‘Facing Stigma’ with Steven Izen & Lokai

“While I was on vacation, my grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimers. We were very close growing up so the news brought me to my lowest point. I started thinking about the highs and lows we go through in life and that’s when the idea of Lokai really came to me. I wanted to create a product that helped remind people to stay balanced and humble whether you’re on top of the world or at an all-time low. I thought about the highest and lowest points on Earth, Mt. Everest and the Dead Sea, and how could I take elements from those two places and incorporate them in a product that people could wear every day. After coming up with the concept of incorporating everything into a bracelet, I still found myself going through consistent highs and lows getting everything started. Initially we had product manufacturing issues and it took me six months to find the water; however, on the flip side, I think it was the right place, right time, right product, and right marketing. The bracelet is really a vehicle for people to tell their stories. People would buy the product and then they would post their story and with social media exploding, it really became a ripple effect. I also think giving back is important to finding balance in life and I think that’s another element that’s resonated with people from the beginning with our products. We’ve been able to give back to some amazing organizations and I’m glad we got to partner with Headstrong this year. The veteran’s Lokai we did was especially important to me because my grandfather was actually a Marine. This partnership was really about doing something for veterans. I think it’s easy to see scars when they’re visible and you can do rehab to fix or adjust, but mental health is something that is a huge issue for veterans. As a society we like to ignore things we can’t see. I think it’s easier for people to say, “that doesn’t really exist” and sweep it under the rug, but then realize how big an issue it is later on. I like that Headstrong is becoming that voice for veterans and that they’re letting veterans know it’s ok to ask for help. I’m really proud of how many people’s lives will be touched and changed with this partnership.”

Healing the hidden wounds of war