Established in 2017, Smart For Life (f/k/a Bonne Santé Group) is a buy and build conglomerate in the health and wellness space. Its goal is, through acquisition, to build a world-class nutraceutical and dietary foods company. We got in touch with CEO, Ryan Zackon in light of him being recognised by CEO Monthly magazine for its CEO 100 2021 award.
Smart For Life, (f/k/a as Bonne Santé Group) is a turnkey solutions provider – from start to finish, it does everything, eliminating work, cost, and frustration for customers operating in the health and wellness industry. They are a seasoned team positioned to capitalise on various trends in the nutraceutical industry with a key focus on growing value for shareholders and overcoming the current industry obstacles. Smart For Life was created to address the inherent human desire for good health and vibrant life, utilising the best delivery methods available today.
Chief Executive Officer Ryan F. Zackon graduated from the Los Angeles Police Academy at Rio Hondo in 2005, his first experience with leadership being the drill instructors in the academy. He said, “While they were firm, they were also fair. and expected that we had high standards ourselves. I have taken that as the basis for my leadership philosophy and integrated perspectives from other outstanding leaders that I have had over my career.”
We asked Ryan about the role that his staff play within the organisation. “Our people are our most valuable asset. I truly believe that and have worked hard to implement that ethos consistently across all of the Smart For Life entities. Our Human Resources and Training programme can teach anyone how to do any of the jobs we have, but we can’t teach the intangibles. So, when hiring, we look for attitude, aptitude and desire to learn.”
Ryan relocated to Florida five years ago without having ever done a dollar of business there. He said, “The business climate is exciting and rapidly changing. South Florida is an international hub that is a-buzz with Latino influence and culture. COVID-19 has accelerated our industry and the demand for Direct to Consumer services which we are uniquely positioned to offer.”
Indeed, COVID-19 has had both positive and negative effects on the industry. Ryan continues, “Good, bad and ugly, as I say. The good is that people, for the first time, are really taking their health seriously. Everyone has always said “health is wealth”, but now people are following up that attitude with buying behaviour. We have seen a 700% increase across the board in revenue for similar sized companies.
“The bad are the supply chain disruptions and raw material shortages we have seen caused by impact to importation from Asia among other places. Bottle, closure (lids), and transportation have all been dramatically impacted.”
Despite the challenges and disruptions, the future is looking bright for Smart For Life. Ryan shares his future plans for the company. “2021 is an exciting year for us as we are set to go public. We are in the midst of our S1 filing and hope to be public in the first quarter of 2022. For us, access to capital markets is a key component of our buy and build strategy.”
He concludes, “My career has been an incredible journey. I believe my “willingness to fail” mentality has helped drive my success and I wake up every morning grateful. I try to live and work in the present with the confidence that if I make smart choices today for my companies, they will yield pay off in the future.”