Got a hangover? Struggling with anxiety? Feeling nauseous? Start-up website Good Zing has the answers to all your health and wellness issues, offering you golden advice from the experts who know, rated by people just like you. Here, founder Serena Oppenheim, talks to us about her exciting business and what has gone into launching it…
Can you introduce us to Good Zing – and what is it that makes you special?
We are revolutionising how people access everyday health and wellness information. Good Zing is an online platform bringing together user-generated and expert health tips & tricks from around the world into one platform, all rated and reviewed. This allows users to have a menu of options so they can take control over day-to-day issues they’re facing, whilst incorporating advice from a wide range of health experts.
The best comparable is that Good Zing is Yelp or TripAdvisor, but instead of finding restaurants or hotels, you can find tips for all of your everyday health and wellness issues.
Good Zing is an online platform bringing together user-generated and expert health tips & tricks from around the world into one platform, all rated and reviewed.
We are very much a mission-driven company where we want to democratise access to health information for specific problems. The way we are doing that is through crowd-sourced and expert knowledge.
The platform you see now is a work in progress, both the tech features and the content – and we are just getting started. We are continually growing the number of topics we cover, as well as growing the number of experts on the platform. So if you are a qualified health or wellness expert and want to help democratise access to health information, get in touch!
What was the inspiration for launching and how have people responded?
The inspiration for the company came from my two sisters, both of whom have young children. I realised that they were often asking the older generation a lot of health related questions – what to do for their children’s nappy rash, teething, and all sorts. Then I realised we as adults were often asking similar questions to friends and family – what should I do for a sore throat? How do you control stress? And the most frequent – what’s the best hangover remedy?
Good Zing offers a range of ways to help people by sharing their top health tips on the site – demystifying remedies, helping people understand all the different options available to them, as well as the power of actually rating good vs bad remedies.
The response to Good Zing has been fantastic. Especially from people within the health and wellness industry. Our very first expert, the well-known nutritionist (and now founder of Squirrel restaurant) Zoe Stirling, took a leap of faith and agreed to come on board before we even had a platform. Experts like her understood straight away the potential in the range of ways to help people by sharing their top health tips on the site – demystifying remedies, helping people understand all the different options available to them, as well as the power of actually rating good vs bad remedies.
You won the Business of Wellness Summit’s pitch contest, which saw you get legal assistance, PR support, workspace, accounting services and mentoring. Congratulations! Since launching, what key services/advice have you found you’ve needed the most or have come in most useful to you? And how important is it getting the right team on board to support you?
Thank you. The whole team at Good Zing was thrilled to win, and, in particular, be voted ‘People’s Choice’. Our platform is all about democratising access to everyday health and wellness information, and so winning that as well was a nice vote of confidence for what we are building.
As the founder, I am very aware that the company would be nowhere without the team who are working and supporting Good Zing. I know what my skill-set is, and the team have very much been built to take into account the many things I cannot do! The team is made up of a mix of people with totally different skill-sets and backgrounds. It is an important part of company culture that whether someone is full-time, in one day a week, or even an intern, that everyone involved is considered part of ‘Team Good Zing’ and is helping to make the vision a reality.
As the company grows, different services have played different roles. The key thing now is trying to anticipate the different skill-sets and needs for the company in the coming 18 months so we can plan accordingly.
Being part of shared office space at the very start was important. To have that distinction that you are going ‘into work’ really helps you focus.
For me personally, being part of shared office space at the very start was important. To have that distinction that you are going ‘into work’ really helps you focus. And, more importantly when launching a start-up, is having the network to help support you and the company. I was lucky enough when I first started working on Good Zing, (and it was nothing more than an idea) to be part of an incubator, Columbia StartupLab, organised by Columbia University in New York.
Having a cohort of friends in similar stages of building their businesses meant having people to constantly bounce ideas with, to discuss problems, as well as help you find the services you need to kick-start a company. For Good Zing this was a game-changer. I am still close to the friends from this period, and even though we now live thousands of miles apart, we are still helping each other out through advice and network.
Your pitch was obviously very good in order to win the competition! What would you say are the key elements to a good pitch? Any golden advice?
Again, thank you. I am actually terrified of public speaking and so I hired a company called MetaSpeech, one of Good Zing’s experts to give me some public speaking practice. They helped with everything from hand gestures to confidence building, so that when I went out onto the stage I was more confident. It also helps that I am totally obsessed by Good Zing and the whole health/wellness-tech industry. So it’s always a joy when I get to explain Good Zing!
Like everything in life, practice makes perfect, and continually practising both public speaking and sharing your content makes all the difference.
The wellness industry is continually expanding in many innovative and creative ways. How do you see it developing and how do you hope Good Zing will react to these changes?
There is a figure that is often talked about – that the wellness industry is worth $3.7 bn and growing. In central London or other city equivalents like New York, you only have to open a magazine or walk down a high street and see the growth of healthy food/restaurants or boutique gyms and the rise of wellness.
However outside of these city centres, wellness is often seen as a trend only for the wealthy – ‘the wellness bubble’. It is often seen (and indeed portrayed) as an inspirational fad, with skinny girls wearing expensive leggings drinking a giant green juice whilst holding an impressive yoga pose, perched on a stone in a beautiful location!
For me, the most important thing for the wellness industry as a whole is to ensure that we are not exclusive, but inclusive. That we are not about making the wellness bubble even more niche – rather, introducing products, whether food, clothing, physical or tech, that actually help solve key wellness problems for the everyone, everywhere. For example, the consumption of sugar. In the wellness bubble, we all know that sugar is bad for you; however, as soon as I talk to my friends outside the wellness bubble, this is really not an issue for them. I think companies like Propercorn here in the UK have hit the nail on the head – a healthy delicious snack that anyone, anywhere, can eat. Their branding is not exclusive and is growing into a mainstream brand. Likewise with Barnana, based in California.
For me, the most important thing for the wellness industry as a whole is to ensure that we are not exclusive, but inclusive.
My hope, and I believe we are beginning to see it, is that in the coming years we will see wellness become more mainstream and less exclusive. Good Zing is very much focused on mainstream – we believe if someone has an issue like anxiety, for example, they can check out all the anxiety tips on Good Zing, and learn all kinds of solutions from the breadth of options available. They might realise that meditation, whether it’s an app like Calm, or self-taught even, might actually just work for them.