Why Sharon Thurin sold Slim Secrets to a long-time business partner

Slim Secrets Sharon Thurin

Source: supplied.

The founder of global snack food business Slim Secrets says she’s excited to spend more time with her family, including helping them with their own businesses, after selling the company to a long-standing business partner last week. 

Sharon Thurin founded Slim Secrets 17 years ago after developing a range of protein bars for clients while working as a health and wellness coach. 

The goal was to “help busy people on the go with nutritionally balanced snacks”, before what started out as a hobby soon turned into a global brand that would go on to be stocked in Boost Juice outlets and supermarkets, and secure tennis star Angelique Kerber as an ambassador.

In 2017, the business was turning over $2 million annually and the current product range features 17 items, including protein bars, brownies and bites. 

It also became a family affair, with son Jamie Thurin playing a key role in the business, looking after international sales. 

Thurin and the Slim Secrets team have worked with Winners Sports Nutrition from the very early days and last Thursday, the founder revealed the long-term partner has acquired 100% of the business.

Winners Sports Nutrition was also founded in Melbourne in 2005, and has worked with Olympic cyclist Cadel Evans to develop a range of energy bars specifically designed for cyclists. The company also has products ranges for runners, triathletes and gym users.

The sale price has not been disclosed and the three Slim Secrets employees, including Sharon and Jamie Thurin, won’t be continuing with the business. 

On LinkedIn, Thurin explained that the founders of Winners helped formulate the first three original Slim Secrets protein bars, after a Google search led Thurin to their business. A year later, the two companies were sharing a warehouse, which they still do, and Winners would later begin distributing Slim Secrets products to its major supermarket stockists. 

The close partnership means Thurin feels like she is “handing my ‘child’ over to family members”, she said. 

Speaking to SmartCompany, Thurin recalled holding joint Christmas parties with the Winners team every year and attending product review sessions with stockists together, marvelling at “having met these people through Google” back in 2005. The two businesses have “really learnt from each other”, she says. 

“So much of what is difficult about selling a business has been made much easier because they know so much about our business,” she adds. 

Thurin was working towards selling the business before an upcoming significant birthday, and with the sale completed last week, that goal was met exactly one month before the celebration.

But the founder says the COVID-19 pandemic, and the growth of Slim Secrets over the past two years, in a sense preempted the decision to sell, as she found she was now working seven days a week to keep up with demand.

It was quite exhausting … I needed time to breathe again, she says.

I’m part of the sandwich generation as I have older parents and grandchildren, and I just didn’t have the time. So timing wise, it was the perfect exit strategy.

Thurin’s says it’s too early to think about ever starting another business, but she’s looking forward to helping her three children with their careers and businesses and potentially taking up board positions at other companies too.

What I really loved about running my own business is staying relevant, and that’s where I want to be, continuously learning, she says.

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