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Updated April 24, 2018
For Andy Hnilo, a former athlete and actor, it was nearly the difference between life or death.
After a car accident that left Andy unconscious with 7 broken ribs, a collapsed lung, a broken jaw, and multiple gashes across the body, his life changed. His ER doctor told him, "You have the worst facial injury I have ever seen."
For a year, Andy became obsessed with accelerating his recovery. Through self-research, Andy made radical changes to his nutrition, exercise routine (he would do hill sprints while his jaw was wired shut), and, most notably, created his own skincare concoctions to heal his scarring. 7 weeks after the accident, he was back at work acting.
That was the genesis of Alitura Naturals. Andy firmly believes that we should treat our skin (our largest organ) as a second mouth. What gets applied on our skin gets absorbed in less than 30 seconds, and Andy only puts natural, high-quality ingredients that he would eat into his products.
Enter the code "H.V.M.N." at check-out!
Geoff: Welcome to this week's episode of The H.V.M.N. Enhancement podcast. And, this is an in-person one, which I think are my favorite. So, I'm really excited to have Andy Hnilo coming into the studio today. Welcome.
Andy: Hey, Geoff, thanks so much for having me.
Geoff: Absolutely. I think we can go down a bunch of different pathways first. But, folks who don't know your story, let's start there. Your background, coming through an injury, and now having a number of ventures in the works. But, I think that core, how'd you come around, and that story.
Andy: Sure. I've been an athlete my whole life. Baseball didn't really work out, so I moved down to Los Angeles and had an acting role fall into my lap. That's a long story made short, but the person that I was living with, at the time, was an actor. And, so, I would run lines with him, and that role, particular role, that he was going out for involved baseball, and I was fresh out of baseball. So, I hit the lines to a T, because it was so new to me. I mean, it was so fresh to me coming straight out of playing. Long story short, he got me a read for that role, I got a call back, another call back, screen test, and I end up booking that. I went from baseball to acting, down in Los Angeles.
Geoff: Was this college baseball? Or-
Andy: Yes. I went to UC Berkeley, and then finished up at Saint Mary's College, West Coast Conference. Had a blast. I had a really good career. Things didn't work out, but what it did was, it rocked me. One door closed, and another door opened into the entertainment industry, and I acted and modeled and did things like booked a Oakley global campaign, Coppertone, Hello Ladies, Days of Our Lives.
Andy: Most recently, On Pitch, a baseball related film. So, that's how I made a living. But, then I got into an accident, March 20, 2011, where I was hid westbound heading vehicle, a Land Rover, that lost consciousness, that hit me into the eastbound lane, and I was run over by a Tundra. I was in the middle of the street, on Melrose-
Andy: Yes. Checking my phone, and then I just got rocked. They were cutting my clothes off me in the middle of the street. I read that. I still keep the report, and just as a little reminder, perspective on how lucky I am to be here. But, I woke up in a Cedars-Sinai ICU bed, and just quickly realized what had happened, and I had seven broken ribs to a severely fractured jaw, right here, from the middle of my chin to just beneath my left ear where my jaw was just in pieces. I was looking ... It was a compound fracture, so, the chin was exposed through the bottom of my mouth. I was unrecognizable. That was a really very tough situation to look in the mirror for the first time. I'll never forget that. But-
Geoff: You're making a living as a model, actor ... I mean, for better or worse, aesthetics is very important in that space.
Andy: Exactly, that's how I made my living, and I enjoyed doing that. There was a lot of fear of never being able to do that again. People were asking me if I was gonna get money out of it, and we didn't go that route. What I wanted to do was, I just became obsessed with accelerating my recovery. My jaw was wired shut, these front teeth right here were all nubs, because of point of impact. My jaw was wired shut, so I couldn't talk, I couldn't chew food, so I became just extremely obsessed with ingredients, and how I was gonna clean and build and cleanse my blood to really recover and accelerate my healing-
Geoff: From a mental state, I think, to get going with the career, and then not even start from scratch, but negative. What was that mental transformation like? Or, were you just strong coming in? Like, "Alright, dammit. I was unlucky, but I'm back on the horse."
Andy: That's what it was. For a couple of days, see-
Geoff: You had no depression?
Andy: Because, I'm telling you, it was because I was almost excited, because people don't survive those accidents.
Andy: It was like I got a second chance. And, that was invigorating. It took about a day or two, when my parents and family left my place, and there were a couple days where it was pretty dark, and I had to really pick myself up, mentally, and I reminded myself of all the things that I did have, rather than what was fractured, and what was broken. The good thing is, is my knees and my elbows and feet and ankles, I didn't have any damage there.
Andy: So, I was like, "Alright, well, I can go on walks at night."
Geoff: Core joints were okay.
Andy: Yeah, I had seven broken ribs, a collapsed lung. And, believe me, sneezing ... I wouldn't wish that on anybody. That was actually the most painful part about it, was sneezing, with seven broken ribs. That was unbelievable. What I did was, I just reminded myself, "Those are going to grow back. The jaw's going to heal." I had a titanium plate inserted up top, one on the bottom. What I did is, believe it or not, I just went through this whole routine of, every morning, doing things that would build my blood and pick me up from the standpoint of just building nitric oxide, blood flow from head to toe. I would hang upside down-
Geoff: So, increasing blood flow, start the healing process-
Andy: Absolutely, through circulation. So, that's one thing that I could do, because, although I couldn't run, I knew that walking fast ... I'm telling you, I would go to this bike path, this Chandler bike path, it's 3.2 miles there, 3.2 miles back, and I would speed walk, like one of those little power walkers at night, and I would get really good ... I ended up losing 17 pounds doing that, and I didn't really have much weight to lose, as it was. But, what it did was, it accelerated ... getting that circulation going, just having those capillaries stagnant from laying down in bed and recovering, I'm one of those guys that it's very hard for me to-
Geoff: I'm sure the doctors were like, "Hey, bed rest. Don't move." I'm actually curious, how'd you decide to go, like, "Alright, I'm gonna go try to elevate nitric oxide." Did you educate yourself?
Andy: I did.
Geoff: What was that transformation-
Andy: I did. Vasodilation. I looked up things like agmatine sulfate, arginine, taurine, beta alanine-
Geoff: You're bed-ridden. You're like, "Okay, I'm wanna optimize myself and recover."
Geoff: "I'm gonna go read, talk to doctors."
Andy: Yes, I met with three different Chinese herbalists. I met with doctors. There's so much information out there available to us. It's on us, and I was just my own biggest science experience. It became just a creative outlet for me, just to see how I could beat this thing as quick as possible. Now, I had a job that was ... I think it was the first week of June, up here, for Macy's, a runway job, and it was my San Francisco agent, and I didn't tell them about my accident. I made it my goal to make that job.
Geoff: How many months was that?
Andy: I swear, it was the first week of June, so this would've been April, May ... So, man, that's eight, nine weeks, seven, eight weeks, something like that, post-surgery to jaw, completely wired shut. The timing worked out perfectly. I got my wires out the Thursday before, I got my teeth cleaned and bonded that Friday, and then I had the job that Saturday. That victory, that was so huge for me, because I needed that when everybody was reminding me that I wouldn't be back. It was so uplifting to be back in an industry where I was told I would never work again. And, then, there I was.
Geoff: That's fascinating. Your mindset, coming out of the accident, you wake up conscious, and you were depressed for one or two days. And, you're like, "Wait, there's this June job, I'm gonna do it-
Geoff: "People think my career's ruined, as a model. But, I'm gonna figure a way how to make it happen."
Andy: Find a way. And, that motivated me. It developed a really deep fire, not to prove people wrong, but to see if I could do it and prove myself right, you know? To have that victory game some internal momentum, and I'm a big believer in that, in just momentum and riding that wave, and keeping those endorphins rocking, and just chasing the next one. I'm a very goal-driven person, and so knocking down that first one really meant a lot. I felt like, if I was able to do that, then I would just see if my agents would continue to submit me.
I got back, and I was shooting Hello Ladies for HBO in October, of the same year. So, I was back, and I needed that. But, what it did was, I was staring down at this concoction, which is my clay mask, but also all of these herbs that were really cleansing my blood, building my blood, and creating a lot of circulation in this routine that I was doing every day. I'm like, "Man, I really feel like that's what accelerated my healing, and my recovery." So, I was like, "I'm just gonna do this for the rest of my life."
Andy: 'Cause it felt great, my scarring had gone down, my abrasions were completely gone, and my swelling had significantly reduced. I had a very traumatic incision right here where it's just they're basically screwing in titanium screws, into your bone-
Geoff: And, you know what, the people on video, there's not that visible scarring.
Andy: Yeah, I severed a nerve right here that directly communicates from your brain to this side of the face, whether it's gonna smile or do certain things, do certain movements. And, that was severed, and they reattached it, but it was fuzzy. It's still very fuzzy, so I'll cut myself shaving, and I'll see the blood, but I won't even feel it. There are lingering side-effects, but, you know what? I'm so grateful to be here. To complain about something small like that, I just don't do it. The whole accident, it's just one of those things where it just rocked me right into my purpose. It gave me direction in life. I was 30, 31 years old waiting for the phone to ring.
Andy: Now, I have something where I eat, breathe and sleep this stuff. And, it's been staring me in the face since I was 19. I was writing up diet plans for teammates. I was getting fascinated about eye creams, 'cause I was in the outfield, and the sun was baking into corners of my eyes, and I was like, "Oh, man, I'm seeing crows feet. How do I counteract that?" And, I became passionate about cacao butter and manuka honey, just different ingredients. It was there from the beginning. That's my big thing for people. Pay attention to the things that excite you, because, they are often staring us right in the face.
Geoff: I just find it inspiring that you were able to get on your feet so quickly. You hear some of these stories, people get broken, right?
Geoff: Physical unfortunate accidents just break people, and it sounds like you take the hit, and then you realize that, "Hey, I'm gonna get back on my feet and start putting together the pieces." I'm actually curious, although, obviously, you have multiple products from some of your early experimentation, but how did that evolve? It was like, okay, it started walking, and then you're looking nitric oxide, which is a vasodilator, and then it sounds like you started piecing together other things as you're building out some of these formulations.
Geoff: Walk us through that experimentation, and some of the considerations as it went from personal, "My face is messed up," to, "Oh, let's put this out as a product.
Andy: Absolute ... So, I had been doing a one-ingredient clay mask of calcium bentonite clay, before the accident.
Andy: I would do it every Sunday night, just to keep me nice and fresh, and the skin clear for the upcoming week of hopeful auditions.
Andy: I had that one ingredient that I knew I was gonna start off with, and then I started studying spa treatments. This is one-by-one, adding certain things like Moroccan Rhassoul clay, and then, oh, finding out kaolin clay, and it's different properties and mineral density. And, then, finding out about illite clay, a French green clay that is the most heavily studied clay. A lot of people eat it to clear out impurities and toxins from the system, help with gut biome, and also reduce the absorption of heavy metals.
I would add a CT scan, I was getting X-rays, at least, once a month to see how the bone was growing back, and I was on antibiotics. I was in such a fog, so I was taking a lot of these dense Ayurvedic herbs, and really blood-building herbs, like he shou wu, and schisandra, to help clear and build my system. But, topically, I was just doing a lot of research to clear up that area, and hopefully recondition the skin by lighting exfoliating it. And, I started researching things like IGF I, from colostrum. First six hour milking grass-fed colostrum, particularly. I was taking it internally.
And, I had the knowledge, and I was aware, your skin being your largest organ. So, I really feel like, if you can't eat it, then don't put it on top of your skin. But, also, on the flip side. If it's so good internally, and the particle size is, pretty much, like silk, in this case the colostrum, the kale powder. But, actually, all my ingredients. But, just through experimentation finding out what works, and the things that stuck. I would make these little pastes from manuka honey, colostrum, chaga, cacao butter, and sea buckthorn oil, clary sage, German chamomile ... I would look up my products that always had some time of hole in it, whether it was glycerin or preservative that I didn't like, fragrance that I didn't like, things that don't serve the skin ...
And, I would buy the actives, and then isolate those, and then combine them with other active ingredients. And, then, I'm like, "Why don't other people-
Geoff: So, you were just reverse engineering things that you thought were pretty good on the market, and you're like, why do we need these binding agents? Look at the label. A lot of butylene glycol, a lot of these petroleum primitives that don't do anything. Yeah, which is literally from crude oil.
Andy: Literally from crude oil. That's not what I would eat, I definitely wouldn't put it on my skin. So, I became just obsessed with sourcing ingredients, putting them together, isolating them, seeing what worked, just purely on a reaction and feel standpoint. If there was some type of activity, after ... I was making two main products right here, but they were just potions, essentially. It was never, ever meant to be a business. I was just trying to accelerate my healing.
Andy: And, so, this clay mask, one by one, I began to add certain ingredients. The organic kelp powder being so dense, and vitamin A, C-
Geoff: These are things that you would almost buy as a food supplement-
Geoff: But, you would mix it into your facial mask.
Andy: Yes. I would mix it into the mask. I was, basically, hitting myself from the inside out.
Andy: I was feeding my system with really good nutrient-dense herbs, things like deer placenta. I was cutting up bison liver, egg yolks, and just trying to get the most dense foods into my ... Spirulina, beets, you name it, and I would drink that every morning.
Geoff: So, you'd like hardcore crazy smoothies, essentially.
Andy: Oh, yes. IGF I content in the deer placenta-
Geoff: Would it elevate IGF I, or reduce IGF I?
Geoff: I know that IGF I, for longevity, it was one of the big endpoints in some of the fasting studies. You basically want to lower growth factors.
Geoff: But, if you're an athlete, you want to be taking, you want to have higher insulin, to build more mass, et cetera.
Andy: Right. But, I was, technically, fasting.
Geoff: Yeah, okay.
Andy: Maybe the lower content would've been better for internally, whereas the higher growth factor content, topically, would've fed the cell turnover.
Andy: After exfoliating, hitting it with the colostrum, in this case, I feel like that led to optimal cell turnover.
Andy: The clays would bring the circulation to the face, the pearl powder provided a light exfoliation, and also calcium. And, then, the growth factors, and the nutrient density from the vitamin C, and also the organic kelp powder, vitamin A, C, K, B12, sodium alginate.
I was on the podcast with a podcast with Ben Greenfield, and he was explaining the ATP production that is a result of combining the blue and green algaes that are in that kelp powder, and things, also, like spirulina, chlorella ... I would make these potions, and just hope with, the fact of our skin being such a large surface, and our largest organ, but, also, what you put on top of it is absorbed, I think, within 26 seconds, they say. So you have to be extremely with what you put on top of your skin, as well, and I used that in my research, as well, to stay away from things like sodium benzoate, PHT, phenoxy ethanol ...
There's so much out there that is claiming to be all-natural, and when you dig deep, and thins like the Think Dirty app, that's beautiful, you can just scan a UPC code, and then they'll point out government recognized carcinogen, if there are any in there. Which, a lot of the time, there are.
Andy: It became my ... I was obsessed with it.
Geoff: Why do you think ... I know sodium benzoate is a preservative, right?
Andy: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Geoff: So, I guess, to be shelf stable for a big box retailer, you need to have it be able to sit on a shelf for two years.
Geoff: As you're thinking about ... I don't think companies are trying to poison people, but I think they're making trade offs. How are you thinking about, "Okay, we're not gonna use sodium benzoate as a preservative," how do you make sure it's stable? And, all of that.
Andy: So, the good thing is, that's absolutely what it comes down to.
Andy: It's, I think, finding the most cost-effective option. When you're at that big level, and you have the big corporate overhead, you probably need to dilute as much as possible to create the most profit margin. I understand that. However, when I was starting this, I was creating this purely out of necessity for myself to accelerate the healing. And, so, I knew bee products, the propyl is honey, beeswax, royal jelly, pollen, things like that. That have such a good antimicrobial effect in their own right. So, they create their own little preservative by themselves.
Geoff: Yeah, yeah.
Andy: And, then, using things like marrone glass, where their whole motto is, "Protected by the bottle, not by toxins."
Geoff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Andy: And, that's huge for us. So, what we do is, there are certain products that we use now, like we use a radish extract in a coconut filtrate, which is, essentially, a little probiotic effect. But, it's food-grade. It's eco cert approved, and it's something that I would eat. That's in our night cream. So, you scoop it out, because you're introducing your own bacteria into something topically, and you may be sharing it with people. But, there are other options out there which, for some reason, it's more expensive, basically, is what I'm saying. We don't have the huge corporate overhead, so we can make our dream team list of ingredients every time, but maintain that ingredient integrity on all of our ingredient decks.
Geoff: No, I mean, the honey thing kind of resonates with me, 'cause I was actually doing a little bit of beekeeping in Ojai this past week, and they were talking about-
Geoff: The probiotic and the antimicrobial effects of just honey. If you actually work in the honey hive, the beehive, it's not rotting. It's not getting fermented-
Andy: It's crystallized, and it's turned ... Oh, man. Yeah.
Geoff: Which is interesting, if you actually think about it, it's just sitting in the heat, at 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It's not rotting. So, there's some actual antimicrobial effect going on there.
Andy: And, regenerative properties, hydrating. The manuka honey, specifically, that I use in my night cream-
Geoff: This is from New Zealand, manuka honey.
Andy: Yes, we use Weatherspoon K-factor 16 manuka honey in our night cream.
Andy: I still have the original one that I made out of a cast iron pan, in my kitchen, and it's still live. It's still active, and works just fine. There's an example right there, that's gotta be seven years old. Yes, it's gotta be around six or seven years old. That chunky, sea buckthorn oil, cacao butter, beeswax, but it was just what I'd made, my potion, by hand, to follow up the clay mask. Then, we added plant-derived stem cells to it, hyaluronic acid, and colostrum, to get it properly manufactured, and-
Geoff: Let's just zoom out a little bit, just to make sure that people listening get a sense of the different products. You have the clay mask, you have this night cream, and what are the different variations that you have? And, can you describe some of the key ingredients and components for them?
Andy: Oh, absolutely. With the clay mask, we combine four clays. So, it's not just one, it's bentonite, illite, kaolin, Rhassoul.
Andy: They all provide a really nice particle size, so it just lays down like silk when combined with things like ascorbic acid, which is a high-potent source of vitamin C that crosses the dermal layer. And, that creates a lot of really good circulation to the surface of the skin after you freshly exfoliated with the other clays. So, you're essentially feeding it a meal when you combine, also, the first six hour milking grass-fed colostrum, organic kelp powder, pearl powder, and American ginseng. These are all things that I would eat, aside from the kaolin clay, it may be a little chalky, and I don't know what that would do to the respiratory system, but all the other clays are food grade. And, I do supplement with them from time to time, if I was traveling, or wanted to pull out a little radiation or something like that.
Geoff: If you really wanted to do it, it's not ... You could just get a spoon and just eat your cream.
Andy: I can. I've done it. I did it recently, when I needed a little pick-me-up, 'cause it's so mineral rich.
Andy: And, things like the colostrum and the organic kelp powder. It doesn't taste great. It's not horrible, which leads me to ... Yeah, so that was the clay mask.
Geoff: That was your first-
Andy: Oh, my original. That's very special to me. I was driving around, when I ended up partnering with Dave Asprey, I did a podcast with him, and we had such a response. I didn't have a website. I didn't have a name for a company, at all. People were contacting me directly, wondering where-
Geoff: "Can I get this clay?"
Andy: Yeah, "Where can I get this mask you were talking about?" So, I get to sign up for a PayPal account right there, I had a high school friend of mine who helped me design a Shopify storefront ... But, in the first few weeks, before we got the Shopify store live, I was just fielding orders strictly through, directly to these people. I came up with a price, $35, free shipping, sounded good. But, when you're shipping to Sweden for $22-
Geoff: Yeah, you're under water.
Andy: My product was very expensive, still is, to make, and I was giving twice as much as that, because I was giving these little snapshot containers that I got from Whole Foods. The clear ones that are meant for peanut butter, almond butter, olive oil, and after that I would hand shake it. I would go to a FedEx Kinko's, print out a label, and I had this long, one-page single-spaced written instructions.
Andy: It still hasn't left, as far as the adrenaline, as far as having something that people would buy, and that people would pay for. It was just a ... You're living in a moment, and then Dave comes on board, and he's gonna put the product on his site, and that's a big time scale up. So, we had to get a really nice packaging setup, which has evolved and gotten better over time. But, it was one of those things, I really just learned how to start a business and run a business just from selling first, and then getting it together.
Geoff: What was the time like, from doing it for your accident, and then going on Bulletproof, Dave Asbury's program. Was it a year? Was that six? What was that timeframe like?
Andy: This must've been about ... The first year was just getting back on my feet, and just getting back after I got the wires taken out, that was another recovery, 'cause it's a lot of trauma. You have to drill out wires, it's, yeah ... After that, about a year, so, 2013 is when I reached out to Bulletproof. I became very passionate about using his products in my recovery. I drank coffee for the first time, and it was his ... You could imagine having coffee for the first time, and then having it really just-
Andy: Oh, yeah. But, it got me out of bed. It really increased my motivation to get back and be my best self, and live my best life. I'm really, really, forever indebted to Bulletproof for that. So, what I did is, I troubleshooted his email address. I found out, through the contact form ... Back then, it was Bulletproofexec.com.
Andy: And, so, I'm like, "Well, his name's Dave." So, I went d.asbury, asbury.dave, David-
Geoff: You just emailed every single variation-
Andy: Every one. And, I copy pasted the same email, and I, "This is a before picture of me, in the ICU, after in a magazine shot that I did."
Andy: With the intention of, hopefully, getting on board with Bulletproof, and maybe working with them.
Andy: Never about my company, because I didn't have it. I never thought that would be-
Geoff: You just wanted to tell your story, and be like, "Hey, I have a good idea."
Andy: Yes. And, also, thank him.
Andy: I just love his attention to detail, and sourcing of ingredients, and so, one of those went through, and we had a 45-minute conference call about a week later. I was up here in Palo Alto, it was on speakerphone, so my mom was right there listening to it. It's amazing. They brought me on board as an ambassador, which is great. All I had to do was take pictures with the products, which is what I was doing, anyway, and I would get a little stipend of products per month.
Andy: That was cool. I needed that victory.
Geoff: You just wanted some ... You were using the product anyway.
Geoff: So, like, why not?
Andy: Exactly, just a true story. So, that Fall, his assistant reaches out and goes, "We would like to have you on Bulletproof Radio." And I'm like, "Oh, sounds great." And, I looked it up, and I'm like, "Oh, man. This is a pretty big-
Geoff: Big audience, yeah.
Andy: Pretty big platform. I've never been that nervous. But, it turned out great, because you're across the way from someone ... This was done through, I think, Zoom or Skype, and I really idolized the guy. So, I really had to check myself and pull it together. But, I did, and we just flowed on the accident, and how I recovered, and just things that I used to motivate me, like perspective and gratitude. And, the last five minutes, he asked me about skin care. This was not planned. And, here I was telling millions of people, all around the world, about ... Being an athlete, or whatever, and a guy, I guess, sometimes, people are hesitant to admit that you care about taking care of yourself, and skincare.
Geoff: Sure, yeah.
Andy: I'm so glad I did. I kinda just told him about the ingredient roster, and why I pulled the different clays together, and the different super foods together, and started applying them topically. Then, his response was just something I'll never forget. We had a product on his Bulletproof site. A couple months later ... And, yeah, it'll be four years June 26th, and we're in 75 countries, and we have 14 products now.
Geoff: It's killing.
Andy: It's crazy. Yeah. It's just maintaining that initial adrenaline, of just keeping it simple. You have to have the product. The product, and treat your customers like gold.
Andy: That's where a lot of business fail. And, then, timely shipping. That's another one. If you can get it to them as quick as possible, and so while they're excited with the order, that initial unboxing, "Wow, it's already here-
Geoff: Give a good experience, right?
Geoff: I think that's absolutely right. I think, in this world, there's infinite things you could do to spend your money and time. And, if you don't delight people, there's literally a million other things you could do.
Andy: Your customers, the only reason why you have a business. That is so important. I emphasize that daily to my staff. I love doing it, 'cause that what the impact ... That's the reward, for me, is getting that validation of, "Hey, I just want to say, Rex, your assistant, just high-five to Rex. He did a great job on this."
That's another thing, is just hiring a team that is as hungry as you are, and cares as much as you do. It's tough. It's tough. But, they're out there, and it's fun. It really is one of those situations where you're living your dream.
Geoff: I'm curious, from a business perspective. Skincare, for better or for worse, seems to be relative feminine associate product category. But, obviously, you're seeing success. It should be obvious that people should care. Men still care about looking good.
Geoff: I'm actually curious, how has that culture change ... Has the cultured changed? What are the push backs, if there's pushback? I don't know. I'm curious, how do you navigate the education process?
Andy: You're absolutely right. And, that's why I was so hesitant. But, when I saw the response, and that people were opening up to it-
Geoff: Is your demographic mostly male, or is it-
Andy: 55, female. 45, male.
Geoff: Which is pretty big.
Andy: Which is great. That's right down the middle. I come at it from a point where, branding ... People say it's a little masculine. I have this dream of Kenneth Cole, Lexus, Hugo Boss. This really nice, sleek black bottle. Charcoal, silver foil print. You know what I mean? I just knew what I wanted. Right at the beginning, people were like, "Oh, really? Why don't you go white with rose, or white teal? Is it for men? Is it for women?" I'm like, "I don't want to create customer confusion. I just want to compile the best roster of ingredients, have a purpose with every single one of them, be able to explain the purpose, and the sourcing, and then just let the customers decide. It's not one of those things where all skin is skin. But, I really do come from that standpoint where I don't want to create for men, for women.
Geoff: It's kind of BS'ing.
Andy: It is, because they switch up one active.
Andy: They switch the packaging. They maybe make it smell a little different, then, boom, now it's for women. For me, that's not how I do things. And, it's working out well.
Geoff: Also, on the cultural side, is there just a broader ... Let's educate men on skin care? Only for myself, and I know a lot of my male friends, it's not something one thinks about, even though we all probably should.
Andy: Right. Say, for instance, in that example of not really knowing a lot about it, or really caring about, "Oh, hey, I wash with soap, or I rinse with water." Those are the tough ones, when they only use water to clean their face. They're out there. Say, if you're using Dove soap, say if you're using Cetaphil, things like that, you're actually putting yourself into a little bit of a toxic state with some of these products that have the ingredients that are hidden parabens, sodium laurel sulfates, things like-
Geoff: They strip away the fat and oils, right?
Geoff: And, that's the purpose of soap, just stripping away oils.
Geoff: Which, is there for some protective purpose, initially.
Andy: Right. And, it's one of those things, like with our cleanser, it's heavily essential oil based, with a little pearl powder and colloidal silver to eat up some bacteria. It's one of those things where, painters, oil painters, would clean their brushes with a solution of oil. Oil cleans oil, essentially. Oil removes oil.
Andy: It's one of those things, you're seeing ... I was at a friend house, recently, and he had the oil-free cleanser, and I'm like, "Alright, what did they use?" And, it's water, glycerin, sodium laurel sulfate, so you're essentially getting the foaming and lather. Sure, it smells great, with artificial fragrance, but it's just drying out your skin with the alcohol, with the three different kinds of alcohol in there.
Andy: Why? That's really what got me interested in this, because when I would up ingredients, and then find out what it served as an emulsifying agent, as a filler, as a thickener, preservative, whatever it may be. I didn't really care what it looked like, I wanted the best composition that would serve my skin and accelerate the healing, in my case. And, then fine tuning that. My moisturizer took 22 tweaks, 21 phone calls to the manufacturer just to get it right.
Andy: But, it's a total situation where you just know what you want-
Geoff: Yeah, no, I resonate with you a lot. I think, especially for folks out there who might be manufacturing their own products. The manufacture just wants to ship. They just want to be like, "All right, take your money. We'll make some stuff."
Geoff: And, I respect you. You have be like, "No, no, no. Not pulling the trigger. No. Fix it. Fix it. Fix it."
Geoff: It's a testament to your attention to detail.
Andy: But, I mean, I was embarrassed by it. It becomes ... I don't want to be the guy that's hard to work with, right? But, technically, they're getting paid for their revisions, right? So, that's their job. But, will not sign off on something until I get ... It's a total feel thing.
Andy: So, I'll give you an example of my chemist, and my lab in Gardena, California. That's driving distance down from me in Los Angeles. We weren't on the same page on the emails with certain ingredients, and I had non-negotiable list, and when the ingredient tech came out, I went, "No, no, no, I told you non-negotiable, and these oils right here, how do we fix this?" We just weren't on the same page.
So, I drove down there, and you can imagine just sitting in a room with very, very accomplished chemists, people that work with very big names that everybody here's heard of. And, I just felt like driving down, face-to-face, paying them for their time, and going, "Look, this is my absolute baby. I don't care what it costs me, I will take a little hit in margin just to develop that one product. I need you all to be on the same page with me. Please."
I feel like that is what, just directly, I just want something that separates our brand from others. I don't want something that is gonna be the most cost-effective and profitable for us. I have four employees, I want the best product. You make something incredible, people will talk. You know what I mean? I heard Jeff Bezos mention that, years ago, on 60 Minutes. "When I didn't have a business, didn't have anything," he said, "we'll take a little hit on margin just to gain that trust as the one." And, look at Amazon. They're the one. I don't even know who their competitors are.
Geoff: Yeah. US government's, I think, the only thing stopping them. Right?
Andy: Right. No, but you know what I mean, though?
Geoff: Yeah, I know what you mean. And, I think, for myself, and it sounds like you also fully internalize it. I'm okay being a bit of dick on our quality, and what we actually want to do. It's like, just own it. That's what we want to do, we're gonna execute towards it. I think, in some ways, you just call out people that aren't aligned with you. If they're not down to play ball, it makes your life easier.
Andy: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Geoff: Like, "Do you really want to be like ding back and forth for the rest of your life, managing a supply chain?" Or, they tap themselves out, like, "Great."
Andy: Right. It's gotta be. I know, the face-to-face, it's gotta be there. It's a total feel thing. This is a connection that will, hopefully, be decades long. Right? And, that's what I needed it to be. Now, with my night cream, body lotion, serums, and moisturizer, this is something where, like you said, with the beehives and things like that, I did the same thing up in North shore Oahu, in Haleiwa, and I met this such a sweet family that holistically raises their hive products.
They explained how the bees forage on this flower, and they feed them avocados, almonds, cranberries, and different beautiful flowers that are just abundant on that particular part of the island. But, just watching their face light up, and tasting their propolis, I knew that was it. I knew it, as far as my base, 'cause I'm so fascinated with bee products, just molecularly from a standpoint that they're still finding out more, and more. And, just the healing, internal, external, properties of what they're capable of.
Geoff: That's all that actually matters. Just for folks out there, who might be like, "Oh, isn't honey just honey?"
Geoff: I was just literally tasting avocado tree honey, versus pine tree honey, versus eucalyptus tree honey. It's not bullshit.
Geoff: They're literally different colors, different tastes, different textures to it.
Geoff: So, it stands to reason, there's different chemical properties to the ratios there.
Andy: Which one was your favorite?
Geoff: My favorite honey? Hmm. I kind of like ... One anecdote that was interesting, so for pine honey, it's one of the rarest, because it's a two insect process. Pine don't have flowering plants. So, how pine honey's created is aphids will drink the sap of pine-
Geoff: And, then, the bees, apparently, pick up the excreted sugar from the aphids backs.
Geoff: And, then, turn it to honey.
Andy: Wow. So, they basically catch them landed or mid-flight, and cherry pick their own-
Geoff: Excreted sugar crystals.
Geoff: It's like, "Oh, that's interesting."
Andy: You know how small those are? That excretion's gotta be microscopic, almost, for them to be able to carry that around. Wow.
Geoff: I was like, "Hmm. That's interesting." So, we'll find pine honey out there. It's apparently quite rare.
Andy: Yeah, I've never seen it.
Geoff: I liked avocado honey. It was very ... Avocado's good.
Andy: Yeah, eucalyptus is mine. Or, manuka. Just a thick, rich, amber color. Has a different caramel taste to it, but also just the thick ... Just the activity that I would feel and see on my scarring area. I knew that had to be a part of at least one of my products.
Geoff: What's the story behind royal jelly? So, royal jelly is this special form of honey that-
Andy: Excreted by the queen bee, right?
Geoff: Or, you feed a baby female this royal jelly, then they turn into a queen.
Geoff: This is interesting. I was learning a little bit about physiology. So, when the hive detects that a queen is aging, they will start forming new candidate queens. Literally, their bubble is the hive is fat and bigger. The first queen that hatches kills all the other candidate queens. Literally stings them to death.
Andy: No way.
Geoff: And, then it flies up, and then have a bunch of drones, male bees. So every single honey bee is a sterile girl. And, then the drones come, and they impregnate the queen, and they all die. And then, this queen has a bunch of store semen to lay 10,000 eggs.
Andy: Wow. Yeah.
Geoff: And, then they continue going.
Andy: Learned something new right there, that's amazing.
Geoff: Yeah. It sounds like you had interesting experimentation, also, with your nutrition. How'd you get into deer placenta, kidney smoothies. Tell me about that.
Andy: I met with three different Chinese herbalists in Los Angeles. One was really focusing on the blood building standpoint, 'cause with your jaw being wired shut, you need to get optimal nutrition in from building that blood. The whole philosophy of revitalizing the system, from the standpoint of using adipogenic herbs, Ayurvedic herbs, medicinal mushrooms, amino acids. I would make these tonics, right? Of, one by one, just through my picking brains, I became a sponge. I would go to the tonic bar at Air One, and these guys who have years and years of education, Truth Calkings, Crosby Ware, Sage Dammers, George from Jing Herbs, Ron from Dragon Herbs, Ron Teagarden ...
These are people that are just very well versed in the Chinese philosophy of revitalizing the system from the inside out. So, finding out about herbs, things like helichrysum, schisandra, he shou wu, gynostemma, building my blood ... I felt my system come back quicker, at a cellular level, through dealing with that when I couldn't chew foods, so I really need to supplement as well as possible. That's when certain things like the colostrum, building up my gut bacteria, but also getting some good fat enzymes and protein content, as well, from that.
Geoff: If you're drinking Bulletproof coffee, you're also getting MCT oils-
Geoff: Grass fed butter.
Andy: Chocolate powder, as well. I was putting a little cayenne in there.
Andy: For a little thermo genic affect. Not that I needed to burn fat at the time, I was losing a lot of weight, but it also added a little kick to it, as well. It tasted good. A little stevia, gelatinized maca, and tribulus, I would add to that coffee.
Andy: So, I would have my morning tonic, that was full of herbs and amino acids. I would wait 40 minutes for that to absorb, and then I would have my Bulletproof coffee to really help drive those nutrients into my body, my blood.
Geoff: It actually ended up being a fairly low-carb diet that you were on.
Andy: Yes. And, if any carbs. That's what I'd have in the morning, and so that's what-
Geoff: So, basically, like ketogenic-
Andy: Yes, but I didn't even know anything about that at the time. I'm still getting a little bit more familiar with that, but it was technically an intermittent fast, as well.
Andy: Because, that's all I was having in the morning as a consumable food, or drink in this case. But, it was just I used for fuel throughout the day, because I couldn't chew.
Andy: And, things like his Brain Octane oil. It nourished the system, and got some good fats in the system, as well, from medium chain triglycerides that are in his octane. But, with not chewing, I kind of rocked myself into the diet that I'm on now, but now I can chew, I'll basically go through a 16 or 17 hour intermittent fast, every day.
Andy: Have a big meal around 2:00 p.m. A lighter, softer protein meal, after I work out at around 7:00 or 8:00 p.m., and then I'll do it all over again. That's where I've seen the best energy, watch my body tighten up, shrink wrap up a little bit. And, I'm just lighter on my feet. My belly button's closer to my spine. I'm not really having my stomach bark at me from having, back in the days, when I'd have the big breakfast of quinoa, sweet potato, oatmeal. I just would be bloated until noon. I really like this right now, but-
Geoff: Yeah, our community, we're big into intermittent fasting. I think it really resonates, and I think Bulletproof has done a good job just educating people around ketogenic diets, ketosis. I mean, I think a large sub-demographic of our listeners are experimenting with ketogenic diets. Probably using MCT oils, [kerpilic 00:42:14] acid, brain octane.
Geoff: We have a ketone ester, you can just eat ketones directly. I think it is this interesting burgeoning of how people are looking to be smarter about what they input, not into their bodies, but also folks like yourself, what they can put onto their bodies.
Geoff: Which, in some ways, is also input into your body, as we were just talking about.
Andy: It became a full-on addiction to get the most nutrient dense assortment of foods into my system.
Andy: So, I'm talking, with a liver being incredibly rich in vitamin A, but also a full spectrum B vitamin. Just from a regenerative standpoint. When I could start chewing, don't get me wrong, to the audience out there, liver's not the best tasting food, by any means. But, I just felt invigorated every time I ate it.
Geoff: Did you not care about taste?
Andy: I really don't.
Geoff: I don't really care about taste, either.
Andy: Purely for the performance aspect.
Geoff: But, I appreciate good food.
Andy: Me, too.
Geoff: I'm sure you, also, enjoy the Michelin star meal, as well.
Andy: Oh, absolutely. Gary Denko.
Geoff: I have not been to Gary Denko. But, I think, for me, I enjoy the nice dining experience, but I think a lot of time, if I'm just looking to get really nutrient-dense fuel to power my day.
Andy: Right. What are some of your go-to's?
Geoff: Yeah, I do a lot of intermittent fasting. I'll do a weekly 36, 24 to 36 hour fast. Usually on Tuesdays, just to extend out the fast, get into ketosis.
Geoff: Generate your own ketone bodies. And, usually I'm pretty tight eating eating windows, as well.
Andy: But, what do you consume in that 24 to 36 hour fast?
Geoff: Just water.
Andy: Bone broth? Nothing? Nothing?
Andy: Just water?
Andy: Okay. How are the moods on that?
Geoff: I'm pretty adapted towards fasting, so my ketones elevate pretty quickly.
Andy: Like they give you a rush. Is that-
Geoff: Yeah, so, I'll get to 1.0 minimal, pretty quickly now.
Andy: Mineral water? Or, just what kind?
Geoff: Sometimes I'll have sparkling water, or water, if I really, really feel hungry for something. I'll have some black coffee, or black tea, as a crutch, caffeine is a natural appetite suppressant.
Andy: Right. Okay.
Geoff: I've also been playing around with using ketone ester as a fasting adjunct. So, the notion there is that, as you're fasting, you run through your glycogen reserves, right?
Geoff: Lower, and lower blood sugar. Your body hasn't caught up with keto adaptation, or ketogenesis, yet.
Geoff: So, you have this brain energy metabolism deficit, if you have low sugar and low ketones at the same time. That's why you feel foggy and tired.
Andy: Depleted, yeah.
Geoff: So, if you can just bump your ketones really, really quickly, while you're fasting, you feel really good.
Andy: Through the ester that you have. What ester do you use?
Geoff: Well, it's a proprietary ester, D-Beta hydroxy butyrate-
Andy: Yes, that's really good.
Geoff: And, it came from a [inaudible 00:45:08] program to enhance soldier performance.
Geoff: The program was called Metabolic Dominance: Can We Make Our Soldier's Metabolism More Effective On Multi-Day Missions Than Other Soldiers Around the World?
Geoff: So, our research partner's at University of Oxford, NIH, synthesized these consumable ketones. And, long story short, I pulled together the IP and started manufacturing at scale.
Andy: Yeah. Nice.
Andy: That's huge. I mean, it makes sense for cognitive function, and also from a metabolism standpoint, and staying in shape. From a soldier's standpoint, that's when they need it the most. Man, that's ... I don't know too much about it, but I'm getting more into it. I get some packets from certain companies every now and then, it's basically beta hydroxy-
Geoff: Yeah, beta hydroxy butyrate, BHB, is the main ketone body. I think one of the good things that, I think, Bulletproof has done with brain octane is kerpilic acid, it's like an eight carbon-chain fatty acid. And, that's one of the best fats that convert into ketones.
Geoff: And, then there's other technologies, like ketone salts, like beta hydroxy butyrate salts, which are more on the market, which is separate from an ester. Which, we have the world's first ester version of beta hydroxy butyrate, which is just a much more potent form.
Andy: I have to try some of your product.
Geoff: Yeah, I think, that's what I was actually gonna ask you. Were there biometrics that you were measuring as you were doing this? I think, one of the cool things with our ester is that you can do a finger stick. In 30 minutes, we can show you, in your blood, in your ketones elevate, and your glucose drop, which is interesting from a metabolic control perspective. So, I'm just curious, if you were in the ICU or the hospital, were doctors measuring your markers? "Whoa, your markers are changing more quickly than we would expect." Or-
Andy: No, they weren't. Once I left the hospital, I had that initial blood work. I didn't go back and get my blood work done at that time, a second time. I should've. Man, I really wish I would have.
Geoff: It would have been interesting to see the data perspective. But, clearly, subjectively, qualitatively, you were feeling-
Andy: Oh, incredible. I was back running canyon sprints four weeks after the accident, with my jaw still wired shut-
Geoff: And broken ribs.
Andy: Yeah, with broken ribs, and just a huge nasty scar right here, here, here, back of my head. They're all over. But, when you have-
Geoff: That's not normal, right? Like, what's the typical recovery rate. To have someone with broken ribs, and running hill sprints, I mean ... I would say I'm amateurly getting into more running, and stuff, but hill sprints just suck, in general.
Geoff: Coming off of broken ribs-
Andy: Yeah, it's an incline.
Andy: So, there wasn't a ton of pounding on my lower back and knees.
Andy: So, I had that. But, yeah. And, also, just extremely motivated and excited. There's something there to generate those endorphins back, and obviously you're in the middle of working out, and just being able to do something that was taken away from you. That felt incredible. But, yeah, from a regenerative standpoint, I'm telling you, I didn't miss a day. I stayed, in those four weeks leading up to that first sprint of running canyon, every hour of the day, had a purpose. I didn't miss days. I didn't miss supplement intake from my morning tonics, coffees, my masks. I was purely focused on accelerating my recovery, and staying extremely consistent with that diligence of doing that routine.
Geoff: Yeah. Do you know what that is? I think I've spoken to endurance athletes. I'm wearing a Spartan hat, 'cause we're hanging out with the Spartan Race CEO. It sounds like you have that cut from the same cloth. I don't know. The Spartan Race CEO was talking about how when he goes on hikes, he just carries a 40 pound boulder, and he just walks up the hike. That's just what he does.
Andy: Right. It-
Geoff: That's not normal. I think you ... That's just me. I just do that. Where you think that's from?
Andy: So, it-
Geoff: Well, for you. Yeah, you were broken, but all intents and purposes, and you're just, "All right, I'm gonna run hill sprints for four weeks straight, every single day." That is more intense than a lot of healthy people. Often, probably, a lot of professional athletes aren't as-
Andy: It's purely from something that was instilled back when I was 14 years old, from an athletic standpoint, of the fear of being outworked.
Andy: And, so, one of my high school coaches was an ex major league baseball player, and he took me aside and he said, "Look, you have a chance. You have potential." Well, potential just means you haven't done it yet. And, so, he instilled this fear of being outworked. He's like, "Look, you have the size, speed, arm strength, and hitting ability to move on to the next level."
To get that type of validation, from an ex major leaguer who had done it, there was so much negativity around the area of, "Oh, you're never gonna get a scholarship." And, I'm like, "Nah, I just believe that I did." And, then, to have him, an ex major league baseball player, tell me that I had a chance to do that, but here's what you have to do, I was blown away at the fact that a major leaguer believed in me that much, but also, I just listened to everything that he did. I would leave football practice, or basketball practice, and then hit with him after, just until my hands bled. And, then, after that, I would go across the street to Stanford University ... Remember those jump soles, the strength shoes, that forced you to be on the balls of your feet?
Geoff: Yeah, okay.
Andy: Really strengthened and lengthened your achilles tendon, in hope that you'd be more explosive, and jump higher and run faster ... I bought those-
Geoff: It's like weird heels, basically.
Andy: Right, exactly. They looked terrible. I would do ... Every day, three a days, I would go home, I became obsessed.
Geoff: You're a beast. You're doing three-a-day workout.
Andy: Three at 14, and then 15, but then results started to come. I got invited to the Junior Olympics, made that team, was the youngest player on the area code team, made that team. One of the top 150 players in the country. You're seeing the results of your hard work, and I became addicted to that, and then I ultimately ended up getting that scholarship. But, that is the recipe that basically built that, is through extreme focus, discipline and work ethic. At that age, when I'm growing into my body, and then to see those, when combined, and then knocking down a goal that you set out for yourself, at an age. Remember The Secret, how writing things down, and hopefully that'll come to fruition?
Andy: But, this was ... I was doing that before I'd ever even seen that movie. I mean, I just had this obsessive visualization and intrinsic motivation, from within, of just absolute dire to succeed.
Andy: That hasn't left. You can take that from ... That's embedded-
Geoff: I believe, once you have it, you can apply that to almost any domain. Like, you're applying this to business, and other fields now.
Andy: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Geoff: I almost want more and more people to find that for themselves, right? 'Cause, I feel like, so many people ... You might say, "Why is he trying so hard?" Or, "Why are they so obsessed with something?" But, I think that's believe, your passion, you're excited about this. And, I feel like, so many people in this world aren't. They don't have that. And, it's like, I see it's almost sad that people never get switched on to anything.
Andy: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Geoff: They're just kind of going through the motions with their ... And some people need to have a nine to five to pay their bills, and all of that, I understand that, but just finding something that just turns them on, where you can be obsessed with ... I wish everyone in the world had that, right? I think we'd be in a much more happier, productive, excited society.
Andy: Absolutely. I have a question for you. How do you do that? I have a friend, so he just, purely through doodling, and just comes up with a perfect Mickey Mouse head. I saw it from just a pen, and piece of paper. I'm telling you, it's almost like he traced it, but he didn't.
Andy: And, I went, "Whoa, what's that?" And, so, long story short, I printed out a three by five Google image of a lion. I love lions. He's like, "Well, if you make it bigger, it gets a lot better with the detail." So, he made a 24 by 36 painting of that Google image printout that is breathtaking. By hand. He had just doodled it.
Andy: It was in his head. But, he had no idea ... Do you think that's a validation thing? It is unbelievable. Everybody walks into my house, sees that, goes, "Oh, my god. What is it?"
Geoff: He's like artistic savant, but he just never-
Andy: It was his first painting he'd ever done.
Andy: Yeah. I gotta show you. I'll show you this, it is unbelievable. And, it all just came ... Some people are so gifted, but it just take ... So, what do you do? Do you ... I've had people just pull up a guitar, and go, "Nyah, I'm screwing ... Self-taught guitar player.
Andy: I mean, I took guitar at Saint Mary's, got a C minus, and I studied it, and I was instructed, and I still didn't barely pass ... For some reason, I needed that last unit, so I took guitar. But, this guy ... There's some people that are just, I mean, it just amazes me, basically, with the gifts that we have, and that some people don't tap into. That breaks my heart. It's just like you said, I wish ... So, what do you do? How would ... My friend, not to say that he needed that validation, but what if he never got it? 'Cause, now, he's taken that and rolling with it. I will give him little images, and see if he can get certain other things, like, I want to get a picture of my mom, back when she won something.
Andy: Not a prom, but a derby contestant or something like that. That's a newspaper cutout. I guarantee he nails it.
Andy: It's mind blowing how gifted this guy is. So, with that said, how do you ever take that first step towards spending time on these things that exciting you so much, and you're so passionate about? What do you do? It's tough, 'cause some people just don't have the inner motivation to do so.
Andy: I don't know.
Geoff: I think there's some luck and circumstance where you have ... I think, structurally, in our society, a lot of our best time is focused on paying bills. I think if you were just soul crushed by doing something that you don't really like to be able to afford your house, and get food on the table, then you can't have energy and motivation to actually pursue your craft. But, I think, it feels like, with the escalation of artificial intelligence, robotics automation, that people will have to make that transition. Like, the menial jobs will disappear.
Andy: Oh, I see what you're saying.
Geoff: I'm actually kind of curious how that all shakes out. I mean, the dystopic future's like, yeah, a lot of people are just straight up useless, and they just can't even offer anything to society. But, I think a more positive spin to it is that, we should directly have more abundance if there's more automation. Just has subsistence-level livelihoods for everyone, and can you actually use that now more time and energy to pursue your crafts?
Geoff: But, I think a lot of it comes down to us as a society, like what we value, and what we want to reward. That's part of capitalism. You've got to create a service or an offering that people want to pay their resources for.
Geoff: So, I think, in terms of just someone who's listening, it's not sufficient to have just the talents. Also, how do you channel that talent in a way that offers value to another human being that they'll pay you money for? I think it's like, okay, talent, skill, and then what are economic channels to create a feedback loop. Right? If you're just super awesome at crushing cans on your forehead, you're the best in the world at it, no one's gonna pay you money for it, then there's no feedback loop to actually make this scalable, right? But, for you, you ended up making possibly one of the best facial products out there, and there's actually an economic vehicle for you to capture value, and then double down, and improve the product, improve, improve, improve, right?
Geoff: So, basically, finding a passion and then finding a flywheel-
Geoff: Economic flywheel to double down into it, I think is the one two combination that people need to find.
Andy: Right. I did need good feedback, though. So, in the two years of formulating, and my beta testing, it wasn't directed as a beta testing moment.
Andy: This was purely sharing my little creation with friends, and friends of friends, for years. But, that was fine-tuning. I was tinkering. I had too much kelp powder, I had too much ascorbic acid. Maybe I needed to add something else to make it lay smoother on the face, and that's where the ginseng came in. Little did I know, that's when I did my research and I was testing the product. But, then, all I wanted was some type of feedback, maybe a little picture. This is back 2011, '12, when Facebook wasn't what it is now, I definitely didn't have a following. But, I had some people and little likes here and there, I'd be in my ... I moved everything out of my bedroom into my living room, made my bedroom this little lab, and I had a little mud mixer from Home Depot. I would just take pictures.
That got the community involved, and it was kind of a little creative outlet for me, but also getting that feedback from people in that testing provided validation. I guess I'm wired a little different, too, because some people didn't like it in the beginning. I had a lot of aestheticians tell me, "I'm sorry, honey, that smells awful." And, I'm like, "Ugh, all right. Well, thanks for having me." One aesthetician's son got beet red, and broke out. And, I'm like, "Oh, no." And, she's like, "Honey, I love your story, but your product needs work." I'm like, "All right," but I just didn't stop. I kind of diluted certain areas that I needed to, as far as like pulling out some ascorbic acid, 'cause I wasn't ... Now it's down to the decimal point as far as formula percentages. But, I didn't stop on the negative feedback.
Geoff: That's important.
Andy: But, the positive poured gas on that little fire, and turned into an inferno. I'm one of those, I'm a big feel person, as far as, just needing that momentum, and riding people's good feedback. And, then, to ultimately go, "Hey, I do have something here. I'm not crazy with my own reactions and response to this mask that I had made-
Geoff: I think it's good insight. But, I think someone's who's earlier on the path of exploration here, when someone said, "No, this is not working. Broke out my son's skin." Why power through that? Were there thoughts around, "I'm just crazy. I'm not a professional aesthetician. Why do I know more?" What powered you through? Was it just, "I believe, and I know, and I can make it work. I can take the feedback and tweak it, and fix it."
Andy: That was the stage, the initial stage, of taking it from a hobby to, possibly, getting people to use it in their practice.
Andy: That was tough, because of the first couple who said no. But, I stuck with it, because I knew that my friend's feedback was incredible. I still had people that were willing to pay for it, and willing to use it, and actually addicted to it, needing it.
Andy: That felt so good to me, it's like making a meal for people. Have people give you that type of feedback to a meal that you made, that was enough. Your artistic creation, it just felt great. That got me past the initial failure of going, "I'm sorry, it's just not there, yet." I stuck with it, and for about six months, eight months. But, I would post, and then MedSpa reached out to me, well MedSpa owner, who's a friend of mine on Facebook, and goes, "I keep seeing you post about this masque. I gotta try it."
Geoff: Yeah, "Let me try this."
Andy: So, I drove down to San Diego, Mary Halls, bless her heart, Alvarado Skin Institute, right there in La Mesa. She gave me a chance. She loved it, and now she started trying it out on a couple trusted customers, in the hopes of they were gonna take it on. And, so, they loved it, too ... You know what I mean? They took it on-
Geoff: So, you punched through the initial setbacks.
Geoff: 'Cause you were persistent.
Andy: I was persistent. Well, I'd be lying-
Geoff: You also adapted.
Andy: I adapted to it, and adjusted certain things.
Geoff: Adjusted. You fixed your problems.
Andy: I definitely listened to their feedback. Like, "Look, you may want to tone ... The aesthetician's were explaining that acidity was too high from the ascorbic acid, and then the kelp powder was a little earthy from a scent standpoint. So, I had to pull that back. I listened, and made adjustments, and kept pushing forward. And, months later, here we are, they're using my treatment and they're charging a lot for it, which is-
Geoff: You converted it.
Andy: Still no name. Still, no name. Nutrient dense clay-
Geoff: And, it's your stuff now.
Geoff: That's awesome.
Andy: Thank you. That initial victory is what pushed me forward. I think I would have kept going, though, 'cause I think I just knew what it did for me.
Andy: If I just had a following, small people that loved something I made, to have something I could call my own, that was priceless.
Andy: You know? It's out there. Just like you said, man, it would be so heartwarming to have people ... I breathe different now. That's my thing. It's my thing. I have something to call my own, and I know what I put into it, and I cannot tell you ... I wake up different. There's not that fear of, "What's gonna happen today? I need to do this." It's like I have so much control to be able to live ... I don't mean to sound cheesy, I just love what I do, man.
Geoff: No, nope. I think it's inspiring. We need more people, like yourself, I think, just showing examples of punching through a lot of adversity, right? Shit, if I got hit by a car, maybe I'd be depressed, like a lot of people, I think, just depressed or broken. You turned that, as fuel, for a product, and you bring that to people. Some people shoot it down, you rolled with it, again, learned, adapt, fix it, come back, and now you won them over. I think a bit part of it is having the core first 10, first 100 true believers. I think that probably was a big anchor for you.
Geoff: And, I think it's for us, too. You have to find a supportive group. Not just because they like you, but actually believe in what you're doing. And I think that is a feeling that sustains us.
Andy: Oh, absolutely. The tribe, the group of people that have been there from the beginning. I still have them from just the support, the beautiful emails. I gave out my personal email address when I didn't have the site up, I went, "If anybody has any questions, contact me." I mean, Dave had 16 million downloads on his podcast-
Geoff: You got spammed like crazy.
Andy: It was so fun, though. You're living, you're just like, this is all I've ever ... It's the most exciting point in my life, period.
Andy: And, those people are still there. They're my family. They've watched this come from grassroots to where it is now, from the ground up, and I do not take that for granted at all. I still reach out, and treat them like family.
Andy: And, that control and that ability to just directly conversate and give back and forth to your customers, and show them that, and personally, from me, that's so rare these days. I love doing it. It's a way to stand out. My whole staff, they know everything's time sensitive, gotta have a sense of urgency, and just treat them like gold. They'll still stay with you forever.
Geoff: Yeah. What's the best entry point to discover and learn more about your story and your products?
Andy: Sure, it's alituranaturals.com. That's A-L-I-T-U-R-A-N-A-T-U-R-A-L-S dot com. And, just for the record, I didn't explain the name. It's Latin for feeding and nourishing. That's alitura is Latin for feeding and nourishing, your skin being your largest organ, you want to treat it like another mouth. It's me, and we're a smaller brand right now, but we're growing, and we are happy to answer any questions. I love what I do. To people out there, I encourage you to pay attention to the things that excite you.
Andy: And, the impact that we've had is pretty heartwarming, so far. Oh, and then, we have a discount code for you and your following. It's just gonna be H.V.M.N., those four letters, and it's 20% off the entire store. So, if you have any questions, please reach out. I love this. And, I really appreciate you having me on, Geoff.
Geoff: No, absolutely appreciate your story. I mean ... If I were to come on, what would you recommend? What's the starter intro package?
Andy: Absolutely, I would go with Ultimate Skincare Package.
Andy: That's a clay mask, it's our daytime moisturizer, and our night cream. Basically the clay mask to recondition, and cleanse the skin. The moisturizer to hydrate throughout the day, and then the night cream to repair and hydrate night. And, the most important time to do so, while you sleep, while you're in one position. That would be my go-to. The gold serum's out ... Yeah, I have to send you guys a package, there's a lot of good things going on right now. It's exciting.
Geoff: All right. Alituranaturals.com, code "H.V.M.N." at check-out. Cheers.
Andy: Thank you, so much, for having me.
Andy: That was fun.
Geoff: And, then, as always, appreciate the feedback and, really, just the loyalty and support that you guys show us. We've opened up an email hotline for all you podcast listeners, firstname.lastname@example.org. Both Zhill, our producer, and I read every single one of those emails. And, we had a nice flood of responses over the last week. To give you a reminder on what that is, just give us a review on iTunes, take a screenshot of it, and send it over to email@example.com, and we'll hook you up with a free Sprint Mini bottle. Sprint is our acute nootropic that helps you get into flow state, but regardless of the review or the free Sprint Mini, I just, and Zhill, just enjoys your feedbacks and comments. It helps us improve the program, get the right content, and it keeps us motivated to do a good job on this program. Appreciate it, thank you so much, and talk to you soon!
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any feedback, questions, and guest suggestions! Write a review for us on iTunes, let us know via email, and we'll send you a free Sprint Mini.
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