2024 Women of the Year Awards: Rising stars – Winner Caitlyn Vanderhaeghe

Caitlyn Vanderhaeghe, president and CEO of KidStar Nutrients, is a winner of the Rising stars category of the 2024 Women of the Year Awards


Caitlyn Vanderhaeghe
President and CEO, KidStar Nutrients

When Caitlyn Vanderhaeghe learned that her two-year-old daughter was iron-deficient, she went on the hunt for a clean supplement. “I came up empty-handed,” she says. “Everything either had alcohol in it or a sugar base, it tasted horrible, and it caused constipation and black teeth.”

The solution turned out to be a formulation of her own: chewable iron tablets. Entrepreneurial knowhow has been a part of Vanderhaege’s life since grade school: growing up in Burnaby, she would pick her mom’s flowers and sell them as bouquets. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in geography from SFU followed by a bachelor’s of education from UBC, she started working with her mom on a women’s supplement company: Lorna Vanderhaeghe Health Solutions.

That business was eventually acquired by Jamieson Wellness in 2014, but during her decade there, the younger Vanderhaeghe gained a deep understanding of ingredients in the industry. “I managed the raw material all the way to the finished item on the shelf, so I knew how to make a great quality product,” she says.

The chewable tablet she made for her daughter had no sugar, artificial colours or harmful preservatives. It was easy on the stomach, and when Vanderhaeghe told her family that she wanted to create more products for kids, her brother (also a parent) came on board.

“I knew there were other parents that wanted something better and easier for their kids to take,” says Vanderhaeghe, “so that’s how we became KidStar Nutrients.”

Vanderhaeghe and Kyle Head launched Vancouver-based KidStar in 2020. It made $100,000 in revenue in year one and $1.3 million in 2023 with 13 products. Vernon-based Nature’s Fare Markets was one of the first retailers to pick it up, and now KidStar is in stores across Canada, including Loblaws, Whole Foods and Sobeys. Vanderhaeghe’s kids love pointing them out on shelves: “Just seeing that as a parent, I’m like: yes, I did that.”