We had the good fortune of connecting with Kris Taylor and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kris, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Lumen is founded on the concept that food is medicine. In fact, my co-founder and I left our spots in medical school because we felt like that concept was not adequately explored in Western medicine. At first glance, our products themselves seem to be the most direct way we help our community. Each of our shots has been formulated to have the highest efficacy possible. We use ingredients like cold-pressed hemp juice, hemp seed oil, turmeric, Irish sea moss, and lion’s mane mushroom to improve the health of our communities. However, when you dig deeper, you find a holistic approach to health with Lumen. Personal healthy, communal health, and environmental health. We source as many ingredients as possible from regenerative farms. These farms have lower carbon emissions (some times NEGATIVE carbon emissions, because the crops capture so much carbon) than traditional industrial or organic farms. These farms also do not use chemical pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. From a water perspective, a resource becoming more and more valuable, these farms use much less water than their non-regenerative counterparts. Lastly, they also make more nutrient-dense foods because their soil is healthier! We are committed to transitioning all of our ingredients to regenerative by 2023. We also look at our packaging, and how the waste from our company affects our planetary health. After all, a healthy planet leads to healthy people. We are less than 6 months away from transitioning to a petrochemical-free bioplastic bottle. This plant-based solution allows us to reduce the amount of carbon released in the manufacturing of our packaging. Finally, we are directly impacting the health of our community by hosting different seminars and courses on holistic health. Recently, we held an Immune Reset Challenge over nine days. We covered topics like sleep hygiene, stress reduction, metabolic dysfunction, hydration, and physical activity. It’s our belief that healthcare is everything that happens *between* doctors visits, not *during* a doctors visit itself. We’re excited to see how our reach and impact grows as our company scales. We have big aspirations to start regenerative farms in our homelands. For me, that’s America. For Yasir, that’s Sudan. For our Sales Director, that’s Pakistan. Every shot sold and every customer served helps get us closer to that vision!
What’s the most important lesson your business has taught you?
“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” This statement could not be more true for the journey of Lumen. Our team is made up of first-time beverage entrepreneurs. Other than lemonade stands as kids, we knew very little about running a juice shot company when we started. If I could recommend one thing to early-stage entrepreneurs, it would be to make friends with people who have found success in your field. Invite them on your journey, give them an advisory role in your business, and soak up absolutely everything you can from them. We’ve been fortunate enough to have help from giants like startup whiz Genevieve Gilbreath, Numi Tea co-founder Ahmed Rahim, Nutiva founder John Roulac and retired Whole Foods EVP David Lannon. Without their expert guidance, we would be nowhere near where we are today. Learn from other people’s mistakes and experiences so that you can fast track your business’ reach!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Los Angeles is such a big city, but I want to look a bit further… If someone had a week in L.A., I’d say rent a car and pack your tent for some amazing adventures here in SoCal.
First stop: Joshua Tree National Park. The alien-like scenery of the park is unforgettable. Weird cacti, hot days and cool nights, and huge boulders that look like they’ve been strewn around the desert by giants. Spend at least 2 days there to get the most out of it.
Second stop: Sequoia National Forest. This is another place of huge objects, but instead of rocks, they’re trees. Imagine looking up at a tree that is ten times wider than you are. You can’t even get your arms around to hug it if you tried (and trust me, I have).
For a local trip, the third and final stop would be Malibu Creek State Park. This place can definitely get crowded, so be ready for a little less “peace and solitude” than my other recommendations, but it’s beautiful nonetheless. At times you’ll feel like your walking into a scene from Jurassic Park with the tall green hills and the different waterfalls and creeks.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My parents deserve the biggest shoutout. I’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple of years thinking back on the skills that they armed me with to thrive in this crazy world. My father taught me the value of perseverance, pushing through “the suck” in life, and the power of visualization for your goals. Before I had martial arts competitions, I can clearly remember him telling me, “Close your eyes and see yourself on the podium. See yourself winning the match. You’ve put the training and work in, so see yourself where you deserve to be.” This thought process took me all the way to winning the World Title in juniors sparring for taekwondo with the American Taekwondo Association. My mother, a fashion entrepreneur, taught me the importance of working hard. Maybe too hard… she’s a non-stop kind of person! Fortunately, she also taught me about meditating to de-stress. I can remember joining her 20 years ago for yoga at the local YMCA in Texas before yoga was the “cool” thing. She’s always been on the cutting edge like that, and I have a lot to thank her for when it comes to that kind of thinking.