Q & A :
Welcome to the Personality Spotlight, Michael. You bring wonderful sun care through your company, Oceana Naturals, and we're so pleased to have you join us! Please tell us about your upbringing, and how you came to be the interesting man that you are today.
I am an Air force brat who, 3 weeks after being born in Niagara Falls, NY, moved to Alaska for the next three years. Every two to three years, our family moved and because my parents wanted to expose us to the world, the plan was to never accept an assignment where the family could not come. As a result of this plan, I spent 7 years living outside the US, in Taiwan, the Philippines, and Turkey. Other assignments included Colorado Springs, upstate NY, Nebraska and finally, California. Up until four years ago, 28 years of my life had been spent in Sacramento, California.
I must say that I am the only one in my family that is not in possession of a college degree. I did attend Cal State University San Jose for three years and got so bored with the process that I started my first business - a mobile DJ business. Soon after I moved back to Sacramento and opened a soft sculpture gift shop with my girlfriend.
In 1985, a friend offered me the opportunity to become a financial advisor. After 22 years, I still work as a Vice President for the same firm, headquartered in Beverly Hills, CA.
Almost five years ago, I packed up and left California for Panama City Beach, Florida, where I live across the street from the beach and do business from my third floor office that overlooks the Gulf of Mexico. I couldn’t ask for a better place to do business.
Every life experience I have had in my life has contributed to my current success as a financial advisor and entrepreneur. I began playing the drums when I was seven (and still do on occasion). I've self-published four audio books about self actualization (www.powerfulliving.org). I travel the world each chance I get (going to Spain in October), and am mad about golf (I play to a 6 handicap at my club) and red wine.
Not to toot my own horn, however, I have an uncanny ability to converse with anyone, regardless of where they are from and I love meeting new people in the strangest places.
Why did I move 2838 miles from my long-term home in California to the top of the gulf? ...A high school sweetheart from one of my high school experiences in Turkey, over 30 years ago. We met after my last divorce (whew!). We live in separate houses and love getting together each evening to talk about our days, share some wine, watch a movie and experience our dogs' friendship.
I am grateful for everything in my life and look forward to many more years of discovery and exploration.
I'd love to know more about Oceana Naturals and how this company came to be.
Oceana Naturals came to be because of a sample of MelanSol sunscreen I received in the mail from another company. After looking at it on my desk for a couple of weeks, I called the inventor and asked what he was doing about marketing it in the US. He was very nice and we hit if off right away. I have been into living as naturally as possible for over 25 years (no junk food, fast food, processed food or soft drinks, if I can help it). We were headed to Costa Rica in a week, so I had him send me samples we could try. To say the least, I was ecstatic about the way MelanSol performed and asked if I could market it for him… and Oceana Naturals was born! I am now the exclusive US distributor of MelanSol and loving it.
We were so fortunate to have you join us in the All Natural Beauty Forum for a discussion about MelanSol, along with Peter Zahner, the formulator. For those that missed it, please tell us about this line, and what makes it so unique and desirable.
As I mentioned, MelanSol is the brainchild of Peter Zahner, a Swiss man living in Bonita Springs, Florida, who overcame a bout of basal cell carcinoma, one of the fastest growing forms of skin cancer in the US.
Peter went the traditional route of using high SPF sunscreen during his bout with skin cancer, yet it kept coming back. Being the inquisitive man that he is, he decided to take matters into his own hands and research why he couldn’t shake the skin cancer. His revelation led to the invention of MelanSol.
What makes MelanSol so radically different from traditional sunscreen are its ingredients and what it is designed to do. Sunscreens have always been formulated to do just one thing--absorb or reflect UV radiation. The rational being that, if you can prevent most of the UV rays from reaching your skin, then you will be able to stay in the sun for a longer period of time, hopefully avoiding sunburn and other skin damage.
The flaw in this rational is that absorbing or reflecting UV rays has nothing to do with the underlying cause of long-term skin damage--free radicals or oxidants. Free radicals begin to form on your skin the moment it is exposed to UV rays and are responsible for pre-maturely aged skin, like wrinkled and leathery skin, sagging skin and eventually skin cancer.
When Peter discovered this scientifically obvious flaw in sunscreen logic, he immediately went about designing a sunscreen formula that contained antioxidants that would help prevent free radical/oxidant damage, thereby helping people avoid the pain and suffering of sunburn and dramatically reduce the pre-mature aging of the skin. MelanSol works with your body’s defenses by supplementing your antioxidant protection when yours are overrun by an ever increasing number of oxidants. The only way to counter free radicals (oxidants) is with topical antioxidants and MelanSol has one of the strongest proprietary blends available.
The MelanSol formula we sell today is several generations away from his first invention. It is designed to be non-greasy so it can be worn everyday. The lotion soaks into your skin within minutes. A daily application of strong topical antioxidants like those in MelanSol is our idea of the perfect anti-aging regimen. I never begin my day without an application of our Dark Tanning Lotion on my face, arms, chest and neck. It feels fantastic and my skin has never looked better. In fact, many women have told me that they receive wonderful comments about their skin after using MelanSol for just a few weeks.
Billions of dollars of sunscreen are being sold today and nobody really knows how it works. In fact, the majority I have spoken with say they only apply sunscreen to avoid sunburn, which means only if they are purposely going to be outside for an extended period of time. The truth is that you should be applying all natural UV protection to counter free radical buildup, so you can maintain healthier skin throughout your lifetime. Sadly, traditional sunscreens do not contain anything that can thwart free radical damage. They just keep selling the party line of higher SPF is better. Have you ever wondered why people who have worn sunscreen for outdoor sports for years still have leathery skin and skin cancer? You should.
I have committed myself to telling everyone about the antioxidant protection in MelanSol because it works! It is also in complete harmony with the human body and the way people live their lives. I couldn’t ask for any better business to be involved in.
Can you share any future plans that you have for your company or MelanSol?
My ultimate goal is to work with each generation to educate them about how MelanSol can help them avoid the irreversible skin damage that they will experience later in life. It has to be part of a daily regimen just like brushing your teeth. Maintaining a balance between your antioxidant protection and oxidants that form on your skin when it is exposed to UV rays is the key to maintaining a youthful looking appearance.
I can see MelanSol being used by companies to help their employees prevent skin cancer, and cancer patients undergoing chemo or people taking antibiotics using it to help them experience sunlight sun without negative side effects.
I envision MelanSol supporting healthy activities all over the country. Puresunscreen.com and our MelanSol products are synonymous with purity, ethical practices and honesty in business.
MelanSol can really help people and my mission is to see that I help as many people as possible. The education aspect of what I do is huge, yet not insurmountable. There is nothing on the market that can do what MelanSol does and I love finding different ways of telling people about it.
Stay tuned, MelanSol is going to the highest mountain in India in late September. A well known climber by the name of Hansreudi Wirth, his team and the Sherpa’s are using it exclusively during their climb. He took it with him on his last climb in October of 2006 to the top of Annapurna IV in the Himalayas.
What advice would you give to others that are interested in starting their own natural product businesses?
It all begins with a good product. There are tons of natural products on the market. Do your research and develop or find a product with efficacy and integrity. Then get behind it with everything you have. Get the message out in any way you can. Traditional marketing avenues don’t work for many natural products because the big conglomerates can always trump you with huge advertising budgets that dispense marketing inaccuracies, while diluting the meaning of natural and organic to the point where it has no meaning.
If you truly believe, you can do anything, regardless of the odds. Never give up! Even I am working with a smaller advertising budget than most firms, however, I know I will grow steadily over the next year or two. I am alright with this pace if I can continue to craft and get my message out to anyone who will listen. If there is a way, I will find it and work it.
One other thing, you have to surround yourself with people that understand and support your goals and dreams. If you are constantly bombarded with negative dialogue, it will drain your energy and creativity. One piece of advice, I wrote and published two audio books about self-talk because it is an important element in building the confidence, energy and intention you need to be successful. Become intimately aware of the direction of your “self-talk.” Always keep it going with the direction of your goals and dreams instead of against them.
What do you do for fun when you are not working?
Golf, golf, golf, movies, travel and music. A short, yet passionate list, yet on that I actively pursue. Having and actively pursuing other passions regenerates your creativity and renews energy for building a successful business.
What evidence have you seen that people are beginning to come around to the opinion that natural is better?
Everywhere I go, more and more people are interested in learning about what I have, and knowledge is the first step to taking actions that propel you into a completely different direction in life. I think it will still take many more years before a greater majority of people come around, because of the continuous stream of propaganda that serves to deceive the public. “Going healthy” takes a real commitment. You have to form new habits and spend more wisely. This is not easy for a society that wants a “silver bullet” that can wipe away the sins of an unhealthy lifestyle. Adopting a healthier lifestyle takes patience, knowledge, will power, and lots of self love.
Do you have any interesting stories about encounters you've had in your business that you could share with us?
Each time we go on vacation, I take along a few bottles of MelanSol. Last year, one of our trips was to Costa Rica. I love to keep a lookout for people experiencing severe “oxidative stress” (sunburn) from spending too much time in the sun on their first day or two of vacation.
During dinner, we had the pleasure of sitting next to a couple from Louisiana. I noticed her raging sunburn and asked if she could use anything to help get rid of her pain and suffering. With a desperate look she said she didn’t know of anything that could help, but that she would do anything to alleviate the pain. I gave our room number and asked her to stop by after dinner. I would give her something that would make it feel much better, so she could enjoy the rest of their vacation.
The next morning, she ran up to us at breakfast. She raved about how great she felt, told us that she would never have thought that a sunscreen could do what ours did, and asked if she could buy the bottle. I gave her a price and she immediately whipped out the cash. To this day, they are good friends. I have a dozen stories like this from vacations we have taken since I began my relationship with MelanSol, and I look forward to experiencing many more.
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