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It's a Matter Of...Empathy

The Power of Personalization at Scale

October 26, 2021 BeautyMatter
October 26, 2021

The consumer desire for personalized products is not new, and technology is finally making it possible. But not all personalization is created the same.

The true innovators among us are digging, pushing the capabilities of technology, and reinventing the manufacturing process to truly deliver consumers what they want: Product made just for them. Melissa Snover, Founder and CEO of Nourished, talks with Kelly Kovack about how she is pushing the envelope on what’s possible, and how her focus is on the power of personalization.

 

[beginning of recorded audio]

Melissa Snover [00:00:10]: Hi, I’m Melissa Snover, the CEO and Founder of Remedy Health, and to me, it’s a matter of empathy.

Kelly Kovack [00:00:23]: The consumer desire for personalized product is not new. I’m Kelly Kovac, Founder of BeautyMatter. Technology is finally making it possible, but not all personalization is created the same. It’s a concept that gets thrown around a lot, standing for everything from my name on a bottle to a quiz-based creation of a few premade products. The true innovators among us are digging deep, pushing the capabilities of technology and reinventing the manufacturing process to truly deliver consumers what they want: product made just for them. Melissa Snover, founder and CEO of Nourished, is one of these entrepreneurs, pushing the envelope of what is possible and obsessed with the power of personalization.

So Melissa, thank you for joining us today. You know, we spoke, I don’t know, it was probably over a year ago, and I honestly think about your business so often. I wanted to cover it, but I couldn’t quite find a way to cover how dynamic the conversation was in words. So I’m so happy that we can do it sort of in audio because I feel like some stories are better told that way. So thank you for A, your patience in finally doing something with us, and B, for taking the time today to share your story.

Melissa Snover [00:01:43]: It’s my pleasure, Kelly, and I really enjoyed our first conversation so when this opportunity came up, it was a no-brainer for me and I’m very excited, so it’s great to be here.

Kelly Kovack [00:01:54]: Aw, well thank you. So I would love to talk about your current concept called Nourished, which you came by way of a previous start-up you launched in 2015 called Magic Candy Factory. So can you share a bit about your background and how you got from candy to wellness? Because it’s kind of a very different, kind of almost, I don’t know, I think there’s some humor in there somewhere.

Melissa Snover [00:02:18]: Yeah, it’s ironic, a little bit, isn’t it? I started developing confectionary products actually even before Magic Candy Factory. In 2010, I developed a vegan gummy candy which was free from allergens, primarily because I’m a vegetarian who doesn’t like chocolate but is an absolute gummy monster and I couldn’t find any gummy that doesn’t have gelatin in it, so I just decided I would try and make some and I did it in my kitchen and I launched the product, it went all over the world. That was really my first experience in creating a consumer brand. And it also really led me to why I created the first 3D printer in Magic Candy Factory. It was completely and directly because I was so frustrated and unsatisfied by the way that big manufacturing works. You have to make hundreds of thousands of the same thing. The MPD cycle to develop a new product takes several years. There’s humungous costs. There’s loads of wastage. And it’s totally impossible to create enough product varieties to please all the people. So when I sold that first candy brand I decided I wanted to try to find a solution for this because this bothered me, I’m a highly developed empathetic person and actually I lose sleep at night over issues that I think need to be solved. And I started to think okay, well what if we created 100,000 varieties and people could pick and mix it together? It still wouldn’t solve it because there still would be somebody that wanted something totally crazy that you didn’t think of before. And so I thought well, what if we allowed the consumer to create their own product and basically engage with the machine either online or in a store and kind of choose from a huge number of different variables but they were fully in control of the creation process and in the end could create an unlimited number of finished products. And so that was the real idea for Magic Candy Factory. And I remember being on a train in Germany when I was thinking of this idea and I drew it on a napkin – I know that’s such a cliché, but I did, I drew on a napkin in the train what I wanted it to look like. But I didn’t know at that time that it was going to be a 3D printer, I just knew what I wanted the end concept to be like and to do and to feel like for the consumer. And so that really led me to learn everything I know now about 3D printing. I bought 3D printers online, put them back together, almost threw one off of a roof once. Learned how to do G code, learned all about the software tool paths that you need. That concept launched around the world. In America, it was in all the Dylan’s Candy Bar stores. It was an amazing experience and an incredible learning experience and education really for me at the end of the day. Magic Candy Factory’s number one product was something called a “sweet selfie,” so it was a candy of your face. And it’s super cool, but I mean, how many of them do you need in your life? Not one a day. And it certainly wasn’t having the impact that I wanted and that I felt was possible for the technology as a whole. And so that really pushed me into thinking about ways that we could use what we’d created so far and add to it and optimize it and do even more with it to be able to create personalized solutions in the industry I felt desperately needed that and wasn’t getting it really from the current market, which was health and wellness. And so that really spurred me on to create the Nourished project.

Kelly Kovack [00:05:43]: So what was your background before you launched your first start-up? Because there’s lots of entrepreneurs that have ideas, but it takes kind of a certain kind of way of thinking to go all the way down sort of to the manufacturing level to develop the solution rather than to go find someone to execute your idea.

Melissa Snover [00:06:05]: Absolutely. So, you know, I have to be totally honest, I did not intend to be an entrepreneur. I fell into it by accident in the first business that I created when I was still in university. And it was a wonderful, serendipitous accident that I learned very quickly that I loved the energy and the excitement. And also there is a level of fear that comes with that excitement that exists when you’re making your own way and also you’re taking all of the risks yourself. And I thought, wow, this is really fun. I didn’t love the business I created, I did it for a school project, but I actually really did love being able to create solutions and to be able to make changes right away and to be able to decide on a daily basis what I wanted my business to be. And that really kind of started me off. But I studied poli sci and business with computer science as a minor and I intended originally to be a lawyer. And I’m really glad that I’m not a lawyer, even though I think it would be fun to be a lawyer and I would have enjoyed that, but I think it’s a wonderful kind of twist of fate that brought me to where I am today and I’m so glad, really, every day that it happened because I’m so happy with what I’ve done with my life instead.

Kelly Kovack [00:07:22]: Now I remember because I also studied political science, but I minored in philosophy and art history and I also was supposed to be a lawyer.

Melissa Snover [00:07:32]: Yeah, it’s a really common undergrad isn’t it, for law, and actually I loved it. But yeah, it was – when I was in uni, I don’t know what it was like for you, but when I started to study political science I loved it and I was in love with the whole system and the way that it worked and the spirit of the Supreme Court. And then the more you learn about it, the more you realize that it’s a beautiful thing but it’s being used imperfectly in many ways and it’s very difficult to fix from a larger point of view. So I was like, oh my goodness. This is going to be tricky.

Kelly Kovack [00:08:03]: I had a similar reaction where I loved studying it, I loved the strategy of it, but then sort of when you put it into action, it all sort of fell apart for me. And I also had sort of this – I didn’t realize it at the time, but this very creative side of me that it just kind of…and I guess that’s why, I don’t know who studies political science and art history, but I guess it’s kind of how my brain works. But you know, the thing that I think is so interesting about what you’ve done, I mean, there’s so secret that consumers want products that are personalized just for them, but what that’s come to mean can be anything from putting your name on a label to a simple diagnostic tool that recommends products all the way to sort of truly customized products developed off of your DNA. I think technology has made personalization possible in all these ways which didn’t exist not that long ago. That almost the idea of personalization has become a little ubiquitous. But you’ve not only developed a personalized concept, I think for me the distinguishing factor of is it real or not, is it vertically integrated? Because I don’t know anyone who can truly deliver on personalization without controlling the manufacturing piece of it.

Melissa Snover [00:09:23]: Totally agree, and I think that is really the crux of the difference between what we’re doing here and what so many other companies are doing when they say “personalization.” I think personalization suddenly is a term which is becoming like the term “natural” used to be, really reserved for very natural products and then everybody threw it on their label and now natural doesn’t really mean anything because it’s kind of like white noise. And so I think personalization I think is going to fall to the same kind of history. But really where a lot of people are talking about personalization, they’re doing one of two things. They’re either A, they have a bunch of products, like 50 different products, and they’re pushing people into buckets and so it seems personalization-istic, but it’s not really personalization. Or they’re taking a bunch of different premade products, or components, if you will – and this is not just in food or vitamins, this is in loads of different products, and they’re putting them together in what I would consider to be more like a personalized edit, you know, like when you get a gift box of an edited set of products or a hamper of things that are selected for you. But what we have done with technology, which you have very rightly pointed out, is we have come up with a manufacturing model where we make a unique product on every single printer and we never make the same product. And I don’t care which product blends people want, we just are able to make I think now 22 billion different combinations using that technology, which is fast enough for us to be scalable and to do it in a way where the customer is delighted they’re not having to wait three weeks or four weeks or five weeks for it and they’re not having to pay three or four times as well. SoI think that’s really the crux of the difference. And you’re absolutely right, we not only make Nourished, the product that you eat, we actually make the 3D printers that make Nourished. So I’m sitting in site one, which is the food factory, across the road is our machine building and technology center where we build the actual machines that make our product as well and we control that entire supply chain and integration for the entire process, end-to-end.

Kelly Kovack [00:11:33]: So you know what I realized is we haven’t even really shared with everyone what Nourished is as a concept.

Melissa Snover [00:11:41]: I totally – totally would have just kept going.

Kelly Kovack [00:11:45]: So let’s back up and share what Nourished is.

Melissa Snover [00:11:49]: Absolutely. So Nourished is the world’s first authentically personalized gummy vitamin. You basically go online and answer a series of questions and our algorithm recommends seven nourishments or nutrients that are best-suited to you. We then 3D print customized daily vitamins for you with 3D printing technology and we send them to your door in their very special packaging with your name.

Kelly Kovack [00:12:13]: I have to say, they’re so beautiful.

Melissa Snover [00:12:16]: Oh, they are really cute.

Kelly Kovack [00:12:19]: They’re very photogenic.

Melissa Snover [00:12:21]: They’re very Instagrammable, but that wasn’t the real reason why we did it. But I think it’s very important that people can see the layers, and especially when we have customers now that have been with us for like a year and they change their stack because their life is changing, they can see that their stack looks different because they changed the nutrients inside, and I love that. I really love it. I think it’s important.

Kelly Kovack [00:12:42]: So you know, scale has always been a challenge for personalized products and fueling growth is always a challenge for start-ups. Nourished is playing in a pretty hot category that’s been fueled by the pandemic, which has – I mean, there were already a lot of wellness brands launching, but I feel like there’s more every day. You also have the dynamic of strategics snapping these brands up like they are candy. And you have investors flooding money into health and wellness start-ups. So it creates almost like you have a hot category that becomes – the dynamics just shift because there’s so much noise, but there’s also so much money being pumped into it that these businesses are scaling fast – some of them. And sometimes I think it creates a little bit of a – kind of a conflated view of what the real opportunity is right now, if that makes sense. Because I don’t think you can just show up with another supplement and succeed. I think it’s moved way beyond that. But I’d love to know, to get your insights on the dynamics of what’s become this really competitive category, especially during the past 12 months. I mean, I know that you saw amazing growth, as most people did in the category, but was there anything that sort of changed or that you had to speed up, or new insights that you got over this period?

Melissa Snover [00:14:07]: Yeah, I think that’s a great question. And actually the point that you raised prior to the question is a very good one. So the category of health and wellness was already growing before COVID and there was already quite a lot of activity around investment and brands popping up, and then COVID just kind of threw some diesel fuel on that fire and all these brands that were already around got more investment and threw more money into the marketing funnel, wheel, that is never ending. And what it’s doing is it’s creating an unrealistic view, both from a brand point of view and our competitiveness online. So when someone is spending a million dollars a day on one target market in advertising, no matter how healthy our budget is, it doesn’t matter because the algorithm will not choose the lower bidder, right? So I think it sends the message to brands – a lot of new brands – that they’ll never succeed, which I think is disappointing in many ways because it’s not sustainable in the long run. Eventually people just end up fighting on price unless you have a really unique product, and this is not unique to VMC, I think this is the same for every single industry. And I think for our product range, yes we have a very high level of defensibility, we have patented IP, and we have a very unique product, and we are in this very beautiful intersect of high-trending marketplaces. But we also are the only ones in the world that can do VMC personalized in a gummy, and gummy is the fastest growing part of the VMC segment. So really that is helping us a lot. We’re less than two years old. We launched Nourished in January of 2020, so that’s 18 months old. So against the giants and the start-ups who are no longer start-ups, who are doing very well and scaling and getting tons of cash, that is what we have to rest our laurels on because we can’t compete with their marketing budgets, right? And I think that’s very tricky. But I do think at the same time, eventually, a lot of those brands who are doing almost a like-for-like concept will start to have to compete on price alone and that happens in lots of segments and I think that’s tricky. In addition, not many of the vitamin brands that you see online – I’m sure you know this, Kelly, but for the listeners, not very many, like less than 10% of them make their product.

Kelly Kovack [00:16:28]: Yeah, most of them are private label.

Melissa Snover [00:16:30]: Exactly, and there’s entire business models and shows – there’s expos of all private label manufacturers of vitamins for brands to go and find new producers of this stuff. So what does it mean? A, it means they can’t develop products very quickly so that gives us a slight disruptive advantage. It also means their margin is lower because when you control the entire process, certainly it’s more complex to set up, but once you do it, your margin is – you maintain your entire margin. You’re not paying somebody else to do half your work for you and having to give that margin away. So in the long run, we hope that that will stand us in good stead. But it is really tricky. And you’re absolutely right, people are throwing – when we look at a comparison of us versus the other brands in the “personalized” vitamin space and what funding they’ve had, add another zero to ours and that’s what most of them have gotten too. So yeah, it’s tricky.

Kelly Kovack [00:17:27]: Thinkers. Innovators. Experts. Generating ideas for the business of beauty. BeautyMatter has built its reputation as a must-read resource for beauty industry insiders, delivering future-focused insights and actionable solutions. With the speed of innovation and increased competition in the category, access to the right analysis and intelligence is more critical than ever. Make an investment in yourself and unlock a competitive edge with a subscription to BeautyMatter. Head over to www.BeautyMatter.com to check out our contact. And as a listener to our podcast, use the code UNLOCK25 for a 25% discount.

So what are you doing to break through the noise? I mean, you’ve created sort of a defensible product that – it’s pretty significantly differentiated, but you still need to connect with the consumer. So where are you finding that traction to gain the customer attention?

Melissa Snover [00:18:29]: I think it’s a great question. So obviously we are a D-to-C model so we are definitely heavily reliant on online advertising channels. But what we have found recently is that the online space is so crowded and so loud that everything you just mentioned before, we start to just kind of fade into the background. And so we’ve really started to work on an Omni-channel approach aggressively, and so we have a lot of out of home advertising, we’re working on our first TV commercial, and we have a very, very strong and aggressively growing PR strategy. Because I believe that is still one of the most important mediums is PR. If you can get editorial feedback and reviews on your product that consumers read in a non-forceful, commercial way and it’s authentic, it’s worth, I believe, 10 to 20 times an Instagram ad. And I think if we can do that – I mean, you have to have a good product and you have to be able to get – you can’t make journalists write nice things about you, you have to really bank on your product being that good. But if you can do that, I think you can create some really strong attention on the brand in a good way.

And then lastly right now we are working on some partnerships which I can’t say too many details on, but I will tell you when they’re ready to go live, with world leaders in categories that we do not play in in the moment where we are developing collaborative products which will be co-branded. And I think this will also really kind of just take it to the next level. Because I think still a lot of people haven’t heard of us and I think those partnerships will help to solve that.

Kelly Kovack [00:20:04]: And you’re also planning a retail expansion, right?

Melissa Snover [00:20:07]: That is right. So in the UK, where our factories are, we’ve actually launched in Suffrages, which is a very, very famous department store in London, and it’s absolutely beautiful, it’s very experience-based, and we have a beautiful activation in their food hall where we’re doing live 3D printing of products and we’re doing live customization and it’s been a huge success. It’s been live for about six weeks, and we’re now looking at how can we now apply that same rational in the U.S. And I know we spoke about this before – there’s some beautifully amazing stores that you have in America that we do not have, even in the UK. So I’m very excited about it, and I actually have a team that are working on that at the moment, so very excited.

Kelly Kovack [00:20:50]: And you recently – talking about fundraising, you recently raised an $11 million Series A that valued the business at almost $72 million in just 18 months, which is – I mean, congratulations. That’s some serious growth. You know, we’ve talked a little bit about your plans for the brand and collaborations, but you also have a holding company called – I think it’s Remedy Health. So you kind of have two businesses, almost like a B-to-B business I guess, and then sort of the brand. I just get this feeling that you have much bigger plans than a Nourished brand.

Melissa Snover [00:21:28]: Yeah, you’re absolutely right, Kelly. So basically, Remedy Health is the name of the company and Remedy has developed – myself and my CTO have developed, well, within Remedy, 12 patented technologies which we can apply to so many different things and we are focusing, certainly, in this first wave of our business on preventative health solutions, so the Nourished brand was the first to go live. Already now we’ve launched Nourished Adult, we’ve expanded it, we launched Nourished Kids, which is the first personalized children’s vitamin, and now we’re working on launching Nourished Protein, which will be personalized protein bars with added functional ingredients by the end of this year. On the other side of the company, we have something called Scripted where we are developing 3D printing solutions for curative health, so using 3D printing technology to create customized dosages for live patient environments with single APIs, which is really beneficial especially for children where commercial dosage amounts are not available, right? Because most drugs are developed for adults. So you think about what that could result in if we don’t do it correctly. And then we’re also working with large-scale drug manufacturers to use 3D printers in the actual development and launch of new drugs to market which potentially could reduce the costs and speed that up to the point where they could develop more medications for rare conditions. And that would be an incredible thing to be a part of. So I definitely have a lot more that we will be doing under the Remedy Health Group. But Nourished is not just something that we’re doing as a pilot to prove our technology is awesome. It’s really – it has a humongous amount of potential and it is a product that I desperately wanted to be in the world that wasn’t there and we now made it and I’m really happy that other people also agree that it’s really a great addition to their day-to-day wellness regime.

Kelly Kovack [00:23:24]: That’s clear because you’ve really sort of built a really beautiful brand. You know, I think so many brands today launch with the concept of speed-to-market, or what’s the Silicon Valley, like, move fast and break things, which I’ve never had that luxury. But you know, you are much more – I don’t know whether pragmatic is the word, but I think you’ve built a very thoughtful brand that has a depth to it that I think we don’t sometimes see in sort of the D-to-C space.

Melissa Snover [00:23:54]: I love that you think that, that means the world to me. Thank you so much, and I’m going to tell my designers. So the brand name and the brand design we developed in-house, so my head of design and I did that. And I loved it and so many people, like my investors – not my investors now, but previous people, tried to get us to change it and I really had to stand up for it. I’m like no, absolutely not. And a lot of people tried to get us, like marketing agencies and consultants, tried to get us to fluff it up, make it like a women’s lifestyle brand, get away from the science, there’s too much science. And I’m like, I disagree. I disagree, I think the consumer is an intelligent person who puts a lot of weight on scientific backing of the products that they spend their money on in this category, and it’s important that we don’t treat them – we’re not talking to them in a condescending fashion.

Kelly Kovack [00:24:48]: Listen, I’ve been there where, you know, having to defend sort of a brand and design concept and you have someone on the other side of the table and they’re like yeah, but nothing like that exists, and I’m like, exactly.

Melissa Snover [00:25:02]: Yes! You absolutely nailed it, Kelly. You’re absolutely right. And I think a lot of people are afraid of doing something that nobody’s ever done, and then there’s people like me who are – you could call it foolishness, you could call it bravery, whatever, I’m not afraid of it at all and I actually think it’s much more exciting to do something that nobody’s ever done before.

Kelly Kovack [00:25:22]: Well, I also think that you touch on something that is not often talked about, but I’ve seen it happen, where entrepreneurs start with a very clear idea and kind of almost have that instinct, which I think truly visionary brands and brands that are defining white space, like you have to have a gut instinct. Not everything can be quantified. And when you take money, some investors are more active than others and they have lots of opinions. And I’ve seen really, really visionary founders dilute their concepts based on that kind of feedback because it’s definitely – they’ve given you money, you have to respect the feedback, but it’s also your vision. Do you have any advice for entrepreneurs on how to navigate that relationship?

Melissa Snover [00:26:17]: Absolutely. That’s a very, very good point, I’m really glad that you brought it up because it does happen. And especially when you’re a younger entrepreneur, you feel like the kid at a new school, like you have to please everybody all of the time, and you feel like that because you’ve just come off of a funding round and when you do the funding round, you’re pitching your business, you’re yes, yes, yes, and this, this, this, and then you get into a longer-term relationship when people have come on board and people want to continue that same kind of dynamic. And I always think that’s wrong because it’s kind of like when you go on your first date with somebody, you’re on your best behavior, but eventually you decide to be in love and you accept each other for who you are and you appreciate each other for who you are and that’s how you move forward, right? That’s how a relationship grows. Now, when I’ve had it when I’ve been very young, I absolutely didn’t know what to do and I absolutely let investors not even just dim down my ideas, but totally change them and sideline me as the decision maker. It was a horrible feeling and I felt trapped, really, in one of my previous companies by it. So I fully can relate to younger entrepreneurs who have gotten into this situation. It’s very, very difficult, and it’s also way more complicated than people talk about. I have seen so many instances of people putting money in and then basically pushing the entrepreneur to spend a large portion of the money with other friends and associates and colleagues of that investor. Now, luckily I have no one in my investor support group now that would do that, but I’ve seen it so many times and it has happened to me, and it’s so backwards. You would never allow it in another situation. So I find it really tricky. But how do you deal with it? You have to give people respect no matter what. Whether they gave you money, whether they gave you their time, you have to be respectful of other people and treat people how you want to be treated. So I always try to see the side that they’re coming from and I always ask a lot of questions to get them to really explain to me why they want this change, why they’re saying what they’re saying, and what experience have they had that leads them to this path. And that usually helps me to get a view of what’s really going on. Maybe there’s another solution that I can find that will make them happy and I can continue. And that’s usually a good tactic for a lot of kinds of negotiations really, not just this kind. And then I think that you have to, at some stage, be ready to say to people, and be ready for them not to like it, that I really appreciate your feedback but I feel very strongly that we should continue this way, and I’m going to continue in this way for X amount of time, and if we still are not achieving the goals and targets for the business and we can find some sort of a data link that this is the reason why, I would be more than happy to look at relooking at this again. And then I think they feel vindicated that their idea has been taken seriously, and it has been, but that you then also have said – this is the best advice one of my investors ever gave to me: at the end of the day, no one will ever measure you by how much your investors like you. They will measure you by how much their valuation of the business goes up, by how big of a team you’re able to build, by how big of a brand and a business you’re able to create, and what impact you make on the world from the business side. No one will ever write anywhere, a couple of firm investors thought she was standoffish. No, like seriously. And even this comes down to being not cruel, but very strict about how you give your time, because if you have more than one investor, which most people have to get, it can become a complete distraction from what you are really there to do and what you will be measured on. And so I think you have to be quite strict about it. 

Kelly Kovack [00:30:07]: And it’s also a dynamic that you almost need to set up from the beginning because it’s very hard to kind of walk it back once it kind of gets out of control.

Melissa Snover [00:30:18]: I totally agree with that. And I think setting precedents. Like this is an example of a precedent, which no one has a problem with, but I get up at four in the morning and if people want a call with me at eight o’clock at night, they’re just not going to get it because I’m literally going to bed in an hour because I’m exhausted and I’ve already been up for way longer than you. And I need to rest, right? I need to rest. If I don’t rest, then I’m not going to be a good CEO for your invested business tomorrow and that kind of thing. But yeah, I think that you do need to set precedents and you need to set some kind of – the correct kind of protocols and there’s a lot of really great technology tools that you can use for stakeholder relations now which take a lot of the agro out of it, but you still need to keep those personal relationships but not at the expense of your business, your health, your safety, and your mental wellness, right?

Kelly Kovack [00:31:05]: Yeah, I think that you’ve touched on something else that doesn’t get talked a lot about, is an entrepreneur’s path is a lonely one. As a founder, a lot of things kind of fall on your shoulder, even if you have, I think, solo entrepreneurs, it’s amplified, obviously. But so many people burn themselves out and I think it’s so important for founders and entrepreneurs to take a long-term view of things. I know it’s advice that I’ve gotten. You cannot work 20 hours a day and sustain that. And you create a culture then that is not healthy as well, because you’re setting the lead.

Melissa Snover [00:31:43]: Exactly, and I think that’s a very good point, that you have to lead from the top. So, again, the same investor that gave me the previous advice said this to me. He said: you are the single most important person in this business and if you burn yourself out and something happens where you can’t continue, all these people who work for you and give you their best every day, who have bought into your vision, who believe you and follow you, will all be left without a job eventually. So you owe it to them to look after yourself. It is nothing selfish about it; you need to look after yourself for all of the other people here that have come to be part of this journey. And for whatever reason, in my psyche, that really helps me because there’s this martyrdom, isn’t there: I work harder than everyone else! I work longer hours than everyone else! And I don’t think it’s unique to women or to me or to entrepreneurs, I think it exists in many different kinds of dichotomies, but when I think about it that way that he phrased it, it’s very easy for me to say, that’s enough. I’m not going to be my best me unless I do this, right? Yeah.

Kelly Kovack [00:32:52]: So I honestly believe that you are a true innovator, you’re definitely sort of a visionary thinker. I’m curious, I feel like we’re in this moment of really profound innovation that’s going to – I think, you know, if you look back historically, during times of crisis, some of the biggest, most disruptive businesses have been built, and we’re definitely, I think we can call the last 15 months a crisis on so many fronts. And I’m seeing so much creativity and kind of anything is possible thinking. What do you think the future of personalization is going to be?

Melissa Snover [00:33:32]: You know, I think you’re absolutely right, Kelly. Necessity is the mother of invention, but people who are very comfortable in their day-to-day life never need anything so they don’t come up with anything. So when something like a crisis like that happened it pushed everybody out of their comfort zone, a lot of things that we wanted and needed we couldn’t gain access to and so many amazing people came out of nowhere with incredible ideas and incredible solutions that were materialized so quickly it was ridiculous, right, when you think about how long it used to take to do things like start a business and raise money. And I agree with you. So where is the world going? It’s going in a direction that we have no historical reference for, really. Because there are so many different variables that have changed, that have a humongous impact on basically everything to do with day-to-day life. And so there has been plagues and there has been house crises in the past, but not when everybody had technology. Can you imagine if COVID had hit even 50 years ago? Nobody could have worked from home. How would we have done that? Large-scale businesses of the service industry would have literally had to shut down and there would have been nothing. So in a lot of ways, technology saved a lot of things during the crisis. But at the same time, I think it made us realize, at least me, what really matters to me. And because I couldn’t see my parents for two years, I couldn’t be with my friends, I couldn’t do things like just go and see my best friend and have a bottle of wine and put the world to right. And I didn’t realize how much importance that I put on – well, that I feel on the face-to-faceness of that and I didn’t expect it, to be honest. I’ve lived away from my mom and dad for years and years and years and I feel like it’s not great but we get on with it and it’s not bad. I thought I would feel the same when this happened, and I just didn’t. I really missed being face-to-face with people. So I think that some of the innovation that we see, of course there’s going to be amazing innovations in health. Look at what’s already happening with mobile health solutions, diagnostics being accelerated massively, the development of new drugs being accelerated massively. But I also think that people are not going to spend money on the same kinds of things when it comes to enjoyment. I think it’s going to change. Imagine when we get to travel properly again. There’s a lot of trips I used to go on that I would not want to waste my precious travel time on now. I’m going to make every single trip I take a trip of a lifetime, right? And I think that those kinds of things, the overexposure to our own mentality and then the starvation of human contact will lead to innovations that I can’t even imagine yet, but I’m so excited that there are people thinking about it right now and what they’re going to do to try to solve it. Like a teleporter, wouldn’t that be great, Kelly?

Kelly Kovack [00:36:29]: That would be amazing.

Melissa Snover [00:36:31]: Seriously! A teleporter time machine even would be the best. I tried to get my CTO to make me one and he said no because of ethical reasons.

Kelly Kovack [00:36:41]: That is so funny. Well, Melissa, thank you so much for sharing your story and your insight and we’re really looking forward to hearing what’s next when you can share it. Anytime.

Melissa Snover [00:36:53]: Wonderful, I would love it. And thank you so much again, it’s been a pleasure as always, Kelly. I really enjoyed it.

Kelly Kovack [00:36:58]: Thank you.

For Melissa, it’s a matter of empathy. The combination of technology with empathy in the hands of a visionary entrepreneur has the power to create innovative solution and widely successful brands. Melissa is a true believer that you can achieve anything you put your mind to. Her fascination with new technologies and unique understanding of trends fuels her drive to innovate solutions for consumers that challenge competitors and disrupt the current status quo. Her vision for the future of food, health, and wellness, includes integrating 3D printing to deliver truly customized solutions serving each consumer’s individual needs and desires. So in the end, it’s a matter of empathy, and that’s what matters. I’m Kelly Kovac, see you next time.

Melissa Snover [00:37:56]: Hi, I’m Melissa, and for me, it’s a matter of empathy. Empathy drives everything that we do in my business and what I do in my personal life to create great relationships and products that truly solve the problems that people have.

Kelly Kovack [00:38:14]: It’s A Matter Of is a production of BeautyMatter LLC. You can find more content and insights on www.BeautyMatter.com and follow us on social media @BeautyMatterOfficial.

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