If it weren’t for the failure of a St. Louis tech startup where two friends found themselves working after college, their Kansas City-headquartered company might not exist today, pondered Greg Blome.
“It kind of fell through and we were looking at [our idea] … we were trying for a long time to figure out a good formula for our product,” said Blome, CEO of Omega Power Creamer, reflecting on how the idea for their keto-friendly coffee creamer percolated.
“We didn’t have much guidance [but we made it work,]” he added.
With businesses minds brewed at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, Blome and his co-founder, Nick Wehrle, concocted tumblers of bulletproof coffee — a protein-style drink that blends black coffee with ghee or butter and coconut and MCT oils — to both caffeinate and help maintain their personal fitness goals amid the hustle and bustle of their post-grad, 9-to-5 grind, Blome explained.
In between shifts at the now-defunct St. Louis startup, Blome and Wehrle found themselves in possession of an emerging entrepreneurial idea within the keto space — at the time still a relatively open market, Blome said.
“[Low-carb ketogenic diets were becoming] popular when we were right out of college [in 2012],” he said. “[We thought] ‘how about we just put this all in one bottle and try to sell it?’”
After a personal investment of $4,000 each, the co-founders were in business, blending and bottling their keto creamer in a kitchen at St. Louis University, Blome said.
“Neither of us has had a food background … but we were interested in entrepreneurship,” he said of his and Wehrle’s ambition to further develop their company. “We were like, ‘Let’s give this a go and we can just do it on the side while we have full time jobs.’”
Two years and a move to Kansas City later, persistence has paid off for the craft creamers. Customers can’t get enough of Omega Power Creamer — currently available four flavors: cinnamon, cacao, sweet vanilla, and original — Blome said.
“We got going … and [have] made over $1 million with this company,” he said.
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A healthy startup culture with a reputation for resource-rich support, Blome and Wehrle have since established a headquarters for Omega Power Creamer in the heart of Kansas City, Blome said.
“We wanted to stay around the Midwest … and I’d heard [Kansas City] was up and coming. It’s a cool city,” he said.
Since arriving in The City of Fountains, Omega Power Creamer has expanded its product line to include coffee frothers and MCT oil, Blome said, offering examples of how the company plans to extend its reach beyond creamer as it finds more success.
With keto diets considered a passing trend by some, Blome isn’t worried about the future of his company should the keto craze waiver, he said with confidence.
“The low sugar aspect of our product helps us stand out. I don’t think it’s going to be going anywhere,” Blome said. “Keto coffee is a great way [to land customers] who are on a specific diet — like paleo and low-carb, sugar-free type diets.”
From a standpoint of success, Omega Power Creamer has overperformed, Blome noted. It’s success he credits to working in a startup before founding his own, he explained.
“My experience with the previous startup was like — a lot of hope and excitement and then just realizing ‘Oh wait, things aren’t working properly,’” he said. “There’s a lot of ups and downs with [a startup] and we’ve experienced that with this startup as well. There’s always hurdles.”
Forging partnerships with coffee shops and other local retailers is among the next steps for Blome and his team at Omega Power Creamer, he said.