Danny Blue is passionate about our rainforests. He teaches us the various ways we are destroying it, why we should even care and how his company is making a difference. He has successfully funded 2 crowdfunding campaigns and has already protected over 10,000 acres of endangered rainforest through the sales of his ecofriendly products! His project One Million Acres provides an excellent example of how one can create an immense impact through a creative for-profit business model.
LISTEN to this pod right here by clicking play or choose your favorite listening platform below. You can also WATCH the video podcast below that! Check out the show notes at the bottom to get more details about the contents of this episode. Enjoy!
Show notes in order of appearance:
- Danny talks about being in flow during coronavirus
- How do we destroy 80,000 acres of rainforest daily?
- Why should we care about destroying rainforest land
- The rainforest and medications
- Danny talks about corporate life and being comfortable
- How the sale of 1 bracelet can save an acre of land
- Fairtrade jobs in the Amazon
- Danny talks about companies that practice “greenwashing”
- Understanding a social enterprise and how its profits can scale the help of an environmental cause
- The importance of quantification in a social enterprise
- How consumerism can actually help
- Danny talks about his bankruptcy and divorce and how labels can affect us
- Danny shares the 2 traits of a conscious leader
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Below is a transcript of the video podcast created by Seb’s Robot buddy, Zekton. He tends to make mistakes so please forgive him if you find errors or some funky sounding sentences. For the real deal, watch the video or click on your favorite audio Podcast platform above! Enjoy!
Sebastian Naum (00:08):
What up fam today I bring you Danny Baloo, the CEO and founder of social enterprise, 1 million acres. He was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, and has been living in LA for the past 20 years. He’s a father of five-year-old twins, loves the outdoors and forming a deeper connection with nature. He developed a strong interest and passion for rainforest after visiting the Amazon back in 2016 and has since incorporated his entrepreneurial skills with his passion for protecting these amazing ecosystems ever since Danny won the most likely to create impact award and the people’s choice award at UCLAs impactathon for his project with 1 million acres, he successfully funded two crowdfunding campaigns and has already protected over 10,000 acres of endangered rainforest through the sales of his eco-friendly products. Danny blue provides an excellent example of how one can create an immense impact through a creative for-profit social enterprise model. Enjoy the show. Any good to have you on I’m a man.
Sebastian Naum + Danny Blue (01:12):
Hey, what’s going on, man? Good to be here. Good. Danny blue fricking bad-ass name. I love that name there. Yeah. Still working to live up to it. Hey man, you are definitely living up to it and people are going to hear about it. Why in this podcast actually. So I started my podcast by asking everyone when was your last, Oh, moment. What’s the first thing that comes to mind the last, Oh, moment. I mean, that’s probably not too hard to unpack one of those, you know, given the current landscape of, you know, just life in general being Oh. Um, I would say, um, yeah, I mean, one of the big ones was really, um, you know, everything that’s been going on with COVID. I mean, obviously it’s, you know, we’re we’re months into it now, but, um, I think, you know, for me it was really less about the, like the overwhelming weight of like, Oh.
Danny Blue (02:19):
Like, this is real, like we’re going on, quarantine locked down. Like it just got real. Um, and it was actually more in like when the dust settled from that, um, you know, starting to witness like how my mindset had actually shifted in. And like, I feel like I’m in the best mindset that I’ve ever been in like 10 years. And I’ve been doing a lot of work on myself development, all this deep stuff. And to like all of a sudden kind of wake up one day and be like, Oh, like, this is, this is like to, in this moment right now in like this state of like just deep gratitude and appreciation for everything I have given the current circumstances, it was a total like, yes, like I knew all this before, but to like be in it right now and to like, be witness to the fact of, you know, you look outside your window and you know, the sky is falling with the media, like in such a positive state of mind and hopefulness and appreciation and gratitude. That was one of the pivotal moments that this year for me, where I realized like this whole thing of creating your own reality and, you know, building whatever it is you want with your mind to be able to beat in that space in this current landscape was just like, yeah. Yeah, that’s real. Yeah,
Sebastian Naum (03:53):
Man. That’s, that’s a, that’s a great answer. And I’m so glad that you are just in flow right now, man. It’s so great. Not a lot of people can say that, but a lot of people can also say that because of the given circumstances that they have come to that space of deep gratitude and appreciate.
Danny Blue (04:10):
Yeah. Yeah. And my state of flow, you know, quote unquote is, is just like anyone else’s I’m by no means everyday wake up. And I literally, my, my troughs, you know, my peaks and troughs, my troughs are, are bad. You know, my truck, like, man, I’m having an off day, you know, tomorrow my troughs will be like, how come I am I on the right path yesterday? I was, uh, lined. I like, know for sure nothing is going to change my mind and the is this where I’m supposed to be. So I go through, I go through the whole spectrum of all of this though, you know,
Sebastian Naum (04:47):
I feel you, and thanks for sharing that, man. I mean, and then you go through the day and then you’ll see you have conversations, like the ones we’re going to have today. Maybe we’ll shift that even, you know, and I’ll give you some more shed, some more light on that, man. So I want to start by asking you something, um, Danny, right. We’re getting into, we’re going to get into OMA and a 1 million acres that you created, but dude, the statistic that we destroy, 80,000 rain forest acres a day, dude, how is that even possible, man? Like if I’m reading that and I’m not like in, in this kind of field, it just kinda sounds like some stat, like some tree hugging stat that people are throwing out there, like 80,000 acres a day. How in the world do we destroy 80,000 acres a day.
Danny Blue (05:33):
Yeah. I mean, it’s, um, it’s staggering, you know, in the first time you hear about it, you know, people will try to frame that in, in context to like, understand like, Oh, well, how is that possible? Let me kind of imagine, you know, what is 80,000 acres? And like, what does that boil down to, you know, a minute? And you know, when you, when you get granular down to the, um, you know, it’s, we’re, we’re, we’re destroying, I think it’s, I think the current statistic and here’s the other thing it’s really hard to, to track the exact number with this, you know, these scientists and, um, you know, these, the people that really study this, they, they have these systems that they use to really give like their best estimate based off of, you know, um, satellite data and whatnot. So it’s, it’s a rough figure, but you know, they estimate anywhere from one to two acres a second. So when you go down to that level, you’re like, well, how do you even destroy an acre in a second? Yeah.
Sebastian Naum (06:35):
How do we destroy these? What do we do? What are different ways?
Danny Blue (06:38):
So it’s really, you know, it’s, it’s not just happening in one place, you know, there’s people, um, in corporations and these big extractive industries that are posting up in these tropical ecosystems all over the world, um, the Amazon is where, you know, I’m focused on right now, at least with the project that we’re working on, really protecting and, um, you know, doing our work down there. And there’s a lot of stuff that’s happening there as well. But, you know, it’s, it’s really, um, there’s, there’s intentional fires. As we saw, you know, last year everyone was up in arms when they realized the Amazon was on fire. What most people don’t realize is that it’s happening again right now and actually predicted to be even worse than last year. Um, but you know, these, uh, the, the biggest culprit, one of the biggest culprits of deforestation in the rainforest is the, um, the agriculture animal agriculture industry.
Danny Blue (07:36):
So these large extractive companies are coming in and they’re literally just clearing millions of acres of pristine rainforest to make room for these large plots of land that they’ll end up utilizing for, you know, cattle grazing, uh, soybean production is a big one as well. So, you know, uh, native rainforest will be cleared and they’ll be used to replant, um, you know, soy, soy, palms, and whatnot. So it’s, it’s staggering. It’s really hard to conceptualize that number. Um, the reason why it’s happening is because of modern industry, you know, we, we demand it, you know, a large, large amount of our beef that we consume here in America comes from Brazil. Um, and you know, that’s, that’s, it’s just, um, it’s just an effect of the demand that, you know, the modern humans have put on the earth to support, you know, our consumption of a lot of these things.
Sebastian Naum (08:42):
So can we, what if that demand was, what if that demand doesn’t change though? Are there ways around that, like if that, that demand doesn’t change or the ways around to supply that demand without necessarily all those acres of rainforest?
Danny Blue (08:58):
Um, yeah, I mean, so there’s a few other things that are going on. It’s obviously not just the large corporations and extractive industries that are coming in. Another big part of what’s going on is, uh, and this is actually a big focus for what I’m working on with Alma is many of these indigenous communities that live in the rain forest when they have no other economic opportunities at all, they have to support their family a lot of times, and this isn’t just specific to indigenous communities in the Amazon. I mean, this is, this is specific to really any, um, I guess you’d call it any indigenous community that lives in, you know, more of a natural environment where if they’re not making money, doing whatever, you know, they can maybe from utilizing their own, um, or [inaudible] skills, whatnot. Um, you know, they’ll, they’ll go into the, into the forest or the rivers and they’ll start exploiting the natural resources.
Danny Blue (10:05):
And it’s one thing to just live off the land. You know, that’s, there’s a natural balance that’s able to happen. And, and, and these communities have learned to live in harmony with the land by living off the land. But once you get into a point of like needing to extract these resources over and beyond, just to support your living and then to actually make, to earn a living. So, so you have a lot of these indigenous communities going in and, and unfortunately succumbing to the pressures of deforestation, illegal logging, you know, mining, because those are the opportunities that will pay them. Yeah.
Sebastian Naum (10:45):
I’m going to ask you a little bit more about fair trade jobs in a little bit. I want to ask you, why should we even care? You know, about the rainforest, because I mean, it sounds like something that we should care. It just sounds like something that, you know, it’s nice to care about the environment about a rainforest, but really though, why, why should we actually care?
Danny Blue (11:05):
Yeah, it’s um, it’s interesting because that’s definitely one of, uh, that’s probably the, my biggest opportunity with this particular project is really inspiring people to understand why they should care about this. You know, it really tends to be an out of sight out, um, out of sight, out of mind kind of thing when it’s not happening right in your backyard. But what I tell people all the time and what people really need to understand is that, you know, the entire planet really is all of our backyard. You know, the entire planet is, um, we’re all, it’s all connected. It’s all one big living breathing ecosystem. And you see the effects of, you know, what’s the damage that’s happening on one part of the planet. You know, you’ll see, um, you know, uh, the North pole is starting to affect, you know, the polar ice caps and whatnot.
Danny Blue (11:57):
It’s all connected. Um, you know, for the, for the rainforest specifically, you know, the Amazon is one of the most biodiverse places on earth. So not only for the fact that, you know, it creates 20% of our oxygen and fresh water, um, which is vastly important to us surviving here. You know, when people will, you know, Oh, well the oxygen that’s produced in the Amazon, we don’t, it never actually makes it to us. And they’re right. I mean, there is something to be said about, um, all of the oxygen that’s actually produced by the Amazon is immediately consumed by, but it’s keeping the machine alive. It’s literally, you know, allowing, um, that entire machine to continue to run. So what would happen if the Amazon, and, you know, I keep talking about the Amazon specifically, but like if the Amazon were to reach a tipping point, which scientists have shown time and time again, that we’re actually rapidly approaching where to approach this tipping point and cross it, what would happen is a process would immediately start that would take awhile, but it would, you know, it would be extremely hard if not impossible to reverse, which would essentially have the Amazon, um, going through a desertification, ultimately, meaning the Amazon would over time, turn into a desert.
Danny Blue (13:22):
And so if we don’t put these systems in place to protect these ecosystems, uh, what’s going to happen is they’re going to continue to be depleted. And to a point where one of these catastrophic events are going to ultimately kick in and then it’ll be too late. So it’s vitally important why we should care real, like, is that true? That like, there are points where it is too late, just because the way the process works once in the gear, you actually cannot turn it back. Yeah. I mean, these are things that, you know, with all of the advancements of, of humanity and, you know, our modern technology, uh, I can’t say for sure if there are some systems or some technologies that may be able to be created in the future that could see these regenerative, um, elements within, uh, these ecosystems after they’ve already hit that point of critical mass.
Danny Blue (14:22):
Um, but for all intents and purposes, we should not be wanting to find out if technology is that we, you know, wanting to see Kat, how can technology help us advance within the healthy ecosystem that we are doing our part to protect and nurture and to live in harmony with, right? That’s how it’s, you know, obviously applies to everyone on earth, as it pertains to their own ability to care about their future generations for their children and their grandchildren. But then you get into also like all of the animals in the indigenous people that live there. I mean, there’s millions and millions of indigenous people that call these rainforest home millions of animals that are rapidly going extinct because of this. And, you know, if you happen to be one of those people that literally don’t care about anything that I’ve talked about already, which would be very strange, um, you know, also a large part of our modern medicine that is literally keeping us alive.
Danny Blue (15:28):
The advancements in medicine that are coming out that are, you know, helping to cure a lot of these diseases that up until now, you know, have seen, um, no cures for, um, are coming out of the coming out of the rainforest. So it’s actually like, it’s really insane when you think about it, when you think about the scope of like how important and vital these ecosystems really are on any number of levels about animals or other people or whatever, or, or your own health and the safety of the planet, you know, there’s so much in there that is, um, it’s, it’s like, it’s the lifeblood, it’s like one of the lifelines to, to our existence here. Um, and all the other creatures that we share with. So one of the, yeah,
Sebastian Naum (16:13):
I’m glad you mentioned that because it’s something that I’ve heard in the past, but I, it wasn’t present in my mind in terms of, you know, the amount of medicine that comes out of it, which is really cool. So, Hey guys, I just want to remind you, if you want to find more content like this, you can visit Sebastian nom.com. That’s Sebastian N a U m.com. You can also get a ton of other marketing resources for myself and my agencies ranging from SEO to social media, influencer, marketing, branding, web development, and more, again, that’s Sebastian nom.com. Thank you, and enjoy the rest of the show.
Danny Blue (16:44):
Uh, 20% of our, the ingredients found in our modern not as sound. And it really actually the really interesting statistic around the medicine is that 20% of the ingredients in our modern medicine is sourced from rainforest plants. And yet only 1% of the plants that exist in rainforest have ever actually been studied for their medicinal value. So that makes you really think like, wow, we’re getting 20% of our ingredients from there yet. We’ve only scratched the surface of the plants that actually exist there and what their potential medicinal values
Sebastian Naum (17:19):
That’s mind blowing, man. That’s crazy. It’s crazy to think about. So for all these reasons, you started a social enterprise called 1 million acres, which we’ll get into, but before you did that, you were working for Verizon doing, uh, business sales. Then you had a restaurant, uh, so you did several things. Was there, uh, you know, without necessarily going into the beginning to end, but like, was there a shift, some like a specific shift that caused you to go, no, I need to go into something that has more purpose. What, what was
Danny Blue (17:50):
It? Yeah, my, so my quote unquote, calling, um, into, you know, onto the path that I’ve, that I’ve chosen, um, was not very clear nor cut and dry. All it was was really, it was a feeling of unease discomfort and certainty that where I was, was not the right place and the reason why I was so sure that that was the right feeling that was pulling me away was that, you know, at the time I was working at this job, you know, in corporate America, working for Verizon business accounts, you know, I had like this amazing bachelor pad and Venice, you know, block from the beach. Uh, it was just beautiful place, like awesome neighbors. Awesome. Just, I had a savings account, a 401k, you know, I was traveling when I wasn’t working. And I even got to a point where the job itself, I had kind of built up my, my network enough to where the majority of my commissions and everything that were coming in every month were like these residual commissions based, uh, from my accounts that I had already put in the work on.
Danny Blue (19:02):
So I found myself in a place where I re I wasn’t having to do much work, you know, so I was not doing a lot of work. I was able to travel, you know, in my free time I was making more money than I’d ever made. And yet even with all that, there was something inside that was like, this is this, isn’t it that’s really interesting because that’s a spot that a lot of people would be like, I made it like I can, I’ve got the money, but I think for me what it was, I don’t know for sure. You know, I know that obviously I’ve been called into this through the evolution of that path since I left. Um, and a number of things kind of happened along the way that really guide me, you know, to where I’m at. But one of the biggest things I think I felt was that, um, I just, I kind of started my, my, my fire started dying.
Danny Blue (19:56):
And when I started this, that I was able to kind of rest on my laurels a little bit, instead of, you know, when you first start, you got that fire and that, that grind to get out there and knock on doors and make the cold calls and really hustle hard. And when I, when I found myself getting in this place of kind of complacency, and I was like, this is really weird. Like, this is not a good place for me to be like, I don’t want to be here. You know, I don’t want to fall into this space where I am almost kind of ambivalent. Yeah. And that, that desire to push, to kind of grow or do something more, it wasn’t there. Yeah. So, you know, I’ve also learned along the way that, you know, it’s not all about just push, push, push, grow, grow, grow. I think that would, it has called me into, is finding something that I can truly like, like infinitely, be inspired to wake up and continue to want to grow, because the, the point of it, the purpose behind it is infinitely more inspirational than just how many more accounts can I get more dollars. Can I add to my bank account?
Sebastian Naum (21:04):
Sure. I think what was really interesting is that one of the first things you said when you answered that question actually was a feeling of uneasiness. And so it was like, it was actually a feeling, it wasn’t an event, it was a gradual feeling of uneasiness and the fire kind of like dying out and eventually it got to a spot. So I, you know, thank you for sharing
Danny Blue (21:27):
That’s relevant too, for anyone listening, because people think that everyone has this, like, uh, this was the moment that I knew for the rest of my life. I was going to be this, this and this and right. My, my journey to where I’m at now, even with that kind of just knowing that I needed to leave, it was like, I don’t know where I’m going. I just know I need to open the door to this space that I’m in and walk out and start going somewhere else in another direction. And that took me through another journey of a few different paths. Um, though it was never really, you know, clear right out of the gate,
Sebastian Naum (22:05):
Man. Good for you for recognizing it. A lot of people can’t recognize it, so it’s good to listen to yourself, you know? Uh, that’s amazing, dude. So OMA, a 1 million acres OMA for every bracelet that is sold, that somebody buys, we are protecting one acre of rainforest. So I’m going to, I’m going to come out with that tone again and be like, dude, someone hears that. And they’re like, that’s some you’re telling me I buy one freaking bracelet. Yeah.
Danny Blue (22:34):
How much is this guy putting in his pocket and pretending
Sebastian Naum (22:39):
One acre land protected and we’re planting a tree, so, and we’ll get into the other stuff. But, so how is that even a thing?
Danny Blue (22:46):
Yeah. So in the kind of like, just jump back a step and kind of clarify what, so, so yeah, 1 million acres, OMA is the name of my social enterprise. Um, and what we do is we work with indigenous artists and communities in the Amazon rain forest, uh, to provide them with fair trade job opportunities by making a bracelet that we’ve created in partnership with them. Uh, that’s made of all natural, organic resources, sustainably sourced from the Amazon. The entire supply chain itself is as eco-friendly as you can get. And that term is thrown around so much these days. Oftentimes it’s just greenwashing, but we’ve really,
Sebastian Naum (23:26):
I’m going to interrupt you. Cause I wanted to ask you that later, but since you brought it up, what is greenwashing? Cause I had never heard of that term before.
Danny Blue (23:33):
Yeah. So greenwashing is basically, um, when companies will utilize any, any type of language or any type of marketing to what it is that they’re doing as green or as good for the planet. Um, but it’s just, it’s, you know, greenwashing, it’s washing over the fact that they’re still destroying the planet or they’re still not really in integrity with what it is they’re doing or selling, but they’re, you know, so it would be like, um, if McDonald’s were to say we’ll plant a tree for every burger sold, you know what I’m saying? Like, that’s, you’re, you’re robbing Peter to pay Paul at me. You’re, you’re going to plant the tree as you’re, you know, part of the industry that is literally the largest, uh, funder of deforestation. I would still rather than plant a tree. But
Sebastian Naum (24:31):
What you’re saying is that using that as your marketing as high, look it up
Danny Blue (24:38):
After I said that, I was kind of like, it’s probably not the best example of greenwashing because it’s still, you know, it’s really more when people will say use terms like eco-friendly or green, um, because there’s maybe one element of something maybe they have like, you know, a recycled component, um, you know, uh, so, okay, so maybe like apparel is another thing. Apparel is a very tricky space because the apparel industry is one of the most, you know, environmentally damaging industries. There is. Um, so there’s some people that are doing it right, but you know, to call an apparel brand equal eco-friendly because you’re using maybe a paper Haim tags on your, on your shirt, but you’re just using traditional cotton shirts. It’s something more along the lines of it’s like, you know, not taking into consideration what the entire footprint is of what it is that you’re doing. And, you know, calling it green
Sebastian Naum (25:39):
That you guys are taking into consideration every step of the process.
Danny Blue (25:42):
Right? So, so you know that with the bracelet itself, you know, there’s, there’s other companies that do this type of thing. This model has been proven out. You know, people love to wear a bracelet to show their support of a cause that, you know, they can rally behind and I’m not knocking on any of them. There’s some that have done it much better than others, but, um, you know, even the most eco-friendly of these bracelets, the majority of the times at the very least we’ll have nylon string, which nylon is plastic. So at the end of the lifecycle of this bracelet, it’s going back in a landfill again, you know, maybe they’re putting, putting millions of dollars towards great causes, but there’s a little piece that’s out of integrity. So I really was wanting to do with this project is make sure that the entire scope of the project from the concept itself, the product itself, which is the bracelet, which our bracelet is a hundred percent biodegradable.
Danny Blue (26:35):
So it’s made of two organic materials. So the bracelet has no components in it that will damage the planet. The, uh, the resources are, um, are harvested sustainably and in a way that’s regenerative. So no trees are cut down, they just harvest, you know, the leaves and the seeds. Um, so anyway, I kind of went off on a tangent with that, but the whole idea was that, you know, what we’re doing with OMA is, you know, we’re selling these actual, you know, um, good for the planet, uh, bracelets that are providing fair trade, reliable opportunities for our artists and partners, which is a big part of what’s actually helping combat deforestation as well. Like I was telling you before, you know, giving these artisans an opportunity to use their native skills of making bracelets so that them or their partners don’t have to go cut down trees to put food on the table is, is a huge element of it.
Danny Blue (27:33):
Um, but then, so we go into the donation. So we were supporting two organizations, rainforest trust, and one tree planet. And that is the side of it where we’re actually able to protect an acre of endangered rain forest, as well as the planting of a tree. And it is mind blowing. And it’s the reason I started this is because when I first got the idea for it, I had already been a personal donor to rain, forest trust. I was donating on a monthly basis. Um, something I was just really passionate about at the time having had traveled down to the Amazon. And, um, and when I saw that it was like, wow, some of these campaigns in like Indonesia, there’s places where it’s, you know, a thousand, $2,000 an acre, it depends on where the campaign is seeing that within some of these campaigns, even specifically within the Amazon and Peru and Ecuador, that you could purchase an acre of land for as little as, you know, one to $2.
Danny Blue (28:32):
That’s crazy. It’s crazy. Right. And so when I saw that, I’m kind of looking into this and I’m like, you know, how does it work? And I was, went back and forth with rainforest trust to understand a little more. And it’s, you know, again, I think I explained this to you before. It’s not like you can just go down there and say, here’s a 10 bucks. Give me my five acres there. They’re making these like large, huge, large million plus plots of land, um, available for, you know, for purchase. And so what they’re doing is they’re technically like kind of crowdsourcing or fundraising, you know, enough to reach that goal of, you know, $5 million so that we can purchase this particular plot of land and turn it into a federally protected reserve. Right. So that’s how it works. But when I realized that like, wow, like $2, you know, whatever that could be worked into the, uh, margin for a product to create one of these one for one, you know, social enterprise business models that Tom says championed, you know, the model, buy a pair, give a pair.
Danny Blue (29:42):
And so when I thought, you know, wow, you could, I could sell something. I don’t know what it is. You could buy something and save an acre of land. And to realize that something doesn’t even have to be like a car, like you’re not car and saving an acre, like you can buy something that, you know, I’m going to figure out how to price this around, you know, 20 or so dollars to build that, give back to, you know, somewhere around 10 to 15% ish. And that would allow people to support this thing, this enterprise that we could grow while, you know, doing a massive amount of good, um, that’s, that’s how everything kind of catalyzed
Sebastian Naum (30:22):
Awesome. And the quantification aspect is so important because so for anybody out there listening, thinking about a social enterprise or somebody that doesn’t know what a social enterprise is, it is a for-profit company that has a bigger purpose than just making profits for its owners or investors. So it has a larger purpose, a bigger purpose in almost case it is to help save the rainforest. So, uh, you know, going back to the quantification aspect of that one for one that Tom’s so much very made, you know, famous and well-known, but it’s so important, man, because it just the purchasing, it makes the purchasing decision that much easier. You’ve got great causes like 1% for the planet, for example, which is a dope organization because you, the business actually gets to choose what cause it actually goes to. So it’s actually supporting all kinds of different causes.
Sebastian Naum (31:15):
It was just amazing. And Hey, 1% of, a lot of money is a lot of money. However, in terms of the purchasing decision of the buyer and from a, you know, a marketing standpoint too, it makes it really difficult to quantify like, Oh, what percent of this, you know, just drink is going towards. So it’s tough. And I think it’s great for businesses to participate in that. I’m just what I’m trying to make a point of is the power of the quantification of the giveback on a one for one type model for social enterprise is huge. So I’m buying a bracelet and that’s helping save one acre of land and we can actually trace that. And that’s why I was asking you, like how in the world are you actually doing that?
Danny Blue (31:53):
Well, and it’s funny because yeah, like you were saying, like, it’s, I’ve almost chosen like the hardest thing to quantify, to build into a model because it’s like, it is almost unbelievable. So it’s like, I’ve gone so far in that direction. Like, Oh my gosh, I can do the Mo like the most good with this thing. It’s so far in that direction that it’s like, it’s really hard for people to, to understand it in a way. So like, you know, you have the traditional, a lot of people are planting a tree, plant, a tree, you know, by, by this, this product will plant the tree. It’s very easy to wrap their head around, Hey, I’ll plant one tree. I believe it. You know, and that’s, we’re doing that as well. We’re actually planting a tree with one tree planted and, um, and saving an acre with rain forest. So, yeah, it’s funny though, my, my, my work like, like convincing and showing people that this is real and we are able to do this and it does a lot. And if people are willing to just, you know, do a little bit of research and get on board, like we can do a lot of good in a very short period of time.
Sebastian Naum (32:58):
Yeah. And, and, you know, I’m sure you get the haters too, right on like social posts, consumerism, isn’t the answer, no matter what, and this isn’t the right way to do it, but the way I’m looking at it, it’s like, man, you can scale this model, you know, through a conscious capitalistic model and actually just provide so much more good than
Danny Blue (33:18):
We talked about this briefly. But it was like a lot of people that, especially the trolls online that, you know, love to hate on really anything, no matter who’s out there trying to do their part, there’s always gonna, they’re always gonna find something. You know, what a lot of times people don’t understand is like, you know, when people say you should donate 50% of your profits, if you want to consider yourself, you know, whatever, your integrity, you care, you, you don’t care unless you donate this. What people don’t understand is if you can build a company donating 50% of your profits up to a hundred thousand dollars, and then it folds because you just don’t have the resources, people or bandwidth to grow the company. You’ve donated 50 grand to this, to this cause. And great. If you can build, you know, a $10 million business that you are able to donate 10% of your profits, and you’ve donated a million dollars to this cause what people will kind of argue sometimes as well.
Danny Blue (34:14):
So what you, you put $9 million in your pocket. That’s not how business works. You write a lot of money to run the business, hire employees, you know, all of my employees right now, quote unquote, cause I don’t have any official employees are all in Ecuador. I’m employing not just our artisans, but I’m employing people on the ground, in the cities of Ecuador to help me do project management. Um, so it’s beautiful and I’m able to create these job opportunities for these other communities and, you know, within, um, the more kind of the, the business, uh, landscape of Ecuador as well. Um, but my vision is it grow this, you know, this, this idea, this vision, this project, to this level, that impact that we’re going to be able to make just from our give back alone will be night and day to what I could do on, you know, I was doing giving all of the things all at the time right now, but more importantly, it can use those additional profits as it is a for-profit and build, you know, our, the, the nonprofit arm of the business, where we are maybe able to create our reform, like our own in-house reforestation, uh, plant in these communities.
Danny Blue (35:28):
So now we’re not necessarily even just donating to reinforce trust. And once we planted, now, we can be actually working on, um, on helping to some of the local, you know, initiatives within these areas where we’re going to continue to plant [inaudible] trees. [inaudible] is the, uh, the resource that we use for the string and our bracelet. So now we’re gonna create a chum Bureau reforestation initiative where we can make sure that there’s enough. Tombarra, that’s continuing to thrive Tagua that we use for our beads. We’re replanting tog with trees. So that’s the point of a social enterprise yes. Profit model, but it’s so that you can take that profit and funnel it back into, you know, other projects that are aligned with what your mission is.
Sebastian Naum (36:12):
Yeah, man, I love the examples you use. I think you used some great examples there, and it’s just so important for people to hear that. And for anyone out there listening to this, to thinking, well, you’re not employing anyone here in the U S but we need more jobs here. Actually, you are because you work with marketing agencies,
Danny Blue (36:30):
I’m giving plenty of money to people here. You know, this is in order for this to succeed, you know, it’s, uh, there’s all that side of things, marketing, um, you know, operations, fulfillment shipping. We’re trying to keep USBs, you know, in business. It’s, I’m not, I’m not anti,
Sebastian Naum (36:55):
Uh, I feel you, man. Um, so I was going to ask, you know, in a way, like, what, what is next for OMA? Uh, you kind of were going that way in the sense of like the big picture, but what’s like currently next right now.
Danny Blue (37:07):
So really the next step for us is I, um, I’ve just gotten our kind of our next round of inventory. And it’s funny, you were talking about, you know, employing people in the U S and I was like, one of the things that I’m like, should I, I feel like I should, I’m going to take this part on, on my own and what it is is taking each of the bracelets with the little insert. One of the other things I didn’t mention a little, we are the insert for a bracelet is, uh, is made out of a biodegradable seed paper. So when you take the bracelet off the packaging, you can plant it and you can actually grow your own intention. You can write your intention on this card and then plant it and grow it through the wild flowers that are lethargic. So, so now I’m going in, you know, putting each of the inserts and each of the bracelets into the bag, I’m like, wow, twenty-five hundred, a lot more than I thought it was.
Danny Blue (37:57):
So I’m right now, actually literally in the process of packaging, everything out, getting it ready, and then we’re going to start a big marketing push to really start, you know, getting the word out, getting people to be inspired, to join the movement, you know, buy a bracelet by, you know, five bracelets as gifts for the holidays coming up. I mean, it’s such a low price point a gift. It’s an amazing, um, you know, so my goal is really to utilize the next few months. It’s like, you know, really push, um, the, the marketing side of things and get to the end of the year. And then next year, you know, I think we have, you know, plans to kind of grow the initiative a little bit.
Sebastian Naum (38:37):
And just to clarify too, it to anyone listening out there, uh, this isn’t your first push. This is like a next step push. You guys have already saved how many acres of land.
Danny Blue (38:46):
So we’ve say, uh, just over 10,000, um, it’s kinda like, it’s been a bit of an evolution. This is like the new bracelet. Let’s just like we to improve. This will be the OMA bracelet. Um, so yeah,
Sebastian Naum (39:00):
Yeah. I love it. So, Danny, you filed for bankruptcy and for divorce in the same month, dude. That is that’s gnarly, man. That’s really rough. How has that fueled your passion? Um, how has that kept you on this path of this purpose-driven path that you have?
Danny Blue (39:21):
Yeah. You know, um, I’m glad you shared that, you know, cause, um, you know, I shared that with you earlier and it was definitely something that, um, so w happened last year, you know, last year in a culmination of what felt like, you know, um, all of the heavy stuff that I’ve been dealing with. Um, ultimately, you know, I don’t know if I shared this earlier, but you know, from, from Verizon, when I left, you know, on the path to getting to starting Alma, you know, I went through various different, um, ideas and whatnot. And one of those was opening a restaurant, um, you know, this franchise fast casual restaurant that ultimately it just took everything out of me. You know, it was right before, uh, we had our twins, I have twins that are five years old now, and this was literally a month before we opened the doors to this restaurant.
Danny Blue (40:13):
We had our twins. So that first year was just, you know, it’s crazy. I mean, I don’t really remember most of it cause I don’t think I slept for a year. Um, but you know, between the restaurant, um, unfortunately kind of going under, I was able to barely, um, you know, sell it, uh, with it before I lost it. Um, you know, and just some other things I’ve just ended up in this really bad financial place. And at the same time, you know, it’s really unfortunate. But, um, my, my partnership with the mother of my children came to an end and I found myself literally, like you said, filing for bankruptcy and divorce in the same month. And so, you know, five years ago, 10 years ago, if that would have happened, it would have probably ruined me for years. I mean, and I think that a big part of what I’ve learned on my path that just, you know, personal development and growing my mindset, just learning to really learning, to seek out the opportunity in anything that happens to us, you know, we can, we, we can certainly, um, feel the weight of these heavy things that come out us, but it’s really up to us to decide how that’s going to impact our lives and whether victim to that circumstance, but find some way to grow from that.
Danny Blue (41:37):
And luckily, thankfully I had had enough training in that type of awareness to get to that point. And all I can think of in my mind is this is crazy. Like this doesn’t make sense. Like how is it possible that I’m literally doing what I thought I would never have to do in filing for bankruptcy? I always had a very negative stigma around what that about you as a business person, as an entrepreneur. Um, I always found great, um, you know, comfort in, uh, are you familiar with Susie, but T’s she found coopery Oh yeah. Billion dollar enterprise. You know, she filed for bankruptcy twice in her life. And I always was very motivated, inspired by when she shared that journey because you know, it made me realize that it doesn’t have to mean anything about you filing for bankruptcy, filing for divorce. It doesn’t have to mean that, you know, I’m a partner, I’m a, you know, entrepreneur, like these are things that happened.
Danny Blue (42:38):
And if I could look at it as maybe the universe has given me an opportunity to like, literally start with a blank slate start and literally like reinvent myself, how could it not be that both of these things are happening at the same time? Like how can this not be some sort of divine intervention in a way to give me an opportunity to like really reset the clock and really kind of reshift, you know, everything that I had been holding onto that was no longer serving me. Um, so I think that was really impactful. Um, you know, and I share it because hopefully it will resonate with anyone that has gone through some heavy stuff that they’ve taken on as part of their identity, as opposed to just, this is something that happened to me. Um, you know, we don’t have to take the things that feel like the worst possible things and accept them as, as who we are. We don’t have to create them as, as our identity. We don’t have to be the worst versions of ourselves because these things happen to us. These things maybe happen to us to give us an opportunity to change. And so I think that, you know, having gone through that was definitely a big catalyst for me. And, you know, really developing this warrior mindset of like, by any means necessary, you know, this is, this is happening. Like this is going to happen. And I, and I, and I can, and I will do it.
Sebastian Naum (44:03):
Yeah, man. That’s powerful, Danny. Thanks for sharing that.
Danny Blue (44:07):
Yeah, my pleasure. Yeah.
Sebastian Naum (44:11):
Um, I actually got the chills hearing you say it. So like I knew like I, when I get the chills, hearing somebody talk, that means that it really resonates and it reaches, it hits me. So I know it will hit someone else. Uh, I think particularly what, it’s the, the aspect of what you said about this happening and this happening did not, does not equate this about me, does not mean a entrepreneur or, or a part. That’s what I think is the most important because when these kinds of things happen to us, we make that connection. You know what I mean? Yeah.
Danny Blue (44:42):
The worst thing that happened to us and create our identity around those. Yeah. The best things that happened to us and make them be like, Oh, this cool thing I did, you know, this is what we do as humans where we’re like, ah, I ran a marathon, great. I’m not an athlete. I’m not a runner. I’m not bad. You know, I just ran a marathon and I’m proud of myself for a day and boom, but I filed for bankruptcy. I’m a sh I’m with money, you know, that’s why it’s weird. You know, we just, so yeah, Danny, what are two traits that
Sebastian Naum (45:18):
The conscious leader must have today?
Danny Blue (45:22):
I mean, I’ll tell you, right? Like the immediate first word that came into my mind is integrity. Uh, because it’s the, it is my guiding star. You know, it’s the number one trait that I hold, um, in staying aligned with what it is that I’m trying to do. There’ve been opportunities to pitch something a certain way to maybe get more people interested or say this, or say that if you don’t have integrity and if you, if you lie, or if you try to manipulate what it is that you’re doing, that energy will ultimately translate it to whatever it is that you’re doing. So me integrity is the biggest thing that I always, uh, utilize in whatever it is that I’m doing, both in the people that I work with and you know, myself for the decisions I make for the business. Um, and I think the other one is really just conscious, which I believe everybody should be, but conscious entrepreneur or not, you know, as an entrepreneur, the biggest thing you need to have is just the willingness to just, just stick with it, just stay with it.
Danny Blue (46:27):
Just keep going. I can’t tell you how many different iterations I’ve gone through for this project. How many times I’ve wanted to quit? Because I felt like, I don’t know if it’s going to be, this little thing is not going to be you just, you gotta be willing to know that things are gonna come in, that are gonna try to stop you. And you have to just commit to just pushing and continuing and continuing to work towards whatever it is that your goal is because you know, nothing comes easy, nothing comes quick. Um, but if you stick with something long enough, you’ll start to notice pieces falling in place that are like, uh, yeah, like this is the direction I’m supposed to be moving in. So I love that. Yeah. Integrity and tenacity about it.
Sebastian Naum (47:11):
Love it, Danny. So people can visit OMA earth.com and learn a lot more about this project by bracelet there and get all the social channels. Is there, uh, a social handle that you wanted to share?
Danny Blue (47:22):
Yeah. All my earth it’s the same. So our Instagram programs where we’re the most active, so Omar earth to start, um, you know, really building that, that channel out a lot more to getting involved, getting interactive, doing some giveaways, getting just people involved to really find out what the particular types of content people really want to see. You guys already do a great job with it. So it’s yeah. Well, thank you so much for being on Danny. You’re an inspiration. I appreciate you and keep doing you brother. My pleasure, man. Thank you so much.