Take in as much information as possible because it gives you confidence that you’re making the best and most educated decision possible for the situation, or in this case, for your business.
Richard “Richie” Harrington is the founder and CEO of Vaital Organics, a Los Angeles-based health and wellness company that is pioneering CBD-infused superfood supplements with an emphasis on healthier living.
Born and raised in Santa Monica and residing on the Westside for his entire life, Richie only moved away from Los Angeles to attend school and play football in Oregon. After a string of injuries ended his athletic career and left him with a great deal of post-surgery pain and inflammation, Richie turned to CBD and hemp products as an alternative to opioid medications. After college, Harrington continued to deal with the same issues and sought a way to take control of his health for good. That’s when he met Vaital co-founder, Reno Rollé Jr. Reno also used cannabis and hemp products as alternative medicines to fight the opioid epidemic and introduced Richie to superfoods as a holistic alternative to supplements and as a way to boost energy levels, improve overall wellness, and springboard himself into a better diet and exercise routine. Richie began to see cannabis products and superfoods as the perfect marriage: CBD for inflammation and pain management, as well as to level out brain activity, and superfoods to boost energy, metabolism and overall health and wellness. From this realization and partnership, Vaital Organics was born.
From the company’s conception in July of 2018, Richie has had to wear a lot of hats at Vaital. As founder and CEO, Richie is on the ground overseeing day-to-day operations, communicating with stakeholders, managing finances and sales all the way through the backend. Vaital is his passion, born out of a vision to create an alternative wellness solution that offered benefits that no other superfood or CBD product on the market could match.
Where did the idea for Vaital come from?
To understand where Vaital came from, we have to rewind to my college days. My college football career ended after multiple torn-shoulders. During my recovery, while still at school in Oregon, I turned to alternative wellness products like CBD oils and lotions to help handle the inflammation and pain. I fell out of my “athlete” routine post-surgery and enjoyed college and enjoyed the time off a bit too much as a result. I put on some weight and it got to a point where I had to take a serious look in the mirror at how I was treating my body and needed to start making conscious choices about my diet and lifestyle. At the same time, I met my current co-founder, Reno, through a mutual friend. After hearing his story about how superfoods helped his life, as well as using cannabis and hemp as alternative medicines to combat the opioid epidemic, I knew I had to give it a go. So, Reno set me up with a month supply of his family’s superfood products, and after three days, I was hooked. My energy levels were higher, I felt so much better in my overall wellness, and after a while, along with diet and staying active, it helped me to shed the weight I gained post-college.
I also was diagnosed with ADHD in college and prescribed Adderall, but the drug just didn’t help me, it made my condition worse. So, when I turned to CBD for my surgery recovery, I also noticed that it was helping my brain out too – it kept me clear minded and focused. After this, I knew that this was the next wave – coming full circle to the reason why Reno’s family used superfood to help cure his ADHD issue.
So, to make a long story short, I initially started using CBD for my inflammation and pain management. But after seeing such a positive effect, I also started using CBD to help level out my brain activity and get me away from using prescription medications, like Adderall. I use Superfoods to help my overall health and wellness, energy levels, metabolism and more! Vaital Organics is the best of both worlds for me.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
A typical day in a start-up is usually organized chaos. Because I wear so many hats, it requires me to make sure I am splitting up my time efficiently throughout the day. I usually spend the morning answering emails and following up with customers, suppliers, marketing/PR or any other operational partners. The afternoon is typically very sales focused, making sure we are following up on leads, cold calling and setting up new vendor meetings and even just cold-walking into new places – true boots on the ground mentality. I typically try and make it into the gym daily, as a way to relieve some stress. Lastly, after dinner, I finish off the night with more follow-up emails and any other housekeeping items. Definitely not your typical 9-5, my job is 24/7.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I make it happen. I don’t see a point in overcomplicating a decision. There will always be good ideas and bad ideas, but regardless, I make the idea come to life – whatever it takes. Figuring out a solution and how to make it happen really gets me going.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The cannabis and hemp industry as a whole. I feel like this industry is pioneering a second prohibition, which is extraordinary to me. Getting to be a part of something like this and helping the world learn and understand alternative medicines and the resources out there is amazing. Health and wellness trends are huge and new alternative medicine options continue to roll out and we haven’t even reached the tipping point yet. As it continues to grow, we are going to see just how lucrative this industry is.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Accountability. It’s tough to hold yourself accountable, but from my football and sports career, I learned that accountability and showing up is vital in succeeding; something that all of my coaches instilled in me from the very beginning. At the end of the day, you are responsible for your actions and making sure you follow through on the things you say you’ll do.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Enjoy the moments, keep living in the present and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Cliché, but true.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
“Game of Thrones” is not a good show. I’ve seen a few episodes and wasn’t impressed. I’ll be shunned for this I’m sure, but with the overwhelming negative response on how the series ended, I’m glad I never watched.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Make time for friends. Maintaining and making time for relationships is important because the entrepreneurial life can be lonely. I make time to grab dinner, have drinks, head to the beach, or just hang out with friends when I can. It keeps me sane and it helps me make sure I have a good work/life balance.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Active listening. Listen to friends, listen to family, listen to advisors, listen to investors, just simply listen. Take in as much information as possible because it gives you confidence that you’re making the best and most educated decision possible for the situation, or in this case, for your business. Vaital was not born in a day. We carefully crafted the idea after learning as much as we could from the people around us and then putting the pieces together while making sure that we weren’t forcing anything. I’ve learned that I’m not the smartest in the room, but by listening to others, it has helped us craft our business and our story.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I fail daily. There are always failures when you’re a start-up because failures are learning experiences that allow you to get the rewarded in the end. The thing that drives me is figuring out solutions to all the little obstacles that come up during the day and working through how not to “fail” in the future. I don’t see these obstacles as failures and more as lessons and opportunities to grow.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
In today’s world, people want efficiency. So, I’ve been toying with ideas that I, and people in general, can create that allow humans to be more efficient in their daily lives. We, at Vaital, went after convenient and alternative nutrition. Uber, for example, went for a more efficient way to order a car or taxi and so on. I’m all about working smarter, not harder.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I’ve recently spent would have to be dinner with my dad. He and I try to get dinner at least once a week, and it was my turn to pay last time.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Google calendar. I use it religiously… it keeps me organized and acts as my personal assistant 😉
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” – Mark Manson
What is your favorite quote?
“Actions speak louder than words” – Abraham Lincoln
- If you see an opportunity, take it
- Listen to everyone
- Stay true to your words