Ora are redefining modern natural medicine with a range of therapeutic, plant-based products to assist with the health concerns and needs of today’s consumers. Ora’s mission of Co-creating wellness™ is refreshing and we found out more about this Australian brand with founder Gabriel Perera.
When did you start Ora?
I had the idea for Ora about a year and a half ago – mid 2020 and right in the middle of lockdown! I started to put key members of the Ora team together and by end of 2020 / start of 2021, we had our first 6 products developed and in the manufacturing process. We launched just 2 months ago in September 2021 with a focus on health food stores and natural practitioners.
What inspired you to start Ora?
I’ve had almost 20 years of experience working with some of the best natural products brands in the world including 10 years as a senior executive at Blackmores, but while working in China few years ago I just reached this stage where I really started questioning my own natural product choices. For instance, I’m by no means a vegan but I started a journey with my consumption and was asking, can I be more ecologically conscious about my purchases? What if I try out more plant-based meals each week? How can I take better supplements, that deliver real benefits, but take less of them?
As we created Ora, we tried to answer many of these questions as possible. We wanted to give people access to supplements that were truly clean, organic, 100% plant-based and sustainably-sourced. We wanted to give people better visibility and transparency of the where their products and the ingredients in them come from and how they are made. But most importantly I think, our vision for Ora is to help give people agency over their health and wellness. I believe people get the best results with natural medicines when they take ownership of their wellness journey, so I think of Ora as a vehicle to inspire and empower people to make better decisions about their health and wellbeing.
The wellness community is growing as people become more conscious of what they are putting in, and on their bodies. Tell us a bit about your products and how they can support our health and wellbeing.
Most of us live a pretty urban lifestyle. We have nutritional gaps. I certainly don’t eat five to nine servings of fruit and vegetables every day, and I don’t know many people who do. We want to help people bridge that nutritional gap first and foremost with products like our ACO Organic Certified Ora Greens Superpowder+.
Hormonal stress, adrenal fatigue and low energy levels right now are a massive issues for many of us – especially for women. How do we manage this stress of always being on against a background of constant, underlying uncertainty? Cortisol levels are at all-time high levels for many of us these days. As a result, many of our Ora products have an emphasis on adaptogens, the highly prized tonic herbs from Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Herbal traditions that help people manage stress. Why wouldn’t we give ourselves additional adaptogenic support throughout our day? And why not make those ingredients certified organic?
We’re using new ingredients that haven’t been seen in the market before like Shilajit, a Himalayan rock, which believe it or not, is high in Fulvic Acid, giving real nutritional support missing from a lot of our diets.
But you as you know, the wellness community is not just conscious of what they put in their bodies but are also increasingly environmentally-conscious. They’re demanding a new, better standard for their health, beauty and wellness products, and expect brands to communicate on not just the quality of their products, but also the environmental impact of their business, their ethical conduct and their position on and contributions to social, racial and gender equality. So, with Ora, we have pushed ourselves to be that better standard.
Why is sustainability important to you?
Our very strong view is an individual cannot be well if the planet is not well, so a focus around eco-consciousness and doing better for our planet has been present in our business from day 1.
But we have since shifted our focus towards what we’re calling Regeneration, which goes beyond sustainability and the mitigation of harm. We want to take steps towards actively restoring and replenishing the Earth and the communities and ecosystems on it.
One way we do that is by dedicating 1% of our revenues to 1% for the Planet, an organisation who helps fund diverse environmental organisations. Through them, we’ve chosen to support an independent, transparent and high-impact Australian reforestation charity called Greenfleet, which is committed to restoring forests and protecting native fauna.
But Regeneration is not static – it’s a journey. So we’re constantly reassessing and looking for areas of improvement. Currently, we’re starting the process of carbon accounting and product life cycle assessments, with the goal of becoming B-Corp Certified.
What aspect of your business do you enjoy most?
I’m a natural medicine tragic – meaning, I would find it hard to do much else. I live and breathe ingredients, formulation and the clinical science behind our products (and everyone else’s!) – I’m also super grateful for the opportunity to work with a team that are really, really good at what they do. We’ve all worked together before in different businesses and brands, as well as some new dynamic folks who bring a whole new energy to the Ora brand.
What do you find most challenging?
We’re a start-up brand and we’re running our business as leanly as we can, which means that we must stretch every dollar, while ensuring that we deliver the very best products, brand experience and quality in everything we do.
What keeps you motivated and inspired?
It’s the opportunity we have to bring a new standard to the natural products industry professionally and personally, it’s my partner and kids.
I also spend as much time as I can in the “company” of inspiring people – whether virtually with friends around the world, or via podcasts, interviews or books – across a wide range of areas.
Do you have a morning routine?
Yup, mornings are actually pretty sacred to me – it’s when I have my best ideas a lot of the time!
I’m usually up around 5am and put on a pot of coffee, followed by my 15-20-minute meditation, which is a non-negotiable for me – I find that it really helps calm my nervous system and gives me more perspective on decision making. Most mornings, I also try to either go to the gym with my partner or for a run around the Northern Beaches area. Once that’s all done, our dog Willow gets her turn at the dog park before we head home to get ready for work.
Embarrassingly, I’ll also normally check emails to see if there’s anything that needs immediate attention and spend some time mapping out my day.
What’s your favourite way to move your body?
It’s hard to pick a favourite. I love the feeling of lifting heavy weights, but I’ve been a competitive runner since I was a teenager, so running has always been quite special to me and remains a crucial part of my exercise regimen. I also find it to be one of the most cathartic activities – if I’m having a particularly difficult day, a run usually helps clear my mind and gives me a much-needed reset.
Vinyasa yoga – which I definitely don’t do enough of – is quite literally my lifesaver. Some years ago I had a bad knee injury which doctors said was the end of my running career, but I was determined to return to form better than my 20’s. So I started yoga to try to get my mobility back, and the benefits I saw went beyond just that – particularly around mobility and again, nervous system support.
Your favourite way to unwind?
Heading out to try out a (usually Asian) restaurant – I have a secret desire to become a food blogger.
Do you have a favourite quote?
Hard to pick a favourite (I collect quotes) but this is always worth remembering.
‘Health is the greatest gift, contentment is the greatest wealth, a trusted friend is the best relative, a liberated mind is the greatest bliss.’– Buddha, Dhammapada verse 204, translated by Daw Mya Tin
Shop Ora’s range of plant-based medicines online here now.