As part of my series about the “How Business Leaders Plan To Rebuild In The Post COVID Economy,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Michael Cammarata.
Michael Cammarata is the president and CEO of Neptune Wellness Solutions, an innovative wellness company offering high-quality, environmentally friendly, natural alternative products. Michael is also the co-founder and former CEO of Schmidt’s Naturals, one of the world’s fastest-growing wellness brands and a Unilever acquisition. He is on a personal mission to invest in and scale companies globally that will make sustainable innovation and modern wellness solutions accessible to the world. You can find him online @ Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
Don’t try to do every deal that comes to you. Very early in my career, I tried to close every deal and opportunity that I was presented, which led to many mistakes along the way. Learning to filter and prioritize what is important to me, my career, and my business has been a huge takeaway from those early mistakes.
Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to, that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?
I’ve always found the most helpful books to my career are those that tell the story of someone’s career or a specific deal from start to finish. So many business books today give you advice, but don’t explain how they learned that lesson. Only highlighting the end result is not helpful to the reader. I tend to follow Warren Buffet for book recommendations, such as The Intelligent Investor, by Benjamin Graham.
Do you have a “number one principle” that guides you through the ups and downs of running a business?
Always do better than the day before.
Thank you for all that. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. For the benefit of empowering our readers, can you share with our readers a few of the personal and family related challenges you faced during this crisis? Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
The travel restrictions have been one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced as a result of this pandemic. I had a family member pass away, and not being able to travel to her funeral and be with my family during that time was incredibly difficult.
On a more positive note, I’ve worked to stay connected with friends and family through group Zoom meetings and other calls. Some of my family and friends have also taken up Call of Duty, which has been a fun dose of healthy competition for all of us while at home.
Can you share a few of the biggest work related challenges you are facing during this pandemic? Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
Logistics have been the main challenge we’ve faced. At Neptune, we’re fortunate in that our factories run more like pharmaceutical grade facilities, so safety and health protocol was already in place pre-COVID. Since we were deemed an essential business in the first weeks of the pandemic, we still needed to put additional policies and processes in place throughout our supply chain to protect our employees and customers. Some of the new processes include contactless temperature checks for all workers, an elimination of all nonessential visitors to our facilities, and ensuring our employees take precautions at home as well to keep themselves and their communities safe.
Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your experience, what are a few ideas that you have used to offer support to your family and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
I am someone who regularly suffers from anxiety and have been taking two Forest Remedies Full Spectrum Hemp Extract Soft Gels to help me sleep since before the pandemic began. I’ve also found that essential oils are incredibly helpful with mitigating stress and anxiety throughout the day while working from home. I’ve set up diffusers in every room of my house with a different Forest Remedies Essential Oil scent to help me stay relaxed as I’m working.
I’ve also found keeping in touch with friends, family and colleagues virtually helps reduce those feelings of uncertainty and loneliness, so using Zoom or FaceTime instead of a phone call where possible is always a great alternative.
Obviously we can’t know for certain what the Post-Covid economy will look like. But we can of course try our best to be prepared. We can reasonably assume that the Post-Covid economy will be a trying time for many people across the globe. Yet at the same time the Post-Covid growth can be a time of opportunity. Can you share a few of the opportunities that you anticipate in the Post-Covid economy?
Post-COVID, governments will be looking for new ways to drive economic development and boost employment, which I predict will lead to the legalization of cannabis on a federal level. The majority of Americans want legalization, and we saw that many cannabis businesses like Neptune were deemed essential businesses during the pandemic, which I believe is a positive indication of where cannabis policy is heading.
As for businesses, there will be opportunity for growth for the companies that adapt to keep their consumers safe. In the same way we saw airlines adapt following 9/11 to make people feel confident to fly again, all businesses will have to adapt to make sure they’re protecting their supply chain, employees, and customers.
How do you think the COVID pandemic might permanently change the way we behave, act or live?
It’s going to take a long time for people to let down their guard. At restaurants and public places, the cough will become the new cigarette for a while as we return to more regular schedules.
On the other hand, I do think that the general public will also take more interest in their personal health and that wellness will become more of a lifestyle versus a fad. Consumers cared about what they put on and around their bodies pre-COVID, but I think we’ll see this trend continue, which provides an opportunity for health and wellness brands to grow as well.
Considering the potential challenges and opportunities in the Post-Covid economy, what do you personally plan to do to rebuild and grow your business or organization in the Post-Covid Economy?
At Neptune, we are quickly ramping up production capacity for our natural hand sanitizers, non-contact thermometers, vitamins, and other health and wellness products. Transparency has always been an important pillar of our business, so we plan to continue to grow Neptune and our brands by providing high quality natural wellness products that our consumers can trust.
Similarly, what would you encourage others to do?
As a whole, we have to make the environment safer for our employees and consumers. Company sick policies need to be improved, and businesses leaders must invest in the ability to run their businesses remotely.
How can our readers further follow your work?
There are a number of exciting new launches coming up from Forest Remedies, which you can learn about on ForestRemedies.com and on our social channels.
My first book will also be available this year, which chronicles my career journey thus far. Look out for it later this year.