You have cancer.
That’s what doctors told Seth Luker when he was 27 years old, living his dream in the music industry. Luker beat the cancer only to find out a few years later that it had returned and spread. Although he is cancer-free today, it took two rounds of devastating news to affect serious change in his life.
“I spent 10 years managing rock ’n’ roll bands and just living life in a very unique manner,” Luker says. “I treated myself not so well.”
Luker made personal health a priority after his second cancer diagnosis. Mark Tremonti, a guitarist for the band Creed, introduced Luker to Mike Wall, another musician who was battling his own health issues. Luker and Wall found out they had more in common than just music: they both made their own nutritional shakes.
“Mike’s was very potent and mine tasted really good,” Luker says.
It was the perfect combination. In 2010 Luker and Wall started making shakes by hand in a tiny commercial kitchen in Long Island, New York. At times they would stay up until 2 a.m. to make 100 bags worth of product.
“I would test out the product on these road crew guys because they were coming from a world that I understood, and that was a life of not feeling so good after hard days and long nights,” Luker explains. “The shakes really made a difference in these guys’ lives. It encouraged us to move forward and go ahead and massively produce these shakes.”
Combining a passion for music with their determination to promote healthy lifestyles, Luker and Wall dubbed their nutritional shake business Rockin’ Wellness. It began as a grassroots operation, with the two promoting their product by word of mouth and social media. (Today they have 1.4 million Facebook fans.) The shakes grew in popularity and sold out as fast as they could make them.
During the first couple of months, Luker and Wall fulfilled about 30 shipments per day. A year later, they process 200 orders a day – more than a 500 percent increase.
Rockin’ Wellness shakes are made with ingredients sourced from around the world. Luker and Wall face the logistical challenge of acquiring these ingredients in a manner that ensures supply keeps pace with the increasing demand for their product.
“If we don’t have someone like FedEx getting us the ingredients as fast as possible, we cannot handle the growth, and hiccups in general would destroy our company,” Wall says.
Soon Luker and Wall found themselves expanding to a 25,000 sq. ft facility and adding 9 employees to the Rockin’ Wellness team. They also realized the potential to grow internationally, with orders coming in from Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and many other countries.
“Before we started working with FedEx, we basically had bags of shakes going into different countries, and we didn’t know if they were going to make it,” Wall says. “There was no tracking and sometimes customers wouldn’t receive their packages. That was the terror. Being a fast-growing company with a really expensive product to make, we have to have everything very accurate.”
As the international orders kept filtering in, Luker and Wall relied on Joe Dimatteo, FedEx sales rep, to connect them to solutions for customs clearance issues, something the two were unfamiliar with.
“When Joe comes in, we’ll ask ‘Can I ship to this country?’” Wall says. “‘Is it realistic, does it make sense?’ FedEx takes care of everything.”
The company’s new website is set to launch internationally in the next few months, which Luker and Wall expect will increase demand even more.
Dimatteo says he is eager to see Luker and Wall take their operation to the next level. “It’s great to see people grow their businesses, especially when they’ve overcome what they’ve overcome.”