An interview with Anabel Oelmann, Co-Founder and Director of The Healing Company
In February of 2022, Anabel co-founded The Healing Company with a bold aim: Bring integrated healing to the world, helping millions of people improve their quality of life. She is leading the charge in the world of integrative healing, as The Healing Company works to build a community of powerful healing brands, identifying, acquiring, and helping scale the reach and impact of the world’s highest potential healing practices & products.
Prior to founding The Healing Company, Anabel worked with some of the biggest fashion and beauty brands as an IMG model, but the unrealistic expectations and constant pressures of the industry led to serious physical and mental suffering. She knew she needed to make a change and went down a path of self-discovery, ultimately finding healing through alternative plant-based methods.
We had the opportunity to interview Anabel to learn more about how her background as a model and nutritionist brought her to help co-found The Healing Company, and to hear about the waves The Healing Company is making for integrative healing in the healthcare industry.
Begin by telling us more about The Healing Company and its foundation. How did the company start and what makes it original?
The Healing Company has a bold aim — bring integrated healing to the world, helping millions of people lead healthier lives. To do so, we’re building a community of powerful healing brands, uniting our expertise in healing products & practices, with our expertise in growing high-impact brands and businesses through storytelling, e-commerce, distribution, international business experience, and more. A key tenet of our thinking at The Healing Company is to think about everyone, ourselves first and foremost, as people before professionals. The Healing Company recently completed the acquisition of PepsiCo-backed plant-based superfoods brand, Your Super and Chopra Global’s wellbeing experiences businesses. We have plans to acquire more brands in 2023. In October 2022, The Healing Company secured a $150M credit facility from i80 Group, which will be used to fuel further acquisitions. There are a number of ways we’ll explore integrating the brands in The Healing Company community over time, though to start we are focused on expanding the reach and impact of each brand we acquire individually.
Tell us about your past as an IMG Model and your inspiration to begin The Healing Company. Where did you get the idea for the company?
Prior to founding The Healing Company, I worked with some of the biggest fashion and beauty brands, but the unrealistic expectations and constant pressures of the industry led to serious physical and mental suffering. I knew I needed to make a change and went down a path of self-discovery, ultimately finding healing through alternative plant-based methods. Through this journey I also came to understand that the US is the only developed country where our spending on healthcare has continued to rise, yet healthy life expectancy has actually begun to decline. 95% is spent on treating sickness, yet over 90% of illness is preventable, attributed to lifestyle factors. Changing the paradigm from treatment to prevention is imperative. And while it will be a journey, it’s a journey my co-founder, Simon Belsham and I are deeply motivated to undertake. The first step, in our view, is educating on integrated healing and championing credible healing practices and products, which is exactly where we’re starting with The Healing Company.
How do plant based methods hold a place in your personal life?
Plant based methods hold a BIG place in my life. After being dependent on pharmaceuticals, having major side effects, plant based medications have taught me to listen to my body and become more in tune with my needs. I completely lost control of myself and turning to plant based medicine and herbs helped me build my health from the ground up.
Was there a specific person/persons that inspired your creation of The Healing Company?
It wasn’t any person in particular, it was more my personal experience that made me want to raise awareness towards alternative ways of healing.
Talk to us about the process behind becoming a certified nutritionist and how that background fits into all this?
I was traveling a lot when I was modeling and while I was living in Sydney, Australia I realized how unhappy I actually was with my life. I had completely lost control of my health. My relationship with food was really bad. I was restricting myself from eating, did regular dieting, and felt shame or guilt upon eating certain foods. I felt like I had to take control again and when I searched for nutritional support I found the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. It was a self paced online program which made it really convenient and easy for me to do in between my modeling jobs. It took about 1.5 years to complete as I also added an additional course where we dove deeper into the gut. I sometimes struggled to stay focused and to implement the things I had learned into my lifestyle. I was so driven by the modeling industry and by the pressure to be a certain size that learning to love my body and make the changes necessary was tough.
Talk to us about your creative process and how you construct new ideas.
I rely largely on my intuition—it’s so important. I go inward and really examine what I see, feel, hear and go from there to building something new.
Were there any major struggles you encountered at the start of your business?
Oh for sure! I think it’s never easy to start a business, especially if you have never done it before. It’s all learning by doing. My biggest struggle is learning to set things up in the right way from the start. I had incredible mentors and partners along the way who have taught me and guided me in the right direction. Also, be bold—go out there, pitch your company no matter what stage you are in.
Describe an average day in the life as a company owner? What is your regular day-to-day schedule?
I start my day off with self care. I need my mornings. I wake up, have my hot water with lemon and then do a 10-30 minute yoga and meditation session. If I have time I go for a run, work out or get out to have some fresh air and grab a coffee. Depending on the time zone I am in, I have 3-5 hour calls a day with the team, planning and discussing. Then, I work on content for The Healing Company, planning ahead interviews or anything else that needs to be done. I travel a lot, so staying healthy, sticking to my morning routine and sleep are key for me!
I use the evenings to wind down. I love cooking, but due to traveling I tend to eat out a lot. I love spending dinner with my loved ones. Updating, debating and sharing thoughts, feelings and struggles that have come up over the day.
What has been the most rewarding part or experience in this process for you?
The feedback and outcome so far from fellow founders, friends, peers and people seeking healing. Deepak once told me: “When you have found your purpose and are on the right path of your life, everything falls into place!” – and that’s how it feels! The people I get to work with and encounter are also hugely rewarding, especially my team at the Healing Company. I feel so grateful to be spending my days with the most genuine, loving and supportive people that lift me up and believe in me and the vision!
Is there a specific memory that stands out more than others when thinking about the beginnings of your company and the journey it has been on since then?
Yes. When I started The Healing Company, it was still during Covid. It was very hard to connect with people. But we made it work and traveled wherever we could to find the perfect fit for the CEO role. Having someone with an experience like Simon join me on this ride and trust in the vision, was the greatest thing. The first weeks of structuring and building the company were incredible. Meeting the first brands and investors and pitching the story felt like a dream come true.
Was there any advice given to you that really left a strong impression on you? Good or bad?
I have a few life lessons I’ve learned over the years:
- We live in this world believing that there are boundaries and limits because that’s what our thoughts tell us. But, these thoughts are simply a collection of conditioned knowledge that we attain throughout our life. Have a vision, and be open to being called a fool – enhance your consciousness!
- Always ensure you prioritize high principles and values – if you don’t, the lower principles, vibrations and values will become home, and lead you into more fear and anxiety.
- Stop playing the victim. Stop pointing fingers at other people. Take responsibility for your own state, and live in the now. You are not the created, you are the creator. You are not the effect, you are the cause.
How do you manage running and owning a company and maintaining a healthy and balanced personal/work life? Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the pressures of these obligations?
It’s always important to prioritize and carve out time for physical and mental wellbeing, so you can reduce stress and feel energized. There are a few wellness treatments I like to indulge in from time to time. The first is massages – they make such a difference. Either a sports massage if my muscles are sore, or a relaxation massage if I want to reset and nourish my soul. The second is Cryotherapy which reduces pain and inflammation, improves my joint function and boosts my metabolism. Lastly are fresh juices. I typically make my morning juice at home, but as I travel a lot and am on the go a lot of the time, I’ll buy fresh juices (which are a lot more expensive than making them at home)! I always make some time for a quick yoga/mediation session in the morning to ground and set my intentions for the day. This helps me a lot to reduce my anxiety and set the tone for the day.
If you could go back, is there anything you would do differently?
Not really. Obviously there are things that didn’t go well. Things that I wish would have gone differently and experiences that I hoped I wouldn’t need to go through. But every single one of them was a teaching. Something that helped me grow and learn more about myself and others. Even though it didn’t feel that way in the moment, when I look back, everything led me to the journey and path I am on right now. I am grateful for all these learnings and I think it’s all about trusting the process and believing in yourself and everything else will fall into place!
Talk to me about some of the most memorable successes your company has experienced so far.
Our recent acquisition of The Chopra Global wellbeing experiences businesses. This is our second acquisition in four months after acquiring leading plant-based superfoods brand Your Super, late last year. This landmark partnership signals a new era of accelerated growth and impact for Chopra Global, advancing a culture of wellbeing at the nexus of high-growth markets including integrative healing. For 35 years Dr. Deepak Chopra has had the vision to reach 1 billion people—personal transformation for collective wellbeing, with the aim of alleviating suffering, ultimately achieving a more peaceful, just, sustainable, joyful, and healthy world. Through this partnership we’ll expand the healing impact of Chopra Global, working together to create new healing products, practices, and experiences that bring healing to the world—taking its reach from hundreds of millions of people to ultimately a billion plus.
How has your partnership with Dr. Deepak Chopra impacted the Healing Company? Did you ever think the brand would acquire the volume of brands it has so far?
Chopra Global & The Healing Company share the same vision of creating a more peaceful, just, sustainable, joyful, and healthy world. What we can achieve together is far greater than working independently. We have a hugely experienced and high-impact team. I have trust in our vision, leadership, and capabilities to take Chopra Global into a new era of growth. Deepak will continue in his role as Chief Scientific Advisor to The Healing Company, driving innovation and setting a rigorous scientific standard for all brands within the portfolio. We’re privileged to have Dr. Deepak Chopra on board, and his guidance on this point is imperative.
What do you hope the future holds for The Healing Company ?
The Healing Company plans to buy and scale 15 direct-to-consumer healing brands over the next three years, with an initial focus on the supplements and nutraceuticals spaces, as well as general wellness. To build a community of powerful healing brands, the steps we take are:
- Identifying high potential healing practices & products
- Helping expand their reach and impact
- Creating individual market impact through enhanced storytelling, a credible narrative, social conversation, and improved accessibility
- Creating exponential market impact through integrating brands into a community, unlocking scale benefits, learnings, credibility, reach for all—growing the pie
What is your personal favorite work pastime or hobby?
Working out is so important for both my mental and physical health so I try to do something every day. On the days I wake up early and have enough time, I love to play tennis with my boyfriend or best friend – I find the fresh air so invigorating in the morning! Most of the time, I go for a run and combine it with a 30-60 minute strength workout, to help build my muscular strength. I also really enjoy boxing, I would say it’s probably my favorite workout as it allows me to completely switch off.
Yoga is my feel-good workout. I try to implement 10-30 min of yoga every morning combined with meditation. I need it to ground and set the tone for the day.
Outside of work, what are some of your favorite things to do?
Travel. Explore the world. See new places and experience new cultures.
Go out for dinner with friends and family. Have cooking nights at home with my fiance.
Go for long beach walks and jumps in the ocean.
Play tennis, boxing and running. Do yoga. Do a stroll through the city and have a massage.
Read, sing, dance and be playful.
Do you ever worry that your company idea may be doubled or may not make it? How do you persevere through his mindset?
Across the world, all industries are faced with economic uncertainty at a macro level, which naturally has real consequences, one of them being the level of confidence in the market. The way we have constructed The Healing Company and its acquisition strategy sets us up to be resilient to the climate of a recession. We are confident that we’ll be able to achieve our business goals and set new milestones over the coming year.
Another challenge within the wellness market is that there are so many people, products and practices within the space, using similar language and health claims. We are looking to find those unique brands that will have that life-changing impact on a consumer – our primary focus is selecting brands that have both product quality and storytelling potential.
In times of recession, we tend to see a shift that reflects the average consumer’s notion of what is essential and what is a luxury. Now more than ever, in a post-pandemic landscape, a broader range of healing and wellness practices, products and treatments that may have fallen in the latter category in previous years, are considered necessities as people place a much greater value on their health. It’s time to evolve how we think about health and healing.
Do you have any last words to leave us with?
Joy is the only measurement of success!