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November 21, 2019 Peggy Liu

Mego Salbashian shows how trust and transparency make a healthy business

A case of personal health issues led Salbashian to develop an interest in natural supplements. His entire mindset around work and health changed after that.

Healthy CEOs and healthy employees make for more productive workplaces. But despite the numerous studies, articles, and online educational resources promoting healthy living, the Chief Public Health Officer’s 2018 report shows that 80 percent of Canadians maintain at least one lifestyle habit that elevates the risk of chronic disease. These habits can easily be changed by adopting a preventative approach towards health — and if this approach involves taking supplements for you, the person you want to talk to is Mego Salbashian.

Salbashian is the founder and CEO of Be Herbal Inc, a natural supplements company, and Trail.One, an online transparency platform. He came from an extensive eCommerce and technology background prior to pursuing entrepreneurship. Then, five years ago, a case of personal health issues led him to develop an interest in natural supplements. His entire mindset around work and health changed after that.

“Health is always a lower priority in our society, especially in the professional sphere,” says Salbashian. “The typical mindset is, if something breaks you get it fixed. For me, health should be looked at in a preventative way. That’s where the success from natural supplements comes from: they allow people to take control of their health, instead of treating the symptoms when things go wrong. A focus on health should be in every company culture. It helps everyone when you are healthy and able to work.”

Salbashian founded Be Herbal in 2016 after noticing a disconnect between what brands were offering and what consumers were looking for. Customers were dissatisfied; many products in the market didn’t meet potency levels and companies weren’t providing enough information on product ingredients and testing. Upon learning this, Salbashian took matters into his own hands. He partnered with industry professionals and a very reputable manufacturer in California to develop one of Be Herbal’s first organic, high quality, doctor-and-nutritionist-tested supplements.

On the note of the consumer-seller disconnect, Be Herbal’s mission includes changing the general distrustful attitude toward the supplement industry into a healthier dialogue between brands and customers. In the first two years of operation, Salbashian was flooded with numerous questions regarding product ingredients, sourcing, and testing. He learned that the prevalent transparency issue in the supplement industry was twofold: there was no easy way for brands to obtain or provide the appropriate information and, in his words, “a lot of information out there is marketing driven, so there isn’t enough information that’s genuinely dedicated to helping customers.” 

His solution? In 2018, after discussions with industry leaders and his manufacturer, Salbashian set up Trail.One, a platform that uses blockchain technology to help brands provide information beyond the label (e.g. a detailed view of ingredients, where they were sourced, their shipment journey, quality testing, etc). A general increase in customer satisfaction was the result, revealing the significant value that transparency adds to a brand. Transparency encourages trust from customers and it also lends more authority to the seller.

“People do their research these days and are very aware of potential risks, so it’s crucial to verify the information you’re displaying on your products,” advises Salbashian. “If you want to stand out as a brand, be honest and straightforward with your customers. Being in tune with them and listening to what they are looking for in a product is key. For example, Be Herbal is very data centric. I look at analytics to get an idea of what customers want but I also do personal calls to get an idea of what’s happening in their lives. The most important piece of success is developing honest relationships with your customer base.”

What can you expect from Be Herbal and Trail.One next? Salbashian’s initial focus was on distributing Be Herbal products through Amazon, but since this sales channel has proved successful, he is excited to expand distribution and offer new products on his own website. As for Trail.One, he is transitioning into fundraising mode. He’s planning to grow and scale the technology and open the platform up to more brands. In his words, “It’s interesting to run two companies at once, especially when there’s a synergy between them. It’s a lot of work but it’s very rewarding when I get to help people improve their health.”

Peggy Liu

Peggy Liu is a freelance writer and content creator and editor. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in English Literature, where she was also a mental health columnist for the student newspaper. When she isn't digging her way to the bottom of a peanut butter jar or petting friendly dogs around Vancouver, she can be found sitting in cafes with a notebook and a cup of coffee.