We have heard incredible feedback from our community about Toka Lab‘s beauty elixirs which were featured in our Barre Body Winter Wellness Box (June 2019). So we thought, we had to get the founders, David and Allen, on our blog for an interview so you could get to know them better! David and Allen have a unique story, from being high school mates to founders who both currently working in the corporate world. Hear from them where the name “Toka” comes from and why their beauty elixirs are as natural as they can get!
For those in our community who don’t know you or Toka Lab, tell us about yourselves?
(Allen) We’re two guys whose families came from the same province in China, and both grew up in Sydney’s Northern Beaches. We went to the same high school and the same university working on the same projects!
(David) Some people think we’re the same person. Most think we’re related.(Allen) Haha – it doesn’t help that we look kind of similar!
(David) Allen and I have educational backgrounds in Science and Business respectively, and we both work corporate jobs in the city (we work in the same industry as well!). I guess it’s no surprise that we decided to launch a business together either.
(Allen) I make fun of David sometimes, about how his choice of footwear is either dress shoes or Birkenstocks. For a meeting we had with one of our key manufacturers, he decided to wear Birkenstocks purely because the factory was in the Northern Beaches.
There is always a story behind the brand. What inspired you to start Toka Lab? Where does the name come from?
(Allen) David and I have always been interested in health, we started tinkering with our diets, trying different supplements and adjusting sleep and exercise in early high school. During those years we digested a lot of content and different products, ranging from complete snake-oil supplements with dodgy ingredients to some very good products. We were driven by a desire to enhance mental performance, assist in recovery or just get a better night’s sleep.
Over the years we developed a set of principles to guide our decision making when it came to foods we ate and supplements we took. Good supplements focus on a few really effective ingredients and not much more. We sought to understand exactly what each ingredient was, where it came from and the purpose it served. We like to stick to ingredients that are derived from natural sources and we found that when combined with science and human ingenuity, the impact of natural ingredients can be enhanced by careful processes.
(David) That’s right, and over the past year we noticed that too many supplement brands were missing the mark when it came to quality. Products on the market are packed with fillers, synthetic ingredients and less of what matters. We wanted to build a brand that had all the values we believe in and ultimately create better, more effective health products.
(Allen) As far as brand name stories go; they don’t get much dorkier than ours. TOKA is a reference to a character on the online game World of Warcraft, which we spent our early high school days playing.
What makes Toka Lab unique in the wellness space that our community might not immediately know?
(David) We’ve made our products as natural as they can get – you’ll find it hard these days to find any powder that doesn’t include sweeteners or sugars. With only four ingredients in each sachet, we’re able to focus on the quality of each ingredient and ensure that each serving has a significant impact.
Because of this, we’re able to fit over three times the average active ingredients of other beauty blends on the market into each of our sachets.
(Allen) We source these ingredients from the best farms and producers around the world, and spent months trialling hundreds of samples before feeling comfortable with our final product. For example, our matcha comes from rolling farm overlooking a sapphire bay in Mie prefecture. Here we built a relationship with a well-regarded matcha producer with over 800 years of history.
We love the Matcha Latte sachets! Please tell us more about the ingredients and its benefits?
(David) The main ingredient in our sachets is hydrolysed marine collagen. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body which forms the basis of our skin, hair, nails, bones, and muscles. What most people don’t know is that our body’s collagen levels naturally begin to decline in our early 20s. Our marine collagen helps fight the signs of ageing from within, promoting smoother skin, thick hair and healthy nails. It’s also high in protein for muscle recovery and useful for joint health. The process of hydrolysis makes the collagen particles smaller and therefore easier for the body to absorb and realise its full benefits.
In addition to marine collagen, our blend contains a powerful selection of ingredients designed to nourish the skin and rejuvenate the body.
People are starting to better understand how the external body is influenced by the health of the gut. Your gut plays a major role in regulating the immune system and your skin. That’s why we’ve included powerful probiotics in the blend to keep your gut happy and skin glowing. We’ve also included antioxidant rich superfoods (such as matcha) to fight free radicals and inflammatory skin conditions (acne, rosacea, eczema). Lastly it contains a dash of biotin, a powerful B vitamin, which focuses on repairing weak hair and nails.
What are some of your wellness rituals?
(David) My favourite is yoga. With the amount of distractions you have on a day to day basis, it’s so hard to be present, and I’ll always have things at the back of my mind, and much of that comes through my connection to my phone, whether it be work emails or social. The one hour a day in yoga I find incredibly restorative on a physical but more importantly a mental perspective. I have recently begun meditation after discovering that it was Bill Gate’s favourite habit.
(Allen) One of my favourite morning rituals is meditation, I take 10 to 15 minutes out of my morning and meditate with the Headspace app. I find it makes me more focused during the day. Before bed I like to make a special tea which helps me get a good night’s sleep. I take a chamomile tea with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a teaspoon of honey.