Dreaming of a better world is one of the only ways for us to grow and learn and have control in our future. As we strive to make the impossible, possible, there are challenges that will deter us to stop and question our life’s purpose and journey. However, when we’re determined to make our future brighter — whether it’s for our self, our kids, or others — those bumps in the road won’t seem as significant or detrimental. At least that’s what it was like for today’s boss babe. She noticed a hole in an industry and believed she could produce a better and healthier product to provoke a better health experience and ritual in all of us.
Kat Schneider began her wellness journal when she was pregnant with her daughter. During her pregnancy, she became increasingly aware of what she was using and putting in her body in her everyday life. Through this process, she discovered that her vitamins, the very thing that are supposed to make her healthy, didn’t pass the health inspection test. While Schneider could’ve searched for a vitamin brand that might’ve fit some of her needs, she decided to take matters into her own hands by creating a company that not only provides a healthier vitamin, but that will help produce a better lifestyle. Meet the incredibly talented and founder of Ritual, Kat Schneider.
I’m kind of a nomad. I moved from Ukraine to Italy to Austria to the US when I was little. I lived in Brooklyn for a long time and also Short Hills, NJ.
Los Angeles, CA
NYC health spot you’ve been meaning to check out:
I was really excited to try ABCV, which is ABC Kitchen’s vegetarian restaurant. I went last time I was in NY and it was incredible; I hope they open one in LA. I’m also a Hu Kitchen addict and always feel like I don’t have enough time to go there, but when I do, I pig out on their Paleo chocolate bars and almond butter mash. I love their matcha lattes because they make their own almond milk.
Must-have tools to help manage your schedule:
Your ultimate #WCW:
Kirsten Green, who started Forerunner and has invested in companies like Glossier, Outdoor Voices, Dollar Shave Club, Jet, and Bonobos. She’s a total boss.
Describe your Wellness routine in three words:
Habitual, Mindful, Easy
Sunday evening ritual to jump start your work week:
Chopping veggies. It sounds kind of lame, but for me it’s meditative. I will cut all kinds of vegetables to have them ready for salads, smoothies and for steaming (jicama, carrots, kabocha squash, cauliflower, cucumbers, coconut, avocados). Then meals for my family are on autopilot during the week, especially if I’m working late. Sometimes I’ll do the chopping with a face mask on for some multitasking action. The facemask I’m really into right now is Leahlani’s Mermaid Mask — it has organic Hawaiian Spirulina and honey (two things I like to eat). It smells so good that sometimes I’m tempted to lick it off my face.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you came up with Ritual?
When I was pregnant with my daughter, I became increasingly aware of everything I was putting into and on my body — from deodorant to toothpaste. I realized that the same potentially harmful ingredients that I was avoiding throughout my house were in the vitamins I was taking every day. The more I researched the vitamin industry, the more I realized that it was a black box, and the idea to create a vegan, non-GMO daily vitamin that contained only the ingredients women actually need was born. I founded Ritual with the belief that better health begins with better ingredients, and I knew I could build a better vitamin than the ones out there.
What is it about Ritual that stands up against the rest of the branded vitamin companies?
On the actual physical product side…. most multivitamins have been formulated with data from 1968 that don’t take into account the nutrients we are getting from our diets today. On top of that, dosages are outdated and in many cases are too high or too low. They have a shotgun approach to formulation, using 20-40 ingredients hoping that some of them will stick, but it turns out that certain unmetabolized nutrients can accumulate in the cells over time and can cause more harm than good. Every product Ritual releases is grounded in science. Our research is backed by the latest peer-reviewed studies, which show that more than half of the most commonly used ingredients in multivitamins are unnecessary to supplement daily for most women. And we are finding evidence that getting more of the unneeded nutrients are further imbalancing the more commonly deficient ones. Additionally, we designed our product and made it available for just a dollar a day. Purchased individually, these ingredients would cost 5x more, but by having direct relationships with labs and suppliers and selling direct-to-consumer, we’re able to pass the value onto [our] customers. For a monthly subscription of just $30, we’re delivering the hardest working, highest-quality ingredients at a fair price.
We are building a lot more than just a vitamin company though. While we have the best product on the market, what people are signing up for is the experience. Remembering to take vitamins is hard and it’s even harder to form a healthy habit. With Ritual, we hold your hand through everything from our team talking directly to you and checking in on how you are doing to cute surprises in your shipping boxes that will help you remember to take your vitamins, and really incredible content to inspire you to form other healthy habits even beyond taking the vitamins.
Aside from taking your vitamins, what are some other ways you maintain a healthier lifestyle?
The vitamins are really a catalyst for other healthy habits in my life. I’m an early riser — [I] usually wake up around 6 a.m. when my daughter starts calling for me — but I do my best to get at least seven hours of sleep. Before I head out, I’ll take my Essential for Women (sometimes with a mix of fresh coconut water and blue algae) and I always get some exercise during the day — even if it’s only my walk to our office! I’m big on making nourishing, whole breakfasts for my daughter and myself, usually centered around hot cereals and healthy fats. I also make my own buttery matcha latte with homemade pumpkin seed and hemp milk and MCT oil. The most important thing for me in staying healthy is knowing not to strive for perfection but to strive for balance. Some days I’m “healthier” than others (ahem, chocolate and wine), but every day I have simple healthy habits that keep me in check (vitamins, walking, water).
While beginning a company from scratch can be rewarding, it also comes with a handful of challenges. What are the top three things you think every entrepreneur should do before they begin their venture?
Make sure your venture is something you are not only passionate about today but will be passionate about 10 years from now. Although said a million times, starting a business is really like a long-term marriage, not a fling.
Do your homework. Understand what problem you are trying to solve. When I was an investor, I would have so many founders come to me and not even know what needs their business would fulfill and were just chasing after the large market.
Ask over a hundred people outside your world (aka your network) what their experience is with the industry or product you are looking to disrupt. Many times we think of business ideas but are in our own echo chamber.
Okay, your hair is beautiful! What are some of your go-to products you use to maintain healthy locks?
I keep my hair healthy by eating lots of fats (coconut, avocado, nuts) and taking our vitamin (which has omega 3s from algae and vitamin E from mixed tocopherols). One common vitamin myth is that you need to take Biotin for healthy hair and nails. But it turns out that most people get enough Biotin from their diets. I only wash my hair twice a week, and when I do, I leave a bit of conditioner in my hair and let it dry naturally without any sort of other product. I use organic coconut oil as a hair mask one to two times per week. Sometimes I’ll take my Nucifera (which I use on my skin) and rub it onto my ends as well.
Being a mom to your child and business can feel like you’re constantly on the go. How do you stay creatively inspired and not burn out?
In addition to my daughter, I’m completely inspired by our team at Ritual. My approach to building an incredible company is to surround yourself with people that are smarter than yourself. To me, we are all in charge of our own domains and are in this together, working to build the best possible company and product, as a collective team.
To not burn out, I also try to put myself in new and uncomfortable settings outside the office. For instance, last week I took a West African Dance Class at a super-inspiring dance studio. I feel like when I’m taken out of my element I have no choice but to let go and unwind (eventually).
While building Ritual, what do you believe was the greatest thing you learned about yourself that shaped who you are today?
I’ve learned to trust myself and believe in myself. You get a lot of opinions on everything you do, from which products to launch next to how much you should price your product. A lot of the opinions come from some of the smartest people in the world. What I’ve learned is to listen to all of those opinions but ultimately go with your gut. Honing in on my intuition is something I’m really learning to do well and it’s helping me in every aspect of my life.
Where do you hope to see Ritual in the next five years?
We see ourselves continuing to strengthen our relationships with our customers by expanding and engaging in creative and meaningful ways. We want to grow as a company that is very much focused on helping people stick to healthy habits — starting with something easy: taking your daily multivitamin, and being an ally when it comes to forming other habits as well. We will continue to build around our mission which is: To inspire healthy habits so people can live their best lives.
Any advice for future boss babes, especially those looking to enter into the health/wellness industry?
First, don’t go into the wellness industry because it’s trendy or seems like a fun thing to do. Go into the health industry because you want to make a meaningful lasting impact on people’s lives. To do anything great in this space you will constantly be up against archaic thinking and told “no” constantly. Now “no” has become one of my favorite words because for our team it just means it hasn’t been done before. We love a good challenge.
Written by Raven Ishak
Photography via Vanessa Granda