Coco Meers: Co-Founder & CEO of Equilibria

Episode 419

CBD products are everywhere these days in various forms with various concentrations claiming to heal nearly every ailment imaginable. Listen today to serial entrepreneur Coco Meers share all about co-founding and leading her company Equilibria, which is one of the hot ones in this space. Equilibria is a CBD and functional wellness brand focusing on bringing balance to consumers. And their company is primarily focused on women consumers. I can’t wait for you to hear more about the journey and the back story, the products, the one on one coaching and more! Plus this very motivating Founder so it definitely is worth listening to. On this episode of #TheKaraGoldinShow.

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Kara Goldin 0:41
Hi, everyone. It’s Kara Goldin from the Kara Goldin show. And I am so excited for our next guest. We have Coco Meers love her name, by the way. And she is the co founder and CEO of Equilibria. And just an incredible, incredible entrepreneur that we are so so lucky to have here today. CBD products and functional wellness products are everywhere these days in various forms with various concentrations, claiming to heal nearly every ailment imaginable. But Equilibria is one of the hot ones out there that really focuses on quality and women consumers love, love, love. I can’t wait to hear more about Coco’s journey and a lot more about the backstory and all the products and the one on one coaching that they’re doing two, super, super excited to have her here with us today to really demystify all of the space. So welcome, Coco. Thank you, Kara. I’m delighted to be here in awe at all that you’ve built. And you know, what an amazing roster of women to be among. So huge fan of the show, and just really happy to be here with you. Super, super excited. So it gave a little bit of a description. Hopefully, I gave a little bit of a current description, because there’s lots of moving parts in this industry as a whole. But how would you describe the brand that you’re building? I am unwilling to give up that I will start over from scratch as many times as it takes to get where I want to be I want to be you just want to make sure you will get knocked down but just make sure you don’t get knocked down knocked out. So your only choice should be go focus on what you can control control control. Hi, everyone and welcome to the Kara Goldin show. Join me each week for inspiring conversations with some of the world’s greatest leaders. We’ll talk with founders, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and really some of the most interesting people of our time. Can’t wait to get started. Let’s go. Let’s go.

Coco Meers 2:17
So first of all, I mean, like, I kind of was getting emotional when I was hearing you say that, which is so cheesy, but like, I’m the luckiest person I know, to be able to wake up every day. And, you know, all I think about in my work life is how to help women, talent help women feel better. And the way that we have helped women over time has evolved. But the vision has remained constant. And so what what we do equilibria we help women go on their own wellness journeys, we envision a future where every woman is on a wellness journey, and no one is on hers alone. The word equilibria to men, it’s the plural of balance, right name one woman that you know, that is balancing one thing, I think they’re not we’re not we’re sort of physiologically and psychologically and emotionally dynamic creatures seeking how all of these different parts of our lives, between our professional lives and our social lives and our community and our family and like all and and our own bodies are constantly changing and are never static. So I am just like a staunch ardent and forever advocate of badass women doing a lot. And that takes a toll on your body and your mind. So equilibria is here to help her not just balance but get back to balance and then feel better and all of the unique and bespoke ways that she needs help. I love it so lucky me.

Kara Goldin 3:58
Exactly. So there probably would have been way easier industries for you to jump into. But you definitely were up for the challenge and are doing some amazing things that I think are clearly helping lots and lots of consumers out there. Can you explain the ins and outs of CBD overall, you and I were briefly talking about before we hopped on I mean there’s just a lot of confusion that is out there why it’s you know, not pot right and why it won’t get you high all of these kind of misconceptions about the product and we had some other companies on here doing different types of products than what you do but yeah, there’s still a lot of confusion and obviously a lot of education that is needed here.

Coco Meers 4:50
Yeah, in CBD and in other nutraceutical wellness space. I mean, the whole the whole industry from soup to nuts is confusing where You start, how much do you take? What contract indicates with what you’re already taking? There’s just so many questions that people have so so with I mean for us equilibria started by demystifying CBD. We have since recognized that CBD is one of many very powerful, functional ingredients functional, meaning, augment, not alter, meaning, helping the body perform in the way that it was always meant to perform, kind of addressing root cause, right, versus these Band Aid solutions that we just see a quick fix for that quick fix for that, you know, Band Aid over that symptom. So, anyway, hemp is it’s an appropriate place for a wellness company to begin because it is perhaps the most efficacious plant based medicine. Humans have been using cannabis for medicine for millennia. Let’s think about why and unpack that. CBD is one of over 120 different cannabinoids that come from the flower of the hemp plant. It is a cousin to THC, a psychoactive friend, but CBD itself does not get you high. CBD is a master balancer, hence, also physiology of equilibria. And what functional wellness is meant to do. It’s meant to bounce out the body and bring you back to baseline. Perhaps no other green ingredient does does the incredible work that hemp does and and how does CBD work? Our bodies have this master balancing system called the endo Canavalia cannabinoid system as an endogenous to the human body. Medical School doctors are now beginning to learn about the ECS in medical school, but it is it is not you know we only through the work of Dr. rockvale. Petroleum we’ve only now recently in new are starting to understand the ECS and its integrity and the CD one and CBT receptors throughout the body. In short, the way that the ECS works is it it is it balances out all the other systems in the body. From the your circadian rhythms to your analgesic response to anxiety itself, helps your body balance better. And it does that by emitting these endogenous cannabinoids endocannabinoids that go to these systems and help regulate or or help those systems achieve baseline. As we age and experience stress, our bodies emit less of these endogenous cannabinoids, which means we need to supplement with the plant or the phyto cannabinoids to help that system that ECS perform as it was always meant to perform. So what we’re doing with a daily CBD routine, is we are helping our body’s master balancing system balance our body in the way that it was always meant to. We live in this fight or flight world where we’re constantly distracted between 810 12 media at all time. And everything’s urgent and everything’s important and everything’s always on. And we’re only getting more and more stimulated in AI assisted world where we can do even more in the world is traveling faster and like our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. I mean, I’m really worried about our species. And the whole point of CBD is to help your body respond. And even out when the ever increasing stimuli kind of are flying in the face in our face all the time. So that’s how CBD works in the body. It’s really important to take it every single day. This is not Western medicine that you take. It’s not Advil after you have a headache. It’s not Pepto Bismol after your stomach hurts. Again, this is functional medicine, you’re replacing the endogenous cannabinoids where you have deficiencies every single day in order to genuinely like repair this master operating system and function as you were always add to

Kara Goldin 9:34
that is a good explanation for sure for sure. No, I love it. So what was your backstory on why you decided to create equilibria How did you find the benefits of CBD and just more than anything? Can you share the story?

Coco Meers 9:53
Yeah, of course. So I as as you mentioned, I you know, I’m a serial entrepreneur, I exited my first company Yen was actively investing and advising and mostly consumer, mostly woman led companies. So it was under the guise of an investment launch where I was doing diligence on the founder I greatly admire, we had worked together before. Marcy cambrin Is her name. And Marcy said to me, Coco. It’s been a really tough couple of years. And our first meeting, and it was just that vulnerability that was so inspiring to me, right? Women can be known to sugarcoat over our gloss over like, what’s really going on? You’re catching up with a longtime friend, you know, what’s going to come on here care and tell you everything that wasn’t going well in my life, right in the beginning. You know, I should, I’ll get there. But like, it’s not my first instinct. And I was so like, impressed with mercerie, Marcy’s bravery and her relationship to vulnerability. We all we also we often joke that, that the company was founded on TMI. And in that like, realness, what she shared with me was that after being caught in a kayaking, Edie and her spine being fused from an accident, and being rendered almost immobile, and this was back in the early early 2018. So you know, with the Farm Bill had not yet passed, I mean, this was still early days of cannabinoids and CBD and and, you know, the ensuing proliferation of the of the market around that. But it was a high quality CBD which got her off of the pharmaceutical drugs that she was using to manage that daily pain. And more interestingly, she shared that that daily routine of this high quality CBD helped her eventually titrate off of other jobs that she was using to manage mental health, depression and anxiety. So again, back to a woman who’s balancing only one thing, right, we’re constantly knitting together all of these pieces of our lives, our selves, what we’re going through, physically, emotionally, psychologically, others for whom we’re carrying others who rely on us. And CBD physiologically, as we’ve just talked about, in terms of the way that the ECS works, is doing with one ingredients, so many things for the body. So Marcy experienced that firsthand, radical improvement and on the physical side with her recovery, and then on the mental health side as well. And wrapped it all up in this just Woman to Woman heart to heart, like, unvarnished truth woman. So I said, Well, I met and first of all I’m in and I knew very little about the cannabis industry. I mean, my my relationship to cannabis had been purely recreational. So I when I began taking a CBD daily, high quality CBD routine myself, I really was blown away, I didn’t self identify as someone who had trouble sleeping or a tremendous amount of anxiety, but I do have an autoimmune condition in my spine with a tremendous amount of inflammation in my spine. As a mom of two, you know, a business woman, you know, there’s, there’s, I’m constantly balancing parts of my life as I know, we all are and, and it was amazing to me how CBG just gave me more fuse, I was able to sleep even better, more restful, more quality sleep, I had a longer fuse with my kids, I was able to ride the highs, a little more, I was more constant that ride the lows a little higher in my work life. So again, you know, why wouldn’t we give this gift to to women to women everywhere, because it really does amplify your ability to cope. And, and, and stay even and calm no matter what is coming at you.

Kara Goldin 14:14
So most brands have a hero product. And what would you say is equilibrium is a hero product. And has that changed since the beginning?

Coco Meers 14:28
I would say that our hero product is it’s actually not a product. It is a service. So we talked about the like transformational quality of CBD and what it can do in the body, not just for women, for anybody within vertebra and anybody with an ECS but especially given all that women are shouldering and championing in their own lives, especially for women. But if you don’t take Take CBD every single day, it’s not going to have those effects for you. And if you’re not taking the right amount, it’s not going to have those effects for you. And CBD is biphasic. So if you’re taking too much, it’s not going to have that effect for you. Depending on your metabolism and the way that your body is literally absorbing the cannabinoids, it might not have those effects for you. Should you use this repository? Should you use a patch? Should you use a sublingual? Should you take 1000 milligrams a day or 50 milligrams a day? How should you take it for falling asleep versus staying asleep? How should you take it for it’s for recovering from an injury versus daily stress or mood regulation, right like this. This was the problem that we were really trying to solve. There are many CBD products out there less and less as the industry goes through tremendous tumult and the high quality brands try to persist and ride through to a regulated era. And I can’t wait for that to happen. And we’re ready for it and can’t wait for Congress to act together with the FDA, of course. But there’s there’s still, you know, high quality brands out there, there, we’re not the only one we are religious about quality, so much so that we went out and we bought a portion of a hemp farm and Colorado, so that we can be sure we understood the genetics, to the to the to every step of farming to every step of processing and bottling and you know, finished goods, r&d. But but there are other good ones. The point is that we believed that women needed an active ear, and a respectful hand to hold when they were going on this journey. Because just like Marcy said to me, and in those early moments, and like we encourage all of our members to do when they get on the phone with one of our certified wellness coaches, like you’re not in this alone, and you’re holding up all these other pieces of your life. But who’s holding you up? What’s holding you up when you literally when you when you don’t when your energy levels change, and you don’t have the the stamina to get through your day, who’s holding you up when you’re when you can’t sleep at night, because you’re awoken by, you know, ruminating thoughts. I mean, we all encounter real obstacles to every day like healing and wellness and feeling good in our own skin. Let’s be honest about them. Let’s be forthright about them. And let’s address them one on one in very unique personalized ways. So our hero products is our coaching department. Every single member at equilibria has a certified wellness coach to whom they have access. We ask you how you’re feeling we asked you what your wellness goals are, are you care, I’m more focused on sleep, or focus or stress management, or just general wellness? And by the way, what does that mean to you? And finally, why? What are you? What do you what do you want to feel good for what’s really going on in your life and in your body. And again, these are intimate, private conversations that we have with you. And we help educate you to establish your own regimen, not just with our products, but with small, actionable lifestyle changes that you can make, which will help you achieve those results faster, and in a more transformational way. So that’s what’s so special about us, you’re never alone, you’re going to have questions about your dose, you’re going to have questions about your routine, you’re going to have months where you ask yourself, Is this still working for me? Should I switch things up? Course you should, you know, life isn’t static, your wellness routine isn’t going to be either. So we work with you like not just a byproduct. That’s not why we’re here. We’re not as products company, we are a product on a mission to help women accomplish whatever they want, feel good in their own body to crush her own vision of her life, and what that feels like and who she’s showing up for mostly herself, but also everyone else, we want women to feel better for whatever her y is. So that’s what’s special about about us is is like really active, intense listening and the way that we digitize the experience you might have with a health coach or a functional medicine doctor, we’re able to provide for free because of our very unique model. So

Kara Goldin 19:25
you don’t so it’s not a membership model. It’s not a you don’t have to come in and purchase you could come in and actually talk to somebody first prior to actually purchasing so

Coco Meers 19:36
that’s right, yeah, you can come in and you can speak with someone, we have a pre purchase call option. So you can come in and you can speak with one of our wellness coaches about your goals and we can suggest a you know an appropriate place to start. And also after you purchase products you have unlimited access to these wellness tools that we have digitized With this in mind, is how to how to how to educate and empower women to take charge of their own wellness journeys. Yes, we have certified people, these are not bots, these are real educated professionals that we have for you. But also, you know, you’re you’re, we’re educating you to sort of to take charge of your own wellness journey, and then helping keeping you accountable over the course of time. Because it is a journey, this is not, you know, this is not a quick fix.

Kara Goldin 20:32
So competition in the CBD products market has heated up, like you said, some, many companies have given up, right, and but many are, are definitely around. What are your thoughts on competition? I mean, you’re a serial entrepreneur, you’ve seen competition and different categories in different industries. I mean, what do you tell yourself when you see somebody coming in? And, you know, obviously, maybe getting in your space a little bit, but then also, does that help you? And many ways to I mean, how do you? How do you deal with that, as a, as a founder, as a leader of a company,

Coco Meers 21:18
I’m really not worried about it, I don’t stress it, I have developed some some of the most important business relationships. And as we know, in entrepreneurial life, your business relationships quickly become your personal relationships. And, you know, some of the most valued relationships that I have, are, are with coopetition. As I say, folks who used to be at the same product, might have the same product down the road, you know, had very tangential products like, but also, we’re all in this together. And the point is to serve the customer. And there are millions of addressable customers right here just in this market alone. So I don’t sweat it care up. Because I know that at the end of the day, we have a very unique model that is extremely hard to do. We are operating in a space that is federally legal, but not yet regulated on the CBD side. And on the nutraceutical side, I mean, you think CBD is crowded, there are some million company wellness companies out there, we’re not just a wellness company, right. So a wellness competitor doesn’t really bother, doesn’t, doesn’t, I don’t, I don’t lose sleep over the increasingly competitive playing field. Because I know one, there’s probably a lot that I can learn from my peers. And, and we can be cooperative. And, and, you know, share knowledge and rally rally together to, you know, to sort of address the macro challenges together, where there’s a number of examples of companies come together coming together now on the CBD side to urge the FDA and Congress to act. So that’s just one example. But you know, it CBD is sort of the story of, of the industry is the story of, you know, whether it was payment processors, or, you know, any, any, any, any challenge you can think of, we’ve all been through it, and we’ve been through it together. So it’s actually been really, really helpful to have a cohort of high quality businesses, who are not cutting corners, who are in it for customer results, and an efficacy and life changing therapeutic values of cannabinoids and other ingredients, it’s very helpful to come together and hold each other accountable, to make sure we’re all staying ahead of the curve together. No one wants this industry to go away, I don’t want it to go away. So there’s a spirit of of coming together and that and then the addressable market is big enough for a lot of us. And then also I’ve been in business long enough and grown and exited companies with I mean, you know, you allow yourself to get worried about someone and you never really know what’s going on, you don’t know what their balance sheet looks like. You don’t know what their p&l looks like, you know, and little by little care a lot of our competition, both in my first company and this one, just, you know, never made it never made it gave up, went belly up, was forced to shut down by their investors, you know, whatever. And ultimately, I think it’s, you know, you got to have the financial runway, you’ve got to have the emotional runway, as a leadership team. And as a as a group of humans who together is choosing to come to work every single day to advance your mission. And if you still have to have both of those things, like we’re lucky, we’re good, we’re long. And so you just keep on going. And And honestly, you never know when others are going to run out of runway. Just make I’m very focused on making sure that we have, you know enough runway in front of us to pull off our dreams and goals. And I find that just a more productive use of mine. energy than worrying about others.

Kara Goldin 25:02
Yeah, no, I think that that is great advice. So I saw recently that you acquired a company do you want to share a little bit about that?

Coco Meers 25:11
I would love to, we acquired a little over a year ago on a fun break through December disruptive Gen Z focused wellness company very complementary to equilibrium core called Fleur marchais. Where marchais was started by two beauty wellness executives who came from the goop world. And so and many other you know, beauty fashion companies behind that so incredible team. And, you know, again, tenacity, right, like staying power equals staying right like it’s not just you got to stay in the game. And what I love about these, these founders is having started out with a marketplace model and CBD farmer Shea was secured, and it was it was goop for CBD. And they realized after after a little while that the market just wasn’t ready yet. It wasn’t mature enough, it wasn’t big enough for a marketplace model. And so Fleur marchais evolved from a marketplace model of highly selected luxury cannabinoid products to a branded patch patches were our first were our first you know, sort of innovative, fun delivery system but a branded company that made cannabinoids and then other botanicals easy. I mean, gum out, check out, how can you not think about it, but take care of yourself. You know, equilibria is really, you know, our DNA is, is more serious, frankly, like when your body and life really start to become more challenging. Things are more complex, things are starting to break. We have you equilibria has you with our coaches and our full array of nutraceutical products. Fleur marchais is for the woman who doesn’t know she needs wellness yet. And she can find us at Foxtrot and Ervin and anthro and where she shops in her life. So it just pops off the shelf, I love how playful the brand is. And they’re just these amazing high quality products which are very easy to to adopt into your everyday life. So, you know, it’s been, it’s been an awesome journey, you know, of integrating the two organizations, Fleur marchais still operates as an independent brand. And we’ll continue to do so we’ve two brands within the portfolio. very complementary in terms of customer demographic, as well as channel. And then just, you know, what an honor to be able to work with Meredith and Ashley and assimilate the two leadership teams to kind of attack together this holistic continuum of wellness. And, you know, debunk the myths out there and really get to the heart and soul of how the industry is failing customers and where it’s too confusing. And again, how do you know where to start? And what if it’s not working? And you know, what, what more can you do for yourself besides the bullseye vitamin A lot. But again, often, you know, a helping hand to sort of guide the path is, is essential.

Kara Goldin 28:12
I love it. So you’re speaking with a friend who wants to start a company knowing what you know, today, what is the best piece of advice that you can give to somebody thinking about starting their own idea?

Coco Meers 28:32
Hi. I think that we live in a world where you know, access to digital tools to build your own website, set it up on Shopify, integrate into a three PL like, you know, fractional access to some of the best designers in the world to help manifest your brand and get it out there. Like, you know, meta, and all of the other digital publishing tools have made starting and launching a brand like I’m not gonna say easy, but like pretty, relatively accessible, right? If you’ve got enough like, passion and drive. So on the one hand, that’s exhilarating, and, and, you know, so my advice is if you have an idea, pursue it, but the caveat to that is, there’s a difference between, like, passion project at a hobby, and a business. And, and so I I would never, ever encourage anyone to hold back on starting, like, just get started, just do it. It’s easy to do it really is and if you think it’s not watch a YouTube video like and have GPT help you with all of your content. I mean, we live in an incredible time, where you can create so much however, we were talking about competition earlier, just because you build it does not mean they will come and so you know in investing and And you know, all of the founders and listening to all of the pitches that I have given and in my own experience, as a founder, what I’ve learned is that, you know, really nothing is more important at the end of the day than the unit economics of the business. So don’t quit your day job until you know that you have a business, you can love it. But don’t leave your current job until you know you have a business think very, very deeply about your business model. Build it yourself. If you are not a business person, it doesn’t matter. Again, figure it out, you are in the business of making sure that you can acquire a customer for less than your gross margin. Force yourself to build even better if you are if you don’t have an MBA, and you have never taken any sort of a finance class, because it really needs to be in your DNA. And in your logic, you can go out there and you can hire a CFO later and you can hire a CFO later, make sure that you understand your unit economics. And if you are not gross profit neutral or positive on the first transaction, how will you know that they will come back because otherwise you have the money in the DTC world. And frankly, in the in the, you know, ever challenging omni channel wholesale space as well. big retailers don’t make things you know, that don’t don’t change the necessity for your union economics to work. So in short, go for it, have fun with it, relish it because it is a choice, you were making a choice every single day, you could go and get a job elsewhere. Or, or keep your day job. So do it. And then when you choose to make it a greater and greater part of your portfolio, over time, you’re limited energy. Make sure you have a business whose model will provide enough momentum well into the future. So love it. But make sure that the business model is there.

Kara Goldin 31:58
Absolutely. Well, Coco, thank you so much for sharing everything about your journey and also equilibria. And really, really cool. We’ll have all of the info in the show notes for people to connect with you and look into more about the company and, and definitely, I really, really appreciate this. So thank you again,

Coco Meers 32:22
love sitting down with you, Kara, thank you so much for all that you have done for the industry for women who’ve come behind you and their journeys. And you know this the light that you’ve shown on all of these incredible stories and for your for your leadership.

Kara Goldin 32:38
Oh, let’s keep doing it. Thank you definitely. All right. Thank you again. Goodbye for now. All right. Thanks again for listening to the Kara Goldin show. If you would, please give us a review. And feel free to share this podcast with others who would benefit and of course, feel free to subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode of our podcast. Just a reminder that I can be found on all platforms at Kara Goldin. And if you want to hear more about my journey, I hope you will have a listen. Or pick up a copy of my book on daunted which I share my journey, including founding and building hint. We are here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And thanks everyone for listening. Have a great rest of the week, and 2023 and good bye for now. Before we sign off, I want to talk to you about fear. People like to talk about fearless leaders. But achieving big goals isn’t about fearlessness. Successful leaders recognize their fears and decide to deal with them head on in order to move forward. This is where my new book undaunted comes in. This book is designed for anyone who wants to succeed in the face of fear, overcome doubts and live a little undaunted. Order your copy today at undaunted, the and learn how to look your doubts and doubters in the eye and achieve your dreams. For a limited time. You’ll also receive a free case of hint water. Do you have a question for me or want to nominate an innovator to spotlight send me a tweet at Kara Goldin and let me know. And if you liked what you heard, please leave me a review on Apple podcasts. You can also follow along with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn at Kara Goldin. Thanks for listening