Shazi Visram, Founder & CEO of Healthynest, joins Yahoo Finance's Melody Hahm to discuss her company's launch amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
MELODY HAHM: Let's turn our attention now to the future of the baby market. Of course during this pandemic, our attention has been focused on the health of not only our loved ones but also of the future generation. Serial entrepreneur Shazi Visram, the Founder and CEO of Healthynest, joins us now. Shazi, thanks so much for joining the program.
SHAZI VISRAM: My pleasure. Nice to be here.
MELODY HAHM: Yeah, so of course you are best known perhaps for founding Happy Family Brands in 2003. That had a very successful exit in-- and you ended up selling the company to Danone. And now this is your latest venture that was born during the coronavirus pandemic. Give us an update on how it's been leading this startup during perhaps one of perhaps the most arguably crazy year in our lifetime.
SHAZI VISRAM: Honestly, it's been-- it's been the most radically difficult thing in the world to start a business now, but in a way, I have this very clear North Star as to why it's important to do right now. And that's what kind of keeps us going every day, and that is to protect and enrich our children's developmental health because I have a son who's been affected with autism, and I look at the current situation for our babies and our children as being dire and something that we need to address today, just like the pandemic. It's an epidemic that needs to be addressed.
MELODY HAHM: Yeah, when we think about Healthynest, it's packaged as a brain-forward personal-care brand. Tell me about the specific offerings you have with the diapers and with the cleansing and skincare products. What are moms and dads able to do with these products to really make sure that their kids are healthy?
SHAZI VISRAM: Well, the idea really is to create a safe space for parents so they feel like they have the support and the information and the true essentials that they need to have a healthy baby. And what's really the inspiration is thinking about our baby's entire environment and why it's so important to focus on the safety and health of those early first years.
So we offer everything that, you know, comes into contact with baby's skin those first three years of life when their brain is making literally over 1 million neural connections a second, and the idea is to be there in a really convenient and supportive way so that parents can go online, order what they need, and it gets delivered safely to your door, and you don't have to worry about one more thing. And, in fact, you actually have the emotional support and the mental-health support to just be a better parent and to be happier with your baby so you can focus on deeper connections.
MELODY HAHM: As you think about the way in which a lot of moms and dads are able to figure out what products, right, they want to use for their own families, I feel like more than any other demographic, it really is their community. How have you been able to penetrate, you know, not only with your gravitas and credibility, having founded a brand before, to really become sort of the market leader and be that strong voice to pave this way and for people to look at you and say, hey, I believe what she says and I want to really be able to buy her products?
SHAZI VISRAM: Well, I mean, I think they're at the core of so many businesses' mission, and we are very clearly purpose driven. You know, with Happy Family, part of the success story is that when you offer something clean and healthy, all parents want the very best for their baby. And in a sense, parents are the most viral of consumers, right? So when you make a mom happy and you make the family happy, they keep coming back, and it's a great place to build brand loyalty.
Similarly with Healthynest, what we're doing is trying to clean up industries that have yet to be regulated for safety in terms of concern around baby's skin. So it's now kind of a given that everyone should have access to organic baby food for your baby's growing brain and body.
And for me, it's time to turn, you know, an eye to the entire environment around which baby is developing and say, well, how can you actually improve the quality of the products that they're coming into contact with on a daily basis? And if you say that to any parent, any mom who wants the very best for her baby and you say, hey, did you know that diapers could have up to 900 chemicals in them and made with all kinds of materials, and there's no regulation around that? And there's one brand that has gone the distance to create a standard to meet the highest set of safety measures for your baby's growing brain and body.
You know, that's what makes great products great is that not only are the people making them for all the right reasons. They're actually truly innovative and disruptive and truly needed to make change and, you know, create innovation that parents are craving.
MELODY HAHM: And quickly, as you think about the incoming administration, there will be a new president in office in January. Have you been in talks-- you know, you mentioned regulation. Have you been in talks with anyone there to potentially be working in collaboration to help with research efforts and funding and any sort of aspirations for that in the future?
SHAZI VISRAM: Well, I'm absolutely always thinking about how policy and, you know, consumer packaged goods can come together, and the truth is various administrations have a take on the FDA and what level of control they can have with consumer products.
The current administration does not focus on truly ensuring that consumer products can meet the highest safety standards. So my expectation is that with the incoming administration, the FDA will tighten its belt in terms of regulatory.
However, what I've done is we're working with a private nonprofit called the Environmental Working Group, and we've created a safety standard that, in a sense, is the de facto safety measure for what parents can trust. Because sometimes if you only work with public policy, you're waiting years and years and years, and a new administration comes in and changes everything, and we've seen that with the Paris accords and so many other areas around environmental safety and protections.
And truly it is the onus of the companies and then the parents who are consuming products and purchasing products for their babies to do the research and find what's safest. And so to me, it's kind of this constant tandem dance to ensure the public is truly safe, but then any private citizen can find the information they need to buy the products that truly serve their purposes and protect their children.
MELODY HAHM: Some excellent points there. Thank you so much, Shazi Visram, the founder and CEO of Healthynest. We'll catch up with you next time.
SHAZI VISRAM: My pleasure. Thank you so much.