Scratching Your Own Itch
After leaving the Navy and starting graduate school, I was determined to meet and learn from as diverse a group of people as I could. I had been in the military for over ten years and I was ready to see how the other half operated.
In my first week of business school at Wharton, the class of 2020 found ourselves at a mixer in an upscale hotel ballroom. I navigated the room, moving from conversation to conversation before finding myself talking to a small group of gregarious and interesting classmates. The group slowly grew to seven or so. We made small talk, cracked a few jokes, enjoyed a few beers, and got along famously.
Then it occurred to me.
Each person in this small circle was standing awfully straight. Their suits fit just so. For the guys in the group, their necks were noticeably wider than the room average. Go figure.
“Alright, what branch were you in?”
“Navy,” said a few. “I was a Marine,” said the next followed by, “Army,” from another few.
So much for branching out.
One of the guys in that group was Evan Seale. Evan would become one of my best friends and my co-founder at VRB. Despite coming from rival military academies, West Point and Annapolis, we bonded over a shared passion for health & fitness and a desire to continue to serve others in some capacity after the military.
That night, unbeknownst to us, was the start of a journey we continue today.
VRB was borne of our own search for clean, natural, and effective tools to solve our own issues with sleep, stress, and pain.
We found that we’d both been quietly dealing with elevated anxiety, terrible sleep, and pain borne of inflammation. We’d both played Division 1 sports, spent years of our lives in Army Special Operations & the Naval Air Forces, respectively, and had become deeply occupied with managing the wear and tear associated.
Individually, we had each tried numerous products to help, but never found effective and natural solutions that met our needs.
It turned out that we weren’t alone. In both surveys and informal conversations we found that the most driven people we knew had the same issues we did. Special Operations veterans, elite athletes, driven professionals, and weekend warriors. All were suffering and didn’t know where to turn for relief.
Intrigued by the rapidly growing body of research around CBD and its potential for helping athletes with inflammation, pain, anxiety, and sleep – we began experimenting with a myriad of CBD products. After months of product testing, we were thoroughly disappointed with the unhealthy additives, results, and opaque manufacturing processes of the products on the market. When we couldn’t find the solutions we were looking for, we built our own.
After months of searching for partners, we began working with an R&D team of researchers, scientists, and pharmacologists with deep experience compounding CBD-based formulas for patients with neurological and chronic pain disorders. Over the following months, the team researched, developed, tested, and retested countless formulas before creating VRB’s flagship blends – Work and Rest – and quickly followed up with our topical analgesic, Recover.
We set out to build products that went above and beyond industry standards and set the new standard for quality and efficacy. VRB is the result of those efforts and we’re damn proud to be doing that work still today.
Entrepreneurship is no joke. It’s lonely, scary, and depending on who you ask, risky. We say, “good.” Nothing worth accomplishing is easy and our aspiration of developing the best solutions for sleep, stress, and pain available anywhere is without a doubt worth it.
At the end of the day, we’re scratching our own itch. Building something that solves our own problems and making the world just a little better for ourselves and the people we care about. We’re lucky to be doing it and wouldn’t have it any other way.