Wellness company seeks to offer more than skin care as it helps consumers connect to the wisdom of the microbiome.
Their journey began as meditation teachers 40 years ago. The pioneers of fermented whole foods and herbal supplements Paul and Barbi Schulick built one of the most successful nutraceutical brands in the industry. New Chapter helped change the paradigm for the supplement market at large and was eventually bought by Procter & Gamble in 2012.
The mission for the Schulicks continues today with For The Biome, a wellness company focused on raising awareness about the connection between physical health, mental well-being, and the environment.
In this interview, For The Biome Founder and CEO Paul Schulick discusses the new venture, the microbiome, and offers some advice for budding entrepreneurs.
Beauty IO (BIO): What principles is the company founded on? What’s your mission and vision?
Paul Schulick: There’s a Chinese proverb that says, “Where there is pain there is no connection. Where there is connection there is no pain.” If we can help ease pain and amplify connection, we’ve done our jobs.
We’re a wellness company raising consciousness around health, mental well-being, and our connection with the global biome. We aim to influence awakening within the self, the larger community, and the planet while retaining a radically honest ethos.
Our foundational principle of treating as a whole to heal as whole has evolved into what we call “True Holism.” Our three-pronged approach supports connection of the mind, body, and community with freely offered live and guided meditation, skin care that leverages the skin-microbiome relationship, and an integrated philanthropic effort that donates at least 3% of every purchase to organizations supporting climate change reversal, sustainable housing, and empowering women.
The bond we share with our customers will play a key role in the realization of our vision, and to further support that bond, our True Transparency program will pull back the curtain on all production costs, pricing models, and sourcing information. We believe that the ultimate connection is only achieved when all our pathways are open and accessible.
BIO: How has the company been developing?
Schulick: We are moving quickly. Our website, www.forthebiome.com, will offer live and guided meditation programs as well as our Sentient Skincare product line.
Our skin care is rooted in a deep respect for the skin and its microbiome as the “third brain.” The microbial universe that lives in and on the skin contains the wisdom and beneficial adaptations from past generations. We believe that when your microbiome flourishes, these generational lessons are passed on to your skin.
Sentient Skincare offers a simple three-step system to help do just that with exclusively whole ingredients and 100% active formulas that are capable of carrying robust conversations with both the skin and its microbiome. Essentially, this gives your skin and microbiome a legacy instruction manual for holistic protection and preservation.
Our fermented and CO2 volcanic extracted bioactives help balance the skin’s environment, recalibrating where necessary, and maintaining what’s already working. As a result, signaling pathways are primed as energized skin cells and a biodiverse microbiome takes root. Once this happens, connection is restored between the skin, its microbiome, and the rest of the body. Crosstalk between all systems is restored and nerves receive adaptogenic therapy that results in the skin looking and feeling healthier.
With no fillers or preservatives, we hope to initiate a new generation of clean beauty that leverages skin-microbiome harmony for a naturally radiant complexion.
We’re investing heavily in certifications and cellular and clinical studies to further validate our products and are thrilled with the results we’re seeing. From blue light protection to an adaptogenic effect on neuroendocrine markers like cortisol and oxytocin, these products are delivering the aesthetic benefits consumers seek with an additional layer of mind-body acknowledgement. We’ve also received our vegan, organic, EWG, and cruelty-free certifications and are the first to receive an ONLA certification that validates our cleanser as microbiome-friendly. Additional certifications are in progress and this will remain a commitment to help consumers easily identify our standards.
BIO: How has understanding of the microbiome evolved? What are you most excited about for the future?
Schulick: Recent research published by Tel Aviv University has led many scientists to challenge Darwin’s theory of evolution. The proposed “hologenome theory” of evolution suggests that microbial genes and human genes come together to form a hologenome, where human genes are dramatically outnumbered by microbial genes. As the human genome evolves, the microbiome acts as our co-pilot, supplying a dynamic response to external stimuli. This partnership between human and microbial cells drives our evolution and is essential to how humans have adapted since the beginning of time.
Fast forward to today. The skin-microbiome relationship continues to play a crucial role in the health and function of our systems. Acting as a network over a network, your microbiome supports your skin’s sensory abilities while helping support barrier function. The result is skin that fully realizes its ability to see, hear, and even elicit shifts in emotion. You simply aren’t whole or functioning at peak capacity without a healthy skin-microbiome relationship—but when it’s healthy, your skin can effectively function as your body’s “third brain.”
Given all the wisdom that resides in the microbiome, it’s cataclysmic to the behavior of your skin and body to strip yourself of this critical, living layer. Yet we do it regularly. Harsh skin care products, unhealthy lifestyles, pollution, and especially mental stress take their toll on our skin and microbiomes. Taking it one step further, both your skin and microbiome have a bilateral relationship with nature, and changes in the environment like the climate crisis, UV radiation, and pollution can elicit a chemical stress response in the skin which generates a variety of mood-shifting hormones and neurotransmitters. These shifts can block the crosstalk between your skin and microbiome, dulling the skin’s intrinsic barrier function and rejuvenating abilities. It’s in this relationship between skin, microbiome, and the environment that we see the onset of the climate crisis as an additional skin-microbiome disruption that we must address.
We’re excited to introduce ingredients to the market that address this dynamic and send a friendly ripple through the biome—simultaneously supporting the skin and microbiome through topical application while uplifting the global macrobiome through obsessive sourcing practices and philanthropic efforts to ultimately, again, influence the health of your skin and microbiome.
All our ingredients support this cycle with our sourcing commitment of R.O.S.E.S.: all our ingredients must be reliable, organic, sustainable, ethical, and safe. The perfect example of this is the astaxanthin in our facial serum—it’s produced in the Arava desert of Israel using a closed-loop water recycling system and 100% solar power. Production yields zero waste and supports the local community while delivering a potent multi-correctional extract. It’s this level of respect, quality, and efficacy that we expect will set a new standard in the beauty industry.
BIO: What’s your assessment of the beauty from within supplement market?
Schulick: I think we’re just scratching the surface on this. As wellness continues to shift from a commodity to a lifestyle, the beauty from within market is a natural extension. I believe the U.S. consumer bought in a long time ago, as seen in the subsequent rise of wellness, and that the market is just shifting to meet the interest that is already vested.
In addition to the research I mentioned, there is a multitude of science that continues to emerge on the gut microbiome, or the “second brain,” and the connection between the gut-brain-skin axis. The growth of this research will surely be mirrored by the “beauty from within” market as consumer interest and knowledge expands.
The industry is coming to terms with something that has never happened before—an exceptionally educated customer who is aware of what they should be consuming, demanding it, and will go elsewhere if their needs aren’t met. In addition to this, there is also the rise of the “outside-in” movement—the idea that we should be reading topical ingredient lists as if we were eating the product. If you wouldn’t want to eat an ingredient, you shouldn’t be putting it on your skin and consumers are beginning to acknowledge this in addition to “beauty from within.”
BIO: Do you have plans to sell dietary supplements again? What can we expect from you in the future?
Schulick: We intend to address the inside out approach with For The Biome’s dietary supplement launch in 2020. Our vision is to offer our customers both topical and ingestible applications that support the mind-body connection with a thriving microbiome in both the gut and the skin.
BIO: What’s your opinion on the state of the supplement industry and how it’s evolved from New Chapter’s early days?
Schulick: The evolution I’ve noticed, along with innovation, is the great opportunity at hand to compete more effectively with Big Pharma. With the rise of “beauty from within” and ultimately “health from within,” the supplement industry is poised to change the landscape of healing. Consumers are more and more on our frequency, and they’re beginning to listen now more than ever. We must carefully embrace this opportunity and attempt to change the conversation from disease care to whole care, offering people supplements that acknowledge the synergy of their entire body—with an emphasis on holistic prevention.
BIO: What advice would you give entrepreneurs who are just starting to build their brands or businesses in the wellness market?
Schulick: You need a strong vision—one that you truly love. This love will guide you to worry less about the money, to stay focused on your mission, and to step aside and let others lead when it’s appropriate. Find people who do better work than you, try to keep your ego in check, and when in doubt, follow what Gandhi said: “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it’s very important that you do it.”
By Sean Moloughney, Editor, Nutraceuticals World