Welcome to The Quality Makers, an interview series highlighting pioneers in the direct-to-consumer space. Join us as we get an inside look at the world of digital shopping through the eyes of the individuals shaping it…
Michael Chernow is an entrepreneur who started his career in the world of restaurants, opening up both The Meatball Shop and Seamore's, a sustainable seafood restaurant, in New York City. Michael’s next venture is as the CEO and founder of Kreatures of Habit: a company selling high protein breakfast that fits your schedule. Due to Covid, Michael pivoted and launched the business as a direct to consumer nutritional wellness brand that’s delivering healthy habits to the masses. The brand celebrated its one year anniversary this summer, and we were delighted to chat with Michael to learn more about it.
Tell me about how you started Kreatures of Habit.
MC: “Kreatures of Habit is what I've been working my whole career and life towards. I am a true creature of habit – fitness, nutrition, mindset – and wellness overall – have been the cornerstone and foundation of my happiness. I spent the last 10 years grinding really hard, head down, long hours between The Meatball Shop and Seamore's, so when thinking about what to do next, I wanted to do something that aligned more with my lifestyle. I was originally going to launch Kreatures of Habit as a restaurant with really delicious, healthy food. Most healthy restaurants in NYC look and smell like healthy restaurants but don't necessarily evoke good vibes to hang out on Friday night. I wanted to change that.
I am incredibly passionate about being of service to others. I've been in recovery for 18 years now, I'm 41 years old and in the best shape of my life. What helped me get sober and stay sober was the addition of healthy habits. One of them was this oatmeal that I've been eating for years. It’s now become much more than that.
The transition from restaurants to Kreatures of Habit was not hard at all. I'm now so much closer to my purpose: trying to use my story as motivation and inspiration for anyone out there who is looking to change their life for the better. For me, it's not about perfection. It's certainly about progress, and that happens on a day to day basis.”
I'd love to hear about the name and ethos of the company.
MC: “I believe that success and happiness is truly based on the decisions you make on a daily basis. Those tend to be stacked up small decisions made over and over again, that ultimately chip away at this thing called happiness. It really comes down to: how often are you making similar decisions that are ultimately pointing you in a positive direction? That is the ethos of Kreatures of Habit: let us help you find a very simple, easy to implement, incredibly delicious and convenient, healthy way to start your day, so that you never have to think about a healthy breakfast again. That is what we did with our hero product: The PrOATagonist (7 pack - $34.99) – a superfood meal consisting of 30 grams of plant based protein, vitamin d3, omega three fatty acids, gluten free oats, probiotic digestive enzymes, etc. You make it similarly to how you would make oatmeal – either overnight in the fridge, but also by using hot water, in the microwave or even as a smoothie.”
Is this product designed for a certain type of person, maybe within the wellness/fitness space or is it really for everyone?
MC: “It is definitely for the wellness-minded human. We started out as a predominantly fitness-focused, male-centric space because we leveraged my social media as the catalyst to launching the business. But we realized that this is not only for fit men, this is for everyone. Now, 55% of sales are actually female, and we learned that we're really gunning after people that want to be a better version of themselves through nutritional wellness. Especially for moms – it’s crazy to hear about the amount of time and stress we've saved them.
Our oats have also been a game changer for a lot of people in the weight loss community because a pack is only 350 calories and it’s incredibly satiating. This is a complete meal with 30 grams of protein, a great handful of carbohydrates and healthy fats. It’s also a craveable thing, which is important to me as a chef - I want to make sure the products taste good.”
Your mantra seems to be: introduce new and positive habits, rather than: let’s break bad habits. Tell me more about that perspective.
MC: “That is my story. I really did replace all of my bad habits with great new ones. As we say at Kreatures of Habit: ‘Habits will make you or break you. We choose the ones that make you today.’ Right now we have this one product in a bunch of different flavors. But I plan on having a suite of products that will help people in each segment of their day, so that they can grab this instead of that because that for a lot of people, tends to be where the ship sinks.”
Are there any plans for the future of Kreatures of Habit that you’d like to share?
MC: “We will be introducing new products over the next 12-18 months. Sleep is something that's very important to us as human beings, so I've been exploring that. As hardworking humans these days, even though it's not out in the fields necessarily, but rather sitting at a desk on a computer, we're putting in crazy hours. That is somewhat rewiring our brains to not want to shut off because we're not exhausting ourselves physically. We tend to continue to buzz, even when we're trying to sleep. I knew I needed to create something that would help people fall and stay asleep, but naturally. I started experimenting with different natural sleep support supplements, and ultimately, I've been working for the last seven months on a formula to create a product that I feel very confident will better people’s sleep without melatonin. I’ve been taking it and waking up energized at 4:45am, every single morning.
In terms of social responsibility, I'm working with a few people in the recovery space to help me figure out how I can save 10 lives a year. If I can provide 10 addicts with a bed in a rehabilitation center that they couldn’t afford otherwise, it would be massive for the recovery community. It's not a guarantee that people who go into a recovery facility are going to change and not die, but 75% of the kids that I grew up with are dead. Unfortunately, that’s not an exaggeration. So it means a lot to me to be able to do this. I’m still figuring out the logistics, but it’ll be something along the lines of: for every 100,000 boxes of The PrOATagonist (7 pack - $34.99) we sell, we put one addict into a bed. That's how I plan on giving back to the recovery community.”
What do you hope people will take away from your products?
MC: “Every day is the first day of the rest of our lives. Yesterday is long gone. We get a chance every single morning to be the best version of ourselves, so how you start your day, how you pour that foundation, is so important.
The fact of the matter is, everybody wants a quick answer, which simply doesn't exist. It takes work, consistency, dedication to yourself and commitment to making better decisions day in and day out. Kreatures of Habit is just a small piece of that, but if you see us as a symbol for something larger, I really do believe how you start your day is how you live your life. It’s that simple.”
Want to know more about Kreatures of Habits? Stay up to date on their newness here.