Pharmacist Gene Gresh’s customers often asked him what kinds of over-the-counter pain relief products he would recommend.
After looking at the ingredient lists of the leading products, he discovered all contained harmful substances. In good faith, he couldn’t truly recommend any of them.
Gresh, the owner of Pioneer Health Compounding Pharmacy in Vernon, began formulating his own product, using natural ingredients. The new medications, now available from the company he helped create called The Feel Good Lab, are gaining traction in the healthcare market and are now sold in many large pharmacies, as well as online.
The business was founded by three UConn alums, including Gresh’s son and CEO Ryan Gresh ’09 [ENG], CMO Carlton Forse ’09 [ENG], and COO Kyle Fitzpatrick ’10 [BUSN], who studied marketing and professional sales leadership.
Below, Fitzpatrick talks about the startup and the success it has had.
What products does The Feel Good Lab make? And how do your products differ from the competition?
We make healthy pain-relief products for people suffering from all kinds of muscle and joint pain. Our flagship product, Natural Pain Cream, was formulated to treat chronic pain using only clean, functional ingredients. The core formula features plant-based ingredients like Arnica, Turmeric, Aloe Vera, Boswellia, Skullcap and more.
We believe people should have access to products that effectively treat pain without harmful side effects. We don’t use any ingredients or substances that are harmful to the body; no chemical preservatives, rubbing alcohols, dyes, parabens, or fragrances. Ever.
What has been your company’s biggest challenge to date?
Our biggest challenge to date is awareness. Many people suffering from chronic pain don’t know products like ours exist in the market. Every day we wake-up and ideate on ways we can reach these people and help solve their pains.
What is your connection to UConn and how did the university assist you with your startup?
All three of the company founders were born and raised in Connecticut and are UConn grads. We met at UConn, went our separate ways after graduation, then came back together to launch The Feel Good Lab in 2016.
UConn has truly been an incredible resource for us from the start. We landed one of our first equity investments from the UConn Innovation Fund shortly after founding. In 2018, we were accepted into the prestigious Technology Incubation Program and now have our headquarters located at the UConn Health campus in Farmington. This has allowed us to connect with an incredible network of mentors and colleagues to drive product development and innovation.
If you couldn’t tell already I’m very passionate about entrepreneurship! It’s been amazing to see how much entrepreneurship has grown at UConn over the past few years. Personally, I’ve been fortunate to stay close to a number of UConn entrepreneurial organizations, and serve as a mentor / advisor to students and companies involved in the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, The Werth Institute, and the School of Business. I’m excited to see the progress continue into the future!
Where are your products sold and how much traction have you made in the healthcare market?
You can find our products on our website (TheFeelGoodLab.com), Amazon.com, select CVS & Target stores (check store locator on our site), Target.com, CVS.com, and Select Physical Therapy. Stay tuned for further developments in the healthcare market. We have big plans for 2021!
What’s the best business advice you’ve gotten so far?
“Play long-term games with long-term people.” This is a quote from Naval Ravikant, prominent angel investor and founder of AngelList. I think this is a powerful saying because it succinctly drives home a few key principles I hold close: honesty, integrity, execution (do the work), and people. I believe business (and life) is all about people and relationships. If we approach every engagement and interaction with that in mind, I think everything will turn out just fine.
Is being an entrepreneur what you expected it to be? Why or why not?
Not at all. It’s far less glamorous and much more of a grind than I ever imagined. When you are building something from the ground up, there’s nobody telling you what to do or how to spend your time. Everything comes down to you and your team focusing on the most impactful strategies and tactics. One of the biggest day-to-day challenges is deciding how we spend our time each day. It’s a constant battle of self-assessment, recalibration, and prioritization to ensure whatever tasks we are working on truly make an impact on the business. Rapid change is the only constant.
Do you have any celebrities who use your product?
We’ve worked with many professional athletes across nearly all sports, but hands-down our favorite is [professional basketball player and UConn alumnus] Shabazz Napier. He’s a UConn legend, an unbelievable basketball player, and an even better person. He uses our products to aid in recovery from training and we’ve been fortunate to be able to connect with him over the years to help spread our mission.
UConn School of Business continues its series of spotlights for local UConn affiliated startups. Previously, we featured Curated CT.