Jim Buddy’s was founded by Tom Neal, a London personal trainer in his early twenties, and his right-hand man Jim Buddy. After studying Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, Tom went in to the field he was most passionate about: health and fitness. Helping people to achieve their physical goals and instil confidence and strength in his clients was a huge motivator.
While getting lean for a photoshoot, Tom became frustrated with other health food offerings that were always trade-offs between taste and nutrition. Why not have both?
Enter the High Protein Donut.
Tom ordered a donut pan from Amazon and with no background in food began throwing ‘wholesome’ ingredients at it like oats, whey, eggs, coconut oil and natural sweetener from grape extract.
He started using the resultant donuts himself as a way to get the experience of a donut without all the sugar, fat and calories and stay on track with his nutrition.
Then some of his gym buddies tried them.
They loved them too.
Tom knew they were on to something, and the biggest fitness event of the year in the UK: Bodypower Expo 2016, was looming. He had a choice, spend all his savings from working as a personal trainer on a stand there to launch the product on the biggest possible stage? Or try to slowly build up a presence in local gyms and go from there?
It was a big risk. As many friends pointed out he was taking a donut, thought of as one of the most unhealthy food items out there, to a fitness expo. That sounds pretty crazy. But Tom believed in Jim Buddy, and believed his fellow fitness enthusiasts would love the donuts as much as he did. So he went for it.
The show was an unprecedented success. Jim Buddy sold out thousands of donuts every single day, even with a temporary kitchen set-up in Birmingham fresh baking around the clock and re-supplying the stand as fast as possible.
Jim wanted as many people to try the donuts as possible, so sales had to be limited to one per person!
No one was prepared for the social media storm that followed. Kai Greene, Steve Cook, Dana Linn Bailey, Ronnie Coleman, Rich Piana, C.T Fletcher, Roelly Winklaar, Christian Guzman, Tom Coleman and many other stars were seen eating the donuts over Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook.
One happy customer said it was like Jim Buddy was selling some sort of drug!
After the monumental success at the Bodypower show, Tom and Jim set to work. BIG TIME.
Commercialising the product for supermarket shelves. Packaging, Bar Codes, Shelf Stability, the works.
There were many pit-falls along the way. Making that many donuts and shipping them globally is no small undertaking!
Legalities, approvals, packaging, recipe refinement, 24/7 working hours...
One day Tom and Jim plan to share some of the stories from along the way. They have seen it all, from faulty vans to having to break in to their own bakery at 4am and almost being arrested (don't mess with Jim!).
Jim Buddy persevered to where we are today. Shipping thousands of donuts to hungry people all over the world!
In just two years the product has gone from a pancaked mess in a Deptford flat kitchen to an international brand. Distributors in over 30 countries in EMEA are on the list to take in the product and a US launch is on the cards for the summer. The tone of voice for the brand is at it’s core a health product, but with a tongue-in-cheek attitude that has been likened to ‘The Ben and Jerry’s of Fitness’.
New products are on their way for 2018, continuing the theme of making cheat food GOOD FOOD!
We couldn’t have done it without the support of every one of our customers who have helped make Jim Buddy what it is today. Every Instagram post, Facebook share, Snapchat picture and YouTube mention has helped grow the brand, and we’re just getting started.
Everyone needs a Jim Buddy!