8Greens founder Dawn Russell got the idea for her wellness business a painful way: by surviving a terrible diagnosis.
“I hate to start the conversation with cancer, but it really was what brought me into what I’m doing today,” Russell said on this week’s episode of the Glossy Beauty Podcast. “I got a bone infection and couldn’t do chemo or radiation. I traveled the world for many years trying to find treatments to compensate for that, just to end up back in my little apartment in the West Village going back to the basics of food. That’s when greens really started to come into my life.”
8Greens’ first product, a round tablet of dehydrated greens is meant to be dissolved in a glass of water and debuted in 2016; the company recently rolled out its gummy format in October. Both products are not only meant for those facing health challenges, which is why 8Greens is available at retailers like Nordstrom, Anthropologie, Sephora and Amazon. However, its DTC subscription model brings in more than 60% of 8Greens’ revenue, Russell said.
“I want it to be easy. Health should not be so difficult and intimidating and trendy,” she said.
Russell joined the Glossy Beauty Podcast to talk about the product’s numerous prototypes, her company’s surprisingly smooth relationship with Amazon and plans to enter the U.K. in 2020.
Here are a few highlights from the conversation, lightly edited for clarity.
Slow and steady
“We will not be a company of 60 SKUs; that’s just not really on my agenda. Each ingredient in each product has to lend to my journey. There’ll be very few products, and I won’t put them out there until they’re very good. That’s not common and that’s probably not what [big retailers] want, but long term it’s who I am.”
Bucking the pay-for-play model
“We’ve never paid for an influencer, and we never will. To be honest, we just haven’t needed to. We will send the product to people. If they like it, fabulous. People have offered many quotes which is great, but we simply don’t believe in the payment exchange, especially of something that is so important. It’s health.”
Bringing on a legacy beauty executive to a startup
“I was on my knees before we got the CEO because I just had too much on my shoulders all the time. The second I met him I knew he was the right CEO. I interviewed over 250 people, I was bonkers. I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but I didn’t care if they went to business school, had this perfect resume, this, that. It was a gut [thing]. Yes, he was at Unilever and all this amazing stuff — I’m not going to say that’s not incredible. But the second I met him, I just knew.”