The Honest Earth Origin Story
It sounds like such a cliche, 'tech startup founder has spiritual epiphany, falls out of love with city life, disappears into nature & decides to start a company making plant based products.....
Well, if you can forgive a cliche or three, I promise you it wont be completely terrible reading.It was 2015 and I had decided the next step in life for me was to build a tech startup, it was in all fairness the 'in thing' at the time. Techcrunch.com articles about the latest company that had raised $25m had almost become mainstream reading. For as long as I can remember, the idea of attaining mega success had always been a driver for me, who wouldn't like to build a $100m company, right? At least thats what I thought.
It escaped me at the time that I was, and to a degree still am a vessel for opinions that were not created by me, but these opinions had been given to me by parents, teachers, friends, media. Opinions that I thought belonged to me but in reality I had never questioned their origin or validity, and somehow they were inappropriately guiding the course of my life.
The universe works in marvellous ways, and in my humble opinion, one of the secrets to healthy living is the ability to interpret the things the universe, god or whatever you wish to name it places in front of you.
I cast my mind back to a day when I witnessed an argument between 2 people who worked for me in Singapore, it was over something that I felt was quite trivial but it made a huge impression on me as the matter had been hugely intensified by what I can only imagine was the pressure of living in a place where rent is through the roof, living costs make you want to stop living and the quality of the food produce leaves you feeling completely on empty. I had an almost mini out of body experience, the kind in cartoons like Tom and Jerry, or Wiley Coyote and the Road Runner....meep meep; where the ghost like spirit version of you leaves your body and looks down on the physical human world version of you. During this moment I drifted away from the ensuing argument and started to think a lot about happiness and balance, what creates it? What do we have to do to maintain it? Furthermore, most importantly... did I have it?
Im going to start with an answer to the last question first. When I confronted myself about the state of my own happiness, I realised that Id been fooling myself for quite some years. Not only was I unhappy but I realised I was completely unaware that id been through some kind of prolonged depressive state which had been shrouded in a veil of 'its ok, Im doing great' but the reality was, I was i was in an unhappy state and this was affecting many other things in my life, the to work to the best of my capability, the ability to make new friends, maintain healthy relationships, sleep well, the list goes on.
So why was I unhappy and what could I do to change that?
There were many little things that helped me to realise that happiness was going to have to be an essential part of my daily life and good health was an essential pre-requisite for my daily happiness, and it should be a pre-requisite to everything that we do and it hadn't been, this was a powerful but horrifying thing for me to realise at 35 years old because at that age im more than a third of the way through my life.
So when I say health is essential as a pre-cursor to happiness Im not just talking about being physically healthy so you feel good and can be happy because your joints don't hurt, I'm talking about something much deeper which is the ability to be psychologically and emotionally healthy, and it dawned on me that our physical, spiritual and psychological or mental wellbeing is absolutely linked to what you eat.
I mean after all, if you're drinking cows milk that is loaded with hormones that are pumped into a cows body to keep it in a permanent state of simulated pregnancy so the milk companies can maximise production and profit then what affect do these hormones that are present in the final product we drink have on our the normal human hormonal production of things like your happiness hormones (serotonin, dopamine and endorphins). If these things are disrupted then could it leave me feeling down and depressed wondering why do I feel this way?
Another super important point that came to my mind is how many of us are doing what we do because our parents wanted us to do it, or it was what was expected of us or that we simply didn't have the confidence to go out and do what we are really passionate about. I gave this some thought as a potential major happiness disruptor, what kind of effect does this process of going out to try and achieve other peoples dreams or expectations have on us, does it perhaps create a feeling of unhappiness and a sense of consistent failure? I think this is very possible because your heart can never really be fully behind building someone else's dream, even if they think its whats best for you, so the chances of succeeding are likely to be extraordinarily low. So how can we create an environment for ourselves that is conducive to absolute happiness? My humble guess is that we need to do the things that we are passionate about, the things that make us happy. Now that in itself can take some figuring out, but i guarantee you that if you start to peel away the layers of your life you will find the thing, or things that make you leap out of bed in the morning dying to get your day started.
So how did I decide that building this company, 'honest earth' was going to be thing that would greatly contribute to my wellbeing, health and happiness? I knew that I needed to do something that I was passionate about, something I could be proud to produce and something that served as a modality to improve (or if we get a bit esoteric.. 'heal') other peoples lives through any modality that I could successfully do with passion. I remembered that back in 2009 before I had decided to embark on the 'tech startup' journey I was passionate about starting a company that produced all natural, plant based, animal, gmo and soy free protein powders. I gathered tons of different types of plant based protein powders together, I sourced things like maca and moringa. As I didn't have the money at the time to hire a nutritionist and other nutraceutical experts to help me formulate my powder so that it did basic things like blend well with a variety of different nut milks or water it was kind of a 'fruitless' mission, no pun intended. So what I ended up with in my apartment kitchen at the time was honestly an interesting but awful tasting powder that came with lots of giant powder lumps inside your smoothie or whatever you mixed it with. To say it tasted like soil and sand mixed together would have been a compliment, honestly it was disgusting.
Anyway to cut a long story short, some things changed, my capital improved as did what I knew about building a company. My knowledge when it comes to plant based nutrition also improved, so 9 years later at the end of 2018 I decided now was the time to try it again, but for real this time. I spoke to my sister, and she liked the idea. We decided we wanted to create a company that produced a range of honest products for every day life that did not contain chemicals, toxic or processed ingredients made by scientists in white lab coats, our products should be completely made from earth sourced plant based ingredients. In a nutshell our company objective should be to optimise your health, not to optimise our profit margins at the expense of your health which is all too common nowadays and thats why our current generation is the most unwell generation that has ever lived, you only have to google the health risks of some of the ingredients you cant pronounce on the ingredients label of any product you eat or use from your favourite spicy sauce to your shower gel or toothpaste.
On this note, one of the things Id realised id been doing over the years due to my slightly obsessive nature is id been curating products for personal daily use based on how free from toxic or unnatural ingredients they were. Things such as the protein powder I use before and after a work out, I didn't want it to upset my stomach because it was made from 'Whey' which is the waste material / bi product of the milk production industry and contained hormones that were likely upsetting my own hormonal balance. Then there is my multi vitamins, turns out those multi vitamin gel capsules are coated in silicon dioxide which is a proven cancer causing ingredient. How about my shower gel, shampoo and conditioner? Surely they're not harming me? Turns out they are! Our skin is the largest membrane in our body and rapidly absorbs anything we put on it. Actually a friend of mine told me a really funny story, he made a home made coffee body scrub, he used it right before bed and then took a shower, hopped into bed and was totally wired!! Couldnt sleep until 5am in the morning because his body had absorbed the coffee through his skin! Shower gels and shampoos are possibly the most severe offenders when it comes to things that pollute our bodies as they contain ingredients that are absorbed through our skin directly into our blood stream and damage our brain, disrupt our bodies hormonal balance and in the long term can cause cancer. If you don't believe me, google any of the ingredients on your shower gel that you don't recognise as something natural and be prepared for a serious shock.
So as id spent years figuring out which products caused me the least or no harm it made total sense that I was well positioned to create a company that specialised in creating daily 'essentials' that everybody could trust without having to know what to look out for, or study every single ingredient label before they purchased something.
the first product I wanted to start with was our honest earth performance protein powder, the reason for this is that in 10 years of taking plant based protein powder I still felt I couldn't find a powder that was as clean and sophisticated as I would like, so the only way to get my hands on this would be to design and create it myself.
I felt that sports and health supplements are something I could start with and then later expand the product range to include items such as plant based body wash shampoo, hair conditioner, skin care, coconut based toothpaste and mouthwash, even food items such as chocolate, plant based milk and dairy free cheese. The possibilities are really wide ranging, I was excited again!
So thats what I decided to do, follow passion, create something around a subject I've become well versed in and can be used as a modality to improve peoples health and as a result of that, their happiness and mine.
We came up with the name 'honest earth' as it accurately delivers the important message that all of our products will be made from honest ingredients, sustainably sourced from mother earth. I believe that through passion and ability I can build a company that people can trust without having to scrutinise every single label with a magnifying glass every time they buy something to check it doesn't contain ingredients that are doing them a tremendous amount of harm.
Thank you for reading!! I'd love this to be a community journey so do feel free to email me or put your comments and thoughts in the box below. What products would you like to see us make that you use on a regular basis?