For the latest edition of #LFH, our weekly Instagram Live series on how fashion and beauty brand founders are adjusting to leading from home, Glossy executive editor Priya Rao chatted with Walter Faulstroh, co-founder and CEO of Hum Nutrition. Joining us from his home in Los Angeles, Faulstroh shared how he is prioritizing mental health and wellness conversations with his 65-person Hum Nutrition team, as well as the broader Hum customer community.
“I was thinking through what we can do to really make this work, because there was so much uncertainty, and my No. 1 instinct was trying to put myself in the position of the individuals,” said Faulstroh of his decision-making in mid-March. “There was a lot of stress, there was a lot of uncertainty, so [it was about] reassuring everyone by saying, ‘Look, we’re not planning on laying anyone off; you’re in a safe space here at Hum. Let’s try to make this work together.’ It takes a little bit of trial-and-error to get this to feel normal, but we have this really collaborative team, so how can we recreate that virtually?”
Below, Faulstroh shared how this manifests in viewing coronarvirus and 2020 as a marathon, providing mandatory work breaks for his whole team and making Hum Nutrition a source of education as the conversation around health and wellness reaches fever pitch.
Covid-19 has proven there is no playbook to follow
“I have a few friends in Europe, in Spain and in Italy, who really got hit hard before us. We have an office in Germany, as well, so they were a bit ahead of us and gave us learnings that we could look into, as well as what other companies were doing abroad. Originally, it was like, ‘It’s going to be two weeks, three weeks.’ But quite frankly, I always thought this was going to be more of a marathon instead of sprint, so we really prepared the company for the long run, and to keep everyone’s morale up, as well.”
Creating a place for work-life balance, at home
“Everybody was working so hard from home. Because we are at home all the time, I was very concerned with people burning out very quickly, because you just work, work, work and try to be distracted from what’s around you. So we scheduled mandatory breaks for everyone at the same time. [We wanted] to ensure that people really take downtime and also try to take a deep breath, go outside if they can. No one can teach you this as you navigate a company… We came up with an acronym called POEMS: Learn how to prioritize; over-communicate; experiment, because its a new way of working; measure how things are panning out; and implement with speed. Yes, there is a health crisis, but the mental well-being of everyone is so key to staying focused.”
Why the uptick in business reflects that conversations around health and wellness are changing
“A lot of our business is online, and we offer a very personalized service where you can take a quiz, but you also get your own nutritionist assigned to you, [where] you can ask questions. We have seen a huge uptick in people asking questions. People want to be educated on certain things; we have a content team, as well, and our educational content has been doing really well. We have been doing this for eight years, so it [became a question of how to] scale the extra demand. We have our team of RDs [registered dietitians], and you just don’t bring in like 20 more on demand. There’s this huge uptick in questions, and we’re just trying to answer them as quickly as we can.”