How Success Happened for Benjamin Nazarian, CEO of Therabody Nazarian transitioned from real estate to a disruptive direct-to-consumer wellness company that has defined the percussive massage therapy space.
When Benjamin Nazarian co-founded and became CEO of Therabody, his background wasn't in wellness, but he understood how to grow a company and disrupt an industry. I had the pleasure of speaking with Nazarian to learn about his career journey and how he was able to successfully turn Theragun into Therabody — an entire ecosystem of products and solutions rooted in science, research and innovation.
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From a young age, Nazarian's family had a major impact on his life. Nazarian's father was a serial entrepreneur and taught his son the importance of persistence, hard work and problem solving. After years running his family's real-estate company, Nazarian started a quasi-incubator to help other entrepreneurs on a part-time basis. Dr. Jason Wersland, the founder of the original Theragun, was the third entrepreneur Nazarian met.
"At the time, [the Theragun] was weird looking. It was loud. No one knew what it was. But [Dr. Jason] used it on me, and it felt really, really good," he says.
Nazarian didn't know much about sports, recovery or fitness, but he knew how to build and scale a business. Dr. Jason embraced Nazarian's help and the two leveraged their unique strengths. Dr. Wersland met with professional sports teams, and Nazarian spearheaded the strategy, operations and product development.
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But how exactly did the Theragun go from being the first percussive therapy device to a global brand?
When Kyrie Irving used the Theragun during game five of the NBA championship in 2017, it was a defining moment for Therabody. Nazarian even called it "The Kyrie Moment." When people realized that Kyrie could choose any product, and he chose to use the Theragun, they believed in it. Today, more than 250 professional sports teams and countless athletes use Therabody solutions to aid their recovery and overall wellness.
"When athletes use our products, it creates a Halo effect and [establishes Therabody] as a brand that people trust," Nazarian says.
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Nazarian realized Therabody could change the lives of not only athletes, but also everyday people. Nazarian knew the Theragun wasn't the complete solution and other products could help everyone live a happier life. The company's 2020 rebrand to Therabody reflects its goal to help people with their ailments and pain issues over the entire body.
With many competitors in the space, Nazarian highlighted what makes Therabody unique. First, the Theragun reaches 60% deeper into the muscle than average massagers.
"When people use our products, they feel the difference," he says. "We invented and created our own engineering, motor and designs using proprietary components."
He added that Therabody is the only company in the category that has an internal doctor who not only tests and validates the products on patients, but also creates protocols that help users learn to use the products. Now, the company has an entire educational division called Therabody University.