco. :p Just like the good old days.

I wish I were kidding.

So, we’ll probably be shipping in a few weeks. Early August if we’re lucky, late August if not. Don’t ask about September.

If you can’t wait that long, let us know. We’ll work something out.

See you in August.

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Some Assembly Required

As it turns out, starting a new business can take a while, even when you’re not starting from scratch.

It’s been a month since we got this website online, and started setting up shop in our newly rented warehouse space in San Francisco.

What’s happened since then?

Richard, and the soon-to-be assembled mixing machine. Also, a mess.

Well, we got a new mixer. It’s basically a food-grade version of your typical cement mixer, and the only thing you can get for less than $1000 when it comes to commercial dry-mixing equipment.

It finally arrived late last week and we finished putting it together yesterday. Actually, mostly Richard put it together while I took pictures of it with my less-than-excellent phone camera. :p

Just tightening some bolts. Gotta have tight bolts.

Seems like it will do the job. If demand ramps up in a few months, we may have to invest in some really heavy-duty machinery, but no need to get ahead of ourselves. There’s plenty of other stuff to worry about, in the meantime.

For example, ingredients. You need stuff to put in the mixer, that you want to mix.

The completed mixer, in all its food-grade glory.

As it turns out, trying to buy supplement-grade nutritional ingredients from reputable suppliers as a small, fledgling business is a lot different than buying a little bag of potassium citrate for your DIY on Amazon with free, two-day shipping. This industry works at a different timescale. And at a different volume scale too.

If you’re not buying hundreds or thousands of kilograms of each ingredient per month, you’re tiny. And no one particularly cares about your business, nor will they go out of their way to attract new customers.

If you do manage to get a hold of them, “six weeks” is generally the kind of timeline you can expect to hear for any request. And that’s not counting the weeks it takes for them to bother to reply to you in the first place.

I’m not bitter. Just impatient on behalf of you all, my beloved and loyal customers. ;)

Ah, man. Well, we’re working on it.

Just imagine all the Schmoylent you could fit in there.

Also, turns out that the California Department of Public Health has a lot of ideas about how one should go about doing things in this industry, and ironically they are even less interested in responding to inquiries than the big ingredient suppliers. If they are as apathetic in their enforcement of the rules as they are in the communication and clarification of said rules, then perhaps this would not be such a problem. But I’m not going to bet my business on that.

And it’s great to follow the rules. And the guidelines. And the recommended practices. It just takes a frustratingly long time, and a lot of detective work, to attempt to do so.

So with any luck, we’ll be up and running – for real – sometime in July.

On the bright side, this means I can finally take some much-needed time off without slowing anything down! I’ll be flying to Seattle next week to visit my family, for the first time in a while. Richard will be handling things while I’m out, though I’m not sure if I’ll be able to stop myself from answering support emails for the whole week. I’ll do my best though. ;)

Hopefully I’ll return with a fresh perspective and a lot more energy for the journey to come. We’re just getting started, after all…