We had the good fortune of connecting with Zain Pirani and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Zain, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I was extremely frustrated with the options available in the CBD space. A lot of companies were slapping CBD onto their products as a trend, without any real basis behind why the ingredient was in the products to begin with. Even then, there is tons of misinformation about the ingredient: the type and dosage to use, what it does in a particular product and how it interacts with other actives. I personally believed in the benefit of CBD, if used properly but was time and again disappointed in what I would purchase as a customer. The opportunity came around for me to create my own brand and thus began the journey for No, Thank You. However, we wanted to be more than just a consumer product company. We are building a brand folks can trust and be confident that we have done the research to formulate products that drive results. Our products speak for themselves! We are determined to create a brand that does not just talk about diversity but shows up and strongly delivers on that value.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I started my career in finance. When I was a young professional, I really enjoyed being in a structured environment and learning from folks much smarter and more experienced than me. It felt like a natural extension of my college experience. I thoroughly enjoyed the real life than just classroom and books. However, over time, it started to feel very restricting and to a certain extent, a bit boring. I was doing the same things over and over again, there wasn’t much space for growth or creativity. During my career, when I had the opportunity to build and create, even when it was a new way to fundraise or launch finance products, it really got my juices going. I was excited to get to work and throw myself in it. That is really where I learned that in my heart I am really an entrepreneur. I also learned that I can’t have the same day to day job, I crave change, I am thirsty for growth!

Leaving finance to carve my own path was not easy. I started ventures and failed. No, Thank You is my fourth career move after I had left my job in finance. Early on more so than now, I wanted to run away to the structure and stability of a full-time finance job, where the rewards were financially massive. Where I struggled is that I knew I no longer belonged in finance. I was constantly struggling with wanting to run back to my past, it seemed so less stressful. It took time, patience and strong support from those around me to start settling in, and not wanting to leap back into my past. It was a mental see-saw.

Success is not an overnight thing, as much as we like to sensationalize instant success, for most of us, we have to grind at what we love and keep going and keep moving forward. I am finally in the mindset where I am optimistic and excited about our company and where it can go. I have definitely had my dark moments where I wanted to give up. Or left work and crawled into bed feeling completely out of energy. It is normal to have the ebb and flow and the ups and down, and to remind oneself that it will pass. Learning to have stability and not feel like any decision of mine will leave me on the streets, homeless and penniless. It is practicing that mindset, it’s a muscle you have to strengthen, no shortcuts around it.

No, Thank You as a brand stands for all those who can relate to the day to day struggle of being ordinary folks who want to do extra ordinary things. I want our brand to be relatable and our community to be empowered. We say no to what doesn’t serve us, all the crappy products sold to us in beautiful packaging. We need to demand better products and those products that work!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Every day we would start with a new coffee and breakfast place. LA has so many coffee shops to try: from Blue Bottle Coffee to Boy and the Bear pour overs, there is a little neighborhood coffee shop near me called Sachi LA- their Sachi special is delish! I also love Good Boy Bob, there is Alfred’s, Menotti’s, 310 Coffee- the list goes on and on. Please no Starbucks. Then depending on where you get coffee there is always a breakfast spot nearby. Some that I love are: Homestate – their breakfast tacos are to die for. Some great breakfast sandwich spots: Gjelina, Go Get Em Tiger, and Cerveteca to name a few. There is also a whole host of donuts shops and bakeries: Sidecar, Blue Star, there is the good old Dunkin Donuts, an oldie but a goodie. Most coffee shops also have their breakfast that they offer.

Then we would move on to the activity for the day. Definitely a beach day would be in there, or maybe two or three of those. You can easily spend a day in Malibu or go even further north to Zuma or Point Dume or even Oxnard, if you are up for the ride. I haven’t been to the Malibu pier yet but I have heard it’s a great hang. I would spend a day in Santa Monica and Venice and do the tourist trap, perhaps venture up to the Hotel Irwin rooftop bar. Venice has tons of food options as well: egg slut, the great white, Erehwon. Eventually make my way down to the other beaches nearby Playa, Hermosa and Manhattan beach. The lunch options along the way are plenty! From Reel-Inn for fresh fish to Elephante to take in some views and drinks. I would pretty much each and drink my way through the various beach locations, after we get our workout in obviously. Other than hikes, I would take them to a pilates class or a yoga class or soul cycle.

Plan a day for museums from the LACMA to Broad or the Getty is pretty impressive. I would try the Getty House perhaps on our way to Malibu. If there is an opportunity to go to the Walt Disney Concert Hall or The Hollywood Bowl. Now that LA is becoming such a big sports hub, we would definitely get a game in at the SoFi, Staples Center or the Dodgers Stadium. And then of course depending on the activity I would have a million food options to check out.

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?
I would like to dedicate this shoutout to my dad. If it weren’t for him, his faith and belief in me, that I was just as good as the men around me, I don’t think I would have come this far in my life. He always made sure we had a book in our hands during down time and meaningful discussions around the dinner table every night. He challenged our ideas and pushed us to think. He also gave us the seed money to start this venture and introduced us to everyone in this space.

I am also grateful for the people I work with everyday, my business partner and Co-Founder Graham, who agreed to take this journey with me. Our team kicks butt! I love them dearly and I am so proud of each and every one of them, what they have persevered in their own personal journey to make it as far as they have. It is a diverse team of folks from a perspective of ideas, background, ethnicities and sexuality. We couldn’t be more proud of our work together.

Website: https://nty.co/

Instagram: @nty.co; @zainpirani

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nty.co

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