Amare Global’s Founder and CEO, Hiep Tran was featured in the Orange County Business Journal to talk about the journey that led him to start his new venture in health and wellness with Amare Global. Hiep Tran endured many obstacles with his former career that resulted in mental and physical health issues. Through his struggles, Tran realized that “in order for me to get better, I needed to love myself first”. Tran’s passion for health and helping others led him to start Amare Global, The Mental Wellness Company. In Latin, “Amare” means “to love”, and to love others, we must first love ourselves. Amare is built on revolutionary products with new scientific discoveries and the mission to empower others to live happier and healthier lives.
To learn more, read the article below.
Entrepreneur’s Second Venture Came From His Gut
By Mediha DiMartino | Monday, October 2nd, 2017
HEALTHCARE: Approach that helped him now for sale
Hiep Tran built and sold a payment processing business, a profitable venture he says cost him his health. The serial entrepreneur, now fully recovered, is launching supplements maker Amare Global to help others avoid his tumultuous path.
“I really didn’t make my health a priority—business came first, family second, and my health was last,” said Tran, founder of Irvine-based Meritus Payment Solutions, which Optimal Payments acquired in 2014 for about $225 million. He stayed on as chief executive until “the stresses and the hardships” prompted him to change course last year.
“I worked long hours, I traveled across the world, a typical entrepreneur story,” Tran said. “It doesn’t stop at 5 p.m. You take it home with you, the stress, the pressures of business, of life in general. And if you don’t exercise and eat well and take care of your body, it really deteriorates, as well as your mind.”
The struggles, as they occasionally do, came with a silver lining. “It gave me the initiative to really start something to help people,” he said. “Amare, in Latin, means to love. In my personal journey, I realized that in order for me to get better, I needed to love myself first, so that’s what we are doing here. We are helping people love their own health first.”
Tran tried the traditional pharmaceutical route, but those were making his problems worse. What did work were natural solutions, including acupuncture, and “traditional Chinese medicine herbalists.” He then looked at various nutritional products to invest in, and Rich Higbee, now his president of sales, introduced him to Shawn Talbott and his research in nutritional biochemistry.
The meeting led to Amare, a mental wellness program that focuses on restoring the “balance between the good and the bad bacteria” in the stomach, a process that the company said can lead to “improved mood, reduced negativity, lessened feelings of sadness, and enhanced stress resilience.” Its nutritional supplements target the microbiome, an ecosystem of microorganisms that live in the gastrointestinal system and help facilitate communication between the brain and the gut, or what Talbott, now Amare’s Chief Science Officer, referred to as the “Gut-Brain Axis.”
“The idea of mental wellness and how we think about it and how we address it is radically different than it was a decade ago,” Talbott said. “Before, we would look at someone who’s feeling stressed out or fatigued or depressed or anxious, and say ‘that’s a brain problem, so we need to fix the problem in the brain.’ And what we are realizing now is that, yes, we’re perceiving that problem in the brain, but it really is a gut problem.”
Amare, also based in Irvine, says its formulas are based on research trials that outline specific ingredients, their dosages and optimal combinations. Products are manufactured at contract facilities in Arizona, Oregon and Florida that were able to meet the company’s “stringent quality standards” Tran said. “We are very particular with whom we work.”
The Amare program, as prescribed by the company, kicks off with a three-day “reboot,” a mild cleanse that “resets the microbiome so that you can repopulate it with the right kinds of bacteria,” Tran said. The reboot sets the stage for Amare’s FundaMentals, which consist of MentaBiotics, a strain of probiotics, prebiotics and phytobiotics that promote a healthy gut; MentaFocus, which uses antioxidants to support “focus, mental sharpness, clarity, creativity, and cognitive functioning;” and MentaSync, which contains mushrooms high in polyphenol to “optimize the communication sync of chemical messengers” between the brain and the gut. It also offers multivitamins, an omega-3 supplement and a natural sleep aid.
Tupperware of Supplements
The line of nine products that will grow to 12, is sold via a network of independent contractors, or “Wellness Partners,” much like Arbonne International in Irvine and Tupperware. Tran selected the direct-selling method because of the coaching component of the program, which would be impractical if his products were sitting on store shelves.
Several hundred people have signed up for sales training, and the company projects that will grow to thousands by January, Amare’s official launch. Many have joined Amare because of their own personal experiences with the product, according to Higbee. They’ll “educate people [how] what you’re feeding your body impacts your mental health,” and also serve as a support network when needed. “Research shows that if you have groups that support one another, there’s a lot more success,” he said.
His Own Team
Tran also surrounded himself with people he believes can help his venture succeed.
“Jumping from a different vertical to this one, I didn’t want to take anything for granted—I didn’t want to assume my knowledge from a different industry would translate 100%,” he said.
Higbee, whom Tran referred to as “an expert in direct selling,” worked at doTerra, a multilevel marketing company in Pleasant Grove, Utah, that sells essential oils and generates an estimated $1.2 billion in annual revenue. Talbott, the Chief Science Officer, has a doctorate in nutritional biochemistry and created and researched nutritional products on the market for Nu Skin, Nabisco and other leading brands.
The Amare team also includes Chief Marketing Officer Mike Brown and Chief Technology Officer Mark Nguyen, who served in a similar role at Meritus Payment Solutions. “He’s the one who created all of the infrastructure technology for my last company,” Tran said, and has also developed back-office systems and customer databases analytics for Amare, along with sales tools for its independent contractors.
Amare’s debut closely follows a $200 million donation by Henry and Susan Samueli to the University of California-Irvine. The gift— the seventh-largest to a single public university to date—will help establish the Samueli College of Health Sciences, which will focus on “interdisciplinary integrative health.” It aims to redefine “the relationship between the practitioner and patient by focusing on the whole person and the whole community.” “Despite our technological advances, too many people still suffer from chronic conditions such as pain, diabetes and heart disease or are caught in a cycle of taking too many medications,” Susan Samueli said in a statement. “We must change what we mean by ‘healthcare’ and how we train all who provide care, including physicians, nurses and pharmacists.”