Q&A with Michael Bryce
Michael Bryce of Healist discusses the company’s core values of quality, transparency, and sustainability
Michael Bryce, co-founder and global chief marketing officer of Healist, is a passionate, purpose-driven marketing professional with over 15 years of experience working with global consumer packaged goods companies such as Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser, and Coty. At Healist, Bryce is responsible for leading and overseeing global marketing operations, in addition to playing an integral role in product development. Before starting Healist, Bryce spent five years at Coty, where he served as global chief marketing officer for color cosmetics, overseeing the international color cosmetics portfolio. Prior to Coty, he served as COO at Reserveage Nutrition and global brand director at RB in London. Additionally, he spent six years at Unilever. Bryce graduated from Duke University with a bachelor’s degree in biology and received his MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University. He speaks fluent English and Spanish and currently resides in London.
This interview was originally published in Nutraceuticals World
420AC: Why do consumers purchase your products?
Bryce: We hope that consumers would purchase our products for several reasons. We believe the body is powerful and we exist to help cultivate the body’s innate capacity to heal, not hijack it. We are not just a CBD ingredient brand. We are a benefits-based brand obsessed with designing the best formulas containing CBD plus clinically supported natural ingredients to deliver upon our benefits of calm, sleep, relief, and overall well-being. Quality, transparency, and sustainability is at the core of everything we do. All our products use the highest quality U.S.-grown, organic, broad-spectrum hemp extract and are triple lab tested. All products only use natural ingredients, are vegan and are cruelty free; and all our topicals are formulated to highest standards of clean.
All plastic manufactured for our products will be Ocean Waste Plastic certified (using plastic recovered from the oceans) by the end of 2020.
420AC: How has your company changed to keep pace with the growing CBD marketplace?
Bryce: We are not focused on changing to keep pace with the market. Early in the development of Healist we set out to elevate the category, taking action against the misinformation, deceptive labeling, white lies, and inspire positive change. We very much believe in the positive benefits that our product can bring to people’s lives and I personally get upset when I see other players in the category deceiving consumers as to what is in their product to make a quick buck. Today, the CBD category itself is its worst enemy and it will be brands like Healist and others that are focused on people, quality, and building trust that will really need to work hard to ensure that these positive benefits can be experienced by many. Brands focused on this is what will make a difference in driving sustainable category growth.
420AC: Any significant trends you see in the hemp/CBD industry?
Bryce: There are two trends that I see further growing, which most likely won’t be surprising. One is the proliferation of lifestyle driven formats that focus on delivering the highest bioavailability while also working to easily integrate into people’s daily routines so as not to require behavior changes to bring the benefits of CBD into their life. The second trend will be, as the science continues to develop, there will be products that will begin to isolate and utilize different cannabinoid blends depending on the benefit that is desired. For instance, in our Healist Sleep Drops, we have already included an elevated level of CBN as the body of research is growing that CBN can have positive benefits in this area. Another area that I would like to see continue to develop is the science around terpenes. We believe that terpenes can support a variety of different benefits which is why each of our products has been formulated with a custom terpene blend depending on the benefit. We are currently looking at ways we can help support some research in this area.
420AC: How might technology change the CBD/hemp industry within the next five years?
Bryce: I believe that technology will play a vital role in two areas. First is in driving even better farming and extraction processes to deliver better quality hemp extract with higher levels of cannabinoids and terpenes with undetectable levels of THC, as well as further refining the process to isolate specific cannabinoids at an affordable price.
420AC: Where will the most significant growth occur in the company in the next 12-24 months?
Bryce: Healist just launched in March so any growth over the next 12-24 months would be significant. Our focus will be on creating mass brand awareness across an omni-channel play. This means we’re going to be focusing on driving awareness of Healist across our own direct to consumer site, and other online marketplaces as well as working to roll out across several large retailers. We want to make it as easy as possible for people to get to know and experience our brand. We are already working on our next wave of innovations to further build upon our current benefit platform as well as some other desired consumer benefits that we believe Healist can support people with.
420AC: How do you ensure your organization and its activities are aligned with your core values?
Bryce: We are a purpose-led company and our core values are at the heart of everything we do. We have spent a lot of time in developing and aligning upon our purpose and beliefs, and we expect everyone on our team to be responsible in holding ourselves accountable to these beliefs. Our beliefs are so important to us we have stated them on our website in the “about us” section so everyone can also hold us accountable to these beliefs as well. We revisit these beliefs before making any significant decisions, we revisit them to ensure that the steps we take are aligned to the standards that we have set out for ourselves to achieve. Often, this means that we take a much harder route such as formulating vegan topical products to the highest standards of clean or choosing to have all the plastic in our products be Ocean Waste Plastic Certified, but in the end it’s the right thing to do. One reason I personally decided to leave the world of large multinational companies was because I didn’t have to compromise on the products or experience that we passionately develop for people.
420AC: President Trump’s campaign spokesperson says cannabis must be kept illegal. What are your thoughts?
Bryce: I believe this question is more in reference to marijuana and given all our products are derived from hemp, I’d rather focus on this. All our products utilize U.S.-grown, organic, broad-spectrum hemp extract to deliver whole plant benefits (cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids) with undetectable levels of THC and we fully support and look forward to the regulation of CBD. We are looking to elevate the category and clear up the misinformation and bad practices such as products that don’t actually have what they claim or products that claim extremely high mg levels of hemp extract and misleading consumers to think this is equivalent to the mg level of CBD in the product, to name a few. I very much hope that regulation will assist in eliminating these bad practices and further help build trust in the brands that are already working to the highest standards such as Healist.
420AC: If someone handed you $100,000 (no strings attached), how would you spend it?
Bryce: With what’s happening in today’s climate I would do two things. One is to contribute to the NYC Relief Fund; Healist has already committed a small donation to support the work they do. The other would be to find one or two small businesses that I believe in—the people and their purpose—and invest in them. It makes me sad to think about how many entrepreneurs and small businesses will not make it through this time and I am trying to do as best I can to support them.