The future of the natural foods and supplementation industry is changing, but is it headed in the right direction? Live from the Natural Foods Expo East convention, Cured CEO Joseph Sheehey and health and wellness expert Chase Chewning sit down to analyze the current state of the CBD and natural foods industry.
As a certified health coach, Chase reflects on why being an educated and discerning consumer is more important than ever. And as a business owner in the cannabis industry now, Joe shares parts of his journey from bodybuilding and the mass amounts of supplementation he used to consume to now manufacturing his own line.
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Read the Full Transcript
Joe: [00:00] Alright, live from Natural Products Expo – Expo East.
Chase: [00:06] I was trying to remember that line from Dodgeball and make a funny introduction, but it totally failed.
Joe: [00:13] Missed it!
Chase: [00:14] Not good, Cotton, not good! Anyways, my name’s Chase and I’m an idiot.
Joe: [00:17] Chase is here! If you guys have listened to this podcast for a while, you’ve heard him multiple times. So, last time we did something like this was PaleoFX.
Chase: [00:26] Yeah, I guess we’re conference buddies.
Joe: [00:27] It’s true, man. It’s true. What are you seeing here?
Chase: [00:31] A lot of food, a lot of samples, a lot of coffee. I’ve been taking shots of cold brew, taking shots of turmeric. I had some Kodiak Cakes teddy grahams kind of thing. It’s the wild, wild west of food products and supplements.
Joe: [00:46] And CBD.
Chase: [00:48] CBD-
Joe: [00:49] My goodness.
Chase: [00:50] Galore. I was at Expo West, I told you a couple months ago, and they literally had their entire own building of nothing but just CBD products. Here, they’re all like scattered throughout.
Joe: [01:00] I was going to say it’s a little bit different; so, we got the hemp pavilion here, but every single level there’s multiple CBD this, CBD that. It’s interesting because years ago when we were starting Cured, it was like where is this industry going, and how are we going to stand out, and what’s the future of the… I just noticed that you don’t have the-
Chase: [01:23] Oh yeah, my microphone condom. You don’t practice safe interviewing, Joe? C’mon, man.
Joe: [01:28] You took it off.
Chase: [01:29] No, it fell off. The little wind screen thing?
Joe: [01:31] Yeah.
Chase: [01:32] It might be in your bag, I saw.
Joe: [01:35] Anyway, back to the podcast.
Chase: [01:37] But I digress…
Joe: [01:39] As Cured, it was really like, we’re going to take the approach of creating really unique and carefully curated products that stand out in a way that people are going to continue to talk about and understand, and the big thing that I’m seeing here is I’m seeing tinctures, I’m seeing gel capsules, and I’m seeing a salve topical, and every single company has that, and there’s absolutely really no way to differentiate them.
Chase: [02:06] And what was that really really interesting new product? It was cotton candy CBD sugars?
Joe: [02:14] CBD sugars, yeah.
Chase: [02:15] Finding just wild ways to repackage this stuff.
Joe: [02:18] Yeah, which has been like the, honestly, a type of… a bit of frustration for me, because we started the company with the idea that there are healing powers and properties of the cannabis plant that people need to know on a large scale. The piece I really don’t appreciate is seeing the $5, $6, $7 SKUs. There’s like these foot masks I’m seeing with CBD in them. So, it’s like, ok, what’s going on-
Chase: [02:56] Isn’t that called a puddle?
Joe: [02:58] Yeah! Yeah, this is what’s happening right now. It’s going in literally everything and it’s the three-letter acronym, is what’s selling right now.
Chase: [03:08] Well, I mean, let’s call it what it is. It’s businesses, entrepreneurs, established brands trying to capitalize on a hot commodity in the health and wellness and supplements business; which, take CBD out of it – I mean, just look at the supplements business as a whole. We were talking about it earlier, literally everything’s the same; whether it’s hemp, whey protein, snacks, gummies, 9 out of 10 all the shit’s the same. It’s just a matter of maybe you use a different manufacturer, or maybe you try to collaborate and pool your own special blend of ingredients. It’s just like what’s in it or what’s not, and who comes up with the more creative labeling; which I think is just even more eye-opening, because as – here, ‘cause this is just for industry only, this isn’t open to the public.
Joe: [03:52] Right, not ‘til tomorrow.
Chase: [03:53] Tomorrow, really?
Joe: [03:54] Tomorrow, I think it’s open, supposedly.
Chase: [03:56] Then the wild, wild west really opens. Wow. So, as a consumer, and then someone on the inside here, you see that really that’s all that it is. So, then I go back after the expo, go back, put my consumer hat on and imagine I’m going into a store, I’m going online, and you’re just bombarded with so many things that make all of these claims, all these supposed health benefits, and sort of-kind of mudslinging about this why ours is better than so-and-so brand. I think more now than ever you have to become such a more educated, more empowered consumer, just to really know who you’re supporting, what you’re eating, what you’re drinking, what you’re not, all of these things; because so much is literally just the same and so many people are making crazy claims.
Joe: [04:43] Yeah. It’s the truth, and that’s the whole thing behind where Cured is now, and where Cured is going in the future, is as a company, as a company that’s telling a story about what we’re doing and what we believe in, it’s very important that the consumer understands what that means, because a company can tell any type of story.
Chase: [05:06] And they can change that whenever they want.
Joe: [05:07] I know.
Chase: [05:08] Rebranding. New marketing.
Joe: [05:09] I know. It’s really interesting, and you’re 100% correct. The FDA and FTC, I just got another email about them sending out warning letters to companies that are making crazy claims. It’s not good, and it – all of this to kind of pull together – what I’m trying to say is that there… it can be a disservice to consumers because these are products that actually can, when used and created in the correct way, really help people. So, if we wanted to be a long, sustaining industry, and an industry that’s not getting a bad rap, the brands need to give the consumers what they deserve and not be ready, not be here just to make the quick dollar, which is a lot of what I see with the CBD and everything. So, that’s why we’re strategically positioning ourselves as a company that can create unique products that are a combination of a lot of things that are coming together, including cannabinoids and being rooted in cannabinoids, specifically the Rise and Zen products that we’re getting a lot of great feedback on and have been the SKUs that are, honestly, just driving the brand forward right now. I believe in the things that are coming out of the ground and keeping them as whole as possible.
Chase: [06:28] Yeah.
Joe: [06:29] And combining them in ways that are going to really help us be able to use them throughout the day to help perform better, to be better humans, to be able to show up and focus, and write, be creative, be able to approach the day as a well-functioning, high-functioning human being; be able to then take that, take ourselves into a point where we want to nourish ourselves with another product that has a great nutritional profile. Then, if you need something for calming, or for sleeping at night and recovering, we’ve got all of our bases covered; and that’s exactly the approach that Cured has taken. It is going to be a continuous, like nailing, of what that story is, and why we are doing that, and why we started where we did, but why we’re continuing to evolve and create the products that we are to continue to stand up. Because as a self-funded company, man, you walk around this expo and you’re down on the first floor, every single company that’s sitting on that first floor is backed by big money.
Chase: [07:28] Oh, all the money. All the money.
Joe: [07:32] It’s interesting.
Chase: [07:33] It is, it really is. I’m sure it’s even gotta be more interesting for you, who came from being a consumer. I think probably anyone listening is a consumer of some form of supplement. Supplement – I’m not talking [inaudible] whey protein powder or like – unless you… not everything you eat and drink just comes from the ground; therefore, you take supplements. Has that kind of changed over the years now that you’re a business owner and creating these kind of supplements?
Joe: [08:00] Dude, yeah. I take WAY less.
Chase: [08:03] Interesting.
Joe: [08:04] Because I came from the bodybuilding industry, and I’ve told my story a little bit on this podcast. So, in college, crazy partier, did a lot of drugs, did a lot of drinking, lost myself for a while, realized that wow, alcohol is terrible for me, it’s been in my family for a long time; alcoholism caused a lot of despair, death, and steered away from that, thankfully; and moved away from my college town, and then that was when I found the bodybuilding community and the fitness world. I was gung-ho on it for almost 5-6 years, and it’s really what helped build the Cured brand, because we had an established community base and a stronghold of just friends there. But man, I used to take every single supplement under the sun. I would sit – when I was in the aerospace engineer – sitting at Lockheed Martin in my cubicle, that was when Amazon started having the 1-click purchase thing-
Chase: [09:09] Oh, the most dangerous thing in the world!
Joe: [09:11] Dude, it was so dangerous! But when I was bodybuilding, I was always studying. I was on bodybuilding.com all the time studying – ok, what does this do, HMB, glutamine, all these amino acids, I can take this type of creatine, I should have these types of vitamins – and a lot of those, from my perspective now, I just needed to eat correctly. So, it’s changed a lot, man; but there are always – and this is something that is super important and something I try to nail home as a message of our brand is – you’re always going to need supplementation, but the most important part, as you know, is taking care of yourself in a way that is available as just being a human being. Your breath, your ability to walk around, take your shoes off, feel the ground, sit down and meditate, and write, and think, and everything that’s just inherently in yourself, and you can go out and you can bask in the sun.
Chase: [10:09] Those are all supplements to your life.
Joe: [10:10] It is. It is. That’s the truth. And then one other piece of that is you’re going to get to a point where you still have some type of potential deficiencies because you’re just a human being. We all have different deficiencies and we’re all genetically predisposed for certain things. So, you’re going to need to supplement in that way.
Chase: [10:29] Yeah, absolutely.
Joe: [10:30] And for a performance or an enhancement standpoint, there’s only a certain level that we can get to, right?
Chase: [10:36] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, even with years and years of training. But again, not all of us are elite athletes or training one specific event all the time to where we can really push the envelope and expand the human potential. You have to supplement with things. Sometimes, literally to your point, you can supplement with more – you get more Vitamin D, so go outside more – you can ground yourself more, so go outside barefoot. You can supplement more sleep. You would be, I’m sure, so many people across the board would be blown away with their daily living, their training, their recovery, if they just got more sleep. That, I think, is the most crucial supplement of all.
Joe: [11:13] Do you have an Oura ring?
Chase: [11:15] No, I really want one! I really, really want one.
Joe: [11:17] I haven’t studied my sleep on that type of a level, but I really want to.
Chase: [11:22] I really think over the next couple of years, the shift in the supplement industry, what we take, how we take it, when we take it, is hopefully come from a more educated basis because we’re going to know our baseline, we’re going to know based upon things like the Oura ring, based upon my HRV – heart rate variability – my sleep, my body temperature, my cortisol levels, my blood pressure, it’s going to be way less of a guessing game. I know the quantified stuff has been around for a while – Fitbits, wearables, Apple watches – hell, I was in the game for years with my own health tracker and how I worked in my health coaching practice. And that was great start, rather than me as a health coach telling people, oh yeah, I read this article, therefore everybody should take this supplement kind of thing, or this kind of eating habit; but really looking at the individual and starting there. I think too many people just jump the gun. I’ve definitely been there. I’m sure you have too, of just let me down everything at GNC or whatever bodybuilding.com is telling me because I see this possible end result of this yoked-out guy or girl, or whatever; but if we just went back to the basics and started supplementing with the basics of walking, of sleep, of sunshine, of fellowship. We forget all the time we are just walking, talking bags of energy, and there is a science to be had. So many studies around the interaction of all these, you know, oxytocin, and endorphins, and all these incredible hormones get released when we’re in proximity of other human beings.
Joe: [12:58] Dude, it’s the truth, and I’m glad that you shifted in that way because I’ve been talking very heavily about what the core pillars of Cured are. I was actually writing a blog post on it this morning, but it’s exactly that. The products are a piece of what Cured does, and it is what drives most of our revenue. But if you, as the listeners have seen what we’ve been doing in Colorado through some of our events, and through having this podcast, and through having education platforms, it’s community-
Chase: [13:30] Community.
Joe: [13:31] Coming together for an experience and coming together in a way that we can spread education and talk about things, ask questions, and then take the products in an educated way that are going to enhance our lives. So, those four pillars of community, experience, education, and then supplemented with the products that are actually going to take you to the next level is what makes up Cured. Now, only one piece of that really makes us money, right? But you need all of that, and if you’re not doing that as a brand, I don’t see the longevity in that brand and what it’s actually doing besides trying to just be a money-making machine. It’s really interesting to walk around all these booths and kind of just question them, and be like what is… I mean, I’ve seen a million different cauliflower pizzas, I’ve seen a million different bee-
Chase: [14:25] Kombucha’s been hot.
Joe: [14:26] Kombucha.
Chase: [14:27] So many honey products.
Joe: [14:27] Honey products. What are we seeing a lot else of? It’s all over the board.
Chase: [14:33] All the classics, like vegan, non-GMO, keto friendly, paleo friendly, all the kind of like things we, I think as a general society, and health and wellness society, supplement society, have kind of come to like, alright, I have to accept that this is what I have to put on my products in order to appeal to the masses.
Joe: [14:52] THAT’S the selling point! And how many people actually ask questions? Not a lot. It’s just, to the same point that you were discussing with seeing that image of a person in the bodybuilding industry, or whatever it may be, that curates the perfect picture on top of taking who knows what to create that physique. For the longest time, when I got into this industry – Shredz – I was like what is this? And they fucking killed it, dude. They made a lot of money, and they rode a train. It was the Instagram influencer train, where you can build a façade and an imagery, and nobody asks questions. That’s my ask to the consumer around the CBD industry, is if you are wanting to get into this industry, what is the actual motive – are you just trying to make money, what’s your story, what products are you putting it in, why are you doing that. That’s the same piece as everything that you walk around here; it’s like, it is that marketing catch, that marketing tagline – gluten free, soy free – which all that stuff can be important, and for specific people, you need that. But like, actually asking the questions about what’s behind that selling point and what’s that actual mission.
Chase: [16:16] Imagine if they had that, but for the consumer. I’ll put back on my coach hat here. We call it pre-qualification screening, filtering; we want to work with somebody who is a good fit – and I think that term has been bastardized. “I want to make sure we’re a good fit.” That’s just a bullshit way of saying I’m going to make it look like I care more than maybe that I do. I don’t know.
Joe: [16:37] To convert the sale.
Chase: [16:38] Yeah, exactly. “You know, I said make sure that we’re a good fit, therefore, you believe me more, right?” But, imagine – and this is a terrible business idea because odds are you wouldn’t last that long – say Cured, just for example, anybody that wanted to buy any product of yours – I want to buy your supplements, I want to buy your products, whatever – there’s a questionnaire. I want to buy your full spectrum hemp oil and the cinnamon honey CBD spice. Before they can hit purchase, there’s a little questionnaire that’s like why; why do you want this product, what do you think it’s going to do, I want to make sure we’re a good fit, I want to make sure this product is a good fit in your life. Then, you have a team of quality control people on the other end who are like “approve” or “no, sorry. I’m not going to take your money.” In an ideal world, that would be amazing, but horrible business model.
Joe: [17:29] But it’s true. Honestly, that’s actually something, not exactly what we’re doing, but here in the next couple months, you’re going to go to the Cured Nutrition homepage, and at the top of the homepage, there’s going to be a quiz that takes you through the funnel to select the right product.
Chase: [17:48] That’s amazing, man.
Joe: [17:49] Which like, it could weed people out of taking certain things.
Chase: [17:54] Yeah, like, just take my money. Don’t make me do work.
Joe: [17:57] Yeah, but don’t waste your time on something that’s not going to work for you, and there are a lot of questions that people have when, you know, you see for example – and we’ve done a lot of this type of marketing, influencer affiliate marketing – and why we are shifting more to the podcast advertising, is because these are the educational platforms that are actually doing the service and the due diligence to promote and product and understand-
Chase: [18:24] Education and empowerment. Education and empowerment.
Joe: [18:27] You can’t – there are some people – I’m sure there are people out there that can sit and talk for hours and fake it ‘til they make it. The thing is, is that you are not going to build the bought-in community if that’s who you are. So, when it comes to podcasts, that’s why we’re so interested in that community. The big thing that I was trying to allude to is that as a company that has done influencer marketing, like I will be straight transparent with that, it works, and it worked in the beginning of our company; but right now, if you look at Instagram, CBD is everywhere. Somebody that gets on Instagram and they see the person that they follow that has a million followers, and has a nice butt, and is promoting a CBD oil-
Chase: [19:15] Posting up a booty shot, “Buy my CBD product!”. What?
Joe: [19:18] Right. And the actual people that that does convert and they’re not asking any questions. So, that was one example, but there’s an array of that where, ok, this person that I follow is doing this, I’m going to take that product.
Chase: [19:36] Exactly.
Joe: [19:37] With no questions asked.
Chase: [19:38] Yeah. With great power comes great responsibility. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think if you can acquire ‘x’ amount of followers, that doesn’t mean you’re powerful, but you have to understand that what you do and what you say, and what you don’t do and what you don’t say is being watched by, sometimes very malleable minds, very impressionable people. Because, again, going back to that bodybuilding.com example – not to shit on bodybuilding.com – but just, I think when a lot of the supplements industry began to really boom, it also kind of coincided with this visual interaction boom of social media and the internet; so, therefore, I see this person, I see this person, place, thing, that kind of looks like something I would like to achieve, I want to look like that, I want to travel there, I want to feel and see and be happy doing all these things. Oh, ok, you take that supplement, sure; when you put A and B together, odds are that’s how I get there, right? Well, probably not. That’s why I really think – I’m a little bit biased because I’m also a fellow podcaster – that I think the podcast platform is it is on its way to becoming the next generation of social media. Technically, you can’t – it’s not how they engage in terms of on the platform – but in terms of being-
Joe: [20:48] Which is good!
Chase: [20:49] Yeah, absolutely!
Joe: [20:50] We talked about Instagram turning off their likes and comments.
Chase: [20:51] You, you can’t like, pollute it. You can just get back to what it’s there for, and I truly believe it’s the storytelling platform. It’s a way for people to just sit down, whether it’s themselves, or another person, or a group of people, and just tell your experiences, tell your stories, and develop that [unsure] I can trust that I think on a lot of other platforms and social media and the internet have really lost their way.
Joe: [20:17] It’s true.
Chase: [21:18] In that, like – ok, I listen to Chase, I listen to Joe, I listen to whoever – over time, you’re just like… you don’t even need to question why I’m going to buy this kind of thing, because I feel embedded in what you’re doing, I feel embedded in what you want to accomplish. Odds are you’re going to listen to somebody that you resonate with or you’re in a similar field, or you’re transitioning, or you have similar goals, instead of like, let me just find someone really attractive in a magazine or Instagram post and sure, I’ll buy whatever you’re pedaling because I don’t know why. I think that’s another problem – like, why am I buying this? I don’t know. Why am I clicking this? I don’t know. But if you can actually listen to somebody and hear that story – like next time you listen to a podcast – like right now, if you’re listening, we’re talking about these things and these decision-making processes and products and supplements, like think about why do you buy what you buy. Why do you put into your body what you do? Why do you use what you use? And I’m with you, man; over the years, my stuff has really kind of dwindled down in terms of, I gotta get my protein shake 30 minutes after I work out, I gotta take my casein at night, I gotta do all these things. Because I’ve been able to really figure out this is my body’s baseline, this is – ok, maybe I literally was just buying this product because this person said so and I’m a blind sheep, and I kind of woke up to a lot of things – so, once you start asking yourself that question, I hope that the listener does and just really take a look at, alright, what really influenced me? Was it somebody else and I don’t know why, or, call me crazy, maybe I should influence my own decision for what I put in my body.
Joe: [22:50] Dude, 100%, and a piece that you were just talking about is an integral piece of everything else that we’re talking about on large. You’re talking about podcasting being a storytelling platform, and if we go back thousands and thousands of years to when we had no technology and we lived in tribes-
Chase: [23:09] Huddled around a fire in a cave or something like that.
Joe: [23:11] And people told stories. That’s what it was, and that’s where – and everybody was fine. Everybody did great. There were times where they didn’t eat because they couldn’t eat. Fasting, whatever it may be, as an animal – ok, so we are a very intelligent animal, right? And we’ve put ourselves in proverbial corners with certain things, with social media, but the truth is that we tend to overcomplicate things, and we need to have community, we need to tell stories, and we need to put stuff in our body that’s going to actually make us feel better and make us operate the way that we can; and that array is not extremely massive. I think… so, podcasting with Luke Storey, he was alluding, he was talking about this. He goes – I asked him, I usually ask people what they had for breakfast to do a sound check.
Chase: [24:12] I did the same thing.
Joe: [24:13] I asked him what he had for breakfast, and he talked for 20 minutes about all the different supplements in his routine.
Chase: [24:20] I was like, “Bro, I’m just trying to get a sound check.”
Joe: [24:22] Yeah! But it was great. I loved it, because I was like, oh, I asked you what you had for breakfast, and you told me that you woke up and you went and you sat in your Zen room, and you did your cold plunge, and then you took this blend of nootropics, and you drank this water; your breakfast was a combination of everything that you need as a human being to get the day started.
Chase: [24:45] It wasn’t a thing, it wasn’t a food, it wasn’t a supplement; it was an event, it was an experience.
Joe: [24:50] Exactly.
Chase: [24:52] I mean, wow, I could go off on a whole other tangent of that. I think in so many things – in supplements, in life – definitely staying on track with the conversation, of like human interaction… ok, we’re hanging out with friends, right? We’re all just sitting on our phones, like on the couch, in line, whatever; I’m not perfect, I do it too, but I really have tried to make a conscious effort of, alright, put that away kind of thing.
Joe: [25:14] Dude.
Chase: [25:15] If we can go back to making things more of an experience and really look at what’s going on, what is serving me, what’s not, what am I contributing, would be so beneficial. I think people could really filter out, wow, like I don’t need half the supplements I’m taking.
Joe: [25:30] Right.
Chase: [25:31] Wow, I’m just eating this because this influencer posted about it, or I’m fasting – why? I’m actually starving and I’m gaining weight and my sleep sucks; let me go back and actually eat first thing when I wake up, and then I perform better and I think better. I mean, shout-out to Luke for really going deeper on that question there, breaking fast. What did you do, not just what did you eat, what did you consume to really power and kickstart your day.
Joe: [25:56] Yeah. Man, it was super interesting listening to that. It’s cool because the other piece of that, as a biohacker, I would could him, and he probably calls himself, is the inherent piece of spirituality, and the way that we think, and the way that our thoughts can actually form our life, and honestly, build into our health. I don’t know if you follow Joe Dispenza very much, but he wrote a book called You are the Placebo, and it’s very, very interesting, the study of epigenetics and the understanding of how much our thoughts can actually do. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t a person that has found myself in negative thought patterns and traps. All of this to say like, as somebody who owns a “supplement” company, listen to what we’re saying and what I’m saying, I firmly believe in what we do from a product standpoint, but there are so many more things that we need to be talking about and understanding. I think there are a lot of people that are doing a really great job. I’m super excited to be going to the Health Optimization Summit here in London the next couple of days, and us being at PaleoFX and learning things; and being here, it’s nice to see every piece of it, because all of these pieces need to come together for the whole human optimization thing, puzzle that we’re putting together.
Chase: [27:31] Yeah, and I think if you are a general consumer, like probably most of the people listening are, if you can come to something like this, I understand maybe you don’t need to go to a conference to get any kind of continuing education credits or whatever, and you would rather just base your purchase power off of the Amazon 5-star reviews or not, which I do all the time. Like, why did you buy that? Ehh, it had the most reviews.
Joe: [27:53] Which, by the way, I’ve heard a lot of things about that, that brands tactfully create…
Chase: [27:59] Oh, sure. Like buy accounts, make 5-stars, whatever. Yeah, but again, we’re sheep. We’re working on getting out of that.
Joe: [28:07] I was like, man, we need some more reviews; why didn’t we think about that? It’s so simple!
Chase: [28:13] Make a bunch of accounts.
Joe: [28:14] It’s ridiculous, but it’s true.
Chase: [28:16] But, I mean, even regardless if you don’t need them for any professional credentialing, whatever, I think if just the general consumer who uses supplements in any way, shape, or form, came to something like this – and you’ll know this – like when you interact with somebody, if you feel like you were just really, wow, they’re trying to just sell me, or I feel like I’m being bombarded with ads vs. someone that actually just is like, hey, how’s it going, how are you, here’s my story, here’s why I created this product, here’s what it does, here’s why it’s different kind of thing, I think the consumer, if we could just, went back and naturally supplemented our lives with a pause, and experience, and just really took note of the experience that we’re going through, your purchase, your buying, your power, your decision-making process I think would really change. Because you would really see, especially at a place like this, wow, this company, they’ve got a shit-ton of money behind them; no wonder they’ve got the biggest, loudest, flashiest, sexiest, you know, signs and crew, and whatever. That’s all well and good, but like, how do you feel when you want to walk up and support them and buy that product, whatever, and put it into your body vs. maybe like the small mom and pop. I’m not saying like – maybe the mom and pop could be full of shit. Maybe the big money recognizes a good product. I think if we just pause and took note of that experience of why we buy, what we buy, and if you could come here and just learn so much. I mean, go to a farmer’s market, go anywhere where you are a consumer faced with the sellers, and just take note of the people that make you feel good, what is that energy going around, where do I feel like I’m just being sold vs. someone taking the time to, again, I keep beating a dead horse, just educate and empower me. I mean, I love you guys and I love Cured, everything you’re doing with the business and the podcast, and I think you guys are leading the charge in that, and it’s, you know, this is what we believe in, this is the kind of life that we want to create for ourselves and people around us. Lead with that, and, oh by the way, these are some of the things we do, these are some of the things that we take, these are some of the things that we eat. It’s just reverse engineering that end goal.
Joe: [30:24] Yeah. It’s true, man. It’s like, there is a goal. It’s funny, because I talk to a lot of people about my engineering career, and when I was in school – this is a quick aside – we always had the solutions manual for our engineering classes, and we like knew the answer and worked it backwards; because we know where we want to go and we can have those products, but what is the thread that brings everybody to that and why. And I think that you bring up a really good point, is like sitting and understanding the motive behind everything and talking to the person. I can’t… when we were talking about all the money that’s backing companies, I can’t say that every company that has that has made it to mass scale there’s something wrong with them.
Chase: [31:19] No, not at all.
Joe: [31:20] But, I always question where the quality goes. Like, marketing and branding and imagery is very, very powerful, and you walk around some of these booths, especially down on the 1st floor, and you’re like, well yeah, I’ll buy that because it caught my eye.
Chase: [31:40] Let me go over here and try this product because the person they have giving out samples I find very attractive. Or, oooh, bright shiny object. There is so much of the business minded, for sure, especially here.
Joe: [31:52] Yeah. So, as an entrepreneur, what do you take away the most from events like this? And as a very specific entrepreneur, being in the podcast space and somebody that has – you’ve built your business and you’re in your own lane – and that’s how a lot of entrepreneurs work; and then, I come to something like this, and it can get cloudy for me. I think that that’s a really important piece of being an entrepreneur, is understanding what your lane is, being able to come to experiences like this and interact with people, and gain knowledge, and understanding an inspiration, and then bring that back into this is my business model, this is the lane that I’m swimming in, this is where I’m going. I’m curious, for you, what your biggest takeaways as an entrepreneur from events like this are.
Chase: [32:51] I guess kind of in theme of what we’ve been talking about, of paying attention to the experience. What is being stirred up, what are my feelings, what are my thoughts, what is my thinking brain, feeling brain, and just that gut intuition. Coming here – again, this is, we’re talking about this Natural Expo East – this is an industry only, for the most part up until this point. So, when I came in, just because of what happened naturally and organically at the last one, I came in really with like my business hat on of, alright, my show, my business, my brand, my coaching, for the most part, everything is really all around fitness and nutrition, health, wellness. That’s my background, that’s my expertise, that’s the crux of really of a lot of what I do. And so, I walk in, I see all these people; they’re here to market and sell their product. Well, I have a platform that can do that. I have a platform that can reach a lot of people. Honestly, I look at all these aisles and I can see dollar signs. Like, hey, I want to talk to you; do you want to talk to me? You’re trying to get out west, you’re trying to get on a new platform, whatever, sure. Here’s my rate, here’s your product, I’ll peddle, whatever. It would be very easy. Literally, I could just walk down row by row, and if I wanted to, just here’s my card-
Joe: [34:04] You got the influencer badge.
Chase: [34:05] Exactly. And that’s another thing too, so many people stopped me, and they would just look and they would see “influencer”, and if you’re a business owner, what do we assume influencers are now? Way to sell our products. So, before getting to know me, I see people look at this and they’re just like, they – again, I’m probably making an assumption here – but they probably see, oh, there’s an avenue for me to distribute my product, before ever thinking of like, hey, let me get to know this person, what is this experience, this relationship building. So yeah, definitely when I came in – I get very excited very easily, I was probably all hopped up on nitro cold brew – and I’m like, ooh, ooh, dollar sign, dollar sign, partnership, partnership, sponsor, sponsor; but really, I was actually really glad you guys were here because quickly, we kind of met up and then I kind of shifted into like friendship mode.
Joe: [34:48] Let’s hang out and explore.
Chase: [34:49] Yeah. Then, we went around meeting some brands, people we already know, and that kind of shifted my mentality to – alright, Chase, I can very easily walk away from here and have every single episode, partnerships and stuff, probably set up for 2020.
Joe: [35:04] Definitely.
Chase: [35:05] At least start conversations, brand development, brand deals, whatever. But, again, that’s not me. Like pausing, taking note of that experience, and go back to really what is that end goal, let me reverse engineer it. I’m all about staying true to my mission, I’m all about relationship building, because that community that I’m trying to build, like you guys, I don’t want just the highest paying person on there. I want somebody who has a solution, or a path to a solution, for me and my audience. So, yeah, I mean, I, at first, just saw dollar signs – business Chase, entrepreneur Chase, whatever – and then just really pulled back and paid attention to who is paying attention to me in terms of actually stopping and talking to me, actually asking me about my show, actually talking to people that I’m with, and just being a decent human being. Then, I was like, oh hey, what’s your product, what’s your sample, I would love to learn more, ok, cool, scan my badge, let’s talk later kind of thing. Those are really the people and the brands that I take note of. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if they have a kick ass product that I enjoy and that I think my audience would enjoy. Yeah, just like who’s paying attention to me on that human level, and who am I paying attention to that I think is going to pay attention to me, is going to be valuable, and just has something that has a good story and a message behind it, rather than just a shit-ton of money looking for the next podcast, the next influencer to just like, how much do you charge, let me use this promo code kind of thing.
Joe: [37:37] Yeah. That’s cool, dude. I’m glad – I wanted to ask you about that, because our last… I can’t remember if it was the last podcast we released or the one before that – but I was interviewing our Director of Operations, Mike, who has, who I was actually going to go into business with for a while, and then he went off on a business venture, and it ended up not working out, and then ended up joining us at Cured. We talked about being an entrepreneur, and what we see is the future of – like, being an entrepreneur is like the sexy thing – but there is so much… you can call yourself the Founder and CEO of anything right now. And I think that that’s-
Chase: [37:19] Owner, Operator, Founder, CEO.
Joe: [37:21] It’s great. It’s great, for sure. But I want to being able to put the content out here through this platform and through discussion in how it actually works; how it actually works to be somebody who works with brands, and approaches brands and asks to work with them, because we’ve had hundreds of people that we’ve worked with as affiliates over the years, and some of them, it’s like, well, you were gung-ho to work with us, and every person, that lead that comes in and that we spend time and energy on, it’s dollars that go out for us, and energy that goes out for us. So, when we have those people approach us, we want to know that this is a long-term investment regardless of the dollar value. It’s really important to understand how to best be somebody that works with brands, and then also build a brand and build those relationships, and understand what it’s like to be an entrepreneur, and understand how you network, how you follow up with people, how you start conversation, and how you show up as your best and most valuable self for yourself, but then for other people. These places and weekends, it’s an interesting place to watch that, especially with the influencer badge.
Chase: [38:45] So many people that asked me that, like, how did you get the influencer? I was like, I don’t know, somebody thought I was influential about something. But then it says podcaster. And that’s when I light up because that’s what I love to do, and that’s what I do most. That’s how I build my community, and that’s how I show up. I was going to say, I also think that if you are maybe – ok, we’ve been talking a lot to the consumer here probably listening of supplements – let’s say you are an influencer, you have a huge email list, you’re a podcaster, whatever, you’re trying to leverage your passion project into a profession, right? There’s the business side of things, we’ve been talking about that; I think it’s also instrumental for people to come to these as part of your work flow, because… the mutual friend, company, the brand I told you we shook hands on a deal yesterday, has been in the works and relationship building for months and months, since Paleo. And that’s what it takes sometimes, because, again, it’d be very easy for them, it’d be very easy for me to go pitch, pitch, pitch, find people, whatever, here’s the dollar amount, here’s the platform, whatever; but not only did that deal happen, but actually went above and beyond what we even originally talked about because we’ve been building this relationship, and people like you, and another mutual friend of ours, another brand, they speak highly of you or I see what you’re doing with them. They’ve had a chance to kind of see the bigger picture, and I think that means a lot more in terms of longevity. If you can lead with that – again, if you’re an influencer or if you’re whoever, and you’re trying to grow that side of things – things like this are instrumental. Focus on relationship building. Focus on relationship building. Also, focus on relationship building. Then, after that, I promise you the longevity will come. I understand you have to pay bills in the meantime. I’m not saying wait 6-8 months for every deal; but the ones that truly matter, they will recognize that you matter. I had another thought, I thought it was pretty good, but it’s gone now. I guess the cold brew wore off.
Joe: [40:48] I was going to say, did your Rise capsule wear off?
Chase: [40:50] Maybe I should’ve taken two.
Joe: [40:51] Taken two.
Chase: [40:52] I thought we were going to walk around to a lot more coffee spots like we did yesterday. I got wired. Oh, I was going to say, a lot of times – again, keeping with the business side of things – when I do talk to people, they’re like, how much do you charge, what’s the rate, what’s the value exchange here, really. I really make a point to make that the very last phone call, the very last email, whatever, because I straight up ask questions – what’s unique about me, what do you think it is about my social media, my whatever – what is it about me that makes me stand out? Here’s some samples of other work, could I do something similar, how can I add value to what you’re trying to do? I want to make sure that they have at least an idea because so many times it’s just copy and paste email – hey insert name here!
Joe: [41:40] Dude.
Chase: [41:41] We love what you’re doing. You seem to be doing a lot of cool things. And they’re so wrong about, they get the name wrong or wrong platform. So, I really try to grow in conversation.
Joe: [41:47] That’s so ridiculous.
Chase: [41:48] Yeah, it’s so dumb.
Joe: [41:50] It’s so ridiculous, and it does not look good. There’s a company, Herbstrong, that I’ve seen so many people that worked with us for a while that got the same generic email from that company over and over again, and – ok, so that’s the generic email, but you didn’t even look at their actual profile to see that they were working with Cured. That like… yeah, just being conscious of that.
Chase: [42:22] I’ve had people so many times say, hey, I’ve been following you on Instagram for forever, they’ll find like my oldest post a year ago or something and they’ll reference that to make it look like it. “We’ve noticed that we think you could really benefit from CBD,” or ‘We think you could really benefit from this whey protein powder.” I’m like, well, if you’ve been following me for that long, honestly, go 48 hours, I talk about all the things that I take and I use; so clearly, no. A for effort, thanks. If I even reply to them.
Joe: [42:52] Yeah. I want to give a little ask to the customers out there, and I guess more or less pitch, but we have thousands and thousands of Rise and Zen samples right now, and somebody that responds and says I listened to this podcast, shoots and email to support@curednutrition, I want to ship you guys out 10 Rise and 10 Zen sample packets.
Chase: [43:18] Don’t take them all at one time.
Joe: [43:20] We’re handing out thousands of them here at the Natural Product Expo. You were just talking about you taking them this morning, and want to start talking more and more about those products and how I incorporate them day to day, and even how you do. You took one capsule today. You combined it with a little bit of caffeine there. For some people like myself, I take three. I know I have some adrenal stuff going on, but I actually, I’ll take 3 Rise capsules, and then add a gram of lion’s mane in there. I was actually talking to Danielle from Four Sigmatic, who you’re going to be podcasting with after this, and she was recommending a gram and a half to two grams of lion’s mane a day; so I’ve been messing around with that recently. And the combination of the Vitamin B-complex and the other herbs in the Rise with that high dose of lion’s mane, man, I feel the extension of that energy and focus and mental clarity from Rise a lot longer. I took it at – it’s 1:35 here in the afternoon – I took everything at 8 and I’m still going.
Chase: [44:42] Yeah, and that’s why the Rise and the Zen products – this has been a big personal shift of mine over probably the last 1-2 years. A lot of the supplements I take now are supplements that, what’s the best way to say this… they allow me to have a greater experience so that I can then get a greater result. It’s no longer – I’d say it’s a lot less of me seeking out taking a supplement because I think it’s going to give me this result – but things like lion’s mane, things like cordyceps, things like these adaptogen blends, like reishi, like lion’s mane – I already said lion’s mane – all of these things, it enhances the experience. It enhances my morning and afternoon daily living, and then it enhances my nighttime things, so that I can have a better result during. It doesn’t just like, boom, rocketship me to something so that I have no idea what’s going on, but it allows me to be more present.
Joe: [45:19] Like some pre-workouts.
Chase: [45:21] Yeah, seriously! I’m not just taking beta-alanine, tweaking out kind of thing, with like 500mg of caffeine. But they enhance the human experience so that you can really become more present and figure out – you can literally be more present. You’re more in tune with your thoughts, you’re more in tune with your actions, and I think more in tune with the natural flow of your body, of like, this is my natural energy level; let me adjust accordingly. This is my natural thought process, let me adjust accordingly. In the evening, with Zen and all these amazing other things, this is – ok, I’m not unwinding; let me take this and let me just get to that point to where I can, and then take care of the rest of my day, ease into my evening. It’s not so much – it hasn’t been a focus lately – on things that really just, boom, give me this desired end result, but they enhance the experience that I think we’re meant to have just as human beings, so that I can make my own result.
Joe: [46:13] Yeah, and it’s a daily thing. People – but like, you take both of those products specifically and you will feel them. People recognize them, but it’s a day after day repeated thing, and understanding why you’re doing it, why you’re coming off when you should come of, why you should take a break, why you should come back on, which is really interesting. I think that being the conscious consumer, the words that have come to me over this conversation, is really important, and we at Cured, and everything that you’re doing at Ever Forward, and as a collective of human beings, all kind of agree that this is the path that we need to take. It’s really important and thank you for being a supporter of everything that we’re doing, man. One more time, those of you that have listened to this podcast and reach out to us via email@example.com, say you listened to the Natural Product Expo East podcast with Chase, we’re going to select one of you to send 10 Rise, 10 Zen samples. Shoot us an email, and our good friend Charlie there in order fulfillment will be reaching out to one of you. Thanks, Chase, for hopping on the podcast and sharing what you’re seeing.
Chase: [47:19] Oh, it was a pleasure, man.
Joe: [47:21] Looking forward to the next expo. We’ll see what’s next!
Chase: [47:25] I’m like on an expo world tour.
Joe: [47:28] Alright, brother.
Chase: [47:29] Thanks, man.