New Chapter, founded in 1982, was a pioneer in dietary supplements, among the first to combine botanicals and food-grown nutrients. In 2012, the company was purchased by Procter & Gamble, marking one the first investments of its kind: a major consumer goods company buying into specialty supplements. In July, New Chapter founders Paul and Barbi Schulick, who had maintained roles at New Chapter under P&G, left the company due to differences in vision and strategy.
Not willing to sit still, the Schulicks are already working hard on their next enterprise. Paul Schulick agreed to give newhope.com a glimpse of this next chapter.
Tell me a little bit about what you’ve got brewing.
Paul Schulick: I’ve always been fascinated by the human microbiome. One of the first products I created was All-Flora back in 1982. I also created a prebiotic product called Bowel Power: an okra-based formulation that was very high in mucilage and capable of proliferating a healthy microbiome. When the P&G relationship ended, my intention and attention went external. I’m limited for two years on ingestibles, but that does not limit me on topicals, and to an herbal aficionado, the skin is just as important—if not more important—than the internal organs.
Additionally, an exploding area of science and product development in the cosmeceutical area is in the skin microbiome. So, we’ve been researching, with scientists in the field, the development of a line of products that will be nutritionally and herbal-based that will support the skin’s microbiome.
What will the enterprise be called?
PS: Let me first say that the notion of a biome is an important concept even in the forming of the company. A microbiome is a microscopic community and there are bacterial and fungal populations that house themselves on the skin. I see our company as part of a macroscopic community, or macrobiome. Also, since Barbi and I have spent much of our lives dedicated to meditation practice, the word Om has quite a bit of significance. So, we chose to name our company after a play on all of that, with byOm—products created by the primordial sound Om—and the second word, life. So the company is byOM life.
The name blends beautifully for us with our mantra, “one body, one earth and one biome,” and our vows which are to give back, be radically transparent, have an ownership culture to raise consciousness and to treat the customer like ourselves. So, those were the core foundations of the company.
There’s so much more to the microbiome than many people might suspect. It’s not as simple as just taking a few billion or even a lot of billion cells. There’s a lot going on on the skin and internally that determines how healthy that biome is going to be. We’ve been working assiduously to ensure that the biome is nourished.
There is almost an outright assault on the skin’s microbiome. The diet assaults the internal microbiome, the compounds people put on their skin could conceivably be quite disruptive to the biodiversity of the skin.
There are a few companies that are applying either probiotics or postbiotics to the skin, but I think we have an opportunity to present a really compelling proposition that I think our customers will find intriguing.
What will comprise the line?
PS: There’ll be a cleanser, there’ll be a spray or sprays, and there’ll be serums for face and for body.
When dealing with the microbiome, are distinctions of skin type, oily, dry, etc., pertinent concerns?
PS: That’s a great question, and probably not. It will have to do with how often and how much the individual applies. But the ingredients themselves will be so biome friendly that the body, we expect, will rejoice with the food. Ultimately, dry skin and oily skin still have the same essential requirements for biome nourishment.
When can we expect to see byOm come to life?
PS: The first products created by byOM life are scheduled to be released the end of Q1 of 2019 and we are preparing for our return to the nutraceuticals market the summer of 2020.