Fueling Outdoor Adventures with Zac Curhan of TRUWILD | re:COGs Podcast Episode #36

Unleashing Nature’s Energy for Outdoor Enthusiasts 

Join re:COGs host Mike Gelb as he takes a walk on the wild side in this invigorating conversation with Zac Curhan, Co-Founder of TRUWILD. In this episode, Zac offers insights into key operational challenges like demand variability, supply reliability, inventory management, and expansion into retail distribution as he shares the fascinating journey of building TRUWILD, a brand dedicated to crafting naturally healthy snack bars for those who embrace the great outdoors.

Answering the Call of the Wild…

Zac’s venture with TRUWILD began with an ‘aha’ moment during a hiking trip. The realization struck that existing energy supplements were unhealthy or unsuitable for outdoor activities. This sparked the creation of a consumer-centric product designed to provide long-lasting energy for activities like hiking.  Zac emphasizes the distinction between the needs of a gym-goer and an outdoor enthusiast. While gym supplements offer quick bursts of energy, outdoor activities demand sustained endurance. TRUWILD’s goal was clear – to harness natural sources of caffeine like yerba mate, green tea, and coffee beans for lasting energy.

Blazing a Trail from Trial to Taste

TRUWILD’s maiden product, Motion, took shape through a process of trial, error, sampling, and feedback. With Zac’s partner bringing over a decade of manufacturing experience to the table, formulation, and ingredient sourcing were key. The result? A product aligned with their vision and values. Navigating the Amazon landscape was a learning curve for TRUWILD. Initial traction came from friends and family buying and reviewing the product. With optimization efforts, the sales soared, leading to a sellout within the first nine months.

Going Beyond Their Wildest Dreams

Driven by consumer feedback and personal needs, TRUWILD expanded its product range. The first five products reflected Zac and his partner’s daily preferences, followed by a strategic alignment with market trends and customer feedback.  Penetrating the retail market involved persistent efforts. Zac started with local gyms and boutiques, gradually contacting retailers via email and calls. Despite rejections, TRUWILD products found their way onto shelves, marking a significant milestone.

TRUWILD remains dedicated to exploring new opportunities and knocking on doors. With a focus on consumer-centric products and a commitment to providing healthier energy supplements for outdoor enthusiasts, the future looks promising for TRUWILD.

TUNE IN to this nuts and bolts discussion which is a must-listen for outdoor enthusiasts and CPG founders alike, offering profound insights into building an active lifestyle brand.

Listen In:

Mike and Zac Discuss:

  • Founding TRUWILD based on a lack of healthy energy products for outdoor enthusiasts
  • The differences between supplements targeted for the gym vs. outdoor activities
  • Leveraging experience in manufacturing and ingredients to develop products
  • Importance of customer feedback and sampling during the development process
  • Launching on Amazon before expanding to DTC ecommerce site
  • Getting into retail through cold outreach and relationship-building foot traffic
  • Operational challenges of retail and unpredictable demand
  • Inventory management struggles with forecasting and supply delays

ABOUT TRUWILD:  TRUWILD is a trailblazer in the world of 100% natural supplements, born out of a need for a supplement brand dedicated to outdoor adventurers. The company was founded to serve those who seek adventure beyond the gym – hikers, climbers, runners, swimmers, cyclists, and all who are bound to the wild. TRUWILD’s mission is to provide supplements that deliver lasting results without false promises, elevate performance, and never sacrifice taste. The brand was created by individuals whose backgrounds, passions, and purpose equipped them to meet the needs of this unique community. TRUWILD is more than just a supplement brand; it’s a solution for those who demand more from their outdoor adventures.  truwild.com

Listen to the Entire re:COGs Series:

Tune in to re:COGs, the podcast series that examines the essential aspects of inventory management, supply chain optimization, and operational excellence, all through a COGs-focused lens.

Hear business operators and thought leaders from growing consumer brands share their thoughts on product manufacturing.  Through inspiring stories and critical conversations with top experts across CPG, food, fashion, and other industries, listeners are treated to valuable insights and actionable advice that can be applied to any growing business as it scales up operations.

FREE eBOOK: “The Ultimate Guide To Success on TikTok Shop”

Discover the formula for driving viral product demand and leveraging the power of social commerce to build community and drive social sales with this free guide: The Ultimate Guide to Success on TikTok Shop.

This comprehensive ebook breaks down everything you need to know to effectively promote your brand on TikTok and turn views into verifiable sales.

You’ll learn insider tips on:

  • How to Launch Your TikTok Shop
  • Ensuring TikTok Shop Doesn’t Break Your Operational Workflows with Streamlined Order Operations
  • How to Go Live & Sell on TikTok
  • How to Turn TikTok Video into Revenue
  • How to Source Smartly & Scale Swiftly with Social Sales
  • How to Provide the Ultimate Fulfillment Experience on Your TikTok Shop
  • How TikTok Fits into Your Omnichannel Advertising Strategy
  • How to Create Ads That Don’t Feel Like Ads
  • And much more!

Want to unlock the secrets to success on one of the most explosive emerging platforms? Download The Ultimate Guide to Success on TikTok Shop now to start growing your business.


Whether you need sourcing assistance, inventory optimization or financing, Manufactured’s end-to-end manufacturing support platform can help.  Contact us to speak with one of the inventory experts at Manufactured.  Our solutions specialists can help you navigate complex financing options while providing valuable information and insights, so you can choose the option that’s best for you.

Learn how to apply for vendor financing, and get help receiving purchase order financing. Manufactured helps customers in over 20 categories across 25 countries with product manufacturing and inventory financing.