WHAT DO I DO WHEN I'M STRESSED: Any or a combination of the following: pause, breathe deeply, call a friend/coach, go for walks, eat a piece of fresh fruit or remind myself why I’m committed to doing what I do. A QUALITY ABOUT A PERSON THAT CATCHES MY ATTENTION: Their enthusiasm and curiosity. I WANTED TO BE THIS WHEN I GREW UP: A rock star.
Building a brand that reflects nature’s humanity
CHALLENGING CHANGE FACE TO FACE. For Founder and CEO Charbel Zeaiter, starting the global Alt Saints company in his native Australia was an opportunity to express a simple message with a direct call to action. “Every cereal or juice product we sell has a story attached about an endangered animal. It’s a gentle call to action, because what we see in nature is reflected back in us.” Designed under the care of removing the traumatic or overwhelming side of the conversation about environmentalism and replacing it with simple stories and products that allow consumers to give back to environmental organizations working toward great changes, is what Charbel is excited to develop.
As any new venture faces its own directional challenges, Charbel has pivoted the company away from food into NFT collectibles and blockchain games. No stranger to pivots, Planet Neo is his new direction - a metaverse that now houses Alt Saints as a resident brand.
This direction into NFTs and games was always part of the long-term company vision. "We're repositioning the brands and have almost instantly attracted customers from North America, South America, Europe and South East Asia."
Which in many ways is a comfortable move for Charbel, because he’s no stranger to taking big risks and exploring change with confidence. “I’ve had the ideal background to bring this company to life; I started out in hotel and catering management and then moved into food retail and loved it before stumbling into the world of design and the internet - specifically brand and customer experience design.”
Armed with his customer experience skills Charbel’s first purpose driven step was to found a company dedicated to changing the world through education, focusing on teaching digital skills missing from most modern curriculum. “Looking back at it all now, it makes a ton of sense all of these experiences I’d collected. It all brought me to this point in my career where the interactions of food, content, design and technology could be honed into one singular, seamless brand.”
TAKING SELF-DOUBT TO TASK. As an openly gay man, he found that the more traditional expectations to find a partner, get married, have a family, the house and picket fence wasn’t influential in his life, giving him even more freedom to explore and consume his passions.
“I didn’t have anything really holding me back from trying a whole lot of things and I had a very supportive network of family, friends, and colleagues. If I saw a unique opportunity in a different city, I literally just packed up and moved to a different city. I had that freedom, that flexibility. And I took full advantage for a long, long time.” Which also helped inform not only how he experienced life, but how others and life experienced him as well.
“With me, you get my full experience as a professional and as a person. If you’re going to work with me or for me or fund me or Alt Saints, you’re going to get all of me. And I think that’s an asset, more than anything else.”
And Charbel says this is essential when you’re building a brand with real purpose. “Alt Saints doesn’t just pledge 1% of all revenues to support environmental organizations, it’s also telling the story of the vulnerability of animals, insects, the rainforest, the oceans. People often want to ignore or push back when faced with those realities. But they’re real. And once we accept them as being real, we’re empowered to have an actual influence, good or bad. That’s real power. That’s real self-awareness.”
- Gay Times [Print]: Gay Times Magazine