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Highlites TheFutureParty

Hi-Lites, Hi-Life

Not everyone can create a successful business. Noach Lichtenstein did it just for fun. Noah is a venture capitalist by day, who has managed to create a playful, revenue driving, side hustle; really funky glasses that project shapes when pointed toward light. In true start-up fashion, he works out of his garage where we had a chance to sit down with him and learn how he has turned his side hustle into his main hustle.

Stay Curious: This is an audio interview, but we transcribed it below. When turning sound to words, we do what we can to make it readable and authentic. Sometimes the two mediums may not always line up, but we figured you’d rather it make sense without all the “ums” and “likes” – Enjoy.

Boye Fajinmi: We’re recording. Hey guys, I have Noah here from Hi-Lites, a really innovative company. Let’s begin.

Noah Lichtenstein: Alright.

Boye: Noah, how do we pronounce your last name?

Noah: Alright, it’s Lichtenstein.

Boye: Lichtenstein. Okay. And where’s that from?

Noah: I think it’s German, but an eastern European mutt.

Boye: And where are you from?

Noah: Originally from Oregon.

Boye: Oregon. Nice. What brought you down here to LA?

Noah: Well, I started up on a farm in Oregon, and made my way down to college in the Bay Area. Spent about 15 years there in the tech scene and was looking for a change of pace, so I made my way further down south to LA. Who knows, maybe it’ll be San Diego and then Mexico next. Keep moving down south.

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Boye: Nice. So, you made your way down south, and now you’ve got this really cool thing that you’re doing called Hi-Lites, but it’s not your original thing, right?

Noah: I’ve been in the tech world for a long time, so I’ve been really passionate about building and investing in tech startups. That’s my background and what I do on a day to day basis, but Hi-Lites was a fun idea and a fun project that we came up with and launched about a year ago.

Boye: This is literally your side hustle.

Noah: It is my side hustle. Yes. It’s my creative outlet.

Boye: First of all, what is Hi-Lites?

Noah: Hi-Lites are special effects glasses that can turn any light, whether it’s a stage light or city light, into a custom shape. So, you can think of it really as very lightweight augmented reality, but without any of the wires, circuits or the cost.

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Boye: I think I’ve seen some screenshots and I’ve tried them on. It kind of feels like you’re doing drugs.

Noah: Well, you know, some people…no comment on that. Some people seem to enjoy it.

Boye: Not that I know what drugs feel like or anything like that.

Noah: Some people certainly seem to think it enhances the experience, I would say at a Burning Man… But, no, really, from young kids all the way through to adults, it’s just one of those things that brings joy and happiness to people. It’s so simple that I kind of scratch my head sometimes about how much goes into building deeply technical products. This is just incredibly simple, and it’s really fun seeing people happy and sharing that enjoyment together.

Boye: What gave you the idea to do this?

Noah: I was at a Christmas party about a year and a half ago, and I saw this little kaleidoscope toy, and I started thinking, wouldn’t that be really cool if you could turn that into glasses? You know, with all of the new lights and led displays at concerts, and with the emergence of AR and VR, I started looking into it. We actually didn’t invent this technology. We found that there was a patent for this technology that had been patented by some researchers back east almost 20 years ago. And what we decided to do was say, hey look, the time is now to create something, a brand, around this cool technology in this new reemergence of AR, VR, “Retro is cool again,”lights and visual effects at shows. So, why don’t we build a really cool brand around this old technology? And so, we secured the patent and went into production.

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Boye: That’s awesome. And how’s business?

Noah: Business is good. We’re a young company and this is a new experience for me. I mean, my background’s always been software. So, you go out and raise some venture capital money, you build, build, build, build, build, and eventually you launch this product to the world, and you can iterate quickly because it’s software. For me, that’s been a fun challenge because we’re building a physical product, so everything from supply chain to dealing with import, export, customs, direct to consumer, mixed with B2B. It’s really been a fun challenge to take my learnings from the tech world and apply it to building a consumer brand. But I guess more directly to your question, how we’re doing. I’m really excited because we finally, after a year of development, were able to launch this year at Coachella and had a big bang there, and now it’s just kind of off to the races.

Boye: That’s sick. I saw some photos. Some cool people were wearing those glasses.

Noah: Yeah. No endorsement officially from them, but we were very lucky that one of our activations was at Neon Carnival out at Coachella, and we did that activation with Bolthouse Productions, Neon Carnival and Wynn Nightlife. So, it turns out one of the paparazzi pictures that got released to the public, totally unbeknownst to us, was of Leo DiCaprio wearing them for about four hours. So, next day we wake up with a little bit of a hangover from Neon Carnival and our inboxes are flooded because all of a sudden everyone’s like, what are these glasses Leo’s wearing? And it’s in Esquire, Cosmo, Time…

Boye: That is so funny, especially since he’s always so incognito at like, all those festivals.

Noah: Well, yeah, the photo that was released was basically him wearing a hoodie and you know, super incognito with these glasses. Everyone’s like, why is he wearing 3D glasses? No, they’re not 3D glasses.

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Boye: That’s great. So,  it sounds like business is going well. I recently read an article, I think it was in Recode, and it was talking about all these new companies who aren’t raising venture capital and are doing really well and selling for a lot of money, which is like blowing everyone’s minds away. But in essence that’s true business, you know, and I guess coming from someone like you whose main job is venture and now you’re doing this fun, cool project that’s making money. What are your thoughts? Are you going to raise a round of financing? Where do you see this all going?

Noah: I think that’s a great point you bring up and I saw that same article in Recode actually through your newsletter. So,  shout out to you guys on that one, but you know, in the venture world, it’s amazing to me how many people go out and think this is the only way to build a business. I’ve always been a big fan of people who go out and actually build a business without having to raise venture capital. You don’t raise venture capital because you have an idea, you raise it to accelerate the growth of a company and not all companies should be venture. I mean, it’s very simple. If you own 100 percent of your company and you giveaway 20, 25% in exchange for money at least. All of a sudden you own 75 percent of that. So, your company has to be that much bigger now in order for it to have the same amount of value to you as if you just own the whole thing. For me, this was a really fun experience because I was fortunate to self fund it, but it wasn’t something that was very capital intensive. We were able to test the market, get some initial orders without having to go really deep out of pocket and as a result, myself and my partner Mike own the entire company.

“You don’t raise venture capital because you have an idea, you raise to accelerate growth of a company.”

– Noah Lichtenstein comments on raising to grow a business.

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Boye: Amazing.

Noah: So, you know, if we get to the point where we just can’t keep up with demand and we have big plans to go into retail and into more direct to consumer, certainly we’d evaluate taking on money. But really, there’s something special about somebody who goes out and does business that’s profitable. You know, one of those companies that was highlighted, Tuft & Needle, is a mattress company. And I remember actually meeting them early on when they were considering venture capital. They actually sent me a mattress.

Boye: Wait, so how’s the mattress?

Noah: It was good. It was good. I didn’t have room for it, so I gave it to my business partner and I think she still uses it in their guest bedroom. The quality was great, but more props to them because they went out and built a real business and show that you don’t have to raise venture, you don’t have to measure your success by how much money you raised.

Boye: Yeah, one of my favorite companies to use and just to learn about their stories is Mailchimp because they’ve created a $500 million dollar plus business in ARR and are completely bootstrapped.

Noah: It’s a fantastic product too. I mean, I use it as well and I think there’s no better story than when somebody builds a product that is funded by its sales.

Boye: Yeah, it’s perfect. But this isn’t about Mailchimp, it’s about you guys. So, what’s next for you? What’s year one, year two, three, as you go along?

Noah: One of my biggest learnings is that with hardware, the development takes so long. You have to design the product, then you have to go to the different suppliers that we use, and then there’s the shipping import, export. There’s a lot of pieces that go into dealing with physical products. And so the first year I feel like was our year of learnings and development, and now we have a product line that we’re really happy with. Now, it’s all about how we get it in front of people and out into the market. So, it’s really going out and doing deals with big brands and marketing and experiential agencies. That’s been a really good experience where we’ve been fortunate to partner with some really great brands so far. A couple of examples, we did an activation at South by Southwest with Warner Brothers for Ready Player One.

Boye: Oh I was there!

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Noah: Yeah, and iHeart radio. We did a bunch of activations at Coachella, and then we did EDC with Smirnoff. So, those are some really great activations we’ve done. Our initial bread and butter is large volume orders. This is something that a brand can do to help activate their brand and create these sort of joyous, fun experiences because when somebody puts these on, it’s this magical moment of joy and then you immediately see them tap their friend on the shoulder and say, “hey, did you see this?” and the next thing you know, you’re holding up your phone. You’re taking videos and photos on Instagram or Snapchat through the lenses and then your friends see it and your stories and say, “how’d you do that?” And you can associate all this joy with your brand. We think the promotional market is a really great opportunity and we’ll continue to push that and a lot of exciting stuff coming up there. But, what I’m most excited about is some of the launches we’re going to be doing soon into direct to consumer.

Noah: And for me this is another set of new learnings where we’ve seen how powerful brands can be built, entirely online and especially on Instagram. We’re in the process right now of launching that direct to consumer brand and getting all this sort of fulfillment and supply chain line for that. We’re launching new kinds of fun colors, new shapes and effects. We didn’t cover this, but not only are we turning the lights into special effects, some of those examples are things like hearts or smiley faces or snowman, or you can do a Star of David for a Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah. But you can also create custom shapes so you can literally turn every light you see, whether it’s a street light or a stage light into a custom shape or logo or brand or anything. That’s pretty fun.

Boye: Can you boil down a little bit more about the science and technology behind that? Without ruining your trade secrets.

Noah: There’s really no trade secrets. I mean, it’s patented and I feel pretty good about that being locked in. But the best way it was described to me by the mad scientist that we partner with, is that if you imagine a stream of water in front of you and you put your hand in it, the water bends around your hand. And so light travels in a straight line from its source. And so when you’re looking at a stage light, that light beam is traveling in a straight line from the source to your eyeball. And so imagine putting your hand in the water in that light and you’re bending the light. It’s essentially the same thing but we are bending the light into a shape.

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Noah: By the way, that could be totally wrong. But we’re going to go with that one.

Boye: I was recently watching something, I don’t remember the exact show, but it had talked about how science is indistinguishable from magic. In the sense of, if we were to show someone a hundred years ago some of the things that are here now, they would think everyone’s a witch. To hear your description of that and then to see it, and it basically feels like a toy. Like I said, I’ve tried them on and they’re really fun and cool. It just boggles my mind at how people create really innovative things.

Noah: Yeah, and a lot of these things are done by accident. I was reading a story recently about some researchers at Berkeley who had accidentally created glasses that help people who are colorblind see colors they never knew existed before. It was entirely by accident. This wasn’t done by accident, but I do think that it’s pretty amazing. A lot of times, great innovation just feels like magic. For us, it’s always enjoyable when we’re putting our heads down, we’re grinding, we’re doing all this unglamorous work, packing bags and printing out collateral, but when you go to a show or you just see somebody put these on for the first time and seeing their face in that moment of joy, I think there’s no better thing then when a product can deliver joy.

“I think there’s no better thing then when a product can deliver joy.”

– Noah Lichtenstein commenting that even the mundane tasks of his business are worth the final reaction.

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Boye: For sure. And with this sort of e-commerce play that you’re about to do and kind of bringing it to the masses, what platforms are you going to use? Are you going to like leaning on Instagram and sell through there? Or Amazon? What’s the strategy beyond brand partnerships to get into everyone’s hands?

Noah: Yeah, I see a couple of different channel strategies. Actually, I’d love to turn the question around and ask you, being that this is something you’re an expert in. Really, I’m just trying to meet with people who are smarter than me and who’ve done this before with so many great brands out there, and learn what the best practices are. But certainly, Instagram we will use as a channel and we have fortunately a number of great, I hate the word influencer, but people with followings and trusted brands that really like what we’re doing and have offered to be posting about this and maybe do some collaborations. Because we can custom brand, we can use really any frame we want. So, we’re going to explore a couple partnerships with existing glass manufacturers, some collabs with different artists, musicians and things like that. And then, in terms of direct to consumer, certainly Instagram, and we’ll have a traditional e-commerce on our website, do some SEO, SEM, and then lastly, we are exploring going into traditional retail.

Boye: Oh, that’s awesome.

Noah: Yeah. I think these would be great at places like an Urban Outfitters or a Spencer’s gifts. Things like that. It’s really been a learning experience for me, but, let me pause and ask, what do you think? What should we be doing?

Boye: Yeah. I, agree with a lot of what you said. I believe it’s important to be everywhere at once when it comes to consumer products, and I believe the most powerful tool in the future for manufacturers and people with fun products is going to be Instagram. It’s going to double as a magazine, as a TV channel, and as your store front. You can imagine the lifestyle that you can create around your product, the events that people go to just as a means for people to show how to use it. And then being able to just buy it directly from Instagram, I think, is so important. And then I think Amazon, I believe they are about to be the next trillion dollar company.

Noah: It’s amazing what they do.

Boye: It’s amazing.

“A lot of times, great innovation just feels like magic.”

– Noah Lichtenstein sharing that innovative products can be created, even at times, by accident.

Noah: We actually just got the approvals to go live on Amazon, so, we’re going to go ahead. You can buy them on Amazon now, but we’re exploring the options of us doing fulfillment versus the fulfilled by Amazon. I know a lot of folks listening to this are probably saying, “Oh, this is just the basics,” but for me this has been great because it’s new for me. I love learning new skills, and it helps me make better investments in the future when I understand the inner workings.

Boye: Totally. And I think on the store partnerships front, totally 100 percent, it’s just sales, you know, or you just find a guy who’s done it before and have them go and talk to all those guys.

Noah: Well, look, one of the things I love about this is because we own the entire company, we can go out and find people who can help add a lot of value and we can make them owners in the company and share in the profits. And so, we’re really out there looking for folks who have a lot of great relationships, whether it’s with the “influencers” who want to promote the product on Instagram or whether it’s event producers or brands. We’re always excited to say, hey, look, let’s share in the wealth and make those intros. I know you made some great intros for us at  Coachella, and I appreciate that.

Boye: Hey happy to – anytime. You know, the people reading this, they’re all creative, they’re all driven and when they listen, I like to make sure that they’re gaining tangible value. And so, I’m curious, what’s some advice that you have for entrepreneurs, especially those who are trying to create side hustles to turn into businesses?

Noah: Wow, that’s a great question. Well, first and foremost, it takes a lot more work than you will imagine. It’s funny, when I thought of this initially, I thought, oh, it’d be easy. We’ll just get this out there. People already make sunglasses and we’ll just use the same frames and oh well, all this stuff will be easy. There are  a million things that I wasn’t even aware of, and I was definitely naive. So, I would say one bit of advice is, really map out the business plan. Not necessarily write out a business plan, but map out how you get from the start to fully into market, and think through all those steps, and then go talk to people who’ve done it before. The best resources are the people who have walked that path and made the mistakes.  I think that’s one of the reasons why, when I invest in early stage tech startups, often times I hopefully have some street credit because I’ve spent 10 years building companies from the ground up and made pretty much every mistake in the book that you can make. And I’ll make hundreds more, but hopefully I can not make the same mistake twice. So, to boil it all down, I think one practical bit of advice is to really force yourself to do the exercise of how you get from the start to launch and then stress test that, asking people, “what am I not thinking of?” Because, if I had done that initially, I would definitely have saved months and probably thousands of dollars.

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Boye: Great advice from Noah Lichtenstein, who is both an investor and company owner with a side hustle. I love it. Do you have anything else to say?

Noah: Um, no. I just would love to get more feedback from people who are listening and reading this. And if folks are interested in learning more, we’re happy to send you some samples and show you some love.  And  if there’s folks who want to be doing this, we’ll hook anybody up who is with Boye and TheFutureParty to get some good discounts. 

Boye: Love it. Where can we find you?

Noah: We are at gethilites.com. So, H-I-L-I-T-E-S, and also on Instagram at @hi.lites. So, highlights, but with our funky spelling.

Boye: Love. Hi-Lites everyone. Thank you.

Link: https://www.gethilites.com/

Instagram: @hi.lites

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CryoCafe TheFutureParty

CryoCafe Is Building The SoulCycle of Cryotherapy

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?

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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.

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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.

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“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”

– Jacob Perler speaking about Cryo Cafe as a center for community and wellness.

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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.

Rachel: Exactly.

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.

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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.”

– Rachel Schoenbaum advocating for Cryo Cafe’s design ethos.

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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.

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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. 

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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”

– Rachel Schoenbaum talks about only working on what you love.

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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.

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