DNA OF CONSCIOUS BRANDS,
BY A MODERN DAY HIPPIE 

MARCH 8, 2018  ERIC SCHNELL

What do you get when you mix Boston, vegetarianism, hippie parents, and eastern philosophies in the 1970s? “Me”!

Long before green living was in vogue, I endured the childhood embarrassment of my mother’s meatless burger requests in protest at the local Burger King and my father’s proud installment of our town’s first solar panels on the roof of our family home (which pretty much got us ostracized by our neighbors).

With a chemical free (pre-USDA Organic) vegetable garden proudly on display in our small front yard, and continuous burning of incense sticks surrounding pictures of our guru from India in my living room (whom shared a message of love for all people, regardless of your skin color or religion), I definitely felt like a poster-child for what I now describe as today’s Conscious Products Industry (CPI).

From my upbringing, I was uniquely positioned to want to work in an industry that could change the world for the better through business.

Back in the 70’s, we were simply followers of the Natural Foods Industry philosophy, which then morphed into the Natural Products Industry (NPI) when New Hope Media changed the name of its two annual Expo tradeshows to be more inclusive of other products besides natural “foods” only. It’s clear to see that today our industry and our consumer has evolved way past just being “natural”.

We are part of an global movement in consciousness, waking up to the fact that the entire eco-system matters, not just the product itself, and not just the shareholder’s bottom line.

Beginning at the very conception for a new company, a founder’s “Passion” is the engine that drives everything that comes into its existence. Starting often with the supply chain next, consideration for the “People” and how they are treated (what’s their energy like cause it’s part of the brand too?), to thoughtful consideration of a brand’s impact on the “Planet”, the entire way from production to shelf – the brand’s “Purpose” is identified. Lastly, on to the board room where the company directors can determine how to best use profits for “Prosperity”,

I believe in a new conscious business model where the most good can manifest when the brands of tomorrow use an approach to building their businesses with a clear set of core principals in mind – I call them the 5 Ps. “Passion, Purpose, People, Planet, Prosperity”, and they are what make up a Quintuple Bottom Line business approach which can replace the old Triple Bottom Line business model that took root in the 90s as the first step in the right direction for articulating how a business can view itself as a better corporate citizen.

The Steaz brand was simply part of my DNA, it was never work for me, but a passion for what I what I loved to do.

From my upbringing, I was uniquely positioned to want to work in an industry that could change the world for the better through business. With a beverage brand as my first entrepreneurial venture, I would have a platform on millions of bottles to spread my message. This was the only thing I wanted to do after college, and I knew deep inside that in time Synchronicity would lead me to fulfilling my dream.

In the early 2000s, I saw an opportunity in the beverage space to test out my values in business as a young entrepreneur. Reinvent big soda by making it healthy and show the larger brands that they can change their ingredients to organic and still give consumers the experience they love about soft drinks. So I launched Steaz as the first carbonated green tea and first USDA certified organic soda in the U.S. Today, Steaz has evolved, offering organic, fair-trade, vegan certified soft drinks, iced teas and energy drinks worldwide. The company has tackled countless old conventions; merging mainstream beverage concepts with organic and holistic principals, offering consumers affordable organics, and remaining committed to its founding business values. The Steaz brand was simply part of my DNA, it was never “work” for me but “Passion” for what I loved to do.

I am proud that even after the sale of the company in 2016, my words stay true on the packaging today, “Good for the Mind, Body & Soul”.

Till next time, Namaste.

Green Smoothie with strawberries

BLOG | ASHLEY KOFF, RD

What’s the Better Diet for You?

JOIN OUR COMMUNITY

Sign up for our latest updates.

LET’S MAKE CHANGE TOGETHER

Button New
2018-05-04T20:25:08+00:00