The Natural Evolution Podcast

Season 3

Episode 02

S3E2 – Changing the Game Plan: Building Skincare Success from Personal Tragedy with Andy Hnilo

Andy Hnilo, the CEO of Alitura Naturals, is the picture of success now but the journey to get there wasn’t exactly what he had in mind initially. A star baseball player at UC Berkeley, Andy was adrift after not being drafted into the MLB and began trying to forge a path in the entertainment industry. His burgeoning career came crashing down one night in 2011, when he was hit and run over by two cars on a busy Los Angeles street. Not one to let adversity keep him down, Andy poured his time into recovery and a love of skincare developed as a result. A decade later, the award-winning Alitura Naturals is a multi-million dollar, clean luxury skincare brand.

In this episode, Andy talks about his brush with fame and the moment it all came crashing down. He discusses how he used supplements to take his recovery into his own hands – and how it led to the birth of his skincare company, Alitura Naturals. You’ll learn the importance of understanding what goes into your skincare, how Andy perfected the formulas for the Alitura Naturals products, and find out how you can shop Alitura’s clean skincare!

Shop Alitura’s top-of-the-line skincare must-haves here.

Want 20% off Alitura products? Apply the code REBELHEALTH at checkout for 20% off their ENTIRE STORE!

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About our Guest

Andy Hnilo’s rising career in the entertainment industry was put on hold after a life-changing accident in 2011. Hit and run over by two cars as a pedestrian while crossing the street, he almost lost it all. Unrecognizable with one of the worst compound jaw fractures his surgeon had ever seen, Hnilo also suffered 7 broken ribs and a collapsed lung. It was clear that he had a long road to recovery. Disappointed with the ingredients commonly located in the products recommended by his surgeons to heal his unsightly scarring and abrasions, Andy sought out herbalists, estheticians, and skincare savants all over California for specific advice on scar healing and overall recovery.

A former Division 1 athlete, Andy embarked on a journey of self-discovery and a persevering passion to heal his skin by voraciously searching the globe for unique raw ingredients to source for an experiment to heal himself. Mixing and applying his concoctions out of a studio apartment in Los Angeles, he essentially became his own science experiment with an intention that grew beyond himself. The evolution of his motivation transformed into a deep desire to serve others with a budding belief that he may be onto something with a potential skincare product. It worked! He recovered quickly and was back on the runway for Macy’s within 8 weeks. Bulletproof Founder, Dave Asprey found out about what Hnilo was up to and had him on his top-ranked podcast to share his story. 2-months later, Alitura Naturals and The Clay Mask were born! Starting from humble beginnings of self-fulfilling orders at the post office for friends and customers to mass mixing the famous Alitura Clay Mask in a kiddie pool in the hills of Malibu, what a ride it has been!

8 years later, Alitura Naturals is an Award-Winning clean beauty, multi-million dollar skincare empire that serves and changes the lives of women and men all over the world. An eccentric Founder, Andy has a humbled wisdom and authentic voice that alters the mindset and health of so many of his following and customers. Alitura LOVES giving back and proudly donates a percentage of every sale via charitable donation. Most notably our partnership with Smile Trail created over 100 new smiles for children suffering from cleft lip/palate! We also work with Ourrescue (OurUndergroundRailroad) Never Forget 9/11, Susan G. Komen and are always looking for new beautiful causes to donate to!

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Podcast Transcript

Michael Roesslein:

And, we’re live. This is going to be a super fun episode. I haven’t talked to Andy in quite a while. I think we met, I think it was at Paleo FX, like a million years ago. I don’t know when, but it was a long time ago, and he was basically just starting out, I think, his company, Alitura, which you’re going to learn about today. Now, it’s grown quite a bit. I believe you were doing packing boxes in your living room or something, at the time.

Andy Hnilo:

I was, man. What a journey. I think that was 2015. You were with someone. I had a pyramid of clay masks, and I think I had the moisturizer at that time. I just-

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah, you only had a couple products, and you gave us one. It was at the end of the last day. You were cleaning up, and you just gave us one of these things. And, I was like, “Oh, man. This is a big one.” It wasn’t a little sample. He gave us a legit container. We took it home. My wife loved it, and I was like, “This is awesome.” So, then we did a podcast, but you were just starting out. I think you had either just move from boxes in your living room to maybe doing it somewhere else or something like that.

Before we get too far down, let’s tell them what we’re even here to talk about. Andy Hnilo is the founder of Alitura Naturals, really high-end, awesome, super clean line of skin products. His story and his background is one that he tells really well. So, I’m not going to try to do it. It was a business created basically out of necessity and out of tragedy, really. You weren’t just cruising a long life being like, “I want to start a skincare product company.” So, if you just want share a little bit about what happened and how this got started, and then we can talk about how cool the products are.

Andy Hnilo:

Oh, awesome. First off, dude, it’s good to see. Thanks for having me on this podcast like this, to share my stories, how the business has grown, and then, word of mouth marketing through customers and things like that. Like you said, I’d never had an intention to get into business or start a line or even have a product. I was in the entertainment industry. A little bit about my background, I was a high-level baseball player. Coming out of high school, I got a baseball scholarship to UC Berkeley, had aspirations of playing professionally. My senior year, didn’t get drafted, moved down to LA and was helping the person I was living with with his lines. He was an actor, and it was a baseball related film. So, it was perfect that I was helping him with the baseball side of things, but I fell in love with acting. I was really good at responding to his lines, being the opposite character of him.

He got me a read for that role, which never happens in LA, without having an agent or manager. I was in the entertainment industry. I got representation, after that. I ended up booking that film, by the way and shooting for six weeks and falling in love with baseball again. It was tough to navigate that emotion. When January rolled around, I booked a small role on Days of Our Lives, which really put me in a tough position because I was going to go back and play baseball. But, I booked a needle in the haystack role. They call it in as soon as I moved down to LA. Then, I was starting to get momentum, after I got representation. I meditated up at Runyon Canyon all weekend, before I was supposed to decide Monday if I was going to go out to Palm Springs and continue playing, or if I was going to continue to pursue this wild, adrenaline-filled journey of the entertainment industry.

I stayed and pursued acting, for a while. But then, March 20th, 2011, I was just leaving dinner, crossing the street on Mel Rose and Sierra Bonita, just a little east of Fairfax. I got hit by a westbound-heading vehicle, lost consciousness, hitting the eastbound lane, then run over by an eastbound-heading vehicle. Both cars pulled over, Land Rover and a Tundra. I was getting my clothes cut off in the middle of the street. I was coming in and out of consciousness, at that point. I woke up at Cedar-Sinai ICU, with my chin poking through the bottom of my mouth with a compound fracture, seven broken ribs, and a collapsed lung, and on a morphine drip. I had two friends of mine in the room with me, and one of them just had his head in his hands. And, I quickly found out the severity of the situation.

Obviously, you’re just a little loopy from the drip. That led to everything. Led to my purpose, led to something that I am obsessed with, but in a good way. I do my best to explain to people when you find your purpose and passion, it sounds even tacky when you start talking about it. But man, I live this, and it’s been staring at me my entire life. I look back when I was at Berkeley. Because when you’re growing into your body, you’re getting picked apart by your teammates to try to figure out what they could say, when they tease you and stuff like that. But, it’s a sign. It’s like an endearing thing.

You got to earn your respect in the locker room, but it bugged me. I had bad back acne, and it was all diet related. So, I just started slowly trying to figure these things out and what was going on with my body. I was trying to gain weight. I was 168 pounds, so I put on 23 lbs to be able to compete at the PAC 10 level. I was eating everything. Dorm food, creatine, you’re starting to take supplements that you probably never have taken before. I know I wasn’t. So, I just thought that maybe that was what led to my bad back acne, and I had little cystic sores that were around. It just bugged me because my teammates would light me up, and I’d tried to play it off. But, it bugged me.

I remember going down to Shattuck Avenue, meeting with the Chinese herbalist, getting my first horsetail aqueous silica extract supplement from Flora. I think there’re still around, F-L-O-R-A. Yeah, and I just remember picking his brain and going, “Wait, really?” I just was so interested in how he explained what this supplement did. Just years later, it all makes sense. Going back to that accident, I knew I had it in my…

So basically, the passion for skincare, the passion for health wellness and cleaner ingredient decks started early on, when I was 18. After that accident, 12 years later year, year-over-year, my attention to detail with perfecting what I was eating…

Skincare was not all the way there, but the passion for what I was putting into my body was definitely there. It accelerated after that accident because I was banged up. My jaw was wired shut. My teeth were gone. I lost 17 pounds, and I was pretty lean to begin with because I was just taking these little tonics to cleanse my blood and rid my body impurities. But man, I went to work, and it led to a lot. But, it’s been a wild journey.

Michael Roesslein:

I’ve seen your pictures, man. I’ve seen your… Andy shares this story really, really openly. It’s really powerful. We’ve done an interview before, purely just on your story and your journey. I think, it was fairly recently, it came across my timeline on one of the social medias. It was either the anniversary of your accident or something. The pictures are no joke. It’s someone in the condition that you never want to see yourself in. You mentioned Land Rover, Tundra. Did you remember that, or did people tell you the cars?

Andy Hnilo:

No. No. I mean, I have the police report.

Michael Roesslein:

Okay, because that doesn’t sound like something you would remember too clearly.

Andy Hnilo:

No, definitely not. Yeah, no. Absolutely not. It was split second, really. I don’t really remember the, you know what I mean?

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah.

Andy Hnilo:

Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

So, you got interested in skincare stuff and the skin, in general, because you had bad acne in college. That’s where we were living the last two years, by the way, was in Berkeley. Shattuck is not far away. We were just off Gilman and San Pablo.

Andy Hnilo:

I know exactly where that is.

Michael Roesslein:

Mira’s childhood home is there. Her parents still live there, so we were living down the street from her parents and her sister, right at the bottom of the hill.

Andy Hnilo:

Oh, that’s beautiful.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah, it’s nice town.

You got interested in that because you had your own skin problems that you were working with, but then how did the accident lead…? You had the decision: keep trying baseball… I have a couple friends who played Minor League ball for a long time, and I know what that life is. It’s cool because you’re playing baseball all the time, and it sucks because you’re only playing baseball all the time. It’s hard. It’s bus travel. It’s all these things. Then, you were getting into acting in the entertainment industry. So, you chose that, but then this happened. How did the accident itself, or your recovery from it, how did that catalyze the beginning of creating a skincare product, a company? Did you start with one product? Did you start with two? Why did it come out of that? What was your need that you filled with creating a thing?

Andy Hnilo:

Man, can you imagine… Just the mindset, just looking back.

…My dream and I was locked in? I was 30 years old. All my friends had big corporate jobs, families. I’m going over there and like, “I’m going to be somebody. I’m going to make it as an actor.” That’s not even an option anymore. Well, not that I really cared. I was alive. Dude, I’m lucky to be talking to you.

Michael Roesslein:

It was all your facial injuries and all that type of stuff. Plus, you didn’t even know if you were going to recover fully, physically.

Andy Hnilo:

Yeah. I was unrecognizable. My teeth were gone. I guess to my friends, they’re like, “Well, what are you going to do? Are you going to get any money out of this?” We didn’t sue. It was my fault. Also, I didn’t like them saying, “What are you going to do? You’re never going to act and model.” I just really took that as a challenge to get back in better shape. Seriously, I understood what they were… I didn’t like it though. I felt that I would get back, and I knew my drive. My ankles, my knees, and my elbows weren’t banged up. I would go on little walks just to get circulation from head to toe. Then, I started to put together… I did have a preexisting clay mask. Every Sunday night, I would do a little rhassoul clay, bentonite, kelp. I think I had vitamin C and kaolin at that point. I start-

Michael Roesslein:

Start making it just for yourself?

Andy Hnilo:

Yeah. I would run into the bathroom, mix it up. I just remember, in the situations where I had roommates, I had to hide it, let it dry, run in, shower up. I put it under the sink. I’m sure they saw it anyway, like my ingredients and stuff. I would do it every Sunday night, just to kind of set the tone, get me nice and fresh and bright. It’s undeniably effective, clays in general. So, it brings in an influx of circulation. It tightened up my pores, and I would just feel ready. It was part of my routine for auditions for the week, when I was acting right. I knew I had that to rely in. I would start buying it in bulk.

I started doing that, but I was trying to put it together in my head because I couldn’t afford the creams and serums that the doctor was recommending that I use. I also, like I said, I was interested in ingredients. I just didn’t trust those formulations. So, what I would do is I would isolate active ingredients, and I would try to source them. It became a creative outlet to me. You’ll go to any lengths, depending on the money you have, just to try to find certain things. It became a total creative outlet, as well. I use myself as my own science experiment. You’re completely honest. It either is working, or it’s not. I would spot treat certain ingredients. I had that preexisting clay mask, but I was put just throwing it together.

At the things that I was putting in my morning tonic, deer placenta…Well, now it’s first four hour milk and grass fed colostrum, plant derived… I was going to say plant derived vitamin A. That actually came down the road from my sourcing. The ingredients I was putting into my smoothie, I would experiment, depending on the particle size, if I felt that it would blend well with the other formulas, with the intention… Your skin is your largest organ. If-

Michael Roesslein:

Do you have a background in science? How did you figure all that shit out?

Andy Hnilo:

I know. My sisters were asking-

Michael Roesslein:

Talking about molecule sizes, and I would know the first thing, but it is. People don’t realize that. As a general rule, when I first started learning about environmental toxicity and toxins, the stuff that we put on our skin and in our bodies is incredibly toxic. The person who explained it to me the best, when I first got started, said…I said, “How do I know, then? This is so overwhelming.” And they said, “Don’t put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t put in your mouth because you’re going to eat it. You’re going to eat it through your skin.” I was like, “Oh, that makes it really simple.” So, it makes sense that the stuff you’re putting in your tonics and your smoothies, experiment with it on the skin.

Andy Hnilo:

I’m willing to try it out. Whatever works, I’ll do. Some of the morning tonics, I remember taking that first. I met with George Lamoureux from Jing Herbs, Ron Teeguarden from Dragon Herbs, Crosby Ware, Truth Calkins, with my jaw wired shut, trying to figure out like little things, ways to build my blood and circulate it and just get my zest back, internally. In doing that, I developed a very potent morning tonic. It worked, but man. The first time I did it, I remember my sister boiled beats. I think I threw up, with my jaw wired shut. Yeah, imagine that.

Michael Roesslein:

That sounds like an experience I’d rather just leave to someone else to do.

Andy Hnilo:

Yep. My system couldn’t take the nutrients, but it started to respond to it. I’m talking egg yolks, dear placenta, bison liver, spirulina, ho shou wu, schisandra, a blend of amino acid to build your self back.

Michael Roesslein:

All of that sounds totally normal to me, other than the the deer placenta. I don’t know where to get one of those. But, everything else I think I’ve taken at some point.

Andy Hnilo:

Yeah, that’s good. I’m big on supplements, irovita, reducing inflammation. I strongly believe inflammation is the root of all disease. So, mitigating that is important. I just devoured information. It became, like I said, a creative outlet, but I also was pretty embarrassed with leaving the house, jaw wired, shut no teeth. When you’re smiling, you don’t want people to see your teeth. That’s actually interesting, too. When you’re in a moment where you’re just experiencing euphoria and then having to mitigate it because of insecurities. That was a tough thing to navigate, as well. At the same time, I started incrementally… @ithin three weeks, the abrasions were gone, but the scarring, the swelling, I knew I had something. I picked up a friend from the airport, who had seen me in the ICU. She gave me that jaw-dropping, double-takes. “What are you doing? What did you do to your skin?”

Michael Roesslein:

But, to heal your wounds and reduce the scarring and to get your face back to how it was in some way, when you were told that would probably not be possible, or happen-

Andy Hnilo:

Little things like that, man. You need that point [inaudible 00:15:38], especially when you’re a little down and out. But, she asked what I did, and I hid my little creative thing, my mask. It was nothing. There was no name. It was definitely never thought of to be a product down the road, but I knew how effective it was. So, it was a little inkling of a feeling that it could be something, but I need the people to try it.

I was okay with the aroma, the kelp powder, apple cider vinegar. I would just put in lavender oil, pink grape fruit, something to eat up the acidity and also add a little aromatherapy effect to it, with skin benefits as well. So, I did research on that. Found out about sweet orange oil, sea buck, thorn, carrot seed, calendula, ylang-ylang, you name it.

It became a part of my everyday routine. I started to feel good. The swelling started to mitigate. Months later, I booked the job for Macy’s, and I didn’t tell my San Francisco agency. I made that a goal to go back and make that runway job, and I did. So, first week of June, I did that. So, it was a victory to be like, “All right, well, I’m back in the area. I’m definitely not fully-“

Michael Roesslein:

You didn’t tell them you’d been in an accident?

Andy Hnilo:

They knew because I had a shirtless scene. I had a big road rash, wrapping around my lower back, so that was interesting. It was so beautiful, though my mom was there-

Michael Roesslein:

Did they spin that into some cool marketing?

Road rash guy in some torn jeans, with some dirt on the face. There’s got to be some company’s branding, right there.

Andy Hnilo:

Oh, absolutely. Yeah, a little Fight Club.

Michael Roesslein:

The Mad Max kind of look. Fight Club. Yeah, absolutely.

That’s a pretty solid test to be able to do modeling, not that long after an accident like that, and not have them, when you walk in the door, be like, “Wait a minute. This isn’t going to work.” So, you were just using a mask that you were putting on once, twice a day? How often were you using it?

Andy Hnilo:

Yeah, once a day, and I would back it up with this superfood meal, which is now my night cream. The idea of just nourishing the area that you freshly exfoliated and encouraging those new, fresh skin cells, as they go through the cell turnover process to heal into the best form. Melting down cacao butter, bees wax, adding sea butler oil, ordering little samples of plant derived vitamin A and plant derived stem cells, experimenting with that, trying to figure out the water side, oil side and just what’s the chemical components of that.

Michael Roesslein:

Then, it gets to a product. Then, at some point, you’re like, “Hey, man, I could sell this.” People are asking you for it. You’re giving it to them. This could be a thing. People are probably encouraging you to sell it.

Andy Hnilo:

Well, that took a year and a half. Christina trying it out on Christina was a victory. I went over there. I was explaining with a little bamboo bowl, way over-explaining the ingredients in every little chemical component of the mask. But, she loved it. She didn’t like the smell, so I dialed in the kelp powder. She told her friends about it. Their friends started… It became this thing.

I was working Friday, Saturday, Sundays at just a restaurant industry. Before I’d go to work, I would drive around to places and people I didn’t even know and explain the mask. I just remember that feeling of just geeking out on this mask in front of people that are looking at each other, going, “I just want to try your product. Get out of here.”

Michael Roesslein:

“Dude, just give me the jar.”

Andy Hnilo:

Yeah. So, I would ask for feedback in a picture and if I could post the picture on social media. This is back in the day when everybody saw your post. I was sharing my little thing with people.

Michael Roesslein:

And, you didn’t even have to pay for it.

Andy Hnilo:

No, no, no.

Michael Roesslein:

No, you put something on Facebook, and then people see it. Weirdest thing.

Andy Hnilo:

Exactly.

Michael Roesslein:

I remember those days.

Andy Hnilo:

Yeah, all eyes on your Facebook lives. All of your friends get that notification, so they dial that down and made you pay for it, now.

That’s really just sharing my little creative outlet and then getting positive feedback. People wanting to try it ultimately led to… A friend of mine, who owns a med spa in La Mesa, California, Alvarado Skin Institute. She’s like, “I want to try this mask.” So, I came down there, mixed up the mask. She loved it. She tried it out on a few of her clients that were just willing to try something, before they put it on their treatment list. They all loved it, too. With no name, it was just like this nutrient-dense, mineral-rich clay mask, three treatments for $4.95 or something like that.

And I was like, “Dude, this is happening.” That, right there, was the ultimate validation that led me forward going, “All right, this is something,” which is cool enough. I was still just imaging. I’m getting back in the entertainment industry, and this could be my little thing, but no name… Actually, I signed off on GoldenGlo, no “W”, both “G”s capitalized, all one word. But, that sounded like a bronzer, so I really started to dial it in when Dave Asprey… I troubleshoot Dave Asprey’s email address: d.aprey, dave.asprey, david@bulletproofexec.com. That was the contact form and fill out bulletproofexec.com at that time because I wanted to work for Bulletproof. I really respect his attention to detail on ingredients and the way he explained it.

I found out about Bulletproof in 2013 from a buddy of mine who was playing baseball, John Baker. Thank you, John. I just started drinking coffee for the first time, and it really helped me in my recovery. It motivated me to get out of bed and just put the most into my day. I wanted to work for Dave. One of those emails went through, and they got back to me, brought me on board as an ambassador, which was cool. I was getting the products for free, which I could barely afford at the time and just taking pictures. They started to hear a little bit more about my story, but skincare was never involved. So, they invited me on Bulletproof Radio, not to talk about skincare. I was just flowing on how I rebounded through Bulletproof products.

In the last 10 minutes, he asked what I did for my skin. I knew this would be in front of a lot of people. As a guy in skincare, I was a little hesitant still, at the time. So, I just started going in. Luckily, split second, I started talking about what I used to heal my scarring, my abrasions, just get back to my feet. He got such a response, and so did I. I gave out my personal email address. You can imagine. It was the number one podcast out on iTunes at the time. He flew down to LA. A couple months later, we had a product, Alitura clay mask on this Bulletproof site. When you have one product, you’re living the highest adrenaline. Everything in the past, I was just trying to see if somebody liked it. Now, people are actually ordering something. We had to come up with pricing. I was running around the Whole Foods, getting the little plastic containers, going to FedEx, printing out labels, writing out single page ingredient, way too long instructions on how to. It’s just fun.

Michael Roesslein:

Really, the least efficient way as possible to do all the things, when it’s just you two. I’ve been there. When our retail shop started on our site, we have supplements and some physical products, we were doing something similar, like printing labels, doing individual PayPal payments and handwriting instructions. We were just like, “Man, I want this to grow, and if it does, we’re screwed. So, what do we do?”

Then, we had to learn how to do fulfillment. We had to learn how to simplify, streamline instructions, streamline recommendations, labels, all of it. There’s so much that goes into that people have no idea. It’s cool because you have to figure it out because it’s growing and people like it. It’s like, “Oh, man.” Then it’s like, “I don’t know how to do this.” Then, you’re having to learn how to do stuff that’s way outside of making the product. You don’t learn fulfillment and shipping and label making and all that kind of stuff. You just know how to make a mask. So, it’s like that. You started with the mask. I think you had two products when I met you. I think you had the mask and one other product, maybe a cream?

Andy Hnilo:

Moisturizer. I took the feedback from customers that everybody was asking what to use post-mask, what moisturizer to use. I was using a base… Honey Girl Organics had a really good moisturizer. So what I did is I contacted them and said, “Hey, I want to use just a base of only the B products and then add a blend of botanicals.” I remember I told them a little bit about my story. At that time, I had auto-play on my website. It was just this video auto-play. So, I heard it in the background. They knew I had a company. I’m telling you, that’s been a very mentor-like situation with them.

They are beautiful people, who holistically raise B products. This gold serum right here has bees wax and B products that were on a hive, definitely less than six months ago. The way they harvest, the product, small family-owned business in Haleiwa, North shore, Oahu, Hawaii. I took that. We went back and forth, 22 tweaks, miron glass bottle, 21 phone calls I had to go. I was beyond obsessed, but it had to be perfect, as far as the hold and smell. It’s just one by one. You start with a blank canvas. With every product, it’s been like that. It just feels completely different, rather than rolling out a whole line. These are albums. The ingredients that didn’t make the cut for those formulas were still pretty good. They’re albums, yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

You got a B side moisturizer?

Andy Hnilo:

I mean, it could. It could, but it wouldn’t feel right. The only one.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. How many products do you have now?

Andy Hnilo:

Well, we have 12. I have a deodorant, a meteorite scrub, a full-on haircare line that I’m just starting, sunscreen, hair- [inaudible 00:26:00]

Michael Roesslein:

These are all unisex, anyone? You don’t have men, women? It’s skin and hair.

Andy Hnilo:

68% women, 32% men. We’re going to try to even that out.

Michael Roesslein:

But, the products are for the products are for humans.

Andy Hnilo:

Oh, yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

Flat out. Okay. No man, no woman. It doesn’t matter. I think one positive of having… When I first saw you in the booth, I thought you were a guy that they paid to sell the things. I wouldn’t expect you to be the guy that made the stuff. I think that can actually pull more men into giving a shit about their skin.

Andy Hnilo:

It’s just one of those things. You’re absolutely right. You look good. You feel good. You’re going to create a better energy in a ripple effect, personally and professionally, wherever you go.

I get it, though. I understand. But, you also see a-

Michael Roesslein:

It’s trending because there’re high-end beard stuff. I have a beard, so I get Facebook ads and Instagram ads constantly for Wild Boar bristle brushes and all these different types of beard-care things. All this cool beard stuff is definitely in. That’s a hipster thing, now. So with that, came skincare. There’re men’s brands of skin and hair things, way more than there was five or 10 years ago. So, I think it’s inching that way, but your stuff’s good enough that ladies will use it. That’s better than most of the men’s stuff on the market. If you gave most men’s products to a woman and not just because of the center, the perfumes that they use that are different, but the quality of “men’s” things, most of them that are out there. If we gave that to my wife, she’d be like, “I’m not putting this shit on my face. Are you kidding me?” It’s like, “Men can use it. Good enough for women.” That’s a selling point, right there.

You’ve got hair. You’ve got skin.

Andy Hnilo:

That’s the thing. I got to get you Santa Black. It started off as a beard oil, and it just spiraled. It’s so much more than a beard oil, though. It’s a hair, body. I put a little underneath my arms. That’s a magical product. Two different kinds of sandalwood, 90-

Michael Roesslein:

I’ll hit you up, next time I’m going to be in the States. It’s a pain in the ass to ship it here. So I’ll…

Andy Hnilo:

Is it really? I mean, it is. Italy’s tough, but I got to send you one, man and I’ll-

Michael Roesslein:

We’ll hook up. All right.

Andy Hnilo:

To touch on what you just said, it’s an interesting story with my gold serum because it started off as a shaving serum solely to back up a brass razor that I made on a shaving system for men because that’s something they’re doing daily, shaving cream. Som I created shaving serum. Now, I have to explain what a serum is to it. I was going on this East Coast tour, and I went to Fort Lauderdale, Florida’s Whole Foods. I met with some customers, and I think her name’s Bonnie. She came up and said, “I have to tell you, I steal my husband’s shaving serum. It’s my favorite product. You have some magic there. You need to start marketing that.” I was like, “Interesting, well, what do I do? Shaving serum? How much shaving serum are you going to need to shave your legs?” What I did is I pulled it back, and I tightened it up. I had a-

Michael Roesslein:

A ;ot more than you would use to shave your face. Your legs are bigger than your face.

Andy Hnilo:

I know, I know, but it’s in this little bottle, and it’d be the most expensive shape ever. I was like, “You know what? Serums are hot.” I did a little research on active ingredients. I added plant derived vitamin A as a retinol alternative, CoQ-10, astaxanthin, bring collagen and copper peptide. I basically just reformulated but enhanced it. I turned that into our gold serum. So, you’re absolutely right. It’s interesting that I never would’ve changed that product. It was really popular. I probably would’ve switched up the marketing on it, but that’s what led to the gold serum. The shaving serum is no longer. It’s interesting. That’s a really good point.

Michael Roesslein:

It’s like a living being. The whole thing, the whole lot of it, the products, the company, all of it.

Andy Hnilo:

I think about that.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. I’m guessing you’re not filling boxes in your living room anymore?

Andy Hnilo:

No, no, no, no. But, the thing is, I do want to say I went all the way up until 2017, almost four years. You could control shipping and then also all of the fulfillment centers. I’m finding that out, now. Nobody’s going to care.

Michael Roesslein:

Fulfillment centers suck. We have Whitney, who handles all of our fulfillment. We have one person who basically handles all of our fulfillment, basically from her house and does it personally. She’s our customer service. So, she’s answering questions about boxes that she’s filling because I’ve dealt with… It’s tough. It’s tough to find a fulfillment center that gives a shit about your product nearly as much as you do and about the customer experience and about getting everything perfect because you can send that thing exactly as you want it, exactly how you want it, and it’ll get to them exactly like that. And then giving that up is…

Andy Hnilo:

It’s been the most difficult part of this business side of things. We have conversations with our fulfillment center at least three times a week, and they’re not positive. They start off with constructive criticism. “Why would you put a night cream in a 10 by eight by eight with an air pillow?” We never had breakage when I was doing this myself. What my goal is right now, we have expanded. We’re eight years old now, in 91 countries. I have finally starting to hire. I hired two employees last year. We have big hopes for this year, when we release those new products, working with a lot of affiliates. Mike, it’s been a grind. Dude, it’s interesting.

Even the lows, the tough parts, my body reminds myself subconsciously of gratitude, be grateful. It’s just a shift. You reframe perspective-wise that I’m very grateful to be where I’m at because we’re helping so many people. I know what goes into this and that coming back to you is a feeling that I can’t explain. We’re doing our best to expand and share our creations with the rest of the world because we’re doing something. Things are much different.

Michael Roesslein:

Well, congrats man. From two products, then to 12 products, now. It’s been fun. I see your post. I see your stuff. I see what’s going on. It’s been fun to watch because I know you’re as passionate about this stuff as anyone is about anything. It’s cool. I love when people like that win at the thing they’re doing because the more that people care that much about the thing they’re doing are successful with it… I want to purchase things from people who care that much about the thing that they’re selling because what’s the point otherwise? My days of buying from some anonymous entity, gone. I like to find the people who are lit up by the thing that they’re doing because their thing is going to be better than everybody else’s thing because they care about it more than anybody else does.

The care and the detail and everything that goes into it, that’s why we wanted to create this whole section on our side of our favorite stuff because people come, and they listen to our educational stuff. They learn about, say, the toxic stuff that goes on skin, for example. If we don’t offer them some sort of alternatives or options or recommendations… We’re trying to close the loop with our favorites and our recommendations and things like that because teaching somebody that the stuff they’re using is bad, that’s fine. But, if you don’t help them find the thing that’s good, you’re doing them a disservice. So, we wanted to go full circle. That’s what we’re really doing with this season of the podcast and in that section on our site where we have all that stuff. I’ve been grateful and fortunate to run into people like yourself that are lit up by the thing that they’re doing and the thing that they’re making.

Then, I keep track of all those because those are the things that I use. So, when people reach out to us and contact us and say like, “Hey, what do you recommend for this? Or, what do you want?”

“I tried tons of stuff. I found this, and this stuff is awesome, so use this. I just saved you buying 12 crappy things, in a whole year of trying stuff that doesn’t work. Here you go.” That’s an important service that we’re trying to provide, too. I fully endorse and recommend anything that you guys are putting together because people can feel your energy and see your energy and know. And, look at your skin. I’m not going to say how old Andy is, but he’s older than he looks. I did some math there. You were saying 30. You were saying 2011.

Andy Hnilo:

Yeah, I’m 40. I’ll be 41 in November. Man, thank you. I really appreciate what you just said. I just remember going to farmer’s markets and coming alive, just energetically, with hearing how people grew their vegetables. You’re buying things you don’t even normally even buy, just because you want somebody come alive. Your skin’s crawling. You’re like, “I get it. I feel you. This is your baby.”

Michael Roesslein:

My favorite booth here at the market… There’s a weekly market in every town in Italy. That’s one beautiful thing about the country. So, there’s a market here every Thursday, and there’s all these produce vendors. All of them are over there, and then there’s one on the other side. I’m like, “What’s the one on the other side.” So, I asked my Italian teacher and she said, “That’s the vegetable wizard.” And I’m like, “What?” I go over there, and I look at his sign. In Italian, obviously it’s [foreign language 00:35:40] or [foreign language 00:35:41]. It’s the vegetable wizard. I’m like, “Why is he the vegetable wizard?” They’re all biodynamic, organic, all heirloom, whatever. The furthest you can take that, that’s all their stuff. They don’t want their produce next to the other produce.

So, they have their own stand, on the other side. I go there, and these people are lit up by vegetables, man. They love vegetables. Occasionally, you can get some fruit. They have kiwis, right now and apples, but they only sell what’s in season. It’s only local, and who knew they grow kiwis in Italy, but they do. I get my produce from the vegetable wizard because he’s the one that cares the most about the vegetables. It’s just finding the person that gives a damn the most. You’re going to find the best thing, so he’s cool. And, it’s him, his wife, and his daughter are the three people at the booth, and that’s who you get your stuff from.

Andy Hnilo:

That’s who you want to work with. Those are who I want to [inaudible 00:36:45] from. That’s the fiery curators.

Michael Roesslein:

We got to get you into some retailers over here, so I can get this stuff easier.

Andy Hnilo:

I would love that. Hey, no, seriously. I want to.

Michael Roesslein:

It would go well in Milan. I don’t have the same connections here that I do in the US, but I’ll see what I can do. Any of the show notes, we’ll have links down below. So, wherever you’re learning or watching or reading or listening to this, go click down below. It’ll take you to the site. You can do some shopping. There’s a code there that Andy was generous enough to give us. RebelHealth code. One word gets 20% off your order. So, you can try any of the products 20% off. This is really, really good stuff. I know when I first started talking to my wife, she was using stuff that works, but not clean ingredients in her skincare and her makeup. She was really, really skeptical and a really, really harsh critic, when I was trying to get her to change into like clean stuff.

She tried some things, and they were not effective at all. Yeah. She’s like, “Look, I don’t care if this stuff doesn’t work. I’m not going to use it.” So, when we got that stuff from you, we got the mask, and it probably sat in our bathroom for like a couple months, before she touched it and we used it. I was like, “You got to just try it.” She’s like, “Yeah, but I tried all your other clean things and whatever.” She’s like, “This is actually really good.” I was like, “Yes! Way to go, Andy,” because she was a harsh critic. So, you’re not losing anything by going clean with these products. I promise they’re… Just listen to the guy talk. If you didn’t catch it, listen to the interview again and go try it out. The links below codes, RebelHealth. It’s 20% off.

Obviously, the mask is awesome. Now. He’s got shaving things and all kinds of other cool things going on there. Browse around, get some gifts for loved ones, take advantage of the coupon, order a bunch of stuff and check out what you like.

Andy, thank you so much. Thanks for doing something you’re so passionate about, and it benefiting so many other people. Kudos to you for turning something really, really awful into something really cool and fun and rewarding and all of that. It’s beautiful to see. It’s good to catch up, man.

Andy Hnilo:

Oh, dude. Thank you. This has been the best way to start my day, man. I just really appreciate you having me on. It’s great to connect with you. I feel you from afar, and I just really appreciate you having me on. I’m really looking forward for the future.

Michael Roesslein:

Awesome. Well, I’ll get in touch. We’ll figure out some ways for me to get some of your new stuff.

Andy Hnilo:

Oh yeah, definitely. Absolutely. Appreciate you, Mike.

Michael Roesslein:

All right. Thanks a lot, Andy.