FROM MEATBALLS TO MUSCLE RECOVERY: WHY MICHAEL CHERNOW CO-FOUNDED A NEW FITNESS DRINKMarch 31, 2016 6:31 am
You might recognize Michael Chernow from his NYC digs, The Meatball Shop and Seamore’s. Known for his delectable eats–his latest venture might surprise you. Meet WellWell, the new, all-natural fitness drink that’s powerful combination of tart cherry, watermelon and lemon juice is supposed to fuel you all day long. So whether you’re looking for a workout boost–or just a way to survive your morning meetings, WellWell might be the answer. Come tomorrow (April 1st), it will be avaliable in 33 Whole Foods in the Northeast, so we got the scoop with Michael to get some more deets about the brand and finding the balance in his own life:
Tell us about how WellWell came to be: WellWell was born when our CEO and founder, Sagan Schultz, embarked on a personal research journey in search of a natural option to aid in his struggles with post workout muscle recovery. Sagan wasn’t keen on powdered forms of amino acids since he wanted something straight from the source….and he found it–by doing it himself. His ended up presenting his incredible concoction of organic cold pressed Watermelon juice, organic tart cherry and biodynamic lemon juice to me to see what I thought. I immediately fell in love with the beverage, especially when Sagan told me about his own journey to make it. The pieces came together when we had a meeting with our other partner and creative director, Collin Hughes. After that, I knew I needed to get involved somehow…and here we are today.
How did you link up with Larry, Sagan & Collin? I met Sagan through lululemon, for which I am an ambassador. One of the lulu store managers is good friends with Sagan and asked me if I would meet with him to chat about his “little” project…aka WellWell.
I met Collin through Sagan as they were already working on this together before I was introduced to the product. He is an incredible creative, killing it in the lifestyle photography world, shooting for amazing brands we all know and love.
Larry Praeger is my partner in The Meatball Shop and happens to be one of the smartest guys I know. He also owns and operates a very successful business started by his father (and our COO) Larry Praeger, Sensible Food. It’s an iconic brand in the health and wellness world, largely known for their veggie burgers.
What is your relationship with health & wellness? What’s your diet like & where do you workout?
Health and wellness had been a major focus of mine for the last 12 years. I made a decision at the ripe young age of 23 to stop drinking and start appreciating life for all of its natural gifts and clarity. With that shift in lifestyle, I started eating healthy, training in martial arts and long distance running–which is now one of my greatest loves. In other words, health and wellness saved my life, for real. I owe all I have today to the moment I made the decision to take care of my body, mind and spirit.
My diet today is made up of mainly fish and veggies/greens. I eat eggs for breakfast, the Seamore‘s kale salad with fish for lunch and fish and veggies and sweet potato for dinner. This is 80% of the time, I treat myself 20% of the time to more “cheat” inspired grub. Balance is what allows me to feel human, that said, it is not easy but I have developed a rhythm with my diet that makes me feel good about what I put into my body at all times.
Love the branding—tell us about the logo/design concept. We all got together in the beginning to discuss creative direction with the brand. Collin (the Creative Director of WellWell) has a sharp eye for all things branding and truly led the team on this front. Once we knew what path we were taking, we engaged Studio Paradise to help us find a name and identity. Ultimately we set out to create a simple, good vibes feeling with the branding, we all feel that we have accomplished our goals here.
You also founded The Meatball Shop & Seamore’s—does this mean you mostly eat healthy but indulge as well? The Meatball Shop was designed after my diet, protein and veggies. One can eat like a health nut at The Meatball Shop, or eat like beast (totally up to you) which is why I love the menu at TMS so much. But yes, I also eat meatball Subs and Smashes when I feel like it.
Who are your ambassadors at WellWell & how did you pick them? We have a ton of ambassadors for the Brand, here are some to name a few
- Bianca Vesco – Trainer at The Dog Pound, Brooklyn Body Burn and BFX. Bianca is a friend and true fitness mogul in the NYC community. She loves WellWell and WellWell loves her, so it was a perfect fit.
- Dan Giordano – Co-Founder of Bespoke Treatment PT, one of our people and the go-to guy for injured folks in boutique fitness scene.
- Zach Schares – Trainer at Mile Hile Run Club, Chelsea Piers and runs fitness programming for The Thompson Miami beach hotel. He is also a fellow lululemon Ambassador.
- Aly Teich – The Founder and CEO of The Sweat Life, fitness icon and all around amazing person.
Other brands you love in the wellness/fitness space?
We love them all to be honest…any brand that has personal development as their philosophy is a friend of ours. Some brands stand out for us because of friendships and personal connections like:
- Tone House
- The Dog Pound
- Soho Strength Lab
- The Fitting Room
- Harmless Harvest
- Juice Press
- Beats by Dre – best headphones on the market
- Source Organic Protein powder
- Five Points Academy
- Sweet Green
Do you envision other products under the well well brand? As of now, we are focused on the one skew. That said, the brand is very young and I’m sure our interests will develop into the products over time. Just help us by buying some WellWell so we can begin the planning process!!
What’s next for you? I have a lot of irons in the fire at the moment. First and foremost, I am a dad to an amazing one year old boy, Finnley, and the husband to my wonderful and incredibly supportive wife, Donna. My number priority is to find more time to hang with them! Professionally, I am about to head back out on the road to shoot the second season of my TV show Food Porn on the FYI Network.
Seamore’s is kicking butt and I couldn’t be more excited and proud of the brand, I am always looking for great opportunities to grow.
The Meatball Shop is growing and will most likely look to open in a second market over the next few years.