Click below for full Q&A.
JJ, how are you? Thanks for taking the time out to answer some questions.
Hey Nuno, I’m doing really good man. I can’t complain at all and of course! Thank you for this opportunity.
I’m hitting you up to talk about your line PlantsBasically, and health in general. What’s the simplest way you can describe the PlantsBasically product to someone who is not familiar with that world?
I always describe it as the medicinal plants that we lack in our modern-day lives. Wild plants contain deeper nutrition than store-bought produce even when organic, so it’s our goal to get these plants in an easy to use form (tinctures, teas, powders) and get them in peoples diet again to eat the way we were, are designed to or at least as close we can get to hunter-gather cultures. Typically called herbalism or herbal supplements.
What led you down this path of starting this endeavor?
Well growing up I’ve always had a curiosity towards what’s natural for humans and it wasn’t until I hurt my back that I was forced to change and seek out a way to heal my injury. From there I’ve developed a deep passion for natural health and was taking a lot of these herbs during my recovery. At that time I was sharing my experience on Instagram and people would ask me what I would recommend for BMX so I decided to make a product based on active people and that’s when juicy joint was created, my first product of the line.
Jumping into a product line like this doesn’t happen everyday; much different than starting a softgoods brand for example. How does one go about getting a line like this off the ground? Talk to us about what the initial investment was like, recipe development, any hurdles you faced, and things like that.
Yes, definitely not a common thing in BMX haha! Well, typically you would have to start with thousands of dollars. I started with a small batch self-made with $100 which is rare. I had access to a commercial kitchen then moved to a factory once we grew enough to afford that. My wife is an N.D. (Naturopathic Doctor) and knows how to formulate supplements. So she helped me with the math side that I had not had too many experiences with.
So outside of being fortunate with starting small, another challenge is labeling. It’s very strict what’s okay when explaining what your product does. Even though it can positively influence your health the FDA doesn’t make claims lightly so you must comply with their guidelines and that’s a challenge. Licenses and running a supplement brand requires a lot that I had no idea before I started. It’s probably one of the hardest businesses to run as far as legalities.
What has been the most challenging aspect of PlantsBasically?
Probably just self-starting as a whole requires me to be everything at once. I need to learn and handle all aspects of the company which is good because it causes me to learn new things and grow, but also tiring because there is only so much one person can do.
Your partner and wife, Colleen. How crucial is her involvement?
Colleen is very busy as she’s a doctor so other than some random formulations when we release new products that’s about it… the rest is me. She helps with some questions I might have but she’s got a full plate as is with her career.
Pick one of your products (powder or elixir) and give us a break down of how it comes to life, from raw materials to packaging.
Berry Radical is a powder of dried herbs, fruits, and mushrooms. This is first formulated by percentage per ingredient then from there we taste test and dial in the flavors and then it gets sent into production. Then multiply the ingredients in large quantity, send it all through a mixer, then we fill the bottles, they get labeled there, packed and we pick it up and send it out here from home!
I assume that PlantsBasically is a fairly modest operation/business, but how has growth been since you first started?
We are still small and focused on quality and growth at the same time. Its been growing each year since we have started early 2017. We have plans to do our best and continue to grow and hopefully outsource some things to free up time so we can focus more time on the front end.
Do you supply any brick and mortar stores, or are you strictly online?
Currently just online. As much as I believe in brick and mortar stores, I see the future leaning more direct to the consumer. Things may change as we grow, but for now we focus online for simplicity.
Given your background as a rider, you naturally have a built in BMX audience. How has response been from the riders out there?
Its been overwhelming the amount of love we got from the BMX community and some times seems surreal. I can’t thank every rider and non-rider out there that supports in any way. It means the world to me.
The site notes – “Our product line is athletically focused”. How so? What specific needs do riders/skaters need to keep going strong that they might not know about?
Yes, so since I’m coming from an active background I know that a lot of what we experience from BMX is inflammation. Whether we are injured or just had a long day we are sore… a lot, so reducing inflammation is key and our formulas focus on that and stress from impact or environmental components.
Whats your personal favorite way to prepare one of your products?
I always enjoy making my daily smoothie. I usually stack all the supplements that I can in this one drink so that I know I’m getting it all in. I’ll make it with berries and chia seeds and acai with water or coconut water and some greens and protein. Then i’ll add all my elixirs and extra things I feel I need at that time.
I’m sure its controversial, but what would you say to someone who is dubious about holistic medicine? I’m sure you’ve had plenty of back and forths about it.
Yes of course! Some people hate it for whatever reason and everyone’s entitled to their own opinions but I think from my personal experience it reconnects us to being a human. Returning to nature and eating the way we were designed to be is not an argument… its just truth and all foods in modern-day are anti-nature which sounds extreme but is just plain common sense. Soda, chips, candy, etc are products of entertainment with no benefit. I’d says that if you wish to live free of disease and pain that you start your path back to nature or your days won’t be so pleasurable when things go wrong.
In your opinion, how have your products improved your well being and what effect have they played in your personal riding situation?
These products are made with the herbs I was using when I was recovering from my injury and helped a lot with my inflammation and helping me get out of pain. They also helped with stress and adapting to the abusing I was putting my body under with riding. Beyond that, they have given me a connection to my food and nature that gives me a whole new appreciation for life in general.
On that note, how much are you able to get out and ride these days? Any new upcoming projects that you can share?
It actually freed up my schedule so I can ride more now that I don’t have to work a job. It took me a while to get here but I’m riding 3 days a week now and hope to put something new out in the near future, but only projects I’m working on are Plantsbasically stuff for promo.
You’ve been around a lot of riders over the years and know the effects that BMX can have on the body. If you could pick one thing, what would you recommend a rider do to keep their body strong to prolong his/her riding?
This might sound super generic but proper hydration is overlooked. Especially with the amount of coffee, soda, and energy drinks that people use for energy. We require water second to oxygen so making sure your hydrated and drinking quality water is so important.
Thanks JJ. Anything you’d like to add before we wrap this up?
No worries man its a pleasure! The only thing id like to add is a thank you to everyone for the support and love! y’all the best and means the world!