Ryan Sheldon Of Antidote On How They Are Promoting Healthy Snacks and Treats

Ryan Sheldon Of Antidote On How They Are Promoting Healthy Snacks and Treats

Your family will gripe — This isn’t an excuse for being gone so often, but your family will begin to wonder what you’re up to and sometimes complain or make you feel bad because you just aren’t around. Few understand the full consequences of being an entrepreneur; even fewer are in the fray day in and day out.

Intoday’s fast-paced world, snacking has become an essential part of our daily routine. However, not all snacks are created equal, and many options available are unhealthy. Fortunately, there are companies dedicated to creating and promoting healthy snacks and treats that are not only delicious but also nutritious. As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Ryan Sheldon.

Antidote was started by Ryan Sheldon and Reese Hanneman, both born and raised Alaskans with experience competing at high levels. Ryan was a Division 1 track and field athlete for Belmont University, where he threw the hammer and discus. Reese is an Olympic athlete for Team USA’s skiing program, competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Ryan and Reese have a passion for healthy lifestyles, which stems not only from their athletic careers and care for how they fuel their bodies but also from their knowledge of living off the land in Alaska.

Thank you so much for joining us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?

Ihave always enjoyed business and the creativity that stems from building things from the ground up. Naturally, I have the lemonade stand story as a kid ($100/day, my brothers and I hustled back in the day); but that yielded a strong passion for larger better things.

While a freshman at Belmont University, I developed (with the help of a friend) an algorithmic company that matches people’s palate with bottles of wine and craft beer in local stores to provide greater access and knowledge to new comers to the market.

After graduating from University, I returned to Alaska where I pursued the purchase and management of a landscaping firm (+50 employees).

After passing on the purchase option for the landscaping company, I joined the family company Sheldon Chalet as Experience Director, ushering the company from a mere startup to recognition as a global brand partnering with brands like Gulfstream.

Finding a taste for hospitality, I launched a local accommodations and wedding venue in Talkeetna, AK. These are nice, autopilot style companies which allow the owner to feature their creativity without an incredible amount of time spent.

My latest endeavor includes myself and friend Reese Hanneman (olympic athlete). We have launched and are generating revenue on a brand named ANTIDOTE, which specializes in the creation and development of an ultra pure, ultra clean pre-workout for people that care about what they put in their bodies. Currently, the pre-workout space is crowded with ingredients that are known to be harmful to hearts, lungs, bodies and some which can cause cancer. We are seeking to change the script by releasing our all natural pre-workout, potent and proven; designed with the help of nationally recognized nutritionists.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or takeaways you learned from that?

Babying a startup company is no easy feat. I remember having a conversation with Reese one day about “taking Antidote to the moon,” and we settled on taking Antidote to the glacier. We finagled our way into an A-star B3 helicopter, slapped some Antidote decals on it, and flew to Knik Glacier in Alaska. The catch was, we slung a whole weight rack with us to the glacier to not only feature our desire for out-of-the-box thinking but also showcase the picturesque sapphire glacier blue pools that dotted the icy landscape. We flew up a handful of influencers from California and Texas to participate in the glacier photo shoot and had some local Alaskan talent join us as well. After landing ourselves and our custom Antidote weight rack on the glacier, Reese and I got to work stabilizing the Antidote weight rack on the glacier by using custom ice screws which fit through the weight rack’s base and plunged into the ice below to give us and our talent a sturdy rack to lift from. After setting up Camp Antidote on Knik Glacier, we filmed each individual on the glacier doing their signature workouts, on a glacier… in the middle of Alaska… Reese and I were behind Sony A7 cameras capturing videos and photos while our drone pilot and helicopter pilot flew around getting different shots of the epic landscapes and lifting that was occurring. It is hard to describe this with mere words, but hopefully you share in our “stoke” as this was an absolutely crazy undertaking and the photos and results were incredible. You can check those out on our Instagram @this.is.antidote.

You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Humility — It’s humbling when you are struggling. No one likes to admit they are imperfect, but in fact, they are. I have seen nothing tear a company, group, or clique apart faster than a lack of teamwork and humility. I remember working for my family company, Sheldon Chalet, and thinking I could do it all. Wanting to be the superstar of the family company and finding a desire to chase after all I could on my own was a foolish endeavor. I quickly found that no matter what I did within the company, I always needed others to back me up and help, not only as a safety net but also as a partner in my work. We have a restaurant portion of Sheldon Chalet, and it took me a very short while to realize that pairing wines without speaking with the chef about the course was a big mistake. Communicating with others and asking for help through collaboration is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength, and more importantly, humility. Acknowledging that you don’t know everything and humbling yourself at the feet of another who holds more information on a topic than you do makes life so much easier. I trust many of you reading this will find these words to be true.

(Com)passion — I write with the letters “com” in parentheses because I would like to not only highlight the root of the word but also the powerful tool compassion truly is. The root of this word, passion, is familiar to us all. But, often misplaced passion is the opposite of compassion; even though they are rooted in the same meaning, they are not rooted in the same essence. Compassion is the ability for us to see others around us and share in their passion by feeling it for ourselves. Recognizing where people are, what caused them to do or say one thing, and moving forward with them on the very passion for that person we must carry forward with them in mind. Compassion is an incredible binder that helps us all see one another and drives success. I don’t have a specific story for compassion because I try to practice it every day. It is something I was taught to do throughout my understanding of God and how not only power can be misused but rather wielded correctly. Compassion is not the absence of power and strength but rather the connector which can bring you and your peers or subordinates closer to you; allowing you to see what tools they need to be successful and then providing those tools to them through a shared passion. Many of you will read this and think to yourself “compassion is a fancy term for feeling bad for someone else.” I challenge you, dear reader, to think differently and find it within yourself to be compassionate towards others while joining them and bringing them up with you; not just passing by and saying “how sorry I am for you.”

Drive — My whole life I have been driven to complete tasks in front of me and hopefully be successful. Drive is the ability to reach deep down and know you have another ounce in the tank left to complete the task at hand, even when it hurts, even when it means you miss another night out with friends, and even if it means taking a rest. I’m not advocating for sleepless nights, but I do believe the occurrence of such things is a symptom of having a “drive.” My example for this attribute is this very journal entry. It is 12:13 am here in Alaska, it is light outside, and all my friends and family are asleep. Earlier today, Reese and I spent 5 hours doing a video and content shoot with various athletes, including a bronze medal bobsled Olympian from Canada. I’d be willing to bet he is awake as well, working on Antidote, ensuring its success as we attempt the impossible: entering into a heavily saturated market with a new product that we hope disrupts the industry. These are the things no one takes into account when you mention the word “entrepreneur.” Again, I am not advocating for this poor, sleepless behavior, but here we are. After proofreading this excerpt, it is now 12:16 am.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that might help people?

Antidote. Antidote. Antidote. This is a pre-workout product that we have started to give people a change of pace from all of the (in our words) junk that’s on the market right now posing as a health supplement. Antidote is an ultra-pure, ultra-clean pre-workout that gives discerning people the benefit of healthy energy for all daily tasks, from workouts to changing diapers. Whether you’re a high-level Olympic athlete or stay-at-home mom or dad, Antidote will give you the clean energy you desire.

We could use people’s help in these ways:

1. Get the word out, visit our website, try our product, and share it with friends.

2. I am happy to jump on podcasts with mutual friends to share more about what we’re doing at Antidote.

3. I would love to meet you! Drop us a DM on Instagram (@this.is.antidote) and share with us ways you’d like to collaborate with your personal brand, company, etc.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now lets shift to the main focus of our interview. What inspired you to focus on promoting healthy snacks and treats?

Every essence of Reese and I points to wanting to give not only ourselves but our friends, family, and ever-growing Antidote community a choice for what we put in our bodies. Believe it or not, as high-level athletes, we didn’t have a good choice for a clean pre-workout that wasn’t going to kill us, have sketchy ingredients, or nasty side effects like irregular heart palpitations. One of my track teammates even had kidney failure due in part to the pre-workout he was taking. We took matters into our own hands, and with the help of doctors and nutritionists, created Antidote pre-workout.

How do you ensure that your products remain both healthy and delicious?

From a company standpoint, it’s our ethos. Reese and I know you will love Antidote, and as long as we are the ones driving the ship, we won’t be compromising.

From a scientific standpoint, we use third-party testing agency Informed Sport to keep us honest in our endeavor to promote health and ensure that there are no sketchy or banned substances in Antidote, which includes blind and lab testing.

What are some things you have done to educate consumers about the nutritional benefits of your products?

On our website, you can navigate to our ingredients page and find every ingredient listed there for further factual information regarding how it helps your body and efficacy through workouts and high-intensity activities. We went as far as hyperlinking each ingredient’s health and added benefit claims to peer-reviewed scientific journals and articles from the NIH (National Institutes of Health), Harvard Med, and the Mayo Clinic.

Have you experienced any challenges in changing consumer perceptions about healthy snacks? How did you approach that?

Yes, pre-workout is not known for being healthy… and for good reason. We are slowly and surely educating our consumer base and prospective buyers regarding what Antidote is and how we are very different from the status quo when it comes to pre-workout. It is challenging to tell people that a lot of the supplements they take are counterproductive to the goals they want to achieve. And not to mention, many pre-workouts have cancer warning labels on the back of the bottle… go figure. :/

What are your “5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started”?

1. Content creation is not easy — This is a simple explanation. We live in an age where people are inundated with content on their phones, billboards, etc. We are daily rising above the fray by creating meaningful content, not just garbage for people to consume and move along. We are seeking to reach the people that are our people… and that’s just plain difficult.

2. Whereas it takes a village… where do we find this village? — A lot of my successful entrepreneurship friends have told me to rely on my village of people to help out. Yes, there are some strong connections and friends that do, in fact, help and are helping us right now (thank you to those folks… you know who you are), but a lot of the time it’s a lonely road. Having a village of two is better than a village of one. I am thankful to my business partner Reese, who is with me in the trenches every day.

3. Your family will gripe — This isn’t an excuse for being gone so often, but your family will begin to wonder what you’re up to and sometimes complain or make you feel bad because you just aren’t around. Few understand the full consequences of being an entrepreneur; even fewer are in the fray day in and day out.

4. You will lose touch with friends — Similar to the last entry, a lot of your friends that you do not stay in contact with will assume you are dead or uninterested in them. The truth is, you do not have time. I remember when I had time in my schedule to complain about others not getting back to me. “It’s a simple text,” I’d think to myself. But the time consumed responding to one text not associated with the task at hand is incredibly derailing to the productivity of your day/week/month/etc. If you are or used to be a friend, please don’t take my absence personally.

5. Picking a target is not easy — It is difficult to create tasks for yourself when they are never-ending. It is paralyzing to think you have literally hundreds of things to accomplish before you sell one widget. The most important thing to do is settle down and find what you can accomplish in a week. I don’t like to pick daily targets because you will be too bruised to carry on to the next day from beating yourself up. Week-long targets are important because if necessary, you can sprint to catch up on tasks you’ve let nearly spoil.

In a constantly evolving industry, how do you stay ahead of trends to keep your offerings innovative and appealing?

There is a fine line between being innovative and focused on the task. I think it’s important to be aware of your surroundings, but more important to keep your head down and complete the things that are in line with your ethos and why you wanted to create what you wanted to create in the first place. Don’t jump at every opportunity to change course; be patient and wait and see how the market will navigate you. I don’t believe there is such a thing as staying ahead of trends. No one can truly predict markets with 100% accuracy. Spend your time doing, not worrying.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

Focus on family and love. Money doesn’t bring happiness. The desire to be fruitful and multiply does.

What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?

Please join our mailing list on our website antidote-life.com

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.

About the Interviewer: Wanda Malhotra is a wellness entrepreneur, lifestyle journalist, and the CEO of Crunchy Mama Box, a mission-driven platform promoting conscious living. CMB empowers individuals with educational resources and vetted products to help them make informed choices. Passionate about social causes like environmental preservation and animal welfare, Wanda writes about clean beauty, wellness, nutrition, social impact and sustainability, simplifying wellness with curated resources. Join Wanda and the Crunchy Mama Box community in embracing a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle at CrunchyMamaBox.com .

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