FIVE MINUTES WITH DANNY LOWE, THE INVENTOR OF BLOCKHEAD
WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO?
Hi, I am Danny Lowe, I am the Founder and Director of BLOCKHEAD.
WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO MAKE ENERGY GUM?
It all started at University where we looked at providing a performance boost to athletes… fast. We looked at numerous different methods, one of which, that really stuck with me, was mouthwash. Ingredients are absorbed quickly through the gums, though this meant 5 minutes of swilling, which is pretty hard and makes your teeth feel fuzzy and can initiate the gag reflex. Over the summer holiday, I was thinking about introducing the active ingredients through the gums in a fun way. I occupied a lot of my time by phoning around and developing what became our first Energy Gum. The samples arrived, and some months later while doing my dissertation, I sold it to friends, friends of friends and quickly realised that its benefits meant it was more than just a sports performance product. It snowballed from there.
WHAT IS BLOCKHEAD MADE OF?
The main active ingredient in the energy gum is caffeine. The reason why we use caffeine is that its one of the only active ingredients shown to have a proven benefit to it, in both sport and day to day life, with hundreds of supporting journals to back its benefits. We also added some B vitamins to the formula to help metabolise the energy.
An interesting fact about the gum is how it’s produced. We use cold-pressed technology, which means that the active ingredients are released from the gum base itself, as opposed to adding a cake-like layer, as you find in some other chewing gums. We also don’t use any heat in the production which would damage the active ingredients.
The Vitamin Gum was developed while a couple of my friends were studying PHDs on Vitamin D and its effect on illness. They found out some crazy stats; one in five adults and one in six children in the UK are deficient in vitamin D. So, with vitamin D being hard to find and absorb from food, and uptake through sunlight is scarce in the winter months, I thought we could add vitamin D to a great tasting gum. I created an enjoyable way to get your daily dose of vitamins D, C, B & A, which doesn’t require water and can comfortably sit on your desk or in the car.
WHAT MAKES YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT BLOCKHEAD?
Everything! There are so many exciting opportunities out there. Especially in confectionery which has seen so little innovation over the decades. We also have a few other exciting areas we would like to move into.
WHAT MAKES YOU MOST EXCITED IN LIFE?
Pretty much any sport really! I love to surf, snowboard, kite surf, downhill mountain biking but also look forward to 5 a side footy.
I can’t stand spending time in traffic or sat on a delayed train. So I’ve recently taken up learning to fly a microlight, to hopefully avoid sitting in traffic jams in the future. The plan is to fly down to Cornwall to surf at the weekends, finishing the journey from the airport by bike once I get down there. Fingers crossed for my first solo flight.
WHAT SCARES YOU MOST?
Ermm - I’m not a fan of really tight spaces.
WHAT’S THE MOST EXTREME THING YOU HAVE DONE FOR THE BRAND?
There isn’t really a one-off extreme thing. I have done some pretty mental drives, a 22-hour drive to Andorra where our team raced at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup was pretty up there.
DO YOU TEST THE PRODUCTS ON YOURSELF?
Of course, I try everything we produce, followed by the BLOCKHEAD team. Soon we’re going to start recruiting our core fans to help be part of our ‘tester team’. Anyone reading this who’s interested in being a guinea pig should email us.
WHAT ARE YOUR VALUES WHEN IT COMES TO BLOCKHEAD
I have some rigid values on the product…
We only launch new products that have genuine innovation, everything we make has a plus. It needs to act as a catalyst, enabling people to do things, and do things well and have a laugh while doing it.
Our products have to be exciting, if we aren’t excited about it, then why should anyone else be. They also have to be high quality, we’re open about the ingredients in our gum because they are the best. BLOCKHEAD is a premium brand.
Through our marketing, events and content, we want BLOCKHEAD to become more than just a product. The whole brand experience should be as high quality and as exciting as the products we sell.