Tyler Jorgenson 0:01
You’re listening to BizNinja Entrepreneur Radio. This show was created for entrepreneurs, business owners, marketers, and dreamers who want to learn from the experts of today and drastically shortcut their own success to build a business that supports their dream lifestyle. Since 2011, Tyler Jorgensen has been interviewing business thought leaders from around the world, a serial entrepreneur himself, Tyler also shares his personal insights into what’s working in business today. Welcome to BizNinja Entrepreneur Radio.
Welcome out to BizNinja Entrepreneur Radio. I am your host, Tyler Jorgensen. And today, we had a talk with Andreas wolf who is the president of I promise, I promise calm. And they are one of the leading supplements in the eye health space. And many people think that… When you think of supplements, you think of drops, but they’re doing it through vitamins and through nutrition. So I’m really excited to talk with you and Andreas about the business of eye health. Welcome to the show.
Andreas Wolf 1:13
GreatTyler, great being here. And thanks for having us. Absolutely. So
Tyler Jorgenson 1:17
we’re gonna dress for those of you that are watching, and not just tuning in on ABC News, you’re watching on YouTube, you can see that behind Andreas is a Boston Red Sox, you’ve got Fenway Park there. What’s the significance of that?
Andreas Wolf 1:32
Yeah, so we were I promised this the official I vitamin of the Boston Red Sox. That doesn’t mean that we only support the Boston Red Sox, right. But we do have a special partnership with them. We actually have players on every major league baseball team who take our products. And we work closely with them and other athletes to leverage to get the word out more about who we are, what we do, how we help them, not only with their vision and their game but also how that translates to, you know, people like you and me and everyone else who is watching or listening. In terms of how through dietary supplementation, you can help your eyes.
Tyler Jorgenson 2:14
And let’s first unpack that real quick. You know, I think most people when they think of eye health, if you’re not in the industry, you’re gonna think, Oh, I just need to go get glasses or wear contacts. But you guys have a whole line of supplements, you don’t just have one or two products, you have a whole line of supplements for eye help give us alike the elevator pitch of education of why people need vitamins for their eyes. Yeah, great question.
Andreas Wolf 2:39
It goes back You are what you eat. Right. And, you know, there are certain vital nutrients that you need for your eyes. And in particular, xanthine and lutein, zeaxanthin, very hard to pronounce, but, you know, very important carotenoids that you typically would get from your leafy greens or colorful vegetables. You know, we are able to source that naturally from peppers. And, and, you know, combining that with lutein and other key ingredients, we’re able to put that in a soft gel. And by providing that to you know, people that you know, either is just looking for that perfect multivitamin for your eyes or people that are suffering from age-related macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy. These are key ingredients that you need. And yeah, that’s how we put it together.
Tyler Jorgenson 3:29
Awesome. So I mean, is someone going to start taking your supplements and have their prescription go like decrease? Or are we talking about just helping sustain and maybe slow down, you know, the natural effects of age?
Andreas Wolf 3:49
Yeah, I wish we could do that. I think basically what we do as your internal sunglasses, so you would wear your regular sunglasses to cover yourself or you know, UVA UVB rays would but are the ingredients that we have in our products but they focus on our providing that natural layer of protection, a natural filter, those internal sunglasses, and that layer is made up of Z’s anthon and lutein. And that actually helps filter out blue light. So you know, obviously that’s very important in normal life already, but especially if you think about the last year we’re all of us and even like you and today we’re meeting through screens staring at screens, it can help provide that additional protection for your eyes.
Tyler Jorgenson 4:39
So it’s you know, it’s about holistic health and about making sure the eyes are healthy and have the vitamins and nutrients they need. Now a lot of our listeners in the are entrepreneurs and business owners and I think that supplements are such a phenomenal business right there’s overall they have pretty high margins, but and you guys do a lot of your business through doctors, right in kind of the b2b space where you, you probably go and spend time educating the doctors helping they educate the patients. You’ve been president, the company now for a few years, what was one of the biggest challenges that you faced as you took over the reins of the company? And how did you face it?
Andreas Wolf 5:18
So for me, you know, first of all, I was very intrigued by this company. So you have this smaller company in this very interesting space, the number one, doctor-recommended eye vitamin brand. And one of the key things that I really wanted us to focus on was how could we be the best possible partner for the doctors, if we could help the doctors be successful with our products with their patients where you would get the great patient outcome, then we would be successful as a result of that. And so that was a little bit of a shift in the company in terms of helping the doctors explain the science behind it. We have a very impressive Scientific Advisory Board made up of you know, lead leading experts around the country, and really leveraging what they had to say in terms of the right messaging, the right formulations that we have building on and expanding on the wide product portfolio that we have, and getting our messaging, right, and educating the general public. As you said earlier, most people don’t really know about dietary supplementation for your eyes, and your eyes are critical. They’re linked to your brain. So it’s absolutely critical to take care of those.
Tyler Jorgenson 6:27
Yeah, absolutely. One of the challenges in the supplement space, right is already kind of the nutraceutical space is your, your not medicine, but your medicine adjacent? And so you have the FDA, and you’ve got all these other things you have to deal with? How do you balance messaging, and education with the like, and avoiding claims, right? Like you have to be able to really not ride the line, but you have to be clear on where the difference is. And so how do you guys manage that as a company?
Andreas Wolf 6:57
Yeah, that’s a daily discussion that we have because we’re a nutraceutical company, yet, we invest a tremendous amount of our resources into clinical studies because we want to show the efficacy of the products that we have, But to your point is very hard, you know, even though we are regulated, we can’t make claims. But so what we really focus on is, is your focus in on the basics, so the ingredients that are in there, the effect that they have, we’re working closely with the doctors in terms of their understanding, you know, how it all ties together, and how important nutrition is for your eye health. And then as I said, we do the clinical studies. So we end up, with pieces that are published in different ophthalmology and optometry journals. And yeah, that speaks for itself, to a large extent. So that’s kind of how we tried to, you know, obviously, work within the rules. And again, I would encourage anyone that is looking into this space to do their homework, because I think it’s very important to ensure that companies are indeed making that investment to stand behind the products that they work for.
Tyler Jorgenson 8:07
Yeah, I think one of the challenges is that, you know, if you’re just walking through a drugstore, or, you know, a CVS or whatever, and you have two products on the shelf, it’s hard to know which one of those brands is deeply investing in clinical studies like yourself. And I mean, there were major articles and some expose days recently of brands at Walmart that were that had sawdust in them as fillers, right. And like, there’s a major difference between brands that are doing things well and brands that are just trying to capitalize on trends and just get the product out there. So clearly, I promise is on the side of efficacy and ethical nature and doing all of that. But how do you combat the people who are willing to cut corners?
Andreas Wolf 8:50
Yeah. So on our end, but we very much focus on is the certifications behind the product, the purity of the products. So all of our products are NSF certified. So I think that’s something that’s very important to look at. And then, you know, if you’re a professional athlete, what you’ll be looking for is even a level up. So it’s NSF certified for sport. And so many of our products, we actually go to that deep level. So that ensures there’s no sawdust or anything else in there. But you only have in there what we say on the label is in there. And I think that’s extremely important is to ensure that you can show that you have those certifications on your products. On top of that, in our case, you know, it’s a dietary supplement. So I know when I explained to people as I’d like to refer to everything that’s in our product you should be able to identify in your foods. So for instance, you have competing products out there that take one of the ingredients and they run it through a chemical process you end up with a synthetic in there. In our case, we’ve made the conscious decision to only work with natural ingredients. So you know RZ is Anthon is not is all naturally sourced. Same thing with lutein. Same thing with the other products or ingredients that we have in our products. You know, so we are definitely on the other end of the spectrum, we’re probably we’re not the cheapest product out there. But I think we are certainly the most efficacious product out there.
Tyler Jorgenson 10:09
Awesome. Now, you told me that you grew up in an entrepreneurial home? How are you applying an entrepreneurial spirit into your role as president of I promise?
Andreas Wolf 10:19
Yeah, so I think culture is extremely important, and purpose and vision. So So for my end, I really want to make sure that everyone in the organization understands directionally what we’re trying to do. So I think understanding the greater purpose of what we’re trying to accomplish as a company, that everyone understands that how their role ties into that. And so from my perspective, what I learned growing up in a very entrepreneurial and family business is, is if people understand what you’re trying to accomplish, I do think that most people, come to work, and they want to do a great job. And when you can link your responsibilities and your accountabilities to, you know, the bigger costs of what the company is trying to do. I think people are more excited, and they want to be part in terms of what we’re doing. I mean, in our case, it’s very easy the correlation is, the more we sell, the more we help people with our eyes, the more people that are helped by, you know, in terms of improving their eyesight. So that’s a pretty exciting, you know, exciting message to start with. And then at the same time, you know, I think transparency is very important. So the good, the bad, and the ugly, you know, celebrate successes, but also be open about things in terms of where we can improve. So I think that openness and is very important.
Tyler Jorgenson 11:37
Yeah, cuz I think, you know, as President of a company, right, there, it’s easy to do one of those two, right, you’ll have a culture of criticism, or you can have a culture of praise, but you have to be able to really find that balance where you can, you know, recognize where you need to get better, while also still really focusing on positives and celebrating wins. What’s a recent win that I promise has had.
Andreas Wolf 12:00
So I, we’ve had a few but you know, for the listeners, some that they may enjoy is we’ve had a few big-time golfers, Padraig Harrington and Collin Montgomery, who started taking our products. And it was more initially in terms of they had a few issues, and they wanted to try the products. And, you know, after a few months of taking the product, they actually came back to us both independently and communicated that they actually were able to read the greens better while they were playing, which, you know, we were very impressed by. And they said that they actually wanted to be more involved with the company. So here you have these, you know, well known, you know, phenomenal golfing greats, and they are now ambassadors for the company. And so this is an area that we’ll continue to build on. So that’s, that’s been very exciting in terms of, you know, people that there’s nothing better than getting those testimonials of people who are taking your products. And it’s a Wow, this is amazing in terms of the impact others have on me.
Tyler Jorgenson 13:01
Yeah, and it does help when they’re well-known celebrities in their field, right. But it’s probably just as fulfilling to get it from any customer to get a review back. But that’s right when someone that has influenced wants to be an ambassador. That’s pretty cool. So like I’m noticing on your site, you have athletes, you have gamers you have you have a lot of different verticals where this is helping people. Um, tell us a little bit about how I promise is helping gamers.
Andreas Wolf 13:29
Yeah, so, we have been working with gamers for many years now, we have a product called screen shield Pro, which initially, we had gamers in mind, but it’s basically your product that’s for anyone, that’s actually what I take as well. And it kind of puts all the science together. So think about it, these, you know, many of these gamers, they’re grinding it out for 12 to 14 hours a day, and sitting behind screens playing, you know, eye fatigue, eye strain, you know, impact on their eyes, in terms of all the visuals that they have. And, you know, our products really work. So they help them in terms of the kind of relief their eyes, you know, from that stress. It’s not like you take one pill and you’re done. It builds up over time. And as you know, coming back to what we talked about earlier when you take our products, you can actually measure that you’re increasing that that inner filter in your eye with xanthine and lutein. So as you actually measure you see that your density of macular pigment goes up. You’re protecting your eyes better and then you have less issues or what we hear what they’re telling us is they’re sleeping better. There are fewer flashes behind their eyes. So it’s been exciting to go down that path. What’s interesting with many of the getting these gamers to is is that you know they’re in many are in that age where they feel that they’re invincible. But you should be thinking about taking something right now for your eyes because it will yeah ever pay off later on in life too?
Tyler Jorgenson 15:02
Yeah, absolutely. And I like, you know, you guys have sayings, and I’m looking at the site and the testimonials you have for professional athletes and all sorts of people. And then you have this kind of subtle, but really strong call to action. It’s time to upgrade your eyes. Right?
Andreas Wolf 15:17
Tyler Jorgenson 15:18
And I one thing I love about the supplement, nutraceutical space is like the statements that are that clearly communicate what they do without making the claim of what they do. And like use, like we’ve talked about earlier, it’s something you have to constantly be working on communicating clearly, without making promises, you can’t back up, but…
Andreas Wolf 15:37
We have a great marketing team.
Tyler Jorgenson 15:39
Yeah, it seems like it seems really cool. What, what are some big things that you’re hoping to accomplish in the company over the next couple of years?
Andreas Wolf 15:47
Yeah, so we’re very much focused on growth. And so the entire Eyespace is it’s a hot space right now, obviously, you know, sadly, COVID has obviously had a big impact on their where everyone migrated to being on screen. So obviously, concern about ice and understanding about taking care of your eyes has increased rather dramatically. So we’ve seen a big effect there on our business. We, as I said, we work very closely with Docker. So the majority of our business all flows through the doctor channel, we’re a partner to the doctors, we work closely with them. And they provide, you know, multiple solutions, we on average, you know, depending on the type of patients that they see, we can provide solutions for about six out of 10 patients that they see. So as I said, from AMD to people with diabetes, people that are looking at suffering from dry, people that are just looking for for some help with their eyes, so about six, six out of 10. So that really works. That’s a big focus for us, then on the direct against that. Yeah, thanks. And then direct to the consumer side, that’s an area that we’re very focused on right now. So in terms of, you know, where people are not getting that educational awareness from the doctors, how can we get that right message across, as I said earlier, most people right now, you know, if, if they’re even thinking about supplementation for the rise, they’re thinking probably about drops. And they don’t realize that by actually taking dietary supplementation, you can actually benefit your eyes even more and more long term. Remember, you know, with blue light, you know, obviously, blue light glasses have taken off, but they only work when you wear them. If you take the supplementation that works 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And so you notice that in multiple parts of your life, you know, that can even help you you know when we talked about em pod, your macular pigment optical density. By raising those levels, you actually notice driving at night, when it’s raining or when you have bright lights coming your way that glare recoveries much faster. That’s actually one of the reasons with professional athletes. You know, with baseball players, they’re outside, they got to catch that ball that that’s coming high in the sky. Yeah, you got the sun sun right there. That’s for the products out.
Tyler Jorgenson 17:59
Wow. So you guys, you have a lot of different verticals in the business. Right? You have the doctor, you’re working on direct consumer, you’ve got sponsorships, and endorsements and ambassadors, all these different things. As you’re growing the business? Where are you seeing the challenges right now in those in those different verticals? And how are you solving them? or How are you working with your team to solve?
Andreas Wolf 18:19
Yeah, so on our end, it’s, you know, prioritizing is the main challenge, we have a lot of opportunities, but we only have so much bandwidth and people. So it’s an ensuring that we commit to what we said strategically we wanted to focus on and then seeing that through email, and also recognize that if we do need to pivot, you know, we need to change gears and focus on different areas. So with the team, it’s very important, you know, that we’re in very close communication in terms of what we’re trying to do. We’re also trying to make sure that we’re investing in the right areas, you know, we can only do so much. So we’re trying to be smart in terms of where we, where we put our chips. But for us, it’s very much about growth. And as I said, the doctor side, you know, we’re very focused there, we got a sales team all around the country, direct to consumer, you’ll see more of us, you know, in mongstad come in different parts of the country. As we’re focusing more on that direct to consumer part. We just can’t be nationwide all at once.
Tyler Jorgenson 19:19
Sure. Yeah. It’s so… It’s smart. I mean, I really like that. Yep. Prioritizing a commitment, right. So many times, brands or companies or entrepreneurs getting started, will they’re there. They will reprioritize every day, right. And so they’re making changes so fast that nothing has a chance to get traction. So seeing it through being willing to pivot. But you know, how do you balance the time of like, hey, it’s time to pivot versus we just are giving up too soon. I mean, that’s your probably one of your main jobs as president accompany is to navigate that sort of thing.
Andreas Wolf 19:52
Yeah, and it’s hard, especially when so many of the variables around you change, right, who would have known we would go through through a pandemic. Right, and then what do you focus on? So for us, it’s all been about how can we delight our customers. So our key focus is, you know, it needs to be easy and simple for anyone we deal with. So we’re working with the doctors like it, working with us and working with our programs needs to be easy and simple. Same thing with the consumers, right? And our customers, we want to make sure that it’s very easy to work with us to understand which product is best for you to understand how we benefit, how we benefit you how we have that communication back and forth. You know, and if something doesn’t work, and we as a team, we need to be honest about that as well. And recognize when something doesn’t work and tried to fail fast, and then you know, reprioritize, something else that we need to focus on?
Tyler Jorgenson 20:45
Yeah, I’m a I’m a big believer in failing fast, right? Like, there’s no, there’s no pain and or there’s no, you know, negativity in failure, there’s negativity and clinging to something that is already inevitable. Right, that’s where the real regret and remorse come in later on is like, we knew that wasn’t going to work, but we didn’t move fast enough beyond it. That’s right. Absolutely. What, you know, as how big is your guys’s team?
Andreas Wolf 21:11
We’re, you know, across the country, about 50 people, okay. And then we work with, obviously, we have a, you know, pretty large network of doctors that we work with that that are spread out throughout the country. So yeah, but we’re small but very ambitious team.
Tyler Jorgenson 21:29
Yeah. And it’s small as relative, right to someone in a brand new startup. That’s big. And that’s right. big multinational. That’s tiny. But, you know, you guys, you’ve served a lot of people. I mean, how many doses of your product? Have you guys have been consumed?
Andreas Wolf 21:43
Oh, my goodness, I would count that in the millions.
Tyler Jorgenson 21:46
Yeah, it’s I think I saw it somewhere on this side, it was something like 55 million or something substantial? And oh, yeah. Yeah, it was, it’s so cool. because like you said, as part of your guys’s vision, you like, you know, everyone that you can help with their vision is something that the whole company can rally behind. And that’s really neat. Like, that. It’s something that collectively, you get to help, you know, help that many people and yeah, over 55 million doses. And
Andreas Wolf 22:15
that’s it. It’s really exciting. We actually, we have some we have a slack chat, while we have slack that we use internally, as well. But we have a Slack channel that specifically is focused on customer feedback that we get. So we have a phenomenal customer service team, here in the office. And so when you call us you actually get a live person on the phone, right? But but we have on where they will post, you know, internal testimonials of what people tell them on the phone. And honestly, that’s one of my favorite channels to read. Because it’s the impact yet, of course, it’s fun to talk about, you know, the professional athletes and how they can putt better, and everything else. That’s awesome. I love that. But you know what, they’re also the stories in terms of the truck driver, who was worried about failing their vision test, and thereby losing their livelihood and their doctor prescribed our products. And they now have been taken our products for several months. And guess what, they pass their driving test. And they fully credit the product for for for that, and they can continue doing what they were doing. So we have all those different types of stories, you know, that that circulate? That is very motivating.
Tyler Jorgenson 23:23
That’s really neat. And you’re right, like, we tend to when we’re when we’re talking on interviews like this, we tend to highlight, you know, the baseball players, and the golfers and the professional athletes that you help that you guys work with, but really the day to day people that are benefiting from your product, because you’re kind of everyday, you know, everyday consumer. And those are the stories that are really meaningful, right? It’s like we just helped this person, maintain and improve their improve their life. And that’s really cool.
Andreas Wolf 23:51
It’s incredible. Yeah, it’s incredible. Actually, did you know most people there, you know, that, for instance, are diagnosed with diabetes is the optometrist who actually sees the first signs when they do the eye exam. And that’s, you know, obviously a concern about losing your vision down the road, like you can actually take something for that to help protect your eyes. I mean, it’s just incredible.
Tyler Jorgenson 24:14
Yeah, I think, you know, that term, the eyes are the window to the soul, right? Like every optometrist believes it because what they can what they find out, what they can see is pretty fascinating. So, you know, Andreas, I’m a big believer that, you know, when we, when we spend all of our time trying to build a company, either as an entrepreneur or as a president, like, it’s about building the lifestyle that you want, what’s what is something on Andreas, his personal bucket list that you’re going to accomplish in the next 12 months?
Andreas Wolf 24:44
That’s a great, great question. So So, so professionally to me, you know, I am very much driven by by growth. I have a passion for growth. So for me it’s seeing through the weekend. Yeah. double or triple triple the size of this company over the next few years. That to me would be extremely exciting. I know we have the runway to do that. So that will be a lot of fun you know at the same time get get get involved in in my own community probably a little bit more and yeah, that would be a good thing to do for myself.
Tyler Jorgenson 25:23
Cool. I love that. Really appreciate it. I hope everyone goes and checks out i promise.com and that’s I spelled out like your eyeball so I promise calm there on all the socials and stuff as well. And to all my Biz Ninjas wherever you’re listening, tuning in or watching it is your turn to go out and do something. Thank you for tuning in to bBizNinja Entrepreneur Radio. What you didn’t hear was one more very important question that Tyler asks each guest if you want to be a fly on the wall when the real secrets are shared, go to bizninja.com slash VIP and get your access today. Remember to subscribe so that you don’t miss any future episodes. And our one last favor. If this episode was meaningful to you, please share this podcast with a fellow entrepreneur so they can grow along with us as ninjas. It’s your turn to go out and do something