In Conversation with Ancient + Brave In Conversation with Ancient + Brave

In Conversation with Ancient + Brave

Date Posted

June 25, 2024

This month, we are thrilled to be working with our friends at Ancient + Brave, a community-built, mission-driven wellness brand specialising in award-winning collagen, holistic supplements and nootropic blends.

Like us, Ancient + Brave blend impactful botanicals to create products that work alongside many wellness strategies, enabling and motivating consumers to think, feel and look their best.

Embracing innovation and sustainability while ensuring all ingredients are meticulously sourced and science-driven is at the core of what they do. This commitment aligns seamlessly with our values, which is why we believe our products go hand in hand with theirs, working together for a meaningful impact on holistic health and wellbeing.

We sat down with Ancient + Brave's Head of Nutrition, Jo Woodhurst to discuss all things wellness and the inspiration and innovation behind the brand...

Can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind Ancient + Brave and how you started out?

Ancient + Brave started as all great businesses do, by seeing the opportunity to do things differently. When we started, collagen supplements were virtually unheard of, and the available quality wasn’t up to scratch. With a vision to revolutionise the wellness industry, our founder, Kate Prince, saw an opportunity to make a difference by sourcing exceptional ingredients including collagen, with a strong emphasis on sustainability, traceability, and ethical manufacturing. Drawing on her expertise in formulation and her commitment to creating a truly sustainable business, Kate founded Ancient + Brave. This dedication to quality and ethical practices is still at the core of everything we do.

Our name is also our DNA. The ‘Ancient’ looks to the past and signifies the use and understanding of ancient wisdom, nature and ritual which we work with to support wellness. The ‘Brave’ looks forward, embracing modern scientific advances in sourcing, producing, and prescribing natural ingredients for health and wellbeing. Rooted in nature, based in science. 

What is your core mission and how does your product range align with this?

Our core mission is to bring ancient wisdom to the modern world to support people with their whole-body health whilst working with our planet, not against it. We see so many people struggling with the overwhelming amount of information on nutrition, health and wellness, not knowing what they need to fit into their already packed and busy lives. In truth, nature offers us some simple solutions. Our aim is to cut through the noise with intelligent yet easy to use formulations which support our audience with the issues they tell us about; such as positive ageing, energy, focus, sleep, stress and staying active. Everything from our sustainable packaging, ingredients and operations puts people and the planet at the heart of our business. Going beyond the products, we are a trusted source of education on wellness with a whole team of experts and partners guiding our audience.

What sets Ancient + Brave apart from other collagen-based brands on the market?

A few things! As well as our environmental credentials and focus on ‘whole-body health’ we also want our products to fit beautifully into your life. Supplements like collagen work best when used consistently. Not only do our products look beautiful on your kitchen counter, the taste of our collagen certainly sets us apart too - True Collagen is odourless and tasteless making it so easy to add to your favourite drink without changing the taste - this in turn makes it easy to keep consistent with your regime.

Not all collagen is created equal either - we’ve sourced our bovine collagen from the EU specifically, as it not only aligns with our pledge to reduce our carbon footprint, but we were unhappy with the issue of deforestation in South America which affects many collagen products sourced from the US. Our Wild Collagen is MSC certified wild caught marine sourced from North Atlantic, ensuring the highest quality. Ingredients in all our products are there for a reason - they support your health in a holistic way, so you won’t find any unnecessary ingredients, sweeteners or additives in there. We’re also big on education here - we want to equip our audience not only with products that support their health, but a deeper understanding of how to live a healthy, balanced life. 

How do you approach product development and innovation within the wellness space?

Does ancient wisdom play any role in the formulation of any of your products? All of our products start with this in mind. Whether through the deep respect and use of natural, organic ingredients rooted in ancient practices such as Lion’s Mane mushroom, raw cacao, matcha or ashwagandha. Even our more innovative products are anchored in ancestral health principles. Take collagen, for example; while it might be the supplement du jour, our ancestors consumed much more collagen through nose-to-tail eating, a practice that has declined in the modern Western diet. Similarly, our ancestors likely had access to mineral-rich water, unlike today's tap water, making electrolytes another innovative product inspired from ancestral health.

We aspire for our products to become a daily ritual for our audience. Throughout history, humans have turned to rituals as anchors, creating moments that connect us to ourselves and allow us to pause amongst the chaos around us. This can be a small ritual like making a warm cup of Cacao + Collagen. At the conception of each new product we also think about how people can easily incorporate our products as a moment of self care, just for themselves.

How do you define optimal health and how do your products support both mental and physical wellbeing?

This is a tricky one. Whilst I think that the pursuit of ‘optimal wellbeing’ is commendable, ‘optimal’ may not be something that we all need to be striving for. In fact, feeling like you need to be perfect in your health habits can be quite stressful and end up having a negative impact! I believe balance is an important goal to aim for. There are many aspects of health and wellbeing that need attention - nutrition, movement, sleep and rest, purpose, mindfulness, community, nature, light, just to name a few. Hyperfocusing on one area - exercise or nutrition for example, can mean that others are left trailing behind. All of them require a little commitment and discipline, which means there is a lot for people to focus on. This, on top of working, caring for others and trying to navigate life can be a lot.

Creating small habits for each of these pillars, which then become a part of your life, is often the key. Our products do just that. Packed with natural, deeply nourishing ingredients, they tick the nutrition box and adding them mindfully using a daily ritual ticks the rest and mindfulness box. Some of our products support sleep whilst others allow you to move and be active with ease or focus on your purpose. Let’s not forget that life is for living - and to do this feeling well is the ultimate goal.

To somebody new to your brand, what products would you recommend as a starting point?

I’d always recommend True Collagen as a starting point. It’s so easy to use everyday (especially if you add the ritual scoop to your routine!). Cacao + Collagen is also a cult favourite. Think of it as the ultimate healthy hot chocolate. We’ve blended our collagen with raw cacao, ashwagandha, beetroot, baobab, carob and cinnamon - decadent, nourishing and so balancing for those who feel life challenges. Our Rise Rituals, True Hydration and Matcha + Collagen are also making waves, as they support your morning routine. As a nutritionist, the starting point is always the morning routine and these products really start your day right.

What are your thoughts on the future of the wellness industry, and where do you see Ancient + Brave in that future?

I think it’s wonderful so many people are now interested in health and wellness! I do feel that there is a lot of conflicting information out there, however, often focused on extremes, quick fixes and click-baity comments. People are finding it really hard to navigate exactly how to find a healthy lifestyle. We aim to be a north star, guiding people to find their personal health path, rooted in time-tested wisdom from the past and within our biology, keeping it simple. Nature often offers the antidote and so we will continue to work closely with our planet as the wellness industry continues to grow. Community is a wonderful aspect of the growing wellness industry which we’re passionate about. We’ve committed to making a change and not only are part of the 1% for the Planet initiative, where we pledge one percent of everything we sell to environmental causes and social initiatives, but have also partnered with the charities Love Mercy and Rainforest Concern.

And finally, what daily wellness practices do you personally follow, and which Bramley and Ancient + Brave products do you incorporate into your routine?

I like to call them my ‘daily-ish’ practices, as honestly I adjust, tweak and change them as the year goes by to fit into different seasons but also into what’s happening in my life. I have some practices which are non-negotiables however;

Currently, my morning always begins with a huge glass of water (which I put on my bedside table the night before) and a dose of True Hydration. Then I meditate in bed for 10 minutes, trying my best not to wake my sleeping toddler who no doubt has crawled into our bed at some point in the early hours. I sneak into our living room for a quick yoga stretch and have a coffee with a scoop of True Collagen with my husband before the mad morning rush of breakfast (always packed with nutrition and protein) toothbrushing and getting ready. When I have a shower I love to use the Bramley Bamboo Body Brush - there are so many great health benefits from a daily body brush and it’s become a welcome daily ritual.

At work I often begin the day with a Matcha + Collagen, which is superb for the focus I need. At lunch I make sure I get some daylight (whatever the weather) and step away from my desk for some movement. We’re pretty lucky that we have workout sessions at the office too so I get my movement in for the day.

In the evening, I love a bubble bath with Bramley bubbles and Bath Salts. My skin routine is a quick one but made a little more luxurious using the Cloudberry Balancing Face Cream. I also love using the Little B range with my own little one as it’s so incredibly important to use such pure and natural products with children. I finish my day with True Nightcap, a lemon and ginger drink rich in magnesium and sleep promoting nutrients to help send me to sleep.

Date Posted

June 25, 2024