An encounter with a mushroom tea master led brothers Simon and Andrew Salter deep into the mycology rabbit hole. 

Simon chats with Payman and Rhona about how the brothers’ DIRTEA brings ancestral adaptive medicine into the 21st century.



In This Episode

01.43 – Backstory

17.12 – Discovering mushrooms

23.24 – Vision, action and effort

27.52 – Brotherhood and partnerships

32.49 – DIRTEA

36.37 – Psychedelic mushrooms

49.23 – Availability and community

58.35 – Scaling and growth


About Simon Salter

Alongside brother Andrew, Simon Salter is the co-founder of DIRTEA mushroom pure extract 

Speaker1: Think Michael Pollan talks about this incredibly well is that you can have this experience and you can get [00:00:05] to the summit and you can see the horizon. But the reality is when you come, come down from [00:00:10] come off, this experience is that the integration then commences. You have [00:00:15] to climb that gain and there may not be a rope.

Speaker2: This [00:00:20] is mind movers. Moving the conversation forward [00:00:25] on mental health and optimisation for dental professionals. Your [00:00:30] hosts Rhona Eskander and Payman Langroudi.

Speaker3: Welcome [00:00:35] to another episode of Mind Movies. Today we have the incredible [00:00:40] Simon Salter. Simon is a very important person in my life. The reason why [00:00:45] I started this podcast is to discuss mental health, and he’s been pivotal to my [00:00:50] healing, to introducing me to the right people. He’s one of the most charismatic [00:00:55] and magnetic individuals that I’ve ever met. And he [00:01:00] started a business called dirty. I’m sure you all know about it. I have been raving [00:01:05] about it on my social media. I’ve had a lot of dentists by dirty as well, but the genesis [00:01:10] of dirty isn’t the only thing that Simon and his brother [00:01:15] Andrew started. He had several business adventures, which we’re going to touch upon as well, but [00:01:20] obviously focus mainly on the benefits of mushrooms. How you started, [00:01:25] and I’m just so thrilled to have you today for this conversation. So thanks for joining us, Simon. [00:01:30]

Speaker1: Um, I don’t know where to begin with my thanks. It’s always hard when someone compliments you with [00:01:35] a small or big. How do you receive that? But, um, I’m very happy with those words. That kind words. I’m [00:01:40] taking.

Speaker3: Them.

Speaker1: Take it. Thank you so much. Welcome, welcome. And thank you.

Speaker3: So, um, [00:01:45] Simon, I want to talk a little bit about, um, your background. Right. So, [00:01:50] as I said, I want to know about the genesis of dirty, how it started. One time we had a dinner party at [00:01:55] my house, um, with my parents, and they told me as well, like, you know, they have had other businesses I [00:02:00] remember, like America. The American story makes me laugh.

Speaker1: Still being kicked out of [00:02:05] America. Okay.

Speaker3: And yeah. So tell us a little bit about kind of, you know, your businesses before, [00:02:10] uh, where you were, you know, at and how dirty started.

Speaker1: So, um, ah, [00:02:15] well, there’s so many ways to kind of approach this one. Um, and like I said, I don’t want to if [00:02:20] I go off this way, you bring me back here. Um, but it’s always been my brother and I, um, [00:02:25] we there’s a there’s a distinction in age. Uh, I’m just turned 40. [00:02:30] He’s 33. But if you certainly put us up against each other, I do hope you think that he’s older. Um, [00:02:35] with his biblical look from beard to hair. Um, and I say that because it’s really defined [00:02:40] to where we are now. You know, we’ve always got behind something we passionately believe in. We’re very unconventional [00:02:45] creatures, I’d say, and to the point that we’re incredibly unemployable. No one really wanted [00:02:50] us. And if they did, we didn’t last longer than than a week. And, you know, um, so [00:02:55] if it’s about where it started, it started when we met a lady by the name [00:03:00] of Wendy Goff, who lost her son to testicular cancer at the age of 18. Uh, [00:03:05] she gave a talk at my brother’s school. And it was [00:03:10] an extraordinary story because she said it was so much grit and at such a young age, [00:03:15] she she captured our imaginations. It was the fact that he lost his life because, uh, [00:03:20] it was a cancer that was treatable. But for him, uh, like [00:03:25] any a guy, we kind of, like, dismiss anything that’s about, uh, mortality. We just get on with our life. [00:03:30] Yeah. 18. Uh, there was something going on that was irregular down below.

Speaker1: And, [00:03:35] um, when he spoke to his mother about it, it was. She knew as a doctor it was far too late. [00:03:40] So she was now looking at a sand timer with her son, I mean, and I looked [00:03:45] at my and I was talking to my brother afterwards because what she shared, which was a very profound [00:03:50] statement that, you know, most cancers are treatable in the early stages. It just happened to be that testicular cancer [00:03:55] is near enough, 100% treatable. Now. It was what I kind of got from that. [00:04:00] My brother and I got that it was prevention. It was prevention over cure at a time when social media [00:04:05] was pretty much the mouthpiece where we can connect. It was a time where we felt this was an important [00:04:10] message to share. So we tend to kind of when I say we’re unconventional, we kind of see things [00:04:15] from a different perspective. So with that in mind, um, I kind of think [00:04:20] how old I was, but I was young and he was younger. Uh, we decided to, to create a campaign that [00:04:25] would penetrate that taboo and create a conversation online. And the great thing about [00:04:30] online is you can go anywhere and do everything you like. The bandwidth is limitless. So cut a very long story [00:04:35] short, we created something called Feeling Nuts. It started in 2000. Uh, got [00:04:40] your attention. Yeah, that’s all it ever was. And it’s supposed to be. And [00:04:45] we’re an attention seeking generation. Hence the success of social media.

Speaker3: How old were you then? [00:04:50]

Speaker1: Um. How old? How young? What?

Speaker3: How young were you then?

Speaker1: I was I was [00:04:55] early 20s. Okay, fine. What were you.

Speaker4: Doing? What were you doing before? What was your work at that point? [00:05:00]

Speaker1: Um. We weren’t we were just always coming up with ideas. [00:05:05] Uh, back then, I’d just come out of university, and he hadn’t been to university. He was. [00:05:10] He was building up an event side of business, actually, and I was building up a PR kind of idea of a business. [00:05:15] And we were coming together with ideas and there were things that we were doing. But it was really this that [00:05:20] kind of became a tipping point to our journey. Um, so [00:05:25] we decided that we were going to create a campaign. But in order to do so, [00:05:30] we had to go to the epicentre of entertainment being Los Angeles. So. We [00:05:35] didn’t have the means at the time, but we had patrons who would support us in [00:05:40] our endeavour was that we felt that we could actually make this a movement that wouldn’t just be a campaign. [00:05:45] So we did go to America with the support of others, and [00:05:50] we navigated that entertainment industry, sharing our message that we wanted to kind of raise awareness about [00:05:55] this. And we had our strategy and everything planned. Um, I don’t know if you want me to veer [00:06:00] off to why we got kicked out, but there we go.

Speaker3: Well, go on then. Summarise [00:06:05] it. It’s quite.

Speaker1: Funny. It’s, uh, so the idea of us, you know, we basically had this campaign, [00:06:10] it was doing so well in the UK, it was a hashtag called Philly Nuts. We’re getting people to kind of, uh, spread [00:06:15] the message about keeping their nuts in check or their partners to keep their nuts in check. And it was basically [00:06:20] using the hashtag. We would empower a whole community of people with the simple ways to keep [00:06:25] in check. And then you, uh, the, the influence of your community, do anything [00:06:30] you like, be through poetry, music, dance, whatever the expression was. And everyone got on board about on it, on it. [00:06:35] And, um, then this thing started where my brother and I pulled our trousers [00:06:40] down, grabbed our crotch, and, uh, we were challenging the world. Philly nuts. It was just [00:06:45] before the ice bucket challenge. So it was. It was, I remember that. Yeah. So [00:06:50] we started this idea where we would challenge our audience. And I think we challenged, [00:06:55] like, One Direction, five seconds of summer. No way. Uh, Sam Branson, [00:07:00] who was a pivotal part in that kind of moment for us. And it kicked off something very big [00:07:05] whilst that store’s going on, we’re going back to North America. But, you know, every time we go to customs, we’re not [00:07:10] saying that we’re, um, we’re saying we’re there. Was it Easter? Um, yeah. But, [00:07:15] um, uh, so what happened, uh, after coming back [00:07:20] from New York, from a few things we were doing there because of the movement was becoming so big, and we were going to [00:07:25] be creating a show.

Speaker1: Sounds so random because I’m not going to go too far into it. But we were going [00:07:30] to create, um, the event which was going to be in New York and LA. But not to worry [00:07:35] too much about it. The most important thing was, um, when we came back from New York, I lost my passport. [00:07:40] Now, when I got my new passport, we were coming back to, um, to New York because we were in a position [00:07:45] of signing, actually a quite big deal with ABC. Um, I got to the [00:07:50] airport and whilst we were in the air, apparently my esta visa declined. So the moment I landed [00:07:55] there, about 4 or 5 officers waiting for me, TSA officers, um, this is the period [00:08:00] of time when the TSA was massive, as you know, there were so many people working for them, but there’s not any more, [00:08:05] I don’t think. Um, so they, um, they decided to take [00:08:10] me to secondary. Um, they crossed. They did the whole Spanish Inquisition. They [00:08:15] put me in a position for like 6 or 7 hours where they interrogated me. Actually, I brought my brother in. He was fine to go, [00:08:20] but there was no way I was going to that situation without my brother. Um, so they, [00:08:25] uh, they we were there for eight, ten hours. Um, and then I all I remember [00:08:30] was when they left, we were just left in this secondary space. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in it before, but it’s not as [00:08:35] an Iranian.

Speaker4: Yeah. Very, very used to secondary. I don’t want to I don’t want to.

Speaker1: Stereotype a.

Speaker4: Situation. [00:08:40]

Speaker1: Not a nice place to be. And certainly when you’re in the position of the unknown, you know, we had no [00:08:45] reputation. So whatever happens, happens. Um, but then in a distance, you heard the clanking of chains. The new [00:08:50] officers were coming in, uh, so they shackled us. You know, you had to put your arm in the air. They put chain [00:08:55] around you, and, you know, they go through this whole kind of process. It was very it was very bad behaviour on their behalf. [00:09:00] And I say that because the letter we got was phenomenal, um, afterwards. But they, you know, within 24 [00:09:05] hours of landing, we’re back in the UK never to come back to the US again. Um, but another very long story [00:09:10] short, we went through the process of actually being of finding out who is the head of immigration, [00:09:15] who reports to Barack Obama. We guess the email we showed them everything we’re doing with this wonderful [00:09:20] video of Ant and Dec as a pair of testicles talking about this campaign that we’re doing. Yeah, I love that. Yeah. [00:09:25] And just the pursuit we were on and we got a letter back of an apology. He charged us with an [00:09:30] amazing team. And, um, now, uh, there’s [00:09:35] a whole process, but we got our visa, so we were able to go back to America. [00:09:40] But by that point, we’d actually started it all in the UK because of how long it took. Um, [00:09:45] so we can go back to America. It’s okay, but we’ll definitely every single [00:09:50] time I go into secondary for some odd reason. But, um, so, um, the [00:09:55] campaign became massive. The reason that it’s probably important to tell you that story is because, uh, it [00:10:00] became one of the biggest social movement of, of our generation. We engaged with over 2 billion [00:10:05] people worldwide who individually got involved in the campaign in some capacity.

Speaker3: With social media. Big [00:10:10] back then, uh.

Speaker1: Vine was big.

Speaker4: Vine.

Speaker3: I remember.

Speaker1: That. Um, so [00:10:15] we were always I say that because we’re always trending on vine, because everyone was doing something like grabbing their crotch or [00:10:20] talking about, uh, getting, you know, being in check, you know, awareness was our social currency. [00:10:25] I feel back then, um, and then it, um, it culminated in [00:10:30] a, in a big TV show on channel four, the O2 arena. So we found a way of, like, building a. Massive [00:10:35] movement and which was a campaign to the show. So the bigger the the awareness, [00:10:40] the bigger the TV show will be at the O2. So it was a wonderful show. It was presented [00:10:45] by Jack Whitehall, James Corden, uh, One Direction, Cara Delevingne.

Speaker3: Can I see it? Is it still [00:10:50] available online? Yeah, you can find it.

Speaker1: Yeah. There’s. Yeah, there’s, um, it became one of the leading [00:10:55] prime time entertainment shows because we Andy and I felt like we knew with the people around us that supported [00:11:00] us, we knew how to create attention. And which is why [00:11:05] I think, you know, that part of the story is important because that became our blueprint for life, you know, that became [00:11:10] our blueprint when we went on to kind of also manage, uh, and bring back David Haye from retirement [00:11:15] back into heavyweight division, uh, to going to, uh, build our company [00:11:20] limelight, which was almost like this marketing agency incubator where we would support, invest, [00:11:25] um, cutting edge ideas, businesses, founders, and take their vision and [00:11:30] find a way to scale and become like a leading category king.

Speaker3: Um, [00:11:35] but then. So then how was Dirty Born then out of all of that? And do you think that, [00:11:40] you know, you’re so obviously, you know, this philanthropic, you know, pursuit [00:11:45] is the reason why you were like, I want to do something meaningful because that’s what I’m hearing, right? You know, [00:11:50] it’s incredible to have all these success. But I think the most important thing that I’m hearing is that you wanted [00:11:55] to have meaning and impact for the right cause, right? Because you started out with something like wanting to help [00:12:00] somebody with cancer. Um, and then that, you know, I always say that like, [00:12:05] a life of meaning is one of the most important things. I’m lucky. I love my job because I know that I’ve [00:12:10] got a difference, you know, in that kind of sense. So my question is, you know, [00:12:15] how was Dirty Born then after that?

Speaker1: Um, so dirty was born [00:12:20] out of a time. Uh, I’d say it was.

Speaker3: Was it the pandemic?

Speaker1: Actually, [00:12:25] we started it came out of the pandemic. We we got involved in mushrooms probably about six [00:12:30] years ago because we would see our family and friends going through these symptoms [00:12:35] of anxiety or chronic symptoms or sleep deprivation and physical and [00:12:40] mental fatigue. Um, and in a time when there’s so much knowledge out there, the one [00:12:45] thing that prevails is white noise and going to see your GP. But there are alternative [00:12:50] ways to kind of become reclaim the power of your health. Uh, but, you know, [00:12:55] so our friends, they’re going they get you know, they’ll get go to their GP and get a sleeping pill or whatever [00:13:00] and just numb presents or something.

Speaker3: Yeah.

Speaker1: And just numb. No, there is a time for it. I do agree, but [00:13:05] it shouldn’t discount the idea that there are other alternative things that we can do. And actually, interestingly [00:13:10] enough, most of which is ancestrally LED, it’s there’s so much if you look at the arc of history, [00:13:15] there’s so much you can learn from how his historically, [00:13:20] how tribes and communities would adapt to stress. [00:13:25] Um, and, you know, so we would see a lot of friends going through it. And actually we feel like [00:13:30] we’re getting into that situation where we’re feeling a bit uneasy because, you know, when you’re building businesses or building ideas, [00:13:35] time becomes an enemy. Sleep becomes secondary. [00:13:40] Because I don’t think when we’re brought up, we’re brought up to understand how powerful that tool of sleep is and how that [00:13:45] will significantly impact your day for the greater and good or the complete opposite. [00:13:50] And if it is the complete opposite and you don’t know it’s about sleep, then I think you become your own worst enemy. [00:13:55] And if you become your worst enemy, you become, um, a bit paranoid. Yeah, fearful. [00:14:00] And which is why maybe a lot of these kind of, um, um, [00:14:05] pharmaceutical kind of approaches seems like the suitable approach. And also when you go and see your [00:14:10] GP and there’s some fantastic family doctors and GP, but just just from his [00:14:15] history and case studies is that, you know, the two things they don’t have is time and, you know, [00:14:20] resources beyond the bandwidth of what they know. So anything that’s [00:14:25] alternative is not really in on their radar.

Speaker3: It’s funny because as you say [00:14:30] that, as, you know, within the medical system and something for me that I’ve spoken about [00:14:35] quite a lot recently is medical gaslighting. So with medical gaslighting, [00:14:40] we spoke about this recently Payman and I as well is when someone comes in [00:14:45] and they present you with a set of symptoms, and because you can’t physically see the symptoms and the way that [00:14:50] you’re taught as a doctor or dentist, i.e it’s not on an x ray, it’s not on a blood test, it’s not on something [00:14:55] else. You tend to discount it and the symptoms that the patient’s feeling. And now [00:15:00] that we’re understanding that it’s so multifactorial, why people feel the way they do. So things like [00:15:05] sleep, nutrition etc. has such an impact on your overall health. And [00:15:10] we’re not actually taught that, by the way, you know, as undergraduates. And it’s just so, so important. [00:15:15] I think there’s a lot of awareness coming up now and recognising that all the woo woo stuff [00:15:20] is really important. You know, your overall mental health. Yeah.

Speaker1: Listen, we will um, [00:15:25] it’s something that’s becoming cooler and absolutely fundamentally important. I think there’s more studies [00:15:30] and research to support that as well. Um, I. Just saw a study this morning that, [00:15:35] um, I think it was 13,000 subjects on the basis of first light [00:15:40] is ten times brighter and more important than just getting your [00:15:45] light on in here, and that’s an amazing kick for your cortisol levels if you get it. [00:15:50] Um, otherwise it can affect your mood and your levels during the day. Um, but yes, you’re right. [00:15:55] So most, most people are diagnosed on symptoms rather than the cause.

Speaker3: So tell me as well, you said [00:16:00] that people around you were suffering with their mental health. Were you guys suffering?

Speaker1: Um, [00:16:05] slightly. I wouldn’t say because I’m comparing myself to [00:16:10] to friends and those who are going through it. Um, you see, in some [00:16:15] capacity, there were symptoms we were getting because of talking about sleep and talking about [00:16:20] not falling into the routine and how important it is to kind of be physically active and mentally active. [00:16:25] Um, so and also me being older and my brother and seeing sorry and seeing him [00:16:30] potentially going through some of those symptoms and myself going through some of those symptoms, I felt like [00:16:35] I was a success and failure on behalf of my brother, because I didn’t really have the answers. Um, [00:16:40] and I was speaking to a philosopher the other day and he said, you know, Simon, most of the time [00:16:45] the answers is if you walk into the forest and I said, sorry, and, uh, here [00:16:50] we go. Woo woo! Yeah. Um, because, you know, scientifically, just walking into a forest, it calms the nervous system down. [00:16:55] You know, everything.

Speaker4: Japanese, they call it bathing in the forest. Bathing?

Speaker1: Yes. Exactly. Yeah. [00:17:00] So, um, and I think I’m saying that because that’s free, you know, [00:17:05] um, if you live within a park, go to a park if you’re feeling slightly stressed. Um, nature. [00:17:10] Nature, nature is one of our. Yeah, but.

Speaker3: How did you come across the mushrooms then? What was the first time you’re like, [00:17:15] oh, this is interesting.

Speaker1: So we would look at I was very intrigued by ancestral [00:17:20] ways of living. You know, how, um, some of these tribes could adapt [00:17:25] to stress when they’re always in a state of fight or flight? You know, in the sense that, you know, when you walk into this room or you [00:17:30] walk into your home, this gets to the mushrooms parts, by the way, when you walk in, you play. God [00:17:35] forgive me for using such a grandiose terms, but you play God because you get to dictate temperature, security, safety, [00:17:40] light, everything. And but back then they didn’t have anything like that. So, um, [00:17:45] they’re walking into the forest. They were defined as like walking into their own pharmacy. They would find these adaptogens. They [00:17:50] would find these plants, herbs and mushrooms. And I became fascinated by that and [00:17:55] sharing these kind of findings with my brother. And the more and more you go into, you look at these things, the more you go into a rabbit [00:18:00] hole. And, um, a friend of mine once told me that there was a mushroom tea master [00:18:05] in London, um, all in tandem with me looking into these fascinating kind of, um, [00:18:10] insights into nature and how preventative they can be. So we met with [00:18:15] her. Obviously, there is this misconception. You know, my brother thought I was, you know, well, I kind of thought as well that potentially [00:18:20] this could be the ceremony that you go and see rainbows and unicorns. Um, [00:18:25] but, um, but it wasn’t it was a fascinating experience. We walk [00:18:30] into a room and very aethereal lady, um, the smell of Palo Santos, you know, [00:18:35] all it down, lighting, sat down like everything is like you’ve just. You’ve just stepped away from the concrete [00:18:40] jungle. You’ve stepped into sacred, safe, uh, surroundings. So, um, [00:18:45] in.

Speaker4: Finsbury Park or something close?

Speaker1: Um, [00:18:50] it was west, but it was. Yeah, very, very kind of [00:18:55] similar. And, um, so she’d sit with us. And what was interesting is, like [00:19:00] each one of these mushrooms she presented was stunning. It was like. It was like like nature’s art. [00:19:05] And the one thing you kind of understand is like, wow, we [00:19:10] we miss all this. And there is something I should share in a minute. But, um, so [00:19:15] each one of these mushrooms, she would talk about the history of them, she’d talk about how [00:19:20] they were used ancestrally and then how their functional foods, because beyond their nutritional [00:19:25] composition, if the mushroom is extracted correctly, from what you see [00:19:30] to a powder, there are compounds in there that can improve the full kind of, [00:19:35] um, uh, embodiment of your wellbeing. And that’s from nature. [00:19:40] And nothing’s been shifted. It’s purely the mushroom. So we sat with her, we and it kind of developed [00:19:45] this idea of conscious drinking, which I don’t think we do in any capacity. So by [00:19:50] drinking it with her and understanding about the history and the benefits there and the science, [00:19:55] and you start drinking, you start to feel a bit, you know, there’s a feeling you get, um, that’s undeniable. [00:20:00] Placebo or not, it’s fine. Yeah. Uh, so that whole process was a couple [00:20:05] of hours, and my brother and I felt fantastic. Um, we took some of her powders to, uh, [00:20:10] she was happy with that. And, um, you know, after a couple of weeks of, like, adopting these into our lifestyle, [00:20:15] we realised our sleep was more important. Our focus was more on point. Our energy levels [00:20:20] were more on point. Could this be the mushrooms? And then it [00:20:25] it beckons this idea. Well, there’s more to learn. And so I [00:20:30] took a deep dive and I became this kind of, um, amateur. My. Cottages and my cottages is a [00:20:35] biologist who studies mushrooms.

Speaker3: Alternative career path. Just thinking. [00:20:40] Yes.

Speaker1: It’s healthy. I mean, you’re in the forest like 90% of the time anyway. And, [00:20:45] uh, the interesting thing is why my college is important and and why this part was important is to understand [00:20:50] that this kingdom, the fungi kingdom, is so vast.

Speaker3: It’s incredible. It’s incredible. [00:20:55] Did you see, um, was it called The Mighty Fungi or something on Netflix? There was this amazing [00:21:00] documentary.

Speaker1: Yeah. Fantastic fungi.

Speaker3: Fantastic fungi, I watched it. Did you ever watch it? No. [00:21:05] During, um, I heard.

Speaker4: I heard an interview on. You must have Joe Rogan about mushrooms. [00:21:10]

Speaker3: Was it Michael Pollan or something? Or maybe Michael.

Speaker1: Pollan or Paul Stamets or. Yeah.

Speaker4: Yeah.

Speaker1: Yeah, [00:21:15] he’s.

Speaker3: Yeah. They’re amazing. So basically, because you asked me, I’m doing a little bit of like, reversal. [00:21:20] Um, Simon and I met because I had a little bit of a calling towards [00:21:25] mushrooms. I’d seen, like, loads about it. No, honestly. Honestly, like, I had a calling where I was like, oh, wow. [00:21:30] Like, it’s such a fascinating. My sister had always been obsessed with it and I was like, it’s such a fascinating [00:21:35] and beautiful thing. And then like when I looked into it, I was like, they are actually more powerful [00:21:40] than human beings, you know? They’ve outlived us. They’re going to continue to outlive us. They have [00:21:45] the capacity to do more than what we do. They’re so important. You know, there are even fungi out there that [00:21:50] literally eat plastic, you know, imagine if we implemented that with the plastic problem, incredible things that they [00:21:55] do. And there was so much like beauty and healing capacity when it came to mushrooms. I [00:22:00] was particularly interested in the mental health benefits. So as I told you, I’d gone through this like journey of having [00:22:05] like bouts of really bad mental health. A friend of mine had introduced me to Simon. I heard [00:22:10] of dirty. I went and had a, you know, one on one with Simon. I’ll never forget it for like a couple of hours at [00:22:15] White City.

Speaker3: And he was like, I’m going to put you, like on a good path. Introduce me to some people. [00:22:20] We went on a retreat together. That’s how I met Louis. Um, and for me, there was something [00:22:25] so beautiful because I’m going to sound cheesy. There was a there was a certain type [00:22:30] of community that are interested in mushrooms, the healing capacity [00:22:35] of mushrooms, and just that whole thing and that community made me feel really safe. And [00:22:40] safety is such an important part for my mental health. And you recognise that people like [00:22:45] Drop the Ego and the Superficialities and things like that, and with the mushrooms [00:22:50] as well, we were doing things like movement classes, breathwork. We know [00:22:55] an amazing breathwork coach as well. Um, and you know, those are all ways to like heal your [00:23:00] body instead of like numbing it, as we said, you know, and you can get to that elated state, like even with [00:23:05] the breathwork, you know, they do the ceremony with the dirty and the cacao, the breathwork can [00:23:10] literally make you feel on that, like altered state, like because it alters your breathing, your oxygen levels. So [00:23:15] for me, it was like a really powerful inlet into how to improve your life without having [00:23:20] to medicate. So yeah, so that’s why I really got into it.

Speaker4: I’m interested in this. I [00:23:25] mean, you could have been, uh, like a hippie who sort [00:23:30] of went on this ceremony, carried on with the rest of your life. Um, but, you know, [00:23:35] you you start the business. Yeah. And, you know, looking, hearing your story, [00:23:40] the there is this sort of impact that you want to have [00:23:45] every time you do something. Yeah. And, you know, I’m thinking back to what you said. If [00:23:50] I was a 24 year old or whatever you were, and I heard this story about this, this unfortunate [00:23:55] cancer story. Sure. I might have hugged the mother. I [00:24:00] might have told a few friends, but the idea that I’m going to start a campaign, [00:24:05] yeah, that’s one step. And then to say, what are we going to do for this campaign? I’m going [00:24:10] to go to LA where the movie people are, and if I got to LA, I wouldn’t [00:24:15] know where to start. Yeah. So tell me this. Well, going back one [00:24:20] step further to your childhood, um, what was it about your upbringing that [00:24:25] makes you want to have an impact?

Speaker1: Um, no [00:24:30] curveball there at all. Okay, so that’s a wonderful it’s such a wonderful [00:24:35] question because I love my my parents so much that, um, [00:24:40] and they’re very I’d say my father is very conventional. My mum is probably [00:24:45] more unconventional. She grew up as a PR, um, superstar on Fleet [00:24:50] Street and then built a model agency. And, uh, was always pushing the idea [00:24:55] of doing things independently. She, um, and my [00:25:00] father, when we had this idea, uh, never shelved it, never [00:25:05] told us. Shelve it. That’s what we passionately believed in. Uh, then then go for it. There were some challenges in the very beginning [00:25:10] because, uh, different generation. So, um, but they’re very calm [00:25:15] and wonderful human beings. Um, and it was it was [00:25:20] a wonderful upbringing because they were kind, uh, they weren’t unconventional, very tamed. [00:25:25] Uh, family of, um, brought up in, you know, north London, in Edgware or Edgware. Yeah. Yeah. [00:25:30] Um, so, yeah, they. It. It was just [00:25:35] something, I think also because my father was in property as an estate agent and very conventional [00:25:40] and traditional and never extended out that I think for my brother and I, our frustration [00:25:45] was, there’s so much more you can do. Yeah. Uh, and then, you know, as technology changes and, and, [00:25:50] uh, the excitement of property and, you know, it brought all these other guys in. It was my father was like [00:25:55] the number one in, in Edgware. Uh, there were about 18, 20. And he just got swallowed up [00:26:00] and or so our frustration is to is to change the game and we see something, uh, that we passionately [00:26:05] believe in. It’s our, our impulse is to is just to go for it. [00:26:10] And, um, and maybe that was a slight kind of, uh, springboard for the reasons [00:26:15] why. But, uh, you know, Mum and dad have always been very supportive, and I think in some [00:26:20] capacity, we always wanted to create something that we could give back to them. That was another thing. [00:26:25]

Speaker3: I think that’s so important. I think, you know, when you’ve got that close relationship with your parents, you almost feel [00:26:30] like you want to do something. I mean, I certainly have that with my dad. You’ve met him.

Speaker1: Yeah. Yeah, but.

Speaker4: You make it sound so [00:26:35] effortless. Um, is that just the way you come across, or.

Speaker3: Yes, it’s [00:26:40] the way Simon comes across.

Speaker1: Yeah. Because.

Speaker4: Have you had some failures along the way, surely?

Speaker1: Yes, [00:26:45] it was a very quick answer. Yeah. There’s, there’s, there’s been failures and and even today there are, you [00:26:50] know.

Speaker4: Failures.

Speaker1: Yes. Yeah. But there’s this concept of failing forward in a sense that to get up, brush [00:26:55] the sand off and keep going forward, there’s no fairy tale to every thing that we’ve [00:27:00] ever done. I guess I’m giving you the top line, but you can definitely give me the Spanish Inquisition [00:27:05] and I can crack open, uh, some challenges. But the interesting thing is, is, is I would say one of the [00:27:10] greatest strengths I’ve had is my brother. And I hope it’s the other way around as well. Because to do anything [00:27:15] on your own, to do anything individually, you’re consistently in this, uh fisticuff with [00:27:20] your ego or you’re always putting pressure on yourself. And when things don’t go right, who [00:27:25] do you who do you go to? Who can you entrust in and actually to build something with someone you love? [00:27:30] Yeah, well, that’s another rarity there. Uh, so it’s a testament to our [00:27:35] bond, um, to everything that we have done. But there’s definitely been challenges. And [00:27:40] we’ve even every morning, even this morning, I’m going through I’m being challenged about, you know, [00:27:45] dirty, you know, because every day you’re challenged. I don’t know if you agree, but you’re challenged about your business, what you’re doing, where you’re [00:27:50] going 100%. Uh, so, um, and.

Speaker4: Are you are you opposites, you and your brother, as far [00:27:55] as, um, your skill sets?

Speaker3: Yes, I think I think so as well. But, you know, it’s so funny [00:28:00] because, Simon, I’m going to say you kind of remind me of me as well, because obviously, [00:28:05] as you know, like with parlour, like, I feel like you’re definitely more of the sort of like you’re definitely very creative. [00:28:10] You’re more like of the visionary, sort of like ideas type person. [00:28:15] I’m just assuming, by the way. But like, our logistics are something I just said to Payman before you arrived. [00:28:20] Like, I hate logistics, as in like the kind of like the operational side. I hate [00:28:25] it with a passion. Like literally hate it because also my brain doesn’t really sort of function [00:28:30] in that way. Like I find it’s such an immense challenge to think about things operationally, [00:28:35] whereas like, I love having ideas, etc..

Speaker1: There’s a mushroom for that. Sorry.

Speaker3: Yeah. [00:28:40] And um, but.

Speaker4: Partnership is such a funny thing. You haven’t got a partner in, in business [00:28:45] in your Dental business in Chelsea.

Speaker3: Yeah, it’s funny because.

Speaker4: But, but but with [00:28:50] me and Sanj, for instance, I see him as a brother. I mean, we, we, you know, we were in university [00:28:55] together since we were 18 years old and yeah, we’re opposites in that. He’s very good at the [00:29:00] stuff you’re talking about. He’s very good at computers. He’s very good at systems. He’s he [00:29:05] loves that sort of thing. And but you do have to align on [00:29:10] basic principles 100%. And I think the one other thing, and, you know, we’ve been [00:29:15] in business for 22 years or something. The other thing you really have to align with your partners on [00:29:20] is risk profile. If you’ve got risk profile. And [00:29:25] that’s along over the years, that’s been a big issue. Right. What are we willing to risk [00:29:30] to do whatever. I mean, I’m sure you guys have all sorts of plans, right? I’m sure you want to put it in [00:29:35] soft drinks or whatever it is.

Speaker1: Oh my God, are you in our meetings? You’re [00:29:40] right. There’s, um. I think one thing from what you’re saying is that, [00:29:45] um, it’s quite hard to own up to your weakness sometimes and show vulnerability because [00:29:50] you don’t want to be.

Speaker3: I love it, I show it all the time. I show it all the time. My vulnerability is.

Speaker4: Vulnerability. [00:29:55] Oh, 100%. You go into Parliament meetings and say, look, I can’t be bothered with [00:30:00] that.

Speaker3: Am I going to get it? No, no, I, I think, I think I think there’s like there’s a challenge, [00:30:05] um, with that because with a start up sometimes [00:30:10] and I don’t know if it’s the same for you or if it was the same for you. They’re like, okay, we get that you don’t get it [00:30:15] or that you find it hard, but just learn it. This is a start up and we can’t afford to have [00:30:20] other hire someone. So the only person that’s going to do it is you. So you’ve kind of just got to like, suck it [00:30:25] up and do it. And I think that there’s a real challenge in that because I love to work [00:30:30] to people’s strengths, not their weaknesses. Is right. So my I’m having to [00:30:35] work on my weaknesses and I’m not excelling in the things that I want to, but that is the reality of [00:30:40] a Start-Up, I think. And that’s really difficult because also within the dental clinic, I have [00:30:45] an absolutely bomb operations manager, like, you know, a refurbing the whole clinic, [00:30:50] you will come on the refurbs done. We’re gutting the whole thing. Literally. [00:30:55] I’ve had to just sign bits of paper she’s had like topless. She’s done all the meetings, like everything like that. [00:31:00]

Speaker4: Because. Because the dental clinic can afford her.

Speaker3: Yeah, correct. That’s exactly what I was about to say.

Speaker4: But [00:31:05] with brothers, you instinctively know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, so it doesn’t have to be [00:31:10] explained, you know? And with me and Sanj, it’s a bit like that. He does more than I do, simply [00:31:15] because it’s absolutely clear those things shouldn’t. I shouldn’t trust me with those things, [00:31:20] you know. Yeah, I.

Speaker1: Agree, I think if you if you look to our team, it’s a testament to the vision [00:31:25] the team we have are extraordinary. Not all of them are seniors, but they some of the players senior role [00:31:30] and they absolutely they’re amazing. They are. They smash out the park. And I say it’s a testament [00:31:35] to the vision because, uh, it’s not just a business of building. There is a movement [00:31:40] certainly in mushrooms, and I feel we’re at the forefront of it. So [00:31:45] when we spoke about content before, when we spoke about we were speaking about logistics and, [00:31:50] you know, supply chains and, you know, going internationally and cogs, cogs, cogs. Yes. [00:31:55] Uh, we’re all in it. We’re, you know, this is something that we’re all invested in, into. And [00:32:00] I think, you know, to, you know, I should say categorically, these are functional mushrooms. I know we spoke [00:32:05] before, but these are functional.

Speaker3: That’s what I want to I want to get into. I think it’s really important. Can you please tell us what [00:32:10] are the ingredients and dirty and the benefits? I’m obsessed. I have like five a day, by the way. I [00:32:15] think it’s a bit too much, but.

Speaker1: No no no no no. Listen, a healthy addiction. Yeah. There’s nothing. There’s [00:32:20] never too much, um, with mushrooms. Um, if I can say these are functional [00:32:25] mushrooms, so they have a nutritional value. But beyond that composition, they have a compound [00:32:30] in each one of them which impacts the body in such remarkable ways. And [00:32:35] when you see it from our customers, when you see it personally, it’s undeniable. [00:32:40] And then you can even, you know, look back at, um, look back at the history of mushrooms. [00:32:45] And there’s, there’s a history. I think it’s so important because you become even more undeniably connected.

Speaker3: Well, tell us a [00:32:50] little bit about the mushrooms you’ve integrated into dirty.

Speaker1: So we have I should have brought the mushrooms in, [00:32:55] but, um, you have lion’s mane. B-roll.

Speaker3: Yeah, I love it. [00:33:00]

Speaker1: You have lion’s mane. Uh, it’s called. Yeah, it’s called lion’s mane. Because when you go into the forest, [00:33:05] it’s a mane of a lion. It’s all about focus. That mushroom, it’s all about, um. [00:33:10] It’s great for two brains. Your first. Your first brain here and your second brain, your gut. [00:33:15] Uh, and they both are entwined with each other. I think that’s why people feel so good with it. It’s got [00:33:20] an amazing, uh, note, this taste. It’s like caramel. Some say misu, some say dark chocolate. [00:33:25] Okay, fine.

Speaker3: Whatever floats your boat, you know.

Speaker1: Because the first thing and one thing about mushrooms, they’re [00:33:30] always thinking about, it’s like a yucky kind of expression. But this is [00:33:35] a phenomenal. I start with this one because this is the one I start in the morning with. Because when I wake up in the morning, I [00:33:40] want to make sure that I’ve got a clear mind, a clear head, and for some reason, it feels like it’s something’s [00:33:45] left. It feels good, I love it. And, um, they’re, um, some of the history and [00:33:50] some of the research that supports that makes me even more excited by it and more excited when we get the reaction from [00:33:55] our customers. It’s probably one, the number one, number one, one of the top leading mushrooms. Yeah. You [00:34:00] then have chaga, uh, chaga mushrooms is is found usually in the Siberian [00:34:05] forest. It grows on birch trees and, uh, it grows in very extreme [00:34:10] weather conditions. And that is representation of this mushroom. This is like the immune boosting kind of mushroom. [00:34:15] It’s got the highest source of antioxidants known to anything else that Mother Nature has to offer. Um, [00:34:20] and it’s a way of like almost wearing a, um, like an S on your chest. [00:34:25]

Speaker1: So going through seasonal changes and you feel your immune systems being compromised, this is a great one to have. And actually, in [00:34:30] the morning, your immune system can be compromised. So it’s a really lovely kind of mushroom to [00:34:35] have. Uh, you then have cordyceps, known as the energy mushroom or the [00:34:40] performance mushroom. Uh, this mushroom has been used for thousands of years, found in the Himalayas. [00:34:45] And this one is incredibly good for those who have energy fatigue. [00:34:50] So it’s been shown like it can increase your energy levels. You know, our ATP, which is almost [00:34:55] a library molecules wraps around your cell that can deplete, um, off. You know, I think it’s after like 2025. [00:35:00] So this could be the precursor for that. And it tastes nice. It’s again, it’s [00:35:05] got a very nutty kind of profile. And anything I’m saying, by the way, at the moment, you can add these into anything you like shakes, [00:35:10] coffees, teas, you name it, cereal, salads. Um, and then you have, uh, tremella [00:35:15] the beauty mushroom.

Speaker3: Yeah. I was going to say it’s so cute. Yeah.

Speaker1: Um, [00:35:20] and that for many, they people call it the precursor for the hyaluronic acid. [00:35:25] It’s got, um, a molecule on it that can hold up to 1000 times its weight [00:35:30] in water so it can penetrate the skin, the skin, not skin, the skin. And quicker, so it could be great for [00:35:35] volume of skin elasticity. There’s a wonderful, um, story of this, uh, [00:35:40] Chinese, uh, beauty. She’s one of the four beauties of Chinese history called Young Guelfi, who [00:35:45] attested Tremella for her beauty. So it’s just nice to romantic to kind of look at what they were saying [00:35:50] back then. You then have, um, Ricci, which is, uh, also [00:35:55] known as the Mushroom of Longevity. It’s been used for thousands of years. It’s probably one of the it’s [00:36:00] probably the most researched mushroom in the world. And people drink it and they feel calm. People drink it and they [00:36:05] have better sleep. And there’s some amazing studies out there that needs to be way more studies. And that’s probably that’s [00:36:10] probably the great problem we have with functional mushrooms. And for mycology as a whole, is there’s probably [00:36:15] over 50,000 mycologists and a high percentage of them are underfunded because it’s only recently [00:36:20] become a bit sexier this industry. If you have.

Speaker4: A product that has all of them.

Speaker1: Yeah yeah [00:36:25] yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah.

Speaker4: Because I’ve got, I’ve got the lion’s mane and reishi.

Speaker3: I’ve got the coffee though, and the coffee’s got [00:36:30] loads of them in it as well.

Speaker1: You’ve got chaga in there, you’ve got lion’s mane, cordyceps and actually is [00:36:35] 80% less caffeine with every teaspoon. So what.

Speaker3: That’s why I can have lots of it. That’s why. Because it doesn’t it doesn’t affect [00:36:40] my sleep, the dirty. But it’s still it keeps me sort of feeling awake. You know, you get that hit. [00:36:45] Uh, Simon, but can you tell us a little bit, um, as well, about the difference between psychedelic mushrooms? [00:36:50] Um, you’ve already explained the functional ones. So the psychedelic ones and also, [00:36:55] um, if there any research behind the benefits of psychedelic mushrooms, [00:37:00] particularly with regards to mental health? Uh, we recognise it’s not currently legal. I’m reading a [00:37:05] lot of research now, as we, um, previously mentioned, um, Michael Pollan, Paul [00:37:10] Stamets, you know, there’s a lot of and unfortunately, uh, you know, back [00:37:15] in the day, in the sort of 70s and 80s mushrooms were making massive headway within [00:37:20] the medical world. Uh, they were using, you know, even other sort of, [00:37:25] um, medicines like MDMA to help treat, you know, post-traumatic stress and [00:37:30] mushrooms for depression, etc.. And then, as we know, it was a political decision, [00:37:35] the war on drugs. Right, because we had who was the president at the time, Richard Nixon. That’s [00:37:40] it. Nixon came along and he said, Reagan.

Speaker4: And Nancy.

Speaker3: Reagan. But but the thing is Knicks, Knicks, Knicks, [00:37:45] Knicks. No. But the Knicks. And this is the thing they wanted the Vietnam War. And, you know, from what I understand, [00:37:50] with psychedelic mushrooms, they make you very in touch with nature, with human beings. And the [00:37:55] your instinct isn’t to go out and kill people. So people are like, no, no, no, like love and peace, you know? [00:38:00] And so he wanted to he wanted people to go fight the Vietnam War. So there was just, you know, this [00:38:05] kind of like conflict. So I’m really interested in this from like a medical point of view. So tell us a little bit about psychedelic mushrooms. [00:38:10]

Speaker1: So I would say just a dovetail before I say it. There’s, there’s um, a wonderful guy by the name of [00:38:15] Robin Corey Harris that I would suggest anyone looks him up. He’s, um, he’s a researcher here [00:38:20] in the UK and his research is phenomenal. He works alongside another chap by the name of David [00:38:25] Nutt. And there’s another guy called Matthew Johnson who’s a clinical psychologist. Uh, in [00:38:30] America, I think he’s one of the first researchers to be handed $5 million by the FDA [00:38:35] to kind of do research into how psychedelics could suppress the addiction with nicotine. [00:38:40] Uh, so anything I speak to is in breadth of these kind of great researchers [00:38:45] and what they’re doing. Um, where would you like me to go with this? Because there’s so many. I mean, the history [00:38:50] is very important because I feel the government was trying to control something they couldn’t control. [00:38:55] I think had some, um, great leaders and pioneers, from the Timothy Leary to the Ram Dass [00:39:00] and Robert.

Speaker3: Well, tell us a little bit about so from, from a medical perspective, what are [00:39:05] the, um, psychoactive elements of mushrooms that can help the human brain? [00:39:10]

Speaker1: So that’s psylocybin. And actually, maybe as an analogy, if you were to do a B roll here, there’s a wonderful [00:39:15] image of a brain on an fMRI scan. Uh, [00:39:20] not with, uh, psychedelics. The classic psychedelics being psilocybin. And with psilocybin, [00:39:25] one is dim and the other one’s like a disco. Yeah. Every [00:39:30] part of the hemisphere is is connecting in some extraordinary ways. And, [00:39:35] um, so psilocybin almost. I don’t want to, like, [00:39:40] own the kind of medical side to this, but it almost kind of amplifies your serotonin receptor. [00:39:45] Yeah. And, um, and fits perfectly into that pathway when it digests into [00:39:50] liver and it goes into the brain, breaks the brain, brain blood barrier. Um, and then you have the prefrontal [00:39:55] cortex, the overacting part of the mind, the Woody Allen of the mind, that part which becomes your enemy [00:40:00] sometimes you go parts starts to close down when you, when you, when when you take it. So I [00:40:05] think the reason why people are so fascinated by it in the mental health is because if you go with intention [00:40:10] set and setting and you with the right kind of, um.

Speaker3: Community.

Speaker1: Community [00:40:15] sitter, uh, a therapist, um, there are journeys have been shown that, [00:40:20] you know, one session of this experience is equivalent of like ten years of therapy. The [00:40:25] most important thing, and I think Michael Pollan talks about this incredibly well, is that you can have this [00:40:30] experience and you can get to the summit and. And you can see the horizon. But the reality [00:40:35] is when you come, come down from come off. This experience is that the integration [00:40:40] then commences. You have to climb that gain and there may not be a rope. So there [00:40:45] is a challenge there. Um, but if you look at, uh, there’s a certain chart, [00:40:50] that chart that was uh, I think it was called, but it was created by David Nutt and [00:40:55] it shows you, um, it’s called the Ld50. Like talking about the if [00:41:00] something how bad something is and right, a toxicity toxicity. [00:41:05] Yes. So if you’ve got something like nicotine and you’ve got coffee, sorry, nicotine coffee, cocaine all these other. [00:41:10] Right a bottom right a bottom, you can’t even see it. Maybe you need a microscope to see this part [00:41:15] you have set aside and MDMA and other kind of, um, psychedelics. Well that’s psychedelics. [00:41:20] So classic psychedelics. And I think [00:41:25] all I would suggest is I would definitely, um, say to people, if [00:41:30] they have any interest in there, look at the type of people I’ve spoken about. Um, [00:41:35] there are some extraordinary podcasts, because you have the Freedom of expression of podcast where [00:41:40] you get some great. I’m trying to think of another on top of my head.

Speaker3: But there was one as well, because the one, the person that really interested [00:41:45] me. So, as you know, I’m teetotal, so I’ve never drank, never taken drugs, never tried anything [00:41:50] clean and pure. Um, and there was somebody and I forgot his name because [00:41:55] I got really obsessed with him. Christian Anglemyer. Yes. So he was on Stephen Bartlett’s [00:42:00] podcast, and he really resonated with me because he was also talking about how he was completely teetotal [00:42:05] and had no interest. He didn’t even, like, ever have a beer or anything like that and grew up in Germany. [00:42:10] And he also was, you know, on a trip with some friends, had a [00:42:15] calling with mushrooms and said it was the most profound experience of his entire life. And now he’s [00:42:20] one of the most successful sort of tech entrepreneurs. That’s put a lot of money behind [00:42:25] mental health and psilocybin and how it can help. So I think it’s like an incredible [00:42:30] progression. And as I said, this is something that grows in our world. What is also interesting, [00:42:35] controversial because I like to be is I wonder, you know, I wonder sometimes about [00:42:40] pharma, right? Because pharma want people to be addicted to medication. Like I’m going to [00:42:45] just say it out there. They want us to be reliant and dependent. And you know, we were talking about things like [00:42:50] antidepressants and anti, um, anxiety medication because it’s [00:42:55] their benefit if people have to take these constantly. Whereas something like psilocybin, from what I’ve [00:43:00] read, you don’t, you can’t take it like constantly because you just won’t.

Speaker4: The thing [00:43:05] with pharma is that it’s not a complicated conspiracy. It’s a very simple conspiracy. [00:43:10] It’s like they want to make money. Yeah. And, and, and so their ideal [00:43:15] drug is one that you have to take for the rest of your life and that the whole population needs [00:43:20] to take. And if they could, they could find a way of getting psilocybin into FDA [00:43:25] and all that. They do that it’s not like the conspiracy, but I’m not sure because.

Speaker3: People but people, [00:43:30] but people, people can’t be dependent on it. Think about it. Do you know what I mean?

Speaker4: What I’m saying is, don’t worry, they’re [00:43:35] very clever. They’ll put a little side chain on it and you know what I mean? Like what? My point is [00:43:40] this. That it’s very nice and easy to say, oh, that’s a conspiracy. And they weren’t trying to keep these, these mushrooms [00:43:45] away from us and all. But if they could find a way of making loads of money on that, they’d make loads of money [00:43:50] on that too. Yeah. That’s way you know, it’s a business. It’s a farmer business. It’s one of those things. [00:43:55] Do you think.

Speaker3: It’s going to be legalised anytime soon?

Speaker1: Um, and.

Speaker3: Has it been legalised anywhere in.

Speaker1: America? [00:44:00] There’s probably about eight states, um, that have decriminalised. Now the question really is how do [00:44:05] you unpackage what decriminalisation means and, and how it’s served and served, how it’s [00:44:10] how it’s handed and what the punishment is if someone’s seen with it. But [00:44:15] there’s great pioneers and leaders in certainly in Colorado and [00:44:20] some, some other states. I think Portugal swells following suit. Um, there needs [00:44:25] to be certainly more research. It’s not really my wheelhouse. I only know more about the functional side [00:44:30] and also the the vast area of the fungi kingdom. And like you were saying, what, uh, fungi [00:44:35] is doing for the future health of our planet as much as our well-being, which is also fascinating. [00:44:40] Probably another podcast. Um, but I think it takes time. But the interesting [00:44:45] thing is that the government and UK government are starting to fund projects.

Speaker3: So ketamine is now being [00:44:50] is available on the NHS. I don’t know if you knew that for depression. So you can go to [00:44:55] um your GP if you’ve got symptoms you can have the intravenously um providing [00:45:00] ketamine. So I think it’s an interesting space. You know, as I said, because we’re understanding that [00:45:05] like integrative medicine. But as you said, it’s about integration. So people can’t use [00:45:10] these medicines as like a one off and be like, all my problems will be cured.

Speaker4: I’m kind of interested in what you’re [00:45:15] saying, though. But, you know, you’re all up for having these, uh, functional mushrooms, [00:45:20] but you’re not up for having a beer. Why? Like, as far as I’m concerned, [00:45:25] you know, because these are ways of managing your state.

Speaker3: Yeah. No, because I actually don’t like alcohol. [00:45:30] I’m going to be completely honest with you, I. Don’t have any judgement. My parents drink, my sister drinks [00:45:35] because the first reaction is like, oh, is it religion? I’m like, well, no, because I’m, you know, I’m Christian, [00:45:40] so there’s nothing to say that I shouldn’t drink number two. Um, I also, um, [00:45:45] have never liked it. I’ve never liked the taste of it. And I really didn’t enjoy the altered [00:45:50] state of people who drank around me. And the thing is, remember, because I was really, [00:45:55] like, always sober. And I loved to go out. As you both know, I love to party. I love to dance. I love to [00:46:00] enjoy. Which again, I think there’s medicine and just movement. I don’t know why people think you have to kind of [00:46:05] be intoxicated. Like I love that, but I notice people around me become a little [00:46:10] bit more aggressive, a little bit more annoying, you know what I mean?

Speaker4: But but you’re saying you’re [00:46:15] teetotal. You don’t take any drugs. Yeah. It’s almost like you’ve set a set a line there. Yes. Yeah. And [00:46:20] yet if, if I put you in front of a, some, some, you know, lady, [00:46:25] lady witch doctor type and she brews something up for you 100%. I’m there. [00:46:30] You’ll have it.

Speaker3: Yeah.

Speaker4: And it’s almost it’s almost arbitrary.

Speaker3: I don’t think [00:46:35] so, because I think that I see also lots of other substances [00:46:40] as a numbing, as something to numb. Whereas I think that this [00:46:45] is a medicine and I think it’s a medicine that and you might say like, oh, what [00:46:50] about antidepressants? They numb as well, I agree. But the thing is, there’s something about nature that [00:46:55] I feel so connected to, and I feel so connected to something that’s like grown out [00:47:00] of the ground. You know, I’ve always been somebody that really cares about, like the nutrition that I’m putting in my body. [00:47:05]

Speaker4: Um, marijuana grows out of the ground.

Speaker3: True. But again, I think that from the research [00:47:10] that I’ve read and again, I have seen people in universities smoke marijuana, [00:47:15] become stoners, and have also I’ve seen altered states, whereas I’ve [00:47:20] yet to meet one person that I’ve been that I know has done mushrooms for [00:47:25] medicinal reasons. And I’m like, well, that’s probably messed them up a bit, you know? So I think for [00:47:30] me and it’s different, as I said, the community of people that I’ve met that, you know, [00:47:35] take functional mushrooms or have done psychedelics, it’s much.

Speaker4: More wholesome, it’s. [00:47:40]

Speaker3: Much more wholesome and much more connected. And I think that really speaks volumes to me, [00:47:45] because one of the things that’s helped my mental health is community connection and safety. [00:47:50] And that’s what I’ve always felt around those people. And I think Simon may agree with me [00:47:55] that as you started this pursuit with dirty, your whole kind [00:48:00] of world changed in a way because you started also. Here’s cold water dipping, [00:48:05] right? So he got into that, which you can tell us about. And, you know, that involves going to the serpentine, [00:48:10] freezing cold water. I’m not there yet, by the way. Yeah. Um, yeah. So and [00:48:15] guess what? It was so interesting because he created this community called the Dirty Tribe, [00:48:20] and it turned up being like two people doing cold water dipping, then five, then ten. Do [00:48:25] you see what I mean? And it’s amazing.

Speaker4: Interesting how this dirty is much [00:48:30] more than a product. Right? It’s a it’s a whole movement.

Speaker5: It’s a movement.

Speaker1: It’s beyond it’s beyond the sipping experience. [00:48:35]

Speaker4: I mean, the success of the company has been meteoric, right? How many how many people are you now.

Speaker1: In [00:48:40] the business? Uh, 20, I think. Was that all? Yeah. Yeah yeah yeah, yeah.

Speaker5: But that’s [00:48:45] how much.

Speaker3: They’ve achieved with only 20 people.

Speaker1: Amazing. Um, there is that.

Speaker5: And how many.

Speaker3: Subscribers?

Speaker1: Oh [00:48:50] my gosh. Uh, I have to look, but it’s it’s consistently growing. But that’s merely because, [00:48:55] um, it’s consistency. And it’s [00:49:00] not like a one pill fixes all kind of concept. You know, this is something to build into your life and [00:49:05] which is why we have these amazing product iterations. Um, we have a wonderful NPD team [00:49:10] that are looking at something beyond the teas, beyond the blends. There’s some extraordinary things doing because we want to make sure [00:49:15] that dirty is part of your lifestyle, never to forced habit, but to kind [00:49:20] of elevate what you’re already doing. Um, and I.

Speaker3: Actually want to see a more readily available everywhere. [00:49:25] Like I go into coffee shops now and I’m like, I’m really angry. I can’t order a dirty because I’d rather have a dirty than a flat white. Now [00:49:30] what’s.

Speaker1: Happening? I mean, it’s happening. Yeah. It’s happening. I mean, we’re just you’ve probably seen we’ve now, um, [00:49:35] in listings and all boots or a.

Speaker5: Card.

Speaker3: With parlour.

Speaker5: We’ve had that as well, so I know. Yeah, [00:49:40] I remember.

Speaker1: Your photo of you outside with all your pile of products. Um, so the, the, [00:49:45] um, I think if I’m going back to your question, like the, the important thing is. Is [00:49:50] almost from our story, the fact that it positively affected our well-being. [00:49:55] The first thing is there’s an undeniable remit. Like, we’ve got to share this other people. Yeah, and that’s [00:50:00] when the movement starts. Uh, dirty is a great name for a conversation starter in an area [00:50:05] which has a misconception sometimes of mushrooms.

Speaker4: Brand. Yeah.

Speaker1: And so if I can say that, [00:50:10] um, the community is built out of the subscribers and those who are part [00:50:15] of the dirty community, the reason that the the tribe exists is because [00:50:20] I believe that everyone wants to be everyone wants to be better than yesterday. Yeah. Um, and [00:50:25] it’s a grandiose time to say, but every day you get an opportunity to do it again, but do it better. And my thing [00:50:30] was always, um, I think since the adversity of Covid, I do [00:50:35] believe that, uh, loneliness kills the spirit. And I think community kind of enhances [00:50:40] the spirit in many different ways. So, um, this was an idea of bringing [00:50:45] everyone to a meeting point. Um, what I find interesting is the paradox. No one wants to go into the cold, [00:50:50] but everyone comes. Everyone comes every morning. And, um, the idea of having between [00:50:55] 8 and 15 hugs a day is scientifically shows it increases your oxytocin levels. I can tell you it’s an average of [00:51:00] 20 hugs in our community, and these are strangers that have come together and come [00:51:05] to a meeting point where we all serve the same purpose. Just want to feel better.

Speaker4: What time in the morning is that? [00:51:10]

Speaker1: Uh, where do you live? Because. Okay. Yes. Uh, 7:00 between [00:51:15] 630 and 7:00. So you’re swimming with sunrise now? The thing is, um, everything [00:51:20] we’ve spoken about today is now supported by, you know, research, like, even, you know, so what we’ll do, actually, [00:51:25] we’ll have a dirty ceremony. We’ll drink lion’s mane before going and or drink cordyceps to increase [00:51:30] our kind of energy levels or, uh, or lion’s mane to be in that meditative state. Because years [00:51:35] ago, Shannon, Tibetan monks would drink lion’s mane to activate their qi and get deeper state of [00:51:40] meditation. So we do that in the morning and we we interrogate the fear of the cold, the idea of being the cold in [00:51:45] ten degrees or below, up to a certain amount of minutes, increases your, [00:51:50] um, your dopamine levels, your pursuit hormone, by up to 250%. Now, there’s no other [00:51:55] hours later. Yes, it’s like having our dirty matcha, which is a slow release of energy. [00:52:00] It’s a slow release of energy, and there’s no kind of dips to that. So the idea is that it’s not the easiest. [00:52:05] You know, I don’t think anyone’s going through an easy life, just generally, um, think that’s a rarity. So doing [00:52:10] something like this in the morning and knowing that everyone who comes is part of this dirty community, it kind of shows us something [00:52:15] more than just a transaction. And my I’ve always lived on the basis [00:52:20] that I passionately believe in community, and that’s why it exists within dirty. There’s so [00:52:25] many more things that we’re doing. There’s we do these dirty retreats, dirty weekends, we do dirty foraging, [00:52:30] dirty weekends.

Speaker5: But listen, but listen.

Speaker3: But but the thing is, it’s incredible because [00:52:35] they’ve also had like some of the biggest pioneers in wellness, you know, behind them, you know, [00:52:40] they’ve worked with Wim Hof, am I right?

Speaker5: Or you did some women.

Speaker1: Women. Russell, um, [00:52:45] Stella McCartney was one of our first partners. She we we actually created a nice, dirty, stellar tin selection [00:52:50] for her, um, her community. But, um, she has a passion for alternative, um, [00:52:55] fabric for fashion and, uh, fungi, mushrooms being. What, did you have.

Speaker4: Access [00:53:00] to these people? Was it your previous.

Speaker1: Uh, yeah. I mean, we’re always a couple of degrees of separation from, [00:53:05] uh, interesting people or pioneers of their respective industries. And I think it’s undeniable [00:53:10] for what we’re doing that people do want to get do want to back do want to collaborate.

Speaker5: So, Simon, there’s loads.

Speaker3: Of mushroom [00:53:15] brands and even like the feeling nuts. And you had like Ant and Dec like.

Speaker4: House now because a lot of. [00:53:20]

Speaker3: Yeah but how was it. Or have you always just been good at like I don’t know, like how do.

Speaker5: You meet these. [00:53:25]

Speaker3: People. Yeah.

Speaker1: Yeah. I mean we uh.

Speaker3: He always like, he knows everyone. [00:53:30] You think I know everyone? He knows everyone.

Speaker4: If your mum is a PR you do get.

Speaker5: Yeah. Did you have any introductions. [00:53:35]

Speaker3: Via your mum.

Speaker1: No it’s not. No, no, no, it’s the DNA. I think it’s the DNA. What we drew from my my my mother. It’s [00:53:40] funny, I had a conversation with her yesterday, um, and we were talking about, [00:53:45] you know, growing up and and how she supported us randomly because we were talking about it today. [00:53:50] And I was inspired by her at a young age because she was going out there. She was going on stage at at schools [00:53:55] and talking about projects that she was involved in. So I did see her as an inspiration because it’s the mother. She’s [00:54:00] the one who pulls you into this world.

Speaker4: It’s a can do thing, you know, it’s if you see your it’s not necessarily that that his [00:54:05] mum directly introduced him to Stella McCartney, but it’s the fact that his mum was doing insignificant [00:54:10] things and he was watching.

Speaker5: I think that’s what also.

Speaker3: Yeah.

Speaker5: Yeah significant things.

Speaker4: It’s [00:54:15] interesting, you know.

Speaker5: Well that’s why.

Speaker3: I think like in dentistry as well, because I’ve always had like, you know, people always [00:54:20] ask even Prav, he’s like, how do you know these people? Even people have brought on the podcast. And I think it’s because I’ve naturally been [00:54:25] attracted to people that I feel are like movers and shakers. And I think there is something to [00:54:30] be said for like manifesting again, woo woo. But looking at those people, like I sort of like manifest [00:54:35] them into my life, you know, when I meet them because I, I’d listen to like Louis on podcast, [00:54:40] you know, I sort of knew Simon through Nino. Do you know what I mean? Like, there’s all these different people that I’ve just sort of, [00:54:45] you know, attracted in my life. And I think there’s something to be said for that, you know.

Speaker1: I [00:54:50] think with certainly with my brother and I, we’ve, we’ve had mentors in our lives. Not not many but enough [00:54:55] and actually there’s a few more recently someone like, uh mogadore who’s a wonderful how do you know who I [00:55:00] met through a friend a few years ago. And, uh.

Speaker3: He’s my Egyptian soul brother.

Speaker5: You [00:55:05] know.

Speaker4: He’s my hero. I love him.

Speaker1: Uh, he’s a real darling. And, [00:55:10] uh, obviously had a tragic story. And that tragic story has given him a greater cause at the heart of it. So [00:55:15] we have a very deep and meaningful kind of connection. But I bring up the idea of mentors because there’s some things in life you [00:55:20] can never get at a lecture theatre. Yeah. Uh, travelling is a very important part, I think, to kind of totally [00:55:25] adopt the principles of different cultures, different way of life, different way of business thinking. And, uh, but just having [00:55:30] in a solid people in your life that you can rely upon, uh, there’s someone in our business [00:55:35] who’s our chair. I think you’ve you’ve met him, James Karzai, who’s also like a third [00:55:40] brother. Building a business like that is very rare. Um. [00:55:45]

Speaker4: Tell me about the going from the early days where, I guess, look in the. Do [00:55:50] you call this a supplements business? What do you call it?

Speaker1: It’s a very good question. It’s a very good question [00:55:55] because, yeah, it is a.

Speaker4: Lot of there’s a lot.

Speaker5: Of, uh, a wellness.

Speaker1: Wellness, I think we’ll [00:56:00] call it I think it’s important to call it wellness, because then you pigeonhole the whole, um, thinking process. [00:56:05]

Speaker4: Where I was going, there’s a lot of fakery in it. There’s I mean, I’m sure there’s good quality mushrooms [00:56:10] and bad quality mushrooms. I mean, I’m glad you brought that up. Get it from China?

Speaker1: Well, yeah, we my brother and I, um, [00:56:15] it’s actually using that word can create the misconception, but we. Because there’s an important part to that. We travelled the world [00:56:20] either digitally or physically, to find the best farms in the world. Because what we saw in the very beginning. Yeah. [00:56:25] Because, you know, we went everywhere in the northern hemisphere, Finland, you know, we went everywhere. And and it brought [00:56:30] some great realisation and education to the point. And, uh, you know, we, we, we [00:56:35] partnered with some of the most extraordinary mycologists to support our, our endeavour because at the heart of it, you can [00:56:40] create great marketing story, have a beautiful colour, a tin and a name. But it’s what happens [00:56:45] within that. You can’t fake it. And and it wouldn’t be right in [00:56:50] the heartbeat of why this started in the first place. So.

Speaker4: But it’s possible to fake it.

Speaker1: Yes. So [00:56:55] in America copy you.

Speaker4: They could just go on.

Speaker1: There right.

Speaker4: Now and just.

Speaker1: There are so many copycats at the moment. [00:57:00] I’m not I’m not saying that with confidence or braggadocio, but it’s absolute truth. [00:57:05] Yeah. Um, and I see the way they’re doing it and. Fine. But no one’s ever [00:57:10] come close to the way that we’re doing it, because we care so deeply about the transparency from forest to cup. We [00:57:15] say, now, if you look in America, it’s probably about 70 to 80% of all mushroom products, I think [00:57:20] mostly reishi that pull from the mycelial biomass that’s calling, that’s [00:57:25] pulling from the mycelium. Mycelium is a very, very important organism. Um, but when you pull from [00:57:30] it, when you’re extracting the mushroom, you’ll get nothing more than a fluff. It’s what’s within the fruiting body. [00:57:35] Now, if you want to go through the fruiting body process, that’s going to take time and costs. If you want to go through the mycelium, uh, [00:57:40] process, that’s going to be cheaper and easier and quicker to market. And that’s fine and actually fine go for it. [00:57:45] Because I would tell anyone right now who would listen to this, to take our product and take [00:57:50] every other product.

Speaker5: That’s what I’ve done.

Speaker1: Yeah. You have okay.

Speaker3: No no no no not not not every [00:57:55] no not every other one. But I think at one point I don’t know, my practice manager [00:58:00] bought me a different one. She’s like oh it’s slightly cheaper because I’ve been an avid subscriber. And I was like, I hate it tastes disgusting. [00:58:05] Like I’m just going to be completely honest with you. I loved dirty. And the thing is, I’m always [00:58:10] somebody that is happy to spend the money to invest in my health. I’ve just like that. Parlour’s [00:58:15] also a very expensive product, you know, and you know, because we’ve become a lot more like ingredient led as [00:58:20] well, you know, and Simon is so strict on making sure that we don’t compromise [00:58:25] on like, ingredients and packaging because he’s like, we this is a mission based project, [00:58:30] you know, so we have to be true to ourselves and our subscribers. So I think that that’s really important. [00:58:35]

Speaker4: At what point did you know, wow, this is more than just a sort of a [00:58:40] pet project. And it’s going to become becoming a gigantic business because because, you [00:58:45] know, I got to tell you, I’m a little bit jealous.

Speaker5: Of my success. No, no.

Speaker4: No, not success that [00:58:50] that you didn’t go through the massive pain. We went through six years of losses. [00:58:55] Yeah, well, there were challenges.

Speaker1: Definitely. Yeah, yeah, I’m sure we could meet at the same level [00:59:00] of those challenges. I’ll be jealous.

Speaker4: Is a bad word, but. But what I’m saying is that 2021, you started, [00:59:05] you said. Yeah, yeah.

Speaker1: It was it was coming out of Covid.

Speaker5: And it’s been astronomical growth.

Speaker4: 2023. [00:59:10] Yeah. What was it very early on that it became obvious? My God, it’s caught on.

Speaker1: I think [00:59:15] the tipping point comes if it’s about social kind of impact. Is the people sharing [00:59:20] it online, talking about it and the things they say is like, I couldn’t even tell you to say something like that to help [00:59:25] our product. But that was coming from a tearful, authentic, emotional human being who’ve been drinking our teas. [00:59:30] I think also, when we started doing our ceremonies in the very beginning, which Nino was part [00:59:35] of, we would basically copy what our the experience [00:59:40] we had, and then friends would have it and they’d feel the same. Our family members would have it and they would feel [00:59:45] the same. So by that point, you’re like this.

Speaker4: We’re on to something.

Speaker1: We’re on to something. And we didn’t. See, it’s [00:59:50] not like we didn’t. It wasn’t about seeing $1 billion kind of. It was about we seeing something that’s going to support, [00:59:55] you know, maybe that’s the the empathetic, maybe that’s the empathetic part. Empathetic [01:00:00] part that both my brother and I maybe lead with. Um, um, but I would say the distinction [01:00:05] between my brother and I. He’s an extraordinary CEO. Extraordinary CEO. Um, [01:00:10] I’m part my role is, you know, visionary on the creative partnerships and just building [01:00:15] that community out. And the one thing when you’re building, if you realise that’s not in your wheelhouse, don’t get too, uh, [01:00:20] trodden down by it. Yeah. Um, but we have both. We know [01:00:25] our roles, we know our responsibilities, and we know our core reason why we’re doing this. And if we can wake up every [01:00:30] day and understand and have that mantra about why are we doing what we’re doing, then even maybe the toughest times [01:00:35] can be slightly bit easier. Um, so the so transparency [01:00:40] has always been important. The science has been important. The research and the customer feedback has been incredibly [01:00:45] important. But transparency, uh, from forest to cup, the whole process of extracting a [01:00:50] mushroom is not an easy one.

Speaker1: And we’ve we’ve partnered with the family farm, six generations [01:00:55] of foragers within the community. 70% of them are foragers. And they’ve mastered the [01:01:00] extraction process. And it took a bit of time to find out who they are, how they do it. And [01:01:05] and now you just literally, you know, teaspoon of lion’s mane, for example. [01:01:10] Uh, it just becomes incredibly water soluble. The other thing is the, the reason [01:01:15] we brought I think it’s important we brought the, um, different, uh, extract powders out was to educate [01:01:20] everyone on each one, because we only ever started this as a as an educational platform. How do you take the complicated [01:01:25] language of fungi, simplify it, suppress the fear, and allow people to [01:01:30] understand your you’re drinking your ancestors? Because we show up to about 54% DNA with fungi. [01:01:35] So you’re half a mushroom, so love it. Um, [01:01:40] and and the mushrooms want to be they want to be harvest. They want to be picked. They want to be consumed. They want to be. [01:01:45] They want to be sporulated and put back into the earth. There’s an amazing kind of hole.

Speaker5: There is something so.

Speaker3: Beautiful [01:01:50] and so spiritual about the whole thing. Yeah. Um, I find this is also [01:01:55] fascinating. I could actually speak to you for hours and hours and hours. Simon, I think we’re probably gonna have to get you back with Andy. [01:02:00] Yeah. Thank you for being so helpful and so insightful. Um, [01:02:05] I honestly, like, I just feel like such joy when I, like, you know, spend time with you. And honestly, [01:02:10] I really think that dirty is not just a brand. It’s. It is a lifestyle. You know, [01:02:15] for me, I literally miss it, I crave it, it has helped me so much. But as you said, it’s also [01:02:20] the community that comes around it. And I think that, you know, you’re a real, um, asset [01:02:25] to this sort of world, especially the kind of, um, subscription world. And I’m honestly [01:02:30] so grateful that you could come today. So hope everyone converts to dirty. I’m not. I [01:02:35] pay for my subscription, by the way, if anyone is asking me. But honestly, it’s been amazing. [01:02:40]

Speaker5: Yeah.

Speaker1: Thank you.

Speaker4: Thank you so much for coming.

Speaker5: Yeah. Thank you.

Speaker1: Thank you, thank.

Speaker4: You. Inspiration.

Speaker5: Real inspiration. [01:02:45] Thank you.

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