Greg from Three Sages and his cofounders have some answers for us!
What’s the inspiration behind Three Sages?
After 20+ years experience successfully creating and managing businesses in the health, wellness, and sports industries, Greg noticed there was very little on offer for recovery as it relates to a physical product. You could walk into a gym and find all the equipment needed for a great workout then in the far corner in the “recovery area” two stretch mats, that's it! Recovery was an afterthought but it's the most important part of our training.
We also noticed that the world was finally recognizing the ever increasing mental health crisis spurred on by record high stress levels compounded by the C19 pandemic. It was clear the world was seeking refuge from our always-on lives and that is when we decided it was time to bring Three Sages to market.
Three Sages is focused on restorative wellness. What does that mean exactly, and why is it especially needed or relevant today (as distinct from other health or mindfulness practices)?
Restorative wellness is a holistic approach to daily recovery.
It’s no secret we are living in stressful times. We are sleep deprived, overworked, overwhelmed, often looking to press the reset button but can't seem to find it. We recognize these stressors in our “always on” lives but don't know how to neutralize them.
That's where Three Sages comes in. Our “sips of wellness” can easily be integrated into busy lives. Instead of just meditation or yoga, which there are 100s of apps for, we created a physical experience immersing you in a true restorative practice giving you full mind and body recovery.
What does restorative wellness look like for you personally?
Restorative wellness is all about giving back to my mind and body. As a runner, paddle boarder, founding member of a startup, and hands-on dad to two very active young kids my days are packed and busy. If we keep adding fire to fire we will burn out.Adding in recovery to my daily routine balances that fire with cooling restorative practices. It could be a short mindful walk, five minutes of breathwork or meditation or a ten minute stretch session—doesn’t take much but it releases the pressure valve.
Restorative wellness for me is all about finding moments throughout the day that allow me to pause & find balance. Whether it's a fifteen minute walk through nature with the puppy, quick breathwork sessions between virtual conference calls, or just winding down at the end of the day to some healingsoundscapes to prep for a solid night's sleep—it's the collection of intentional yet brief "micro doses" of wellness that provides restorative wellbeing for me.
Wellness to me is about being able to be calm in all facets of my life. I find being able to take short little meditation breaks during the day works wonders for me. I try to meditate a few times a day to reflect on a desired outcome. It helps me see a clearer path.
The same holds true in our pastimes as a family. We enjoy travel and rock climbing, and often combine them both. I find when you are 2000ft up on a cliff face looking down at the world below it allows you to put things in perspective. Climbing a cliff face is the same as anything challenging in life. You perform it one move at a time, and don’t forget to enjoy the process.
How did you meet your co-founders? How do you work together?
While working at a previous job where I was head of design and Justin was head of east coast sales, we collaborated on numerous projects. While creating Hilton Hotels' global wellness design narrative for all of their brands, we recognized a gap in the market. I went out by myself, then Justin joined Three Sages shortly after.
Jeff was introduced to us via a mutual connection who worked for one of the large fitness equipment companies. We had been looking for a CTO and someone to champion building our tech. After a few months of getting to know each other, Jeff joined the team.
What's your high-level process for creating content, including finding suitable teachers and locales for the platform?
We aim to “push the bar” high when we create content. We don't create indoor content like 99% of the fitness and wellness industry— we get outdoors, giving you a double dose of goodness. Our goal is to become a wellness travel channel, taking people all over the world to incredible locations.
Since our HQ is in SoCal we have access to a very large pool of teacher talent. Our head of content, Erin Ward, is an incredible teacher with deep experience in yoga, meditation and breathwork. Her fiancé, Mychal, is also one of our teachers and an incredible yogi and movement coach. We prefer to not have a set group of teachers, instead we work with local talent wherever we shoot. That way we can bring in local flavor and diversify our teacher talent.
The B2B and B2C sides of your business seem somewhat distinct, relying on different products in different markets to access Three Sages content. Can you speak to your strategy around developing these as complementary channels?
Both Justin and I have over a decade of experience selling into various verticals, so naturally we started our business with a B2B focus. It allowed us to test our platform and fine tune our offering in a much more cost effective way compared to a D2C approach.
Our strategy is to grow aggressively in the B2B space over the next 12-18 months—specifically in the hospitality, corporate and health club markets. This will expose Three Sages content and our screens to potentially millions of consumers. Our partners / clients will also be set up to sell and refer their guests, employees and members to Three Sages— bringing to life the B2B2C side of our business.
Our model is the reverse of what most fitness / wellness companies do, they usually spend millions entering with a D2C strategy then grow into B2B vertical markets. Our “reverse model” is far more cost effective and can still grow at the same pace.
How do you handle risk and competition?
When assessing opportunity in the very crowded “wellness” market we carefully chose a space that had very little competition. We decided to steer clear of the “fitness” space due to numerous 800-lb gorilla companies already established and innovating in that market. We focused exclusively on restorative wellness and on a physical product, not just an app.
There is no company currently doing what we are doing. But we aren't going to be naïve and think it will stay this way forever, so we continue to push the bar in our content creation: partnering with other recovery companies, integrating them into our platform, and looking at creative ways to keep evolving.
First in and first to market advantage is what we are after right now.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced while launching your company?
Covid was a massive blow for us. We were literally about to launch the first version of our platform at a trade show a week before the first lock down happened. At the same time most investors we were talking to pulled back and decided to “wait and see” how the C19 pandemic was going to shake out. So that was frustrating and a massive challenge. Instead of becoming another statistic we worked hard to refine our platform and products and actually started to get some early traction right in the middle of the pandemic. Fast forward to where we are now and we are poised for rapid growth and back at the table talking to investors so things are working out.
Have you learned anything new or surprising about yourselves through this process?
Yes. I learned that I am more flexible than I thought I was. Flexible in attitude. There is no straight road to success in a startup. You have to be flexible, and if a door closes or a product isn't quite working out, you need to adapt. So being flexible to change.
Why did you decide to raise from the crowd via Republic?
We wanted to test the waters to see if people would be interested in Three Sages. We aren’t raising a large sum of money, but if a decent number of people are willing to invest in us, a boost of capital for R&D will be extremely helpful.
What’s your team culture like?
We have a great team culture. This is mainly due to everyone owning their contribution to our collective cause. There is no “soap box” leadership in our company, it's a team effort and everyone has a say.
What is your superpower?
I don’t give up easily. It takes a lot for me to throw in the towel, so 'determination'.
What’s your kryptonite?
Poor communication. It really gets under my skin.
Do you have any unusual routines or habits?
Every morning I wake up early with my kids between 5:30-6am, make them breakfast then I clean the kitchen. It drives my wife nuts. She says I am a little OCD, but I like everything in order.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I am an avid runner. Getting out and running a few miles is my meditation a few times a week. I have run a couple of marathons and more recently got back into half marathons. The beach and ocean are also my sanctuary, so I love taking my paddle board out into the Pacific to just flow and catch a few waves. What also brings me great joy is grilling with my family, it's Sunday Funday in our backyard every weekend.
Are there any apps or gadgets that you can’t live without?
Noise canceling headphones. Working remotely with kids around, they're a lifesaver.
If you could give yourself one piece of advice 5 years ago, what would it be?
Collaborate as much as possible, listen and work with as many people as you can while not trying to own everything, we are stronger in a tribe.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Never take NO for an answer and be a good listener.
Do you have a(ny) mentor(s)? If so, what have they taught you?
My late father, an incredible businessman and entrepreneur. He always told me there are never any shortcuts to success, you have to do your time and earn it. He taught me how to be disciplined and to challenge the status quo.
The three cofounders of Three Sages