Meet the Prima team: the co-founders who joined forces to educate the modern consumer and redefine what it means to be well. Read on for their full Q+A.
Standard Dose (SD): Can you introduce yourselves and tell us about your unique background?
Christopher Gavigan: I’m a believer in the power of conscious design and consumer activism to transform personal and planetary health outcomes. Trained in environmental health science (discovering how natural ecology unifies with human physiology), I saw the need to empower and ignite people to protect themselves from chemical threats and toxicants on consumer products and in their living environments as an author and non-profit executive at Healthy Child Healthy World. Ultimately, providing safe, sustainable, healthful products was required - servicing the needs of today’s (vulnerable) consumers with a thoughtfully built, purpose-driven brand, so I crafted the brand and co-founded The Honest Company. After 8 years of building best-in-class product and team, I’m wildly enthusiastic to be building Prima to ignite a conversation and deliver innovative products that bring new levels of peace-of-mind, credibility, trust, and quality to this emerging industry - one where the therapeutic potential and science-led innovations can help bridge the gap between healthcare, wellness, and beauty.
Jessica Assaf: Before Prima, I spent ten years in the non-profit space as a youth activist advocating for safer cosmetics and personal care products. I studied Public Health, Social Activism and Documentary Film at NYU and then got my MBA at Harvard. After business school I learned that the cannabis industry has the highest percentage of female executives compared to all other industries, which inspired me to start a cannabis community for women called Cannabis Feminist. Through Cannabis Feminist events, I reconnected with Christopher, who I knew from my activism days, and then I met Laurel.
Laurel Angelica-Myers: I’m a problem solver, entrepreneur, long-time B Corps fan and mom of two who’s always been motivated by using business as a catalyst for change. I started my career in media and content with a core focus on “edutainment” (knowledge truly is power!), and spent the last seven years before Prima in the natural consumer product space building brand, product, and portfolio for The Honest Company on the backbone of science, efficacy, and safety.
SD: How did you all come together to create Prima?
Prima Team: All three of us started in the nonprofit world and ultimately chose business as the most effective tool to affect social change. Christopher and Laurel worked together at The Honest Company for over six years, launching hundreds of natural products and building comprehensive safety standards. Christopher first heard about the health benefits of CBD in 2009, through his leadership with Mt. Sinai Hospital, and had been following the compelling scientific research surrounding cannabinoids for years when the three of us met. We decided to come together to build a purpose-driven brand rooted in education, hemp-based cannabinoids, and functional botanicals that have the potential to transform health.
SD: What does the word wellness mean to you and how do you translate that do your daily lives?
Prima Team: We use the word “wellbeing” instead of “wellness’”––”wellness” is such a buzzword and to us it’s so much more than a trend. Wellness isn’t one dimensional––it’s a complete state of physical, mental and social health. Wellness is about aligning your thoughts and actions with your highest values, ensuring everything you do contributes to your vision of holistic health. We can translate this into our daily lives in big and small ways, like drinking lots of water, making time to meditate or take deep breaths, thinking positive thoughts and maintaining nourishing relationships.
SD: Let’s talk about the brand - what does Prima stand for?
Prima Team: Our enemy is the universal epidemic of today: stress. 75-90% of all doctors visits are stress-related, and stress is wreaking havoc on our bodies, minds, and environment. Our products combine meaningful levels of functional plant botanicals with a broad spectrum CBD-rich hemp extract to help you find better balance, inside and out.
We design our products for both purity and potency, using best-in-class third party testing and certifications to validate the safety, consistency, quality and efficacy of our products. We triple-test our hemp cannabinoid extract and test the finished goods to validate the cannabinoid levels and to ensure it is free of pesticides, heavy metals, and other harmful industrial compounds. Every product box contains a QR code where you can easily access the batch test results. Prima is the first Public Benefit Corporation in the industry, and we have pending B Corp status. We believe self-care is health-care.
SD: Prima utilizes some really innovative techniques in formulation. Can you break those down for us?
Prima Team: All of our products are doctor-formulated, meaning we work with a team of medical professionals to ensure not only safety, but efficacy. When it comes to hemp-based cannabinoids, bioavailability really matters. Hemp naturally has low bioavailability, so we micro-encapsulate our hemp extract to ensure it can be easily and effectively absorbed by the body. We use the highest quality ingredients in our products and combine meaningful levels of functional botanicals to create potent formulas with benefits you can feel.
SD: What is one key point you would like people to know if they’re looking to implement CBD into their daily routines?
Prima Team: You don’t have to be sick or injured to experience the vast benefits of CBD and hemp-based cannabinoids. Whether you’re an athlete, health-conscious yogi, body optimizer, or busy mom, hemp cannabinoids can help you feel better in your body. However, if you want to truly experience the benefits, it is important to commit to taking CBD and hemp cannabinoids daily, in conjunction with a healthful lifestyle, which includes plant-based foods, lots of water, quality sleep and relationships. CBD and hemp cannabinoids don’t work in a bubble––they work in alignment with a health-forward ritual.
SD: And lastly, you have to choose one Prima product to call your favorite! Which product is it and why is it special to you personally?
Christopher: This question is the worst for a founder to answer since they are all my favorites! R + R Cream has been tremendous for my neck and shoulder. And now with the new Botanical Elixirs, the ability to target my needs throughout the day is exciting. The versatility to manage my mood (with The Go-To in my morning coffee), to have an afternoon brain boost (with Brain Fuel in my afternoon), to get the required sleep I need, especially as a father of 4, is so critical (thank goodness for Rest Easy).
Jessica: The Daily! I take it every day and I give it to my dog (dipped in peanut butter) so we can both stay relaxed and happy through life’s ups and downs.
Laurel: That’s like asking a parent to choose their favorite child - it’s impossible. It really depends what I’m needing, honestly. Night Magic is definitely a personal daily favorite. My skin has never been happier, and with all of the hormonal changes around pregnancy and having children, finding something that makes my skin so radiant and balanced has been a miracle. But I also love Skin Therapy, which I use on my son’s dry skin daily, and The Go-To, which to me is like instant zen in a glass. It just helps me stay present and connected, and quiet out the noise - which is priceless.