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After a year of being chained to our desks and drinking wine…I mean…coffee…on Zoom instead of out in the wild, many of us are dealing with reopening anxiety, work-life balance and the inevitable quest to look fit again after a year of lockdown.
But, why do we want all these things?
We are ready to feel normal again. Sane again.
I interviewed several founders, entrepreneurs and C-suite executives who have created products and movements to help us feel more sane right now, or at least as fast as we can hit “Apple Pay.”
In excitement (as usual), I present to you, in no particular order, the entrepreneurial ventures of 15 founders on a mission.
Founded by Zak Williams, son of Robin Williams, PYM is a “Mood Chew” that claims to reduce depression, increase clarity and provide an overall sense of lightness. The chews have GABA, L-theanine and Rhodiola. “Our customer testimonials drive me forward every day,” Williams says. “And the main thing that we’re hearing consistently is that this is a transformative experience for people. Our product is most effective for those with amino acid deficiencies. [Taking it’ flips on a light switch that allows customers to say, ‘Oh wow, I can actually feel this good?’”
2. We’re Not Really Strangers
In a collaboration with Diane von Furstenberg, We’re Not Really Strangers created a card deck that’s the opposite of Cards Against Humanity. Each card probes deep into your soul to help you get to know the No. 1 hero in your life…you. This brand is an excellent example of how far collaborations with other creators can take you.
3. Wknd Nation
More than just an athleisure brand, Wknd Nation creates stylish clothes you can wear while working at home or (gasp) out to dinner event. The imagery on the website shows the clothes on models who are size S, L and XXL.
When I spoke to the founders, Sofia Karvela and Phuong Ireland, they said, “We want the actual women who purchase our clothes to be represented on our website. We don’t even look at follower count on our influencers, we want real women, doing real jobs, who love our clothes.”
Related: How to See Beyond Your Past When Creating a Business
4. Sky Ting
Founded by yogis Chloe Kernaghan and Krissy Jones, Sky Ting is an online community and yoga channel that offers a wide variety of classes including heat-building yoga, restorative yoga and meditation. The founders shared that even as dedicated yogis, their lives became laptop-driven as soon as the pandemic hit. They suggest taking the pressure off and trying to get in some small movement throughout the day. Taking a 15-minute yoga class once or twice during the day is much more manageable to your brain than a 60-minute break. Even these flexible founders get it (pun intended).
Can you imagine not having to venture out into the world to see if you’re healthy? Of course you can, it’s the dream… especially when you’re concerned about others’ health as well. That’s why Peter Foley created LetsGetChecked, which offers Covid-19 tests (among dozens of others) that you can take privately from home.
These tests provide real lab results and can be picked up directly from your doorstep, reducing anxiety and providing real medical clarity. The cortisol stress test might be an interesting one for all entrepreneurs to test out…nudge, nudge.
Related: 41 Small Businesses to Support at the End and Beginning of the Year
6. Simple Human
You wouldn’t think a trash can could create such peace of mind, but the Simple Human Sensor Can, which opens when you walk by, might actually make you feel like you can control one or two things in your life. It also reduces the amount of trash runs you make during a work-from-home day, and who doesn’t need that? Simple Human’s team is making simple products that make your life easier, so you can change other humans’ lives. (That’s what it’s all about, folks!)
7. Freq Rituals
Founded by long-time mastermind goer and leader Andrew Crowder, Freq is an actual tangible product line that supports manifestation. Crowder made a spray, bath salts and an elixir that use NLP techniques and frequencies so you can make bank, and smell good too. These products are not only gorgeous but also seem to work on bringing in the (tofu) bacon, too.
The O3Waterworks Sanitizing Spray Bottle is an innovative on-demand household sanitizer that turns everyday tap water into a non-toxic, chlorine-free and alcohol-free cleaner — a safer alternative to the countless cleaning products stowed under your sink. This technology reduces waste and keeps you healthy, so you can keep moving at the speed of light.
9. Classic Six
This wardrobe mixes and mingles in dozens of different ways, eliminating one cause of suffering: having no clue what to wear or jumping on a Zoom call after a walk and realizing you look a little disheveled. I got the blazer from this collection and keep it at my desk so I actually look like I run my business when I hop on Zoom, Teams or any of the video platforms we all live on now.
10. Mushroom Design
Everything Mushroom Design creates, including packaging, is carbon neutral or carbon-negative. Its products use the healing power of mushrooms to increase immunity and overall bodily functions.
Related: Startup CEOs Crave Venture Capital, Not Crowdsourcing
The first-ever patented, nontoxic pest control brand, EarthKind provides naturally effective plant-based solutions to keep pests away without killing or poisoning them. Its mission is to protect the home we all share. In the decade since it was founded, this women-owned company has sold 50 million units of its popular rodent repellent. It also makes products to repel ants, spiders and moths. Founder Kari Block’s entrepreneurial journey is beautifully chronicled in her new book, Gathering Around the Table.
12. The Good Ritual
Coffee pot, no more. This Australian coffee brand allows you to make lattes, iced coffees and more in under 30 seconds. Good Ritual’s products can also help boost your energy without the jitters, because like PYM, it uses L-Theanine to reduce the negative side effects of your multi-cup java habit.
13. Sakara Life
Sakara Life’s plant-based nutrition programs are shipped directly to your doorstep in sustainable packaging so you can eat well and nourish your body, even in the weeks when you forget your name. Sakara ships you delicious breakfasts, salads that don’t come in a bag (you know what I’m talking about) and nutrient-dense dinners for weeks when it’s just you burning the midnight oil. Sakara Life also supplies on-the-go functional snacks — including bars, nutritional granola and supplements — made from superfood ingredients.
A probiotic backed by science. The gut supports systemic health, and Seed has created a DS-01 Daily Synbiotic, which is a probiotic and a prebiotic in one very stylish and sustainable package. If you’re ready to lose that “Zoom tube” I mentioned in paragraph one, look no further than a healthy gut to start.
Want to be “Berry Calm?” Sunwink wants to help you. This company makes super clean plant-powered sparkling tonics and superfood powders for everyday wellness. If it’s time to up your nutrient intake, you might want to swap your sparkling water habit with Sunwink’s tonics, which can add a balance to your work routine without all the extra steps and vitamin packets, if you aren’t into that type of thing.
There are likely thousands if not tends of thousands of other entrepreneurs on a similar mission: Bring back moments of sanity to those of us brave enough to innovate and pave the way for future-preneurs. I salute those founders I’ve had the pleasure of researching, and those whom I hope to meet in the future, as this journey isn’t easy. In fact, entrepreneurship is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but there’s no better way to find out who you are, how far you can go and what you can accomplish than to become your own boss. Even if it’s temporarily.
Let’s get a little sane, and support one another while doing it by showing the true colors of this journey, not just the highlight reels online.