Meet Adriana Gluyas and Inga Von Wellsheim of KOA + ROY in San Diego County

SDVoyager Interview

Today we’d like to introduce you to Adriana Gluyas and Inga Von Wellsheim.

Adriana and Inga, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My business partner Inga and I were co-workers at a management consulting firm in San Diego. We were assigned to co-lead global consulting projects and our collaboration, excellent communication, passion for doing great things, and most importantly the good laughs along the way have shown us that we can master any challenge if we work together.

Our journey with KOA + ROY started after Inga and I accepted other job offers and parted ways. We continued to meet for lunch, coffee, or happy hours and would frequently discuss potential future business ventures, as we truly missed working together. One day we joked about developing something for our husbands who constantly deal with workout-induced soreness and inflammation. Given our inexperience with massage therapy, our idea was to create a product that was easy to apply and approachable for everyone. The MASSAGE CUBE was born.

Inga and I have very diverse strengths and when we brainstorm it feels like we are building on each other’s ideas and the result is better than anyone of us would have imagined. For over a year, we worked in our free time on developing a solid massage cube that is made with all-natural ingredients, has a modern yet plastic free packaging, smells amazing, and is truly effective for easing aches and pains. Our husbands love it and everyone who´s tried it loves it! We are selling KOA + ROY cubes at farmers markets, local stores in the San Diego and L.A. area and on our website.

Has it been a smooth road?
It has not been a smooth journey, but we value each roadblock and headwind because it allows us to learn and grow. Inga and I continue inspiring each other every day and take turns encouraging one another on the more difficult days.

The biggest challenge we face is creating products that have the least impact on our environment, which means never cutting corners even if it is costly. We have to exercise our creativity and resourcefulness every day. I have a Ph.D in Environment and Development and it is very important to me to develop products that not only benefit the customer but also give back to the environment.

And then there is the time struggle… for Inga, balancing her corporate job with KOA + ROY and for me, balancing business with family and other commitments while also trying to find time for ourselves. Yet, it is inspiring to see what we have accomplished with limited time and resources so far.

Please tell us about your business.
Our brand KOA+ROY wants to show the world that businesses can create amazing, modern, well-scented, and effective products without using synthetics, harsh chemicals, fragrances and preservatives, while also utilizing environmentally-conscious packaging. We are also quite proudly a women-owned small business and are so grateful for the businesswomen we have been so fortunate to encounter and learn from while establishing our brand.

The first product we launched is the massage cube. The massage cube is designed to relieve areas of tension and inflammation through the combined powers of the plant-based ingredients it has been crafted with. The cube slowly starts releasing oils upon contact with the skin, allowing the natural ingredients to start working their magic. The product’s cubed shape allows for effortless self-application while also granting the ability to easily share with loved ones. The massage cube also smells amazing – we used a blend of four essential oils with healing properties to create a scent that everyone loves.

We have packaged our cube with the most sustainable option we could find, hemp paper, which is also sealed shut with plant-based compostable stickers. The entire packaging is compostable and has no negative impact on the environment. The design of the packaging was very important to us as well; we chose something modern, simple, and inclusive to all.

We are partnering with the organization “One Tree Planted” to plant one tree for each product sold to support reforestation efforts across the globe. We also go out of our way to support local businesses when choosing our suppliers. For instance, our packaging is sourced from a local sustainable small business. We are so proud of the fact we get to work with other San Diegans who care as much as we do about the environment!

The Massage Cube is a unique product + experience in one! It is:
+ All-natural
+ Organic and Wild-crafted ingredients
+ Cruelty-free and vegan certified
+ Zero-waste + Plastic-free packaging
+ Handcrafted in small batches
+ Created by Women, inclusive to ALL
+ B-Corp Pending
+ Planting One Tree for every product sold!

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