Learn How a Stubborn Case of Adult Acne Led to the Birth of HUM NutritionOctober 16th, 2019
Walter Faulstroh and Christopher Coleridge are the co-founders of HUM Nutrition, a brand devoted to making it easy for customers to find vitamins that support specific needs. HUM supplements are clean, made from natural ingredients, and triple-tested for purity and potency. Read our interview with Faulstroh, the company’s CEO, and Coleridge, the COO, to discover their go-to HUM products and their favorite ways to unwind after a tough day.
Tell us about your professional background before founding HUM.
Faulstroh: I became passionate about nutrition while launching my first startup, V Water, which was a vitamin water company based in the UK. For one of the formulas, I collaborated with one of the most forward-thinking nutritionists in London, who not only helped with V Water but also sorted out my adult acne once and for all through nutrition.
Coleridge: I originally worked in advertising and later caught the entrepreneurial bug after meeting my brilliant business partner, Walter, with whom I started V Water in the UK. I really loved the experience and remain very passionate about brands that have a positive impact. For that reason, I was so happy to continue our entrepreneurial wellness journey with HUM!
What inspired you to start HUM?
Faulstroh: I struggled with adult acne. After trying and failing with most prescription drugs over many years, I sought an alternative. Through my company, I met with a brilliant nutritionist, Gudrun Jonsson, who helped me figure out my skin issues by excluding highly processed foods and sugars, and adding herbs, minerals, and healthy fats into my diet via supplementation. I was positively shocked by the results, so I explored whether other people had similar concerns and could benefit from a fresh approach to their skin health. The answer was yes—so I decided to launch HUM with Chris, and we relocated to California.
Coleridge: I was very inspired by Walter’s transformation and thought that there was a real gap in the market. Vitamins were presented in a very confusing way: long aisles full of old-fashioned products with almost no useful information about their benefits, often a lack of science, or not enough actives to give the consumer a real benefit. We wanted to change all this and deliver a wide range of formulas that target specific beauty concerns from the inside out.
What were the biggest challenges in getting the company off the ground?
Faulstroh: We always knew that we had a great product from a scientific point of view, and we managed to give it a unique look and feel. However, it takes time to build your reputation. To be honest, the first two years were anything but easy. We never used to advertise and suddenly word spread fast; our company experienced explosive growth purely driven by word of mouth.
Coleridge: We both relocated to a new continent, so not only did we have to build up a business from the ground up, but we also had to develop new networks of friends and find schools and family support. I relocated with my wife and daughter, who both had to start fresh. For the first two years, we pretty much worked around the clock. But in the end, we followed our passion. It was worth it, and we couldn’t be happier.
What would you tell your younger self if you had the opportunity to offer advice?
Faulstroh: Besides to start from within when it comes to acne, I would always recommend to do a brain, heart, and gut check for major life decisions. Think it through with your brain; feel the passion in your heart; and trust your gut. If all agree, you’ve got a winner. Most people don’t see the world the way you do yourself, and it takes time to enlist others on your journey. If you’ve done your homework properly and come from a good place that you feel passionate about, others will follow eventually.
Coleridge: Follow your instincts about what makes you happy and fulfilled. Although I enjoyed working in advertising, for me, it was never nearly as fulfilling as building a brand from the ground up. I really enjoy all the different aspects of running a business: finding great team members, working on amazing formulations, partnering with incredible retailers like Thrive Market, and so on!
If you had to pick a favorite HUM product, what would it be and why?
Faulstroh: Daily Cleanse; it truly is the product that saved my skin. I combine it with OMG! for optimum results and our latest creation, Skin Squad, which balances the gut and the skin. It’s like a magic formula for invincible skin.
Coleridge: I swear by Uber Energy. My job is really demanding, and Uber Energy has helped me avoid burnout. Also, our vegan gummies, Hair Sweet Hair and Glow Sweet Glow, are absolutely delicious and really work.
Take us through a typical day.
Faulstroh: The beauty of running your own company is that there’s no typical day. However, I always clear my inbox first thing in the morning from home. Once I get to the office around 9 a.m., I have a lot of meetings throughout the day in 30-minute windows, with calls, emails, and espressos in between. I am ultimately responsible for innovation, marketing, and branding, so I meet with dermatologists, nutritionists, and creatives literally back-to-back, which appeals to both sides of my brain. Regardless of the workload, I always take a lunch break outside the office, which often involves work but it is important to me to get a fresh perspective halfway into the day. Because my calendar fills up so quickly, I have to block out time up front to leave room for more strategic projects. After work, I try to squeeze in a spinning or yoga class, and love dinners with friends and family; my boyfriend is an excellent cook. When I’m off work, I try to hit the ski slopes nearby.
Coleridge: I get into the office around 8 a.m., update my to-do list, and work through emails. I really like this time in the morning to get ahead before the regular meetings start. As the company has grown, we seem to have more and more meetings both internally and externally, so we try to keep them each to 30 minutes if we can! Our office is based in West Hollywood, so I often nip out for a salad for lunch locally and try to get some fresh air. I leave around 6:30 p.m. and try to go to the gym twice a week on the way back home.
Describe your daily vitamin and supplement regimen.
Faulstroh: I take my HUM vitamins mainly in the morning so I don’t forget. I start with Skin Heroes, our pre+probiotic, on an empty stomach when the stomach acidity is a bit lower. With breakfast, which is typically freshly squeezed orange juice with eggs and avocado toast, I take OMG! and Daily Cleanse. At night, I vary my vitamins depending on how I feel, so this may involve our solutions for better sleep and less stress.
Coleridge: I take Uber Energy first thing in the morning to prevent burnout and our gummies, Glow Sweet Glow and Hair Sweet Hair, throughout the day.
Tell us about your favorite way to unwind after a tough day.
Faulstroh: Taking a hot yoga class. If the day gets stressful, I can feel very emotional and yoga helps me release this energy.
Coleridge: Helping my 12-year-old daughter with her homework!
What HUM product would you recommend to people who are unfamiliar with the line?
Faulstroh: Start with your gut. If your digestion is off, the rest will follow. Daily Cleanse and Skin Heroes are really critical for that. I would then optimize depending on specific needs and concerns. Our products are really easy to navigate.
Coleridge: I’d recommend Daily Cleanse. It works fast, has amazing effects, and has helped so many people with their breakouts.
What are some common misconceptions people have about vitamins and supplements?
Faulstroh: I would always say don’t take vitamins if you can eat them instead. Or simply put: Don’t take vitamins to replace a healthy diet. Instead, think of supplements as building blocks for nutrients that are hard to come by in a normal diet.
Coleridge: Some people seem to think that vitamins and supplements are a substitute for a healthy diet. This is not the case, and you definitely need to live and eat healthily to get the maximum benefits.