Jacob Perler is a seasoned entrepreneur and currently CEO & Founder of CryoCafe, a new-age health & wellness centered cryotherapy lounge. It’s an unassuming escape right off of “Melrose Alley” in Los Angeles. We had a chance to sit down with him and his [partner and Cryo’s] Creative Director, Rachel Schoenbaum, to discuss what they’re building. We also had a chance to try out the treatment and can say they’re creating something special. In just a couple weeks of opening, CryoCafe has had thousands of people from executives to celebrities come and enjoy various types of cryotherapy sessions backed by their favorite musical tracks. Clients can grab a juice from the Juicebot machine, box at CruBox next door or simply hang out on the cafe-style patio. Armed with their new “#CryoCult” they’re taking Hollywood’s elite by storm, creating a community of wellness that is bound to supersede the wellness behemoths before them.
Boye Fajinmi: So we’re recording. You guys want to introduce yourselves?
Jacob Perler: I’m originally from New York and have been out in LA for almost four years. I’ve had my hands in a number of things. I have a history in strategy consulting for two of the top firms in the world, doing that for about seven years. I came out here and was involved in some tech startups, creative sports marketing, and have a number of other companies that I advise mostly for, but I’m excited to kick off CryoCafe.
Boye: Awesome. What about you?
Rachel Schoenbaum: I grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia. I moved to California for college and got my start in fashion and music. Eventually, I kind of fell into applying the creative process I had learned from my experience in those two industries more towards brand strategy. Part of the passion-of-the-process for me is working with brands that are just getting started. Really helping them get off the ground by uncovering their vision and story, ensuring the authenticity of that story is maintained in what they present to their audience. Basically, making sure their message and what they have ideated from the get-go is digestible to their consumer. That’s how Jacob & I met and we’ve been at it ever since.
Boye: I’m curious, what was your path to get here? It’s great to learn a little bit about you, but can you tell us more about the story from idea to this cafe?
Jacob: Yeah, absolutely. So about two years ago I met my current partner, Dr. Patrick Khaziran who is a physical therapist for hundreds of professional athletes, celebrities, and other great individuals. I have a passion for building brands, starting with business and financial modeling and actually bringing an idea into execution. Dr. Pat and I met and started talking about what he was doing with cryotherapy by bringing it into the mass market. An initial few conversations and several months of market research turned into a big passion. We knew that we could partner and build a major global force around cryo. As we started building the business, I brought on Rachel and several other strategic partners to help build the brand.
It’s been an amazing two years to get there, but it’s really step by step, right? You have the planning, the ideating of getting the branding, signing a lease, you make a commitment, you bring on partners, and all in the lean startup kind of way, which is usually applied more to tech and less brick and mortar. We just put ourselves out there and you learn as you go in, you have to be fast on your feet.
What’s been amazing and very humbling is how many people have walked through the door even in just about 10 weeks that we’ve been open. These people have an amazing experience and have a personal aspect to their body, health or lifestyle that they’re looking to improve. It’s been amazing to see that improvement from it. Some of that can be anecdotal but were seeing a lot of amazing impacts on people.
Boye: That’s awesome. And so what’s your role? Can you give us some more?
Rachel: As I mentioned, Jake and I had worked together previously and had a great report. I was back home visiting family when he called me to talk about this amazing concept. Ironically, I used to be a patient of Dr. Pat’s and have always been extremely fond of his approach to his patients and athletes. I was excited to jump on board. Health and wellness is a really big part of my personal life. Having something that makes you feel good, something that gives you routine and stability – especially as a consultant without a normal day-to-day schedule – is vital for success. Jake brought me in as Partner and Creative Director, and we just dove right in.
We’re fast movers, we’re traveling, we’re working around the clock for ourselves. No one’s doing this for us. The mentality we had creating this brand derived from being our own target market.
Boye: So can you tell me more about the brand and the inspiration behind it?
Rachel: Last year Jacob went to Tulum and I took a trip to Mykonos. We were very pulled in by the tribal vibes and multi-cultural, worldly feelings of them. We were very much inspired by our separate experiences in both of these places, both very rooted in the feeling of people coming together. Jacob and I both love symbolism, so that tribal inspiration from our travels, mixed with the message of what we want to offer our clients, was compiled into a vision that resulted in our logo.
You need to add something healthy to your lifestyle. So the circle is essentially everything, life, in perpetuity. The three lines are the three pillars of life – mind, body, and soul. The triangle symbolizes whatever mountain it is you’re trying to climb. It’s also androgynous and obviously the Yin and Yang element is the dark and the light parts within the triangle signifying our continuous journey to acquire balance. Pretty much the overall meaning is – in mind, body, and soul, whatever mountain you’re trying to climb, the path to achieve balance in life is on-going. And we (CryoCafe) are the empty space underneath, the foundation to support you in reaching whatever that acme point is at the top of your mountain.
Boye: That’s beautiful.
Rachel: Thank you! I feel like the logo really blends everything together. It doesn’t matter if it’s mental, physical, emotional, sleep, pain…any kind of balance, really. That’s what life is about. The journey of acquiring balance and figuring out what that is for you. I think that our vision of the company really supports whatever that path may be for people.
Boye: Can you tell me about this cool hashtag that you have going on?
Rachel: The CryoCult is the membership base and community we wanted to create around this. Kind of going back to that tribal mentality Jake and I like. A lot of us are running around, hustling 24/7. We’re young! We like to have fun, but we work equally as hard, if not harder. It was important to create an experience that was cool and inviting and obviously provide a service that was beneficial, while also creating a community of people with the same “work hard play hard” lifestyle. We want to create something really personalized, something that people can get behind, become involved in, and feel incredible from.
Boye: Can you tell us more about the process of the actual therapy? If I’m someone who wants to be treated, how does that work?
Jacob: Yeah. Basically we have two machines in there to start and four main services. We have whole body cryo which we call the WholeFix; quick localized spot treatments that typically focus on an injured area, which is the QuickFix; extended localized spot treatments, which is the BodFix; and our very popular CryoBeauty facial, which is called the BeautyFix. Our entire experience is built to be as long or quick as you’d like. We have many clients who love the vibe and experience and are happy to hang out, which we’re totally okay with. That’s why we named it Cryo Cafe. Like a cafe, you come in and you decide what you’re in the mood for.
We’re right next to Crubox and close to a handful of other fitness studios so we cater to the active fitness community right here. If you live an active lifestyle and have unusual muscle soreness, tweak a wrist or ankle, or just need a body reboot, cryo is great for that. One thing we’re really seeing a lot of is how different everybody is and how different everyone reacts to whole body, versus localized on specific areas. Even beyond fitness, we love having all kinds of people come in who want to try it out.
The popular CryoBeauty facial is an amazing 10-15 minute escape. It’s great in the morning to help kickstart your day, in the middle of the day to give you that much needed pick me up, and in the evening it helps close you out.
Boye: Most people are familiar with the chamber treatment that you were talking about, but the idea of cryo facials and the mobile machine used seems really new. Is that a competitive advantage or what’s your vision with that sort of system?
Jacob: Great question. So it’s not new on the facial angle. The beauty element of cryotherapy is a big thing that we are looking at spearheading, but it’s been around. I think there’s a huge gap in the market for it, so the facials and beauty elements will be a big part of the business, and we’re already hearing great feedback and case studies from people.
Rachel: A lot of people, especially women, are paying insane amounts for certain beauty or body maintenance and treatments. Taking care of your skin is one of the most important things. This is a really great additive to skin care or even to support the other treatments people may be doing. It’s a pretty holistic way to essentially preserve your skin and your body in the long term. You’re working on anti aging, you’re working on the tone and health of your skin, you’re improving your musculature. A lot of people are hunting for the best “fast fix” to spend a quick buck on. While cryo is definitely more of a progression process, its a completely natural and non-invasive full mind-body experience. I think that’s really awesome to be able to offer people this different option.
Boye: It sounds like you guys are doing something very unique and special and almost obvious in a sense. When you look at the health and wellness space, it seems like it’s doing pretty well in different sectors from yoga to even what’s happening with Soul Cycle and Peloton. What do you feel is the future? What’s the five year plan of CryoCafe and where does it fit into this health and wellness marketplace?
Jacob: Health and wellness is exploding. It’s one of the fastest growing industries. Through technology, media and the world of digital influence in social media, more people are getting access to information about their bodies and living healthy lifestyles. People want to live healthy and recognize that they might live long or they’re going to feel better on a daily basis. Why wouldn’t you be focused on that more in your lifestyle? I think it’s really interesting too and one of the things we see a lot in Los Angeles, rather than just going out and meeting your friends at a bar and grabbing a drink, you can also come hang out and do cryotherapy along with other things that are health and wellness related.
People are boxing together, they’re going to work out together. They’re going to Runyon Canyon together and so that’s a really exciting thing and for us with CryoCafe, we want to be right there with that. You can live your healthy lifestyle, you can meet a friend, you can even have a business meeting and you don’t necessarily need to go get a coffee or grab a drink at the bar.
“Rather than just going out and meeting your friends at a bar and grabbing a drink, you can also come hang out and do cryotherapy along with other things that are health and wellness related”
Rachel: Or if you do, you can come here for a hangover cure in the morning! Honestly, it’s a lifesaver for us.
Jacob: Exactly. Whatever you’re doing with your life, you can build this into it. We have people who come early in the morning, they love kick starting their day with this. It gives you a huge endorphin release and a boost of energy. We have people who come before the gym to loosen up. We have our boxing trainers over here who come in right afterwards when their wrists are all really sore. We have people who come at the end of the day just to relax and get away and then have a great night sleep afterwards because it does really help with your sleep. We have people who squeeze cryo into their workday Monday through Friday and people who come on the weekends. When we bring cryo out into the market, whether it be private events or corporate offices, we see how much people love it. We have big ambitions to grow the business outside of our stores and Los Angeles, but at the same time you have to always first focus on the task at hand. Day by day, person by person.
Boye Fajinmi: So you guys want to really create like a lifestyle.
Jacob: Absolutely. We’re set on that growing in Los Angeles and then using that to expand.
Boye Fajinmi: Jacob you’re a businessman and the lifestyle and everything sounds awesome, but I’m curious on a financial level, how big do you think this business can become?
Jacob: I think it can be massive. You know, if you look at the pure financials of it, I think many cities around the world can sustain multiple locations plus the mobile angle we’re driving. There’s no reason this can’t be at the same level of your Soul Cycles, your Equinoxes, you know, health and wellness companies that have huge footprints. We can build this into 50, 100, multiple hundreds of locations with events, popups and a lifestyle around all. I do think we can build this into something special.
Boye Fajinmi: What are the market caps of those companies? Like 100 Mil? 200 Mil?
Jacob: Yea in the 100’s of millions.
Rachel: Even just partnering with those types of companies – popping up in their waiting areas and offering treatment to their clients before or after their workouts. To be able to insert ourselves into some of these successful environments that have the same kind of mental physical bottom line is a cool thing, for both parties.
Boye: Jacob, I know this is probably your third start up and it sounds like you’ve done a lot of different kinds of things. What are you bringing from your learnings and the wins and fails in the past?
Jacob: I think you always learn from your failures and your successes. A lot of people say you learn a lot more from the failures, but I think a lot of it is bringing the knowledge of how important brand, lifestyle and really connecting with people is, especially today with all the noise out in the market overall. We’re making sure that we’re building something that is very in tune with people. The cryo and the benefits speak for themselves and the product is amazing, but at the same time you have to get to people on that personal level and that’s one of the big things I’ve learned a lot in the last four or five years, is how to actually do that. What brands work very well and how do you replicate and design your own.
Rachel: Yeah, I totally agree. I’d say pulling lessons from failures and celebrating successes is definitely one of our biggest collaborative strengths. Something a mentor of mine taught me that has always stuck in my mind is, you have 15 seconds to make a first impression, that’s on a personal level as well as on a professional level when creating a brand. If I see an ad for something that has beautiful typography or font on Instagram, I am clicking it. I’m not looking at the product – yet. But if the design looks cool enough to me and I am intrigued by the vibe of the brand, they’re going to get that click. So making a strong first impression is about luring people in and starting a conversation. Whether it’s just someone walking in here and asking what we are or what we’re about, that’s an impression that we as a brand have made on someone. And that impression will stick. I want to make people smile every day and I think that’s part of the brand.
Boye: So what’s been the response so far from everyone coming in?
Jacob: It’s been great. What’s crazy is the number of people that you can personally impact on such a high level. We have a lot of people that love it. We’ve probably seen 1500 people in 10 weeks who’ve walked right through this front door including celebrities, athletes, trainers, and your everyday person who wants to experience it.
Boye: I hear a rumor about Kim Kardashian maybe.
“You have 15 seconds to make a first impression, that’s with your personal self as well as a brand.”
Jacob: Kim & Kourtney Kardashian walked right by here. Although they haven’t come into CryoCafe yet. They did both go boxing next door and rumor has it they liked it so…one of their close friends has come in here, along with many other great people. While that’s all exciting, even more than that, you know it’s the people that no one knows about who have lupus or arthritis, back pain, whatever it is. They come in here and see a huge impact from cryo, sometimes in a session or two.
Boye: So you guys got this off the ground and you’re inspiring other people. You’re touching people’s lives. Who in this process is someone who believed in you guys to help get this off the ground? Who really supported this and helped make it a reality?
Jacob: There’s a lot of amazing people that have been vital to everything, and obviously family is a big part of it too. But I would say a close friend and advisor, Antonio Tambunan was really the first person to put a lot of capital and a lot of time behind this. He really helped us get the idea and all the planning to market. He is a very successful entrepreneur and investor globally. He’s got businesses all over the world and he was the first person to really buy into it and believe that I could build a brand that I said I could. He’s been there every step of the way. He continues to be an integral part of this, but he’s the first one that really allowed this to take shape.
Boye: I always wonder who helps make things happen.
Jacob: It’s the people behind it and it’s actually a great point for this company. I made an early decision of having a bigger cap table, bringing on various partners who fill different roles. Some people advise, even if they aren’t involved in the day to day at all. They pick up the phone when you call and give you guidance, sometimes in much needed circumstances. To me this was really important because although I’ve been involved in other businesses, there’s a lot to this that’s very new and when you think you can build what might become a billion-dollar company, there’s a lot you don’t know and you want great people around you…
Rachel: From different industries and backgrounds.
Jacob: Having an amazing investor, advisory, and partner group around me gives me access to a lot of different intellectual capital points as needed.
Boye: That’s great, so what’s next for you guys? Like immediately next.
“It’s the people that no one knows about who have lupus or arthritis, back pain, whatever it is. They come in here and have a huge impact from the cryotherapy treatments.”
Jacob Perler on his customers who have seen the most major health benefits from Cryo Cafe
Jacob: Immediately next is really getting this location blowing up, having a lot of people come in here, getting our second location which opened a few days ago in Encino moving, taking the city by storm, events, partnering with different companies, having the mobile angle of the business and the pop ups really flourish and kind of doing all that simultaneously. A lot of people might say opening the second location 10 weeks after the first location is a little risky but we want to move fast. We built an amazing team. We’ve been working on this a long time, so we just really want to attack the market, at least Los Angeles right away and have everyone around digitally and personally see what we’re doing, which only will drive up the demand to expand further.
Boye: What’s the best way for your average person to find you guys to use your product. Just come in? Go to your website?
Jacob: Come into the cafe from Melrose Alley, off La Cienega and Melrose Ave. We definitely want people to come in and find us through the back alley. That’s the exclusive fun element of it. But email, call us, hit us on Instagram, which is increasingly the popular method of communication.
Rachel: Follow us on Instagram, join the #CryoCult or slide on into our DM’s.
Boye: I love it. One last question, what’s the one piece of advice both of you guys have for an entrepreneur looking to build something that touches people?
Jacob: I would say build a great team around you. That’s investors, your employees, your partners, whoever it might be. You’re really only as good as the people that you’re surrounding yourself with and it’s really important to surround yourself with people that level you up, that you can help level up and who add value where you are missing or may be weaker. On top of that, I guess you would say really know your strengths and know your weaknesses and the holes that you have, you fill with other people.
Rachel: I would tend to agree. I feel really lucky to have found that balance and respect in a business partner as well as having some amazing mentors that play a huge role in setting me straight along the way. I would also say, just find something that’s authentic to you. If you’re not working on something that you’re passionate about, that you can really dig your teeth into, then I don’t think that you can do your best work. When you’re creating a brand or business, it’s almost like you need to become it, really live and breathe it to make it thrive. That’s something I truly live by. I think Jacob and I both really live by that. Immersing yourself in all aspects of an idea and making it tick.
Boye: Just kidding. I do have one more question. I’m curious, in a world of everyone trying to build apps, we’re seeing this renaissance in physical experiences and this seems to embody exactly that. Do you have anything to say about the experience market that you’re seeing that others may not?
Jacob: As far as the brick and mortar?
Boye: Yeah, the brick and mortar approach to the digital world.
“Find something that’s authentic to you. If you’re not working on something that feels authentic, that you can really dig your teeth into, then I don’t think that you can do your best work”
Jacob: Yeah, people will always want to go places and hang out and gravitate towards environments that they enjoy. Even in a digital world that does suck you in, whatever it might be, people will always still like to go out places. I think, it’s all about creating a great experience and vibe for people. I mean you look at Apple. They are one the best companies of all time, focused on products, and their store is welcoming and inviting, fun to hang out in for 30 minutes if you have nothing to do and you’re nearby. So I think it’s very important to build that experience. We’re living in the digital age where everyone is hooked into their technology, but we need to get out and about to experience things and enjoy life.
Rachel: Definitely. What people are so enthralled with on their phones and on Instagram can either be consuming in a way paralyzing as they are just sitting on their phones, ir it can be inspiring and drive them to travel and go try something new. Via digital, a picture or video of an intriguing experience or something new and cool is what gets people to “go and do”. It get’s them to connect.
That’s essentially the basis of this “cafe culture”. This is not just a cafe, but it’s the culture of taking time out of your day to spend alone with yourself or with other people in a relaxing, fun, and inviting social environment.
Boye: Love it. Thanks for your time.
Jacob: Time to jump in the chamber and get your freeze on.