Gerri Watson, co-founder and vice president of Kick, the maker of Gym Rat, spent 30 years in the beauty industry creating products for multinationals such as Unilever, Neutrogena and Murad. During her career, Watson developed some of the best-selling personal care formulas in the world under brand names like Axe and Dove. Along the way, she sparked a fire in her son, Matt, to pursue a career in the fast-moving consumer goods industry.
“My mom used my friends and me as test groups,” recalled her son, Matt Watson. “When I was in high school, she was working on Lip Shimmers lipgloss for Neutrogena and had me hand out samples to all of my friends.”
After graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering from Long Beach State University, Watson relied on his mom’s excellent reputation to meet with executives from several beauty brands, and even had the chance to talk shop with Alan Jope, president of Unilever’s personal care business.
Although he was armed with plenty of information from Jope and other industry experts, Watson didn’t dive into the extremely competitive personal care category just yet. Instead, he created Kick, an all-natural weight loss beverage. He was inspired to create the formula after losing nearly 100 pounds on his own. The fruit- and vegetable-based nutrition drink is billed as the perfect patented blend of digestive aids. Fruit enzymes speed up metabolism, while spices burn body fat and cleanse the colon. With the creation of his own nutrition product behind him, Watson was determined to tap into his mom's formulating expertise, the creative mind behind products such as Axe and Dove body wash. And thus, Gym Rat was born. The paraben- and sulfate-free formulas are high quality products geared toward everyday athletes.
“The quality of our product exceeds what’s on the market,” he insisted. “My mom knows what makes formulas better and more functional.”
Gym Rat body washes are available in southern California and on the company website, www.sipkick.com. Plus, Watson is getting the word out about his drink and his body wash via social media and connecting with athletes such as the Houston Astros’s second baseman.
“Alex Bregman will have our product in his hand,” predicted Watson, just two weeks before Major League Baseball’s Spring Training got underway. “I have a lot of connections in the sports world.”
Next up, Kick will roll out a shampoo and body scrub later this year or early in 2019. Like other Kick formulas, both will be geared toward athletes. In fact, the body scrub will contain salicylic acid to cleanse skin and open pores.
“Athletes have a lot of acne,” noted Watson.
As he works on NPD, Watson is hoping to get distribution into Ulta and Target on the strength of his formulas and his message.
“People can relate to us, that’s why we connect with customers,” said Watson. “My weight loss convinced me to motivate people, so we touch a lot of the community at charity walks and other events. We are very hands on and out in the community.”
That community outreach goes beyond selling nutritional drinks and personal cleansers. Watson and his mother often feed Santa Monica’s homeless as a way to give back to the community.
“At the end of the day, we want to make a great product, at a reasonable price without losing our vision of supplying product that is better for humanity,” concluded Watson.
With that attitude and a mother who believes in him, Kick is out to give multinationals a run for their money.