This was originally a Facebook Live video.
Today we sit down for a conversation with Chris Thowe and Kyle FitzGerald, Co-Founders of Life Equals.
First off, thanks for tuning in today and checking out our story. We’re excited to get in front of the wall and share the background of where we started and where we’re going.
Share how you got started and what inspired you to start Life Equals?
“I’m assuming this isn’t a feature length film with two hours, so we’re going to try to keep this a little bit shorter than the full story.”
“As we are all growing up we think we know what we’re going to do – so we go to college, get the four year degree, then we fit in this little box, and everything goes according to plan. Sometimes though life just doesn’t work out that way. We felt compelled to do something bigger than just have a “job” and work for a big corporate company. We needed something that we were passionate about and we could actually build something from the ground up. I was lucky enough to meet Chris and we became best friends with the same vision in mind.”
“We started the Life Equals brand in 2011 with our first product being a supplement that focused on energy. Focus & Energy is an encapsulated product that gives you a natural source of energy from herbs and amino acids. I can’t drink coffee because I’m super sensitive to caffeine. I thought this was a product many Americans could use without using caffeine.”
“Kyle came to me with this idea and I knew this was the product that could make a difference. I was a graphic designer by trade so Kyle knew I would would able to brand the product and create something beautiful. We cut our teeth for years selling in the Kansas City area.”
“We actually started selling in stores without business cards or anything. Now looking back I was ill prepared but I knew we had a product that was needed. Chris has a strong background in this area and I knew together we could make this work.”
“From that one product we grew into a line of 10 different dietary supplements, mostly capsules in bottles. Being in stores like Whole Foods we talked to many doctors, dietitians, and health coaches. They all said the same thing, people didn’t need another multivitamin, they needed an easy way to get their patients and clients to eat more fruits and veggies every day.”
“That is so basic and how could that be a problem? But after hearing from many professionals in the health field it was a problem, a big one.”
“You’re supposed to get a five servings of fruits and vegetables every single day and according to the CDC, most people are getting only half of that recommendation.”
“So we thought, what could we do to solve that problem? What could we provide that contained real food in a unadulterated, really pure organic way to people?”
“That’s when the idea for Balance the Superfood Shot was born.”
“It’s been night and day. As an entrepreneur, oftentimes you feel like you’re wandering around in the dark and you don’t know what the hell is going on. The day that we figured out Balance and started making these beautiful little shots was like flipping on the lights in a dark room and all of a sudden we knew exactly where we’re going. The response was totally different and overwhelming from the medical community and our customers. They all knew how much this product was needed.”
“It’s been really cool to have that happen.”
“We’ve talked about this a lot with each other. We launched a product that has been live for two years now. It really hit home because even though we’re in this supplement world, we’re selling these vitamin products online, around Kansas City, and in wholesale location we still struggled on a daily basis to get our own recommended daily servings as well. And we run a health company? So here’s the irony. That’s essentially why we came up with Balance. With our family life and being busy professionals we know the struggle to get in those fruits and veggies while on the go. Balance the Superfood Shot is super simple and basically eliminates any barrier possible to get your daily allotment.”
“As you’re building something it’s kind of like your baby, right?”
“But what if someone thinks it’s ugly and then what am I going to do?”
“These thoughts ran through my mind as we were launching.”
“We knew this was an amazing product that could solve the problem of Americans getting enough fruits and veggies in their diet but as humans we still had those fears and doubt.”
“But was I going to stay in my fort and hide until this idea was absolutely perfect?”
“Nope, That’s ridiculous.”
“We did it with our supplements and then we did it again with Balance. We were proud to get into the Whole Food Market, which was a huge validator. Another validator and, even more important, was as my kids became old enough to consume Balance, they liked it! When we first launched my son, Oscar, was two and now he’s four and a half. To see him really love it was priceless. Kids generally don’t love what their parents love so now if I want to drink one I have to hide it from him or he will try to slug the whole bottle.”
“It was really cool to have real validation from real human beings that loved it. We are taking our idea on the road!”
“It’s not really just ours anymore. This is a super conceivable thing that people should be able to get real food in a convenient way without all the extra crap. Chris and I have remained best friends through all of this. I think it helps that our wives get along. It makes running this business so much easier and it’s been really fun. I don’t think most people have as much fun at their jobs as we do so I’m so glad this is what we get to do. It’s been such an amazing journey building this and having an amazing team to help us make a difference in this world.”
Want to watch the video?