The personalization of everyday products has increasingly become commonplace to us. Almost everything we own can be created to satisfy our specific needs—sometimes at the touch of a button. Matthew Marshall, PharmD, has been inspired by this trend to create the website, Fortifind, which is an online platform for consumers to choose their perfect vitamin or supplement regimen.

Marshall has always found himself intrigued by health supplements, although this topic was rarely covered during his education during pharmacy school. After years of his own research on the subject, Marshall decided to create Fortifind to help “put the power back into the hands of you, the consumer.”

Although he originally was working as a full-time retail pharmacist when the business first launched, Marshall is a now a part-time pharmacist while he works on creating his brand.

“It’s a ton of work,” Marshall said in an interview with Pharmacy Times®. “Between pulling all the research and knowing the ins and outs of the industry, along with marketing and internet advertising…a lot of hours are put in. But I definitely created something that is worth it in the end.”

Using a series of questionnaires aimed at personal health goals, the interactive tool uses your responses to calculate not only the supplement that is recommended, but other data and reference points for anyone who needs more information.

“Having a validated resource that everyone can turn to can help dispel the myths in the industry, as well,” Marshall said.

Marshall also added that there is a huge misconception on starting your own business, although he encourages others to dig deeper and believe in themselves and their ideas.

“Starting a business isn’t something you learn in pharmacy school,” Marshall said. “It is not as simple as just building a site. There are many, many skills and pieces to the puzzle that you have to commit to learning in full for your business to reach success.”

This success includes knowing your marketing strategy before you begin to develop a full-force brand.

“Do not, and I mean do not, underestimate how important it is to have your marketing strategy in place before you pull the trigger,” Marshall said. “You have to have a strategy for not just what your product is, but also how to get it to the consumer.”

In addition, Fortifind can be a useful tool for pharmacists to learn more about their patients’ interests through the site, according to Marshall.
“Pharmacists can now learn more about not what is just available out there, but what their patients are taking, as well,” he said.

Even with the challenges that accompany a startup business, Marshall said he enjoys the fact that his consumers can experience a trip to the pharmacy without actually going to one. Whether it is weight loss, heart health, or stress reduction, there is a supplement for every specific person.

“Anyone that goes on the website, whether it’s a pharmacist, patient, or provider, can get a good feel on what is on the opposite side of the pharmacy shelf,” Marshall said.