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Sean started Mindful Proteins in 2018. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Mindful Proteins?
It sounds a little dramatic, but yoga saved my life. It set in motion a series of life-altering shifts that had me brutally examine what I ate, what I thought, and how I moved. Considering my demeanor 10 years ago, it is a miracle my wife remained married to me.
Soon after I sold my business, moved to Portland and met my wife, I tore both meniscuses in my knees, preventing me from walking up stairs without searing pain. Before my mother passed, she convinced me to avoid any medical procedures and instead try yoga. Without much conviction, I followed her advice, purchasing a beginners’ disc by Rodney Yee. Within three months of daily practice, I could run for the train!
> We have been bootstrapping the business since filing the company papers in June of 2018. I run a climate finance consulting company and we divert as much revenue as we can towards investing in this business.
I then discovered the 108 Days Ultimate Yogi program by Travis Eliot. I loved it! I completed several rounds and felt the fittest I had been competing in endurance mountain biking. I felt compelled to add a healthy diet to my physical regimen. I tried the Whole30 program (30 days without processed foods, sugars, and other irritants) and it became a way of life for me. I was challenged to find protein-rich foods without additives for my family, including my youngest boys. As I researched protein options I was struck by how much many of the available products were geared largely for “muscle heads,” how medicinal they all appeared, and the degree of elevated sugar levels and other gunk they contained. To top it off, despite the gallant effort they all tasted awful!
Feeling good about my progress on the physical and dietary front, I then turned to meditation. While I credit my wife for much of the positive changes I have experienced, I know that the combination of yoga, meditation, and diet was the secret cocktail for my enhanced sense of well-being. After an intensive yoga practice, I like to hydrate and consume protein that helps with muscle tone and recovery. During a discussion with Travis and Lauren Eckstrom—the best yoga instructors in the world--the realization dawned on me that drinking protein water post-workout would tick all the boxes! One problem. There was no clean-label protein water on the market.
After several months of market research, I decided to develop one and bring it to my wellness tribe.
Serendipity has offered me the opportunity to co-found Mindful Proteins with Jacoba Gundle who I’ve worked with over the past few years, and who shares my passion for sustainable living and a healthy and active lifestyle. We are well-timed I believe, launching on the wave of the global Health and Wellness market that reached $4.2 trillion in 2017! The sector is projected to grow at 17% over the next five years. This megatrend is propelling two of the fastest-growing beverage categories; functional beverages and hydration with a combined value of $106 billion.
Over the summer of 2019, we sampled our TATU protein water with over 2,000 yoga practitioners, climbers, runners, and cyclists. We received resounding feedback in terms of flavor, aroma, protein loading, and product messaging. We decided to make it a little more official. We recently went head to head with three of the leading protein water brands in a sensory test to determine consumer liking and purchase intent. The takeaway from the comprehensive testing was very favorable for us. TATU had a significantly higher purchase intent based on taste alone, based on the ingredient statement, and the nutrition panel than the other brands. This was a significant milestone for us to achieve!
We have been blessed with an amazingly engaged group of advisors that have helped us navigate our route thus far. They include Morgan Rider (Oliver Russell Branding), Melanie Haliburton (Yogi Tea), David Hicks (Food and Beverage Consultant), Guru Hari Khalsa (Co-Founder of the Moon & Lotus Center for Movement and Healing), Anton Kimball (Kimball Design), Emily Light (Emily Light Yoga), and Leona West Fox (Certified Nutritionist & Certified Herbalist).
Contributors to this article:
- Pat Walls, Founder of Starter Story
- Wiki Updater