An interview with the duo building a fresh start to wellness.
Over the past year, many of us have begun to redefine our ideas around beauty and well-being. Whether you’ve taken a full cosmetic holiday or started up a new home yoga regime, with the constant barrage of industry on pause, we’ve found some new mental bandwidth allowing us the freedom to focus more on our health.
This paradigm shift towards wellness has led to a surge in creative entrepreneurs looking to nourish it. Today we’ll speak with two such founders, Susanne Zellmer and Patrycja Horodyska of DYO+, a female-founded start-up with a strong message of health, natural beauty, and environmental sustainability.
Launching this spring in the US, DYO+ offers two leading products: My Immune Boost and My Skin Glow, monthly box sets of natural supplementary drinks designed to support the body’s defense and regenerative systems.
Sitting down with Pat and Susi today, we asked them a bit more about the outlook behind their new wellness endeavor.
1. So, what made you want to invest in improving people’s health now?
P: I remember meeting Susi in 2017-2018. She was always on about wanting to create something good, something healthy for people. She’d studied Naturopathy in Switzerland, so the idea was fresh in her mind.
S: We were both crazy about healthy living at the time.
P: We still are.
S: Absolutely… but I think it cemented our friendship early on. We would go hunting for local organic products together…
P: …fresh produce, cleaning products, toiletries… we wanted things that were sustainable too.
S: …and we’d get freaked out standing in the isles reading and researching labels. As soon as you find products that emphasize things like ‘no GMOs, no hormones, no antibiotics’ you can’t help but wonder what’s in the products that don’t warn you.
At the end of the day, we’re customers, ourselves. If we were going to create something from scratch, it was going to be something we’d want to take ourselves.
P: …and we do!
2. What is it about the US that made you want to start here?
S: the US was a natural choice. We were both living here and, after searching, couldn’t find what we both wanted: a quick, convenient, long-term supply of a liquid product in eco-friendly packaging.
P: There seem to be a few similar ideas on the rise now, so we weren’t the only ones who noticed the hole in the market.
S: Also, the entrepreneurial spirit in the US is so encouraging. People are open to new ideas and very supportive.
P: Americans, like people everywhere, want the best for themselves and their families. It’s just hard, with so much choice, to know who to trust.
3. Why did you want to have drinkable products?
P: It’s what we wanted for ourselves. Drinks are easy, fast, and safer than pills if you happen to have young kids around who want to put everything in their mouths.
S: They have the chance to be enjoyable and delicious too! We did find many drinkable products, actually, but almost always packed in plastic sachets (to-go). It didn’t sit right with us.
R: Is that why your drinks come in glass bottles?
S: Exactly. Eco-friendly boxes of 30 small glass bottles you shake, drink and hopefully recycle right away. It’s the best solution we’ve found so far that hits all the criteria we’d been looking for.
4. What do you enjoy about working with each other?
P: A lot. We have a relationship full of respect and understanding for each other. Susi is a gifted designer, so it’s wonderful to have her creative soul on board, but at the same time, she’s very down-to-earth.
Since we’re both a bit older, we laugh at our sometimes outdated work mentality. You know, just roll up your sleeves and get down to it! But jokes aside, we communicate well, and we’ve found talented young people to help us learn, especially about the importance of ‘giving back.’ The future is the next generation’s to contend with, after all.
S: I knew I’d found the right person to work with when I met Pat. I’d had attempts in the past, but our skills and temperament complement each other so well. Pat is a rock for me. She’s organized, structured, good at research, and she has this stoic calm demeanor. It means she can call me out when I get restless or fall back into old behavior patterns (workaholic here!)
P: Thankfully, we’re both pretty good at taking a step back, and our egos are in check, so there’s no friction.
5. Can you tell us about some challenges you’ve faced leading up to and since deciding to start DYO+?
S: I came to this project after a really challenging phase in my life. I had a young daughter and was running my own agency when the economic crisis hit in 2009. All of a sudden, 2 of my biggest clients were in major trouble, and I flew into full survival mode, working day and night to keep them and my employees safe. By the end of the year, I was close to burnout, and it took months to recover.
P: …and since we began? Surely, the global pandemic has been the biggest and most unexpected challenge. It slowed things down.
S: These kinds of troubles have turned into positives in the long run, though. I might never have turned to Naturopathy or learned to re-prioritize my health without having gone through something so difficult.
P: …and likewise, being forced to slow down at the start of this project has given us lots of time to reflect and make conscientious choices along the way, for ourselves, our business, and our team.
6. Why One Tree Planted over other charities?
P: It was recommended by Leonardo Di Caprio, so who would question that!? But seriously, the Leonardo Di Caprio Foundation does some amazing things for the environment, and it was through them that I came across One Tree Planted.
S: We knew we wanted to start with a reforestation charity. In Atlanta, we were both big hikers, taking our families out into the Appalachians whenever we could. It was exciting to think we could help with something already near and dear to us.
P: We liked it from the beginning. It is not too big, not too small, had clear, attainable goals, and seemed very genuine.
7. Can you tell us more about building your team? Did you intentionally keep things female-centered?
S: Once our dynamic duo was in place, the rest was mostly a series of organic and happy coincidences. The current team does happen to be primarily women at the moment, all from different countries.
P: …But there have been many great men who have supported us along the way. Our printing team, design team, and manufacturer are full of a diverse mix of people.
S:…and we’re just starting out. We hope to keep growing and expanding the DYO+ family.
8. Tell us one guilty pleasure you still indulge in that you know might not be the healthiest thing?
P: A glass of Champagne or a bar of chocolate? Hmm….hard choice.
S: Chocolate for me as well, but I try to stick to the high cocoa percentage.
P: Women who love chocolate…aren’t we cliché!
9. Can you tell us a bit about what beauty means to you?
P: I truly believe in beauty from the inside out. The more confident you feel in yourself, the more you smile, and the better you look. From there it’s an upward trend.
S: It works holistically too. The more you sleep, the more you exercise…all of it leads to confidence and happiness. Therefore, beauty.
R: Do you think it’s something to be attained?
P: Not quite. It’s already there. It’s more something to discover and bring out from within ourselves, and it all links back to our health.
S: I’ve always enjoyed the Oscar Wild quote about beauty and it being an even ‘higher form of genius, as it needs no explanation.’
10. What’s your favorite top health tip at the moment?
P: Only one? Are you kidding? We’re DYO+, so we’ll need a duo plus one more, at least.
S: If I had to choose one right now, it would be yoga. I shortened my hip flexor after years of office sitting, so I make sure I’m on my mat every morning.
P: I’ll go for sleep. Getting enough sleep is the best thing for my overall mood and well-being at the moment. Well, and of course, our supplement drinks!
S: Yes. In fact, let’s say the top tip would be to follow DYO+ and get healthy tips with us every week. Cook with us, do yoga with us, and learn with us along the way!
*To learn more about Susi, Pat, and DYO+, go to dyoplus.com or follow them at @mydyoplus