Our Everyday Interviewees are two professional swimmers for Great Britain who swapped the pool for protein. Hands up who hasn’t looked at confusing websites selling powders that promise to bulk you up fast to body-builder buffness with suspicious-looking ingredient lists and unpalatable flavours? Neat Nutrition founders and best mates Lee Forster and Charlie Turner have now swooped in and joined forces to turn years of nutritional expertise into a line of products, with No GMOs or artificial sweeteners, including protein powers, superfood powders such as matcha and spirulina, multivitamins and vegan plant-based protein. Sold in stylish, minimalist brown-paper packaging with charcoal-grey labels, you’ll find Neat stocked at London’s coolest gyms, on global style platform Mr Porter and their brand website.
The Everyday Interview is a series of ‘7 questions’ interviews with founders, creators, writers, entrepreneurs and big-thinkers making a name for themselves in the lifestyle arena. Lee and Charlie answered our 7 questions:
What did you want to be growing up?
Lee: I had a real desire to go against the norm when I was growing up. While, like most kids, I wanted to fit in with friends I also loved the idea of being my own person and not just conforming. I was very good at basketball growing up and envisioned playing in the NBA and being an athlete.
Charlie: I always wanted to be a professional sportsman. To begin with this was a dream of playing up front for Man Utd, but as I grew older and discovered that I had two left feet, this evolved to swimming. I remember seeing a lot of senior swimmers in Olympic kit after the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona and thinking “I want one of those tracksuits”.
Where did the idea for Neat come from and how did you bring it to life?
Lee: Having been former professional swimmers turned consumers we got increasingly frustrated that we couldn’t find any products that we’re easy to understand, had a good provenance story and tasted fantastic. So we set about sourcing the highest quality raw ingredients to create a range of great tasting natural products.
It was also important to remove the confusion and stigma traditionally associated with protein powders and such like so we embraced simple design and made a commitment to help educate our community through informative blog posts and recipe guides.
What has been the greatest challenge to your brand/work?
Charlie: The unknown. We are fortunate that we never know what opportunity is around the corner. Staying flexible and able to action quickly is a huge asset that allows us to really enjoy that challenge and make it work for us.
Who was or is your greatest influence?
Lee: I don’t have a single ‘stand-out’ influence but rather find myself being inspired by many different people that I’m lucky enough to meet or spend time around on a daily basis. I listen to a lot of podcasts of interesting people who have changed the world, built businesses or completed amazing challenges!
Charlie: The people around me day-to-day have the biggest impact on my life. Lucky for me I’m fortunate to have a tight group of friends and family that make me laugh and empower me to succeed.
How would you describe your personal style?
Lee: I have always loved the idea of having a uniform style that people know me for. I love a well tailored suit (although I don’t get to wear them as often these days). Monochrome smart casual seems to be my thing at the minute with a well tailored pair of jeans and a bomber being essential. Ultimately I also spend a lot of time rocking some awesome athleisure from lululemon while running around between workouts and meetings.
Charlie: Fitted and only block colours – it’s very Swedish. Having said that, there’s an increasing amount of athleisure sneaking in. I can’t fight it anymore – but being ambassador for lululemon why would I want to!
Tell us something no one knows about you?
Lee: I have a spare tooth!
Charlie: I’m awesome at Connect 4!
7 words to describe yourself:
Lee: Ambitious, Relentless, Considered, Athletic, Competitive, Kind and Geeky.
Charlie: Daring, Impulsive, Goofy, Relentless, Optimistic, Active and Romantic.