Danny Seo: Sustainability Tips, Productivity Hacks, and Recognizing Opportunities

Danny Seo is an Environmental Lifestyle Expert, Editor in Chief of Naturally, Danny Seo and host of the Emmy award-winning TV show on NBC. He's also a principal and publisher at the design magazine Rue and the author of 15 books, including the most recent, Naturally, Delicious Dinners. In this episode, Danny shares his journey from starting an environmental nonprofit at the age of 12 to getting on the Oprah show and being named the next Martha Stewart. Danny and Elizabeth talk about finding purpose, allowing yourself to be fine saying both “yes” and “no”, and jumping on opportunities as soon as the door opens. Danny also shares what’s in his morning coffee cup and predicts some upcoming natural beauty trends for 2023.


The one thing you have to do is have your eyes open and recognize when a door opens. -Danny Seo

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Podcast transcript below:

Elizabeth Stein 00:00
Hi, everyone. I'm Elizabeth Stein, Founder and CEO of Purely Elizabeth. And this is Live Purely with Elizabeth, featuring candid conversations about how to thrive on your wellness journey. This week's guest is Danny Seo, Environmental Lifestyle Expert, Editor In Chief of Naturally Danny Seo, and host of the Emmy award winning TV show on NBC. He's also a principal and publisher at the design magazine, Rue, and the author of 15 books, including the most recent, Naturally Delicious Dinners. Danny is America's leading authority on a modern eco friendly living. In this episode, Danny shares all about his journey from starting an environmental nonprofit at the age of 12 to getting on the Oprah show, and being named the next "Martha Stewart", we chat all about finding purpose, saying yes, and recognizing when a door opens some of Danny's favorite wellness products and trends, sustainability tips, and productivity hacks. I had so much fun catching up with Danny and hearing all about his beauty, truth, and goodness philosophy. Keep listening to learn more. Danny, welcome to the podcast. It's such a pleasure to have you on today.
Danny Seo 01:17
Thanks for having me. I say no to every podcast except for you. .
Elizabeth Stein 01:22
No way. .
Danny Seo 01:23
I'm just I'm not a fan of podcasts. I don't know what it is. But I'm such a fan of what you do. And obviously your your products are part of my life every single morning. And sometimes as a snack every single day that I was like a course what an honor. .
Elizabeth Stein 01:37
Oh, my God. .
Danny Seo 01:38
You are so and I know you're fun. So this will be fun. .
Elizabeth Stein 01:41
Well, I feel so honored. And I adore you. So the feeling is mutual. And I'm just I'm super excited to share your story. Because I don't know if everyone knows the background. And what I love about it is the purpose that you found in life at such a young age. And I think that's something that's really hard. So we'd love to start with that part of your journey. Because finding purpose is the key to our longevity. .
Danny Seo 02:11
It's something that's super interesting, because when I was a teenager, I had the privilege of spending time with Deepak Chopra. And he recognized something in me and I was you gotta keep in mind, I'm a high school dropout. I was failing in school, but I was running a nonprofit, and I'll explain how that all started. But Deepak said to me, he goes, you know, it's like, people go through their whole life trying to find their dharma, like their meaning and life purpose. And I was like, "what do you mean?" and he goes, they'd go their whole life having no idea of who they are and what their purpose is in life. And it's like, the one thing that always says, feels like it's missing from their life. And it goes for someone like you, you need to appreciate that at a very young age, who knew exactly who you are, what you needed to do, where you're going, and what your purpose is in life. And that's such a valuable asset to have. And for me, it felt I was so confused. I thought everybody knew exactly what they wanted to do. .
Elizabeth Stein 03:03
Wow. .
Danny Seo 03:04
But for me, the story started starts back on my birthday. I have the same birthday as Earth Day. And you know, as a child, it's such a politicized keep in mind, it was like 1989 I'm at the age of 12. It's it wasn't like a popular holiday, like it was actually like a holiday that was sort of celebrated by very, very left environmentalist radicals, Greenpeace, people being arrested all fine. And then the very, very, super conservative, right? Who was like, There's no such thing as global warming. You know, it's like, who cares about the environment. And when you're a child, it's like, you're so freaked out that your birthday is all about gloom and doom and the end of the world. So, on my 12th birthday, I started I just I started a nonprofit with just a couple of friends in the basement of my parents house. And that was my birthday gift with a couple of dollars like $23 and between 12 and 18 I grew that into the country's largest nonprofit group for teenagers for environmental activism.
Elizabeth Stein 04:03
Did growing up, like what what inspired that to begin with? Is that something that your parents had really showed you? Or do you remember kind of that first initial feeling of hey, this is an area
Danny Seo 04:16
You bring up my parents I know we're not filming video but my face is like well what No, no, it's you know, it's interesting is like I think that was part of it too is that my parents they were not environmentalists they weren't encouraging it but they didn't also tried to dissuade me from doing anything they said if this is something you're gonna do you have to do it yourself and keep in mind this is before social media this was actually where email was in its infancy there were barely, you know, like geo cities for our website. And so like I had to figure out like at a certain point during the growth it's like fundraising I had to like we got to a certain point where I was like, Oh, I have to the IRS is like, you need to be a 501 C 3 charity. So on my own I had to create a board of directors and write and file all the registration papers as a child, you know, I had to like you know I had to like, you know, like, I was like literally running a corporation through a PO box.
Elizabeth Stein 05:07
How did you even know how to do that?
Danny Seo 05:09
You, you just figure it out. It's like, and one of the things that was interesting is I spent so much time at our Public Library, that one of the librarians like at the public library was like, she's like, we need to, like someone needs to do a story about how like kids are coming to the library to like study business. And they're in here, like, we want more kids like in the library. And, and that was sort of like the first piece of press, and it all kind of like people were like, other teenagers like, wanted to join. And we were doing all of these campaigns on top of it that were so not normal at the time. So like, typically, when you thought about preteens and teenagers, we'd be planting trees or picking up trash. And here I was, like, challenging the Faroe Islands, about their, you know, their whaling policy. I had the State Department, like come visit me High School to ask me it's like about my how I'm potentially damaging our relationship between Denmark. I got attorneys on to work pro bono for us to challenge you know, the development what I consider to be like, environmentally sensitive lands. So we would fight developers in court to try to save like forested areas, I mean, we even convinced like, some of the biggest retailers, you know, to eliminate fur from their fashions.
Elizabeth Stein 06:26
Danny Seo 06:27
So it was there were things where it was like, it was like, it was a mix of things where it's like, we wanted to do really meaningful, direct real action versus just like, you know, smiling for the cameras.
Elizabeth Stein 06:38
Sure, that's incredible.
Danny Seo 06:40
And I also dropped out of high school.
Elizabeth Stein 06:42
So what tips do you have, I guess, the starting with to your to the earlier conversation, just around passion and purpose in finding that purpose?
Danny Seo 06:55
You know, it's so difficult, because I feel like everyone's journey is different. I mean, I love your story. Or like, I honestly believe with your story. It's like, I don't think you sat at your kitchen table and felt like one day, I'm gonna have like this massive empire. I think you just wanted to make good food. Yeah, no. And I think it's about recognizing the one thing you have to do is have your eyes open and recognizing, like when a door opens, right, yeah. And I think a lot of people, they don't recognize it, or they see it, and they kind of deny themselves, that journey through the door, because they're worried of what's going to happen next. The unknown is scary for a lot of people. And the familiarity of like, what you're in now, and being comfortable is safe for, I think for the majority of people. And so like, I feel like sometimes when what I can do for people is that when I see a door open, they may hate it, or they may hate me at the moment, but I can speak up and say, hey, this is an opportunity for you. And I just want you to recognize that and whatever you choose I'll support it. But I want you to see it. And where this can take you. I've actually lost friendships over that. It's the craziest thing, because it's something where it's not like personal. And I'm not like criticizing them. Or it's you know, it's not something where I've done something hurtful or harmful on purpose. They just don't like to hear it. Because it's reflecting too much onto what they're afraid to try.
Elizabeth Stein 08:23
And it's uncomfortable.
Danny Seo 08:25
Yeah. No one likes to be uncomfortable. Well, I don't know, I think you and I like to be uncomfortable.
Elizabeth Stein 08:30
Yeah. Have you read the surrender experiment?
Danny Seo 08:34
No, I should right?
Elizabeth Stein 08:35
You should. It's a phenomenal book. I just finished it right before the holidays. And it's all about there's many facets of it. But at a high level one is just really surrendering to the universe and saying yes, and so when these doors are opening, even though your inner voice is saying, oh, no, I don't want to do that. I'm too scared to do that. He just says yes to everything. And he goes from being a meditative Yogi in the woods to running a multi billion dollar like tech startup in the 80s or 90s.
Danny Seo 09:11
It's like, I mean, I get it. I mean, I remember like, years ago, I flew to Nairobi, and I'm at the airport, and they look at me and go, is this your final destination? And I said sure. Because I was like, if they ask that, I'm not gonna say no. Or why, oh, because you're out of pages on your passport, like, that's as far as you can go. And I go, great. And so I got on the plane going, I don't have a passport. Well, to continue to these other countries I was supposed to be visiting, but I guess I surrendered and said, I'll figure it out. Yeah. So I just had to talk my way to other countries.
Elizabeth Stein 09:47
Well you're very persuasive it sounds like and I love in your story, that you are saying exactly what you did, which is being so open. So I'd love to hear kind of transitioning to your uh child activist, go through the years? And then how do you transition into the next kind of part of your career?
Danny Seo 10:09
The next chapter, so obviously, you know, I couldn't just run a nonprofit for the rest of my life. I mean, you could, but like, I was a teenage activist, and I had to figure out the next chapter out of high school, my parents said well you can't live at home. So you have to figure out like how you're going to become an adult at the age of 18. And so I had an interesting childhood. And I thought, you know, maybe I could actually write a book to help other kids who are interested in making a difference in their community, like a like a primer on how to do it. So I got myself a book agent, like, wrote letters out to all these agents. And no actually you know what it is, I wrote a letter to Random House, with a book idea, and I went into the slush pile, which is like all the submissions. And this young junior editor picked out my letter, and she called me and said, you know, we don't traditionally buy books directly from authors, you should get an agent. And here are some agents I think, would be good for you. And so that one young editor helped me because like, I called all these agents, and they said, Random House wants to buy a book, but I need an agent. And obviously, it's a done deal, right? Like, they're like, of course, we'll sign you. So that's amazing. So when I was 18, I got like, $32,000, to write a book for an 18 year old, even I guess, for now or even I don't think I can live on that for three years. Not true. But I wrote the book, and it wasn't selling. And so I finally and this is where I sometimes think like being very naive, actually can be beneficial. Because you're just been to like, well I don't know what I'm doing. And so I wrote the book, and I'm in Washington, DC now living in an apartment, and I'm volunteering as a lobbyist for a nonprofit to save like redwood forests in America. So I'm still doing the advocacy, but I got this book and it's not selling but it's in the stores everywhere. I'm like what I have to do, and they said, you know, it's like, well obviously the Oprah show moves books, and I go, okay, so let's get on the Oprah show. And they're like it's not that easy. And apparently, it was, like, incredibly difficult to get on the show. And so I was like, alright, let me see what I can do. So I remember being in a restaurant I saw like a wall of postcards. For like Absolute Vodka, I was doing free postcards. So I grabbed that. You remember them, put a 20 cent stamp on it. And I wrote, Dear Oprah, I have this new book, I forgot what I wrote. But it was like, you can challenge me to do anything, I will do it for you. And in my mind, I thought someone's job, again, is to read all the mail and at least a postcard doesn't have to be opened.
Elizabeth Stein 12:35
You're very smart.
Danny Seo 12:36
And I actually got a call from a producer, he goes what do you mean by this? Wow. And I explained my story a little bit, I was 19 years old. I wrote this book. And they said, well, we're creating something called Oprah's Angel Network. And she's building a Habitat for Humanity home in every single city where her show airs. And we don't have a person who is actually sponsoring At Home, like everything is being sponsored by like, Coca Cola. Like in Atlanta, it doesn't really resonate with the viewers at home, it's like, great, someone with a big check goes on the show, builds a home. And he goes, what if you raise $40,000 over the next 30 days using all your fundraising techniques, and then we'll have you come on the show and explain how you did it. But there were a lot of rules. I couldn't say it was doing it for the Oprah show. You know, I had to just say it was a Habitat for Humanity home and I figured all these crazy ways to raise the money. And went on the show and share it it and she loved it.
Elizabeth Stein 13:32
And what were the ways that you figured out how to raise money?
Danny Seo 13:34
There was about 10. I'll give you the like, it was a mix of things. But the one that was like the one that anyone could do, and I guess now in a digital age, it's less and less. But I was in Georgetown in Washington, DC and saw shopping like the fountains, like in the mall, and all these coins in the water fountain. And so I didn't go and take the coins. But what I did. I asked questions. I was like, this is a lot of money. And so I knocked on the mall management door and I said what happens to all the coins? And they go well, we donate them to charity and then I go would you do it for Habitat for Humanity and he goes of course and he goes he goes but. So like, what do I have to do to get them and they said, well, nobody wants them because all the coins are wet and slimy. And they have to be cleaned, hand dried, and wrapped. So he takes me down the hallway it shows me a room. It smelled so bad. I've just buckets of wet disgusting coins because they have to be taken out or lose the whole you know mechanisms get clogged. Because you can have and I went to go lift up a bucket. It was like I don't have a car like they're super heavy like this would take forever, like, okay, and so then I decided I was like there's got to be a way so I called the US Mint and I said I just have a question. It's like I just have buckets and buckets of wet slimy dirty coins and I don't know what to do with them. And they transferred me to someone who I remember it was almost like he never got phone calls. And he picks up the phone he's like and he goes mutilated coin division and I explain what I had he says, okay, all you have to do like it was almost like it was almost like the IT department, you know, at a company like the typical person, all you got to do is set up a bank account, and they'll send a truck to pick up the coins, and then we'll handle the rest. And then we'll just wire the money into your account. And so just by connecting the dots between the mall, the bank and the US Mint, I was able to get like four grand.
Elizabeth Stein 15:23
Wow, that's incredible.
Danny Seo 15:25
And so that's what I think what it was so beneficial for viewers at home was like, I don't want to clean all those coins. But I can make a phone call. Right. So that was fun. And but obviously with the Oprah show, it's like you get to do more books, because it's all well, and I got to write another book. And my second book was all about philanthropy, but it was honestly the Washington Post was sent to do a story about the book, a little, little tiny story. And I decided to the reporter, she came to apartment and I said, Oh, you know what, let me make you lunch. And I cooked her an all organic lunch and it was vegetarian and Whole Foods didn't exist. And she's like, what is all this? And she looked around my apartment and I had all this recycled furniture. I was like, Oh no, I I dumpster dive to like this podium over here at church was throwing it out. So I turned it into an entertainment center. And she's like, it's actually very nice. I go Yeah, I call it sacrilegious shiekh. And this little story ended up being a cover story for The Washington Post. Two full pages didn't know about this. And this, the gist of the story is like, is this the next Martha Stewart? Oh my god. So I was actually horrified. It was about
Elizabeth Stein 16:36
Yeah, I was gonna ask what were you feeling in that moment?
Danny Seo 16:39
Because I didn't, I wasn't pitching myself to be that. And I was and also she didn't promote the book. Oops. So I was like, what is it and also I didn't go to culinary school, I am a high school dropout, I have no design experience. Like I was just showing her stuff I liked and, and that's when the aha moment came together. Because the LA Times picked up the story. And there are all these like celebrities who contacted me about working with them. I can't like mention their names, but we're talking about like, to this day, like the world's largest number one male actor in the world. Wow. Like everyone, I was working with them and helping them green their homes. And I was like, oh, maybe this is what I should be doing. Because when I sent this certain actor to the Academy Awards in a hybrid car, like no one had ever done that it got so much press attention. And I thought, wow, I just opened up a giant global conversation about hybrid cars by making one decision. And for me, that felt like a form of activism. But at the same time, it was like a, like a different form of it that I could actually feel excited about and sort of grow that world and then from there, it all just snowballed.
Elizabeth Stein 17:55
That's such an incredible journey that you've had. And I mean, I think so interesting how how it shifted, but that impact work is like how can you impact in a more fun and, and more scalable way perhaps?
Danny Seo 18:12
Easier and feel okay about monetizing, right, because I'd never felt comfortable about monetizing charitable work. So it was like how do do I make an income without like, going on the speakings arcade or something like that, but also throughout all those, like, again, those are all those doors opening? Yeah. It's like when the actors assistant call me it's like, that's a door where I could be like, Oh, I don't know I'm not really qualified but like you say surrenders like sure.
Elizabeth Stein 18:37
Right. You could have easily fear could have set in and imposter and I, I I'm not that person. I don't know how to do that. But you, you went for it.
Danny Seo 18:46
I think actually, that's I gotta read this book now, because I remember I was hired by Maria Rodale, oh, and Rodale publishing. She was starting a new magazine, and she's like, I want you to work on this magazine. And I was like, sure.
Elizabeth Stein 18:58
And had you ever worked on a magazine before? Or that was
Danny Seo 19:00
I didn't know anything about magazines. Nothing, nothing. And I remember I had to call my friend who was a magazine editor, and I was like, Okay, you have to teach me everything. And she goes, Okay, so the well of the book, I go, Wait, it's a magazine on a blog. She's like, Oh, now, she's like, you're screwed. Or like, whatever. You figure it out. Yeah.
Elizabeth Stein 19:20
It's all about figuring it out. So. So Marie, Rodale calls you you get into magazines. How does that leapfrog into your own magazine?
Danny Seo 19:30
The first magazine to work it was called organic style. Yeah, I remember in 2001. And she was like the first to come out with a magazine after like, 9/11. It was like a big deal. She's like, No, we have to grow polishing and this is something I want to do. So I learned a lot. I really cut my teeth on that and what I was good at was booking celebrity covers. Now imagine me trying to book a celebrity cover when I'm competing with Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harpers Bazaar and then here I'm calling all these publicists who represent the world's top stars going hah. You know what I mean? Yeah. And so it was all about like, I had to and then I had to, like talk to the publishing side and be like, what's important for you what's going to make the advertisers interested and like, they're like, what's, what kind of advertisers do you want? They're like, Oh, we want to get Ralph Lauren, but there's no way I go, okay. And so when I realized at the time, it was the time when supermodels were becoming a thing. Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, Shalom Harlow, Naomi Campbell, like they were becoming the stars of fashion. And I said, the thing about supermodels is that they're professional and like their, you can just book em. And so I started just booking the top supermodels. And what was great is like we're gonna get beautiful images, they're going to be on time, they're going to wear you know, like what we bring because they know this is how to be professional. And once I started getting the top models on organic style, it's like we started bringing in tons of like great beauty advertising. And Ralph Lauren. Wow. So that's why I started learning about the business side and the editorial side and the balance between all of that. And at the same time I was like I didn't realize it was like a like a masterclass in publishing. And I think the funniest like green moment because you're like, I'm doing a great job with that. But then like, I always do something great. And then I fail miserably and at something else is that like six months in, and I was just like, I walked up to my editor in chief. And I was like, you know, when I might get paid? Just like what do you mean? I go, I just haven't been paid since I started. Oh, geez. And she's like, you've never been set up as an employee. I was just like, Yeah, I just I just realized, like, I have to pay my bills. Anyway. So that magazine folded. And then I ended up working at Meredith Corporation, and on the home design side for Better Homes and Gardens and Country Home and learned to be a decorating Editor again, no experience. Yeah. And then for our own magazine, this is where it was literally, I'm now like consulting for like JC Penny, as a grain advisor. I have some product lines, I've written now 10 books. I've worked at tons of different magazines. I have a syndicated column, I work at the Today Show. So all this stuff is growing. And I remember one morning, I just woke up and said, I want to join a magazine. And so I just asked questions. I asked someone with a magazine, like how did you do it? Who do you know? What's the process? And I want to call the magazine naturally, where it's just like you naturally know what's good for you. It's not about like trying to feel people trying to make people feel bad about their choices and say, eat this instead do this instead, it's like, no, we just want to show a beautiful lifestyle while learning what mistakes organic style made. Yeah. And what I could do to evolve into the next step. And I remember the funniest thing was like, when we finally got the green light to test a it's like I got a call for my my lawyer who's like, we can't call it naturally. I go, why they go there's already a magazine with that title. And I said I've never seen it. He goes, it's an Australia. And when we looked it up, there was a nudist enthusiast magazine. Perfect. So the fix was Naturally Danny Seo. And that's when I kind of embrace like, Okay, I might as well just put my name out there. And I feel like you may have had that same issue adding your face and your name. Like you don't seem like a person who's like, me, me, me, me, me.
Elizabeth Stein 23:29
No. Yeah, I think for me, I, I knew starting out that I did want my name in it. Because I had seen people like Justin from Justin's nut butter and how I felt as a consumer that was like, I want to be connected to that brand. But I never wanted to put my face on it until we just did our packaging refresh. And I agreed to do that.
Danny Seo 23:51
But I like it because it actually shows that you're a real person and that the brand was created like by a focus group.
Elizabeth Stein 23:59
Like Betty Crocker? Yeah.
Danny Seo 24:01
Elizabeth Stein 24:02
Which people would be astonished that Betty Crocker wasn't actually a person.
Danny Seo 24:07
Yeah, or the the Gerber baby I guess keeps evolving
Elizabeth Stein 24:13
So talking about brand? What tips do you have? Because you obviously have done such an incredible job creating your brand, your personal brand, any tips around that for people?
Danny Seo 24:25
I think I hear the phrase all the time. Fake it till you make it. I don't believe in that. I think that's just outright lying. And so I don't if there's no, there's no shame in being completely transparent, honest, when something is new and unfamiliar. And you can just say, I have absolutely no idea where you're talking about, like, explain this to me. And I promise to evolve and learn and do better but like this is not my forte. And I think for anyone starting a business, it's like, it's nice to get a lot of feedback and advice for other people. Like it's good to absorb, but it doesn't necessarily mean you have to do it. So that's a weird fine line, I think doing two things. Right now. It's like, we have a TV shopping partner where I have a clean beauty show. And it's like, what it took me a while to get to a point where I finally, you know, just had to like finally go, you know, it's like, I really think I understand this customer, and allow, like, my gut instinct to really reflect the merchandising decisions. And so like, there was something recently where I said no, like, I I came back from Korea, and I found this amazing facial oil, that it's cold pressed ginseng root. Wow. And they've been making it since 1899. And it's $250 a bottle. They said absolutely not. No one's gonna buy this. It's way too much money. I go no it's impossible to get. But like, because I went to Korea and spent a couple of days with the farmers and the formulators and all the decision makers, like I'm Korean, and like I know, it's not just about business. It's about respect for the process. It's like they've agreed to let me bring this to the channel. And they said, fine, we'll take in a couple of 100 I've recently put it on air, I told the story behind it. It was sold out in 90 seconds.
Elizabeth Stein 26:18
Holy cow.That's amazing.
Danny Seo 26:18
So I love the moment where like, Elizabeth like I'm in like the room and everyone's running. I was like this, like, how do we get more? And I'm just like, can someone just say just to humor me? Like, can I just say I told you so
Elizabeth Stein 26:31
Right, listen to your gut instinct.
Danny Seo 26:35
Like, just trust me, just trust me. But also when you fail miserably own it. It's so easy to blame everybody else and the day of the week, the holiday or the weather, like just go eh I was wrong. Yeah, it's okay. I'm sure you've had a flavor that was a massive bomb.
Elizabeth Stein 26:53
Danny Seo 26:54
You're like no.
Elizabeth Stein 26:56
No we totally have had, we've had so many products that you know, you think are going to be your, your winning baby. And for whatever reason, it's in a lot of cases for us it's like we were to trend forward and ahead of our time, I think and then sometimes it just didn't taste good.
Danny Seo 27:13
Was it the cheddar cheese, garlic, granola?
Elizabeth Stein 27:16
The cauliflower oats in particular.
Danny Seo 27:20
Oh, I liked them
Elizabeth Stein 27:21
and our mushroom bars, which were way ahead of their time.
Danny Seo 27:26
But those should come back.
Elizabeth Stein 27:27
Yeah, those should come back.
Danny Seo 27:28
Mushrooms are trending.
Elizabeth Stein 27:30
Totally. So talking about trending staff, I would love to hear from your perspective, what you think is next in wellness, sustainability. Where where are we going?
Danny Seo 27:42
It's a tough one. I mean, I know we just talked about it. But I actually think ginseng as an active ingredient is going to trend big
Elizabeth Stein 27:50
In just skincare or also in in, all applications?
Danny Seo 27:53
All application, but I think mostly for ingestibles. But I think the delivery system is going to change I think someone whoever can what I call it vital protein, or methodize ginseng, because right now, it's like it's a very strong kind of medicinal flavor to it. And so we either just embrace what it is and what it does and keep it very simple and pure, or we find a different delivery method that's more palatable to the American sensibility, because it took 200 years for it to become modern and mainstream in Korea. So like, in fairness, like we can't expect an American palate to embrace it like on day one. Sure. The other things actually know that I think is the biggest thing for this year. And I think for decades to come. I think I sent you a bottle I may have, but Tru Niagen.
Elizabeth Stein 28:43
Yes, you did. Thank you.
Danny Seo 28:46
Do you do you do the whole NAD thing?
Elizabeth Stein 28:49
I'm super into that I was getting NAD drips for a time. And so I think there's a lot of science behind that. Supplementing or, or adding into your diet.
Danny Seo 29:03
But the NAD drips. It's like they do work, but it's like it's so time consuming.
Elizabeth Stein 29:08
Oh, it's so time consuming. I mean, it's not realistic, I think for anybody to do. It's like a three five hour thing and you feel like crap. Yeah, adoring it you feel great after but it's not sustainable.
Danny Seo 29:22
But with Tru Niagen, it's like it's an interesting delivery system two Nobel Prize scientists sit on the board. And it actually feeds at a cellular level and gives them those listening. You're like what the heck is NAD? It's basically the fuel source that your cells need to function and up to the age of 40 produced 50% less NAD which is why you're aging. And this is the way of actually getting your NAD levels up to optimal health. Like it's the future of aging better optimal aging. There's no such thing as anti aging doesn't exist. We're all getting older. But the thing which arises that I'm so drawn to why brought into the shopping channel, it's out there number one supplement It just like, once, and I use it every single day. Is that, like, I can't say it on air. But like, every single NFL team, basically every player takes it, every major league baseball team practically takes it. I mean, like, it's Tom Brady's like, secret weapon.
Elizabeth Stein 30:19
Oh, well, if it's Tom Brady's secret weapon, I think we should all be taking it.
Danny Seo 30:23
I mean, he's 45. And look at someone at optimal health, right? He's pure, optimal. And he's not a paid spokesperson. Like he buys it. Because like, this is one of his secret weapons.
Elizabeth Stein 30:34
All right, everyone go get it.
Danny Seo 30:37
So that to me, I think anyone who can really figure out NAD, and right now it's a supplement for him. But like I know, like Nestle is like looking at ways to put it into food.
Elizabeth Stein 30:47
Maybe it should be our next product.
Danny Seo 30:49
An NAD supplement. And that's not a bad idea. But it has to work. Right? Some of the clinicals are tricky. But I think NAD is a big thing. And then I think lastly, I had to pick something. I don't know ginseng, and NAD kind of scaled it back. Sure.
Elizabeth Stein 31:04
We'll take it. How in Korea today? How is ginseng most consumed?
Danny Seo 31:11
It's okay, there's two different ways. So one, there's like the revered sort of more traditional way where it's like, this is a red ginseng. It's the highest quality. It's done in a beautiful ceremonial box. It's sometimes it's mixed with like ground up like deer antler, that's naturally shed, they're not killing the deer. And so and it's also with like, hundreds of years of research and development into like, what's the best and they sell for 1000s of dollars, these kids and then they have like the on the go version for like a younger generation where they're like, they're like sticks mixed with honey and elderberry for immunity. Or just pure honey, where you just squeeze it in your mouth and go. It's also done in coffee shops, like in a beautiful ginseng latte. So there's the modern side of it. And then there's like the revered side and I tend to fall more on the the modern, like fresher side, just because also like I don't I don't I don't know if I can include a $1,500 box of ginseng. I don't know, my like joint is Dwayne bow to the box, like I don't know what to do. And then there's obviously the topical products, which are really great as well.
Elizabeth Stein 32:14
So you mentioned earlier about having the columns. And I know one of which is your do just one thing. So as we are thinking about 2023, I'd love for you to share kind of three of your top takeaways for people that as they think about this year can just do that one thing.
Danny Seo 32:36
I think fast fashion has been the worst thing to happen to this planet. I think it's tricky for people just we're addicted to getting clothes at crazy prices, and then we think I'll just donate it. But like even like Salvation Army and goodwill, they don't want to there's just too much. So billions of garments end up in landfills. So I think the easiest thing to do is one, ask yourself two questions before you buy something one, do I really need it? That's a yes or no. But for most of us, we always say yes. Because I want to so we don't know the difference between want and need. And it's like whatever. It's like, I can't control that in your brain. And but the big question you can ask yourself is like, would I wear this at least 30 times? And that's something where people go oh no I wouldn't, then you shouldn't buy it.
Elizabeth Stein 33:22
That's a great tip.
Danny Seo 33:23
And for those listening, who are like, well, what if it's like for a special occasion or something, and I'm like, well, it's called from Rent the Runway, it's like or you can figure out a way to borrow. There's so many different smarter ways of getting designer clothes. The other thing I think would be it's all about food waste, you know, so it's like, there's a lot of different things you can be a little bit more clever about whether it's you know, investing in a really good like, I love the Vitamix food cycler I'm obsessed with it. So like, I don't have if you don't have room for composting, this is something where you can put all your scraps into it, and overnight turns it into a nutritional dust, which is really nice. But even like just being smarter, like I've been like doing things like if you have expired, like almond milk, or regular milk or whatever, you can dilute it with water and just feed your plants with it. And then I would say it's an oldie, but it's like, it needs to be reminded. It's like just don't drink single use plastic water. And I'm adding box water to that list.
Elizabeth Stein 34:24
It's not much better right?
Danny Seo 34:26
No, it's still plastic. It's not any better. And even if it's even if you're not thinking ecological reasons, you think well, it's better than soda. That's the excuse I always hear it's like well, I'm on the road it's better than getting soda. I'm like true. But the reason water has an expiration day isn't because the water goes bad. It's because the plastic is degrading and going bad. Keep that in mind. And if you give up bottled water, you actually will save on the low end $1,400 a year.
Elizabeth Stein 34:57
Danny Seo 34:59
And we know like when you buy a Yeti, you refill it. And there are water filtration stations everywhere, everywhere, there's no reason not to get filtered water in your bottle that's actually better for you. And if you actually put a water filter in your own home and use that instead of bottled water, the same amount of water that you spent $1,400 on, you only spend $1 for the same amount of water at home.
Elizabeth Stein 35:23
Great tips, do you have a favorite Home Water Filter? I use Pentair. So Pentair is the it's I'm not involved with them. But they are the the water filtration company made here in United States that makes all the water filters for and they're not allowed to say this publicly, but I don't work for them. They make all the water filters for Starbucks globally. And if you think about like there are Starbucks in some rough areas around the world, Yeah they have to be doing a pretty good job filtering.
Danny Seo 35:52
So that's kind of it and then with that $1,300 $1,400 that you're saving, go treat yourself that one use dress or jacket.
Elizabeth Stein 36:03
I'm curious to hear you've had so many cool opportunities in your life and different partnerships along the way. What would be a dream collaboration for you?
Danny Seo 36:16
Beyond my own flavor of Purely Elizabeth.
Elizabeth Stein 36:19
Okay. And what would that flavor be?
Danny Seo 36:22
You seemed to have poo pooed my cheddar and garlic flavor.
Elizabeth Stein 36:25
Don't say never.
Danny Seo 36:27
I don't know. I mean, a treat Powell. Well, okay, so you know, my heroes actually growing up so is it this is this goes way back. But like when I was like 12 It's like, while I was running this nonprofit, I had all these like, female heroes in my life. And the two that I was obsessed with. So kind of makes sense. Now was Martha Stewart. Remember, back then, like she had like a lifetime TV show? She just yeah, like it was like the like her Empire was just starting. And I could see it. And I was so inspired by like, one woman creating this like Empire and Dr. Jane Goodall.
Elizabeth Stein 37:04
Awesome, amazing.
Danny Seo 37:06
So I think it's either them it'd be fun to do a collaboration. But like, I think you'd have to be actually Dr. Jane Goodall. I think it'd be fun to do a collaboration with All right, well, but she'd have to be okay with my stalker story about her.
Elizabeth Stein 37:22
What's your Alright, well, now we have to hear it. What's your stalker story?
Danny Seo 37:26
Well, when I was I'm gonna have her. But she actually came to do a speech and a meet and greet in my hometown of Redding, Pennsylvania. And as a kid, like, I couldn't afford the $200 to go to the reception. But there was, I mean, just see the speech and the meet and greet. But for $25 You could attend the reception after where she was just there for a couple of minutes, and then she'd sign a book for you. And I remember so I paid for that. And then when everyone left the auditorium, I actually went into the auditorium that was empty. And she left her notes behind and there were doodles of chimpanzees all over them. I took it. So iy was like worth every penny. I think she'd be fine with that. Totally or or it it would totally be so weird. She's like I have been looking for those notes. She might be willing to pay you for those notes 25 years.
Elizabeth Stein 38:22
Alright, switching gears to a day in your life. I am curious to hear since you are involved in so many different pieces of your business, how you kind of set your week up do you chunk it out so that one day is creative day one day is magazine one day is TV or what does that week look like for you and any tips for setting up your week for success?
Danny Seo 38:48
I'm such a I'm like an old person. I feel like it's very antiquated the way that I plan my day but I do have printed a list of priorities and then it's important
Elizabeth Stein 38:59
That you like type the night before or what do you do?
Danny Seo 39:02
The morning of, so the morning off so I have a cup of coffee with like my collagen, bulletproof. I put all this crazy stuff in it
Elizabeth Stein 39:11
Let's hear all the things you put in it.
Danny Seo 39:13
Like my treat item in it is a teaspoon of organic coconut sugar. Bulletproof, almond milk, the bulletproof creamer collagen powder, I put an NAD supplement and then from your shirt. There's like this like spice coffee spice I put in there and then it all gets blended up. Right and this one mug. That's all I have. That's my breakfast, and then actually and then in total honesty right now and then my pre workout like little meal is that I love the banana oatmeal that you make. Oh, thanks. I put that in the microwave. Yes, I write cookbooks but I also like to microwave. I just eat that and then I hop on the peloton, but the list is done as I'm drinking my coffee. And it's a random mix of that things where it's like it's household chores with work responsibilities, and then future goals all mixed in. It's like So for today, it's all about like, I have to remember tomorrow's recycling. So it's like take the recycling out, and then arrange to have like a coat I need tailored that I've been like meaning to do so have that tailor, it has to get done today, it's on the list. And then for goals today, it's like these are the proposals have to get done. These are the answers that have to be given. This is the planning for three events, we're having this month that we need to decisions on. And then for future, it's like this weekend, I was like, Oh, well, he won't hear this. But I want to surprise my boyfriend with like a little spa getaway. So I have to book the hotel and make the appointments. And then it's all sort of done in three little buckets. And so the very bottom of this is like this can happen anytime. In the middle, this has to happen during the day. And then at the first like, Get this out of the way just to get your brain wired to think about being functional. So yeah, not difficult things are just like, do just feel good about getting something accomplished.
Elizabeth Stein 41:01
And do you always cross everything off the list? Or are you alright, letting something go the next day?
Danny Seo 41:08
No, no, everything has to get done on the list. That's why it's not an unrealistic list. Yeah, yeah, I know what I can do in a day and what can be pushed, it's like, I have a book due February 15. I was like, I'm not going to write like, write book.
Elizabeth Stein 41:22
So really breaking it down into this small pieces that can be accomplished to really help.
Danny Seo 41:28
So instead of write book, I would put like organize to begin, you know, book writing process next time will be like, write chapter one, which I know is to doable. And then even like later, after all the chapters are done. It's like proof chapters one through three. And so that it's all sort of in my head, but that comes from like 20 plus years of doing those, like I just know it's doable. Actually, the one thing that sometimes doesn't get crossed off. If I have to be better about it is exercise. I need to learn from you on that one. Because I follow you on social media. I was like, I need to be more like her.
Elizabeth Stein 42:03
Like some some people are wired that way. Like I do feel so grateful that I don't even think about exercise as being a chore. It's just I get up and of course that's how I start my day.
Danny Seo 42:14
a lot of my friends. A lot of my actor friends they call it a non negotiable. Yeah, absolutely. Breathing coffee sleeping it's a non negotiable. I call it a at least I dressed up for it. I eventually get to it. I don't know. I'll try it. And then I mean, I'm even friends with peloton instructors and it still doesn't.
Elizabeth Stein 42:36
You'll do it. Alright, well, we're gonna move on to some rapid fire q&a. Okay. The best advice that you've gotten this past year? Well, not this past year, but
Danny Seo 42:47
I know you sent these ahead of time with these Liz. I did. I'm just I never like prethink these things. I think the best advice I got. Oh, it's okay to say no. I have to be reminded about that. I'm not a people pleaser, but it's nice to remind it's okay to say no
Elizabeth Stein 43:01
Yeah. Favorite kitchen staples.
Danny Seo 43:06
Right now. Definitely the, the Vitamix food cycler I love putting all my scraps in it, and then sprinkling it all over the yard. And then I would say, Oh, the ceramic nonstick cookware that I've been cooking with right now, but also
Elizabeth Stein 43:22
What's the brand?
Danny Seo 43:24
It's called Bloom house. It's I really I really like how it's performing. And it's just really beautiful. But I'm also obsessed with my FINEX cast iron pan. So maybe I'll no I'll go with the finex that will last forever and it's beautiful. I change my mind.
Elizabeth Stein 43:41
Three things that you're currently loving. Non kitchen staple.
Danny Seo 43:46
Oh, damn it.
Elizabeth Stein 43:48
All right, fine. You can put a kitchen one in there.
Danny Seo 43:51
I was about to start with, I'm obsessed with my I travel with it. It's the little fother for my coffee thing. So like I travel with it everywhere. So I have like a little bag. It's filled with all of my like healthy essentials in the morning. So it's all dosed out like all of my coffee stuff. Ginseng packets, tru niagen
Elizabeth Stein 44:09
I'm like that too. But like once you travel so much, you have to get good at doing that
Danny Seo 44:15
I look crazy when I walk into like a restaurant, but I felt like it's in a ziplock which is and like I hate single use of like, I'm just gonna use this forever. So it even looks ratty or I'd look crazy
Elizabeth Stein 44:28
Maybe you could come out with a cool line of, I don't know, organizers for like travel organizers for that.
Danny Seo 44:35
I call it the How Not to Die bag. Like it's so bad. And you know I'm also like I'm in love with like a year and a half ago, two years ago, we acquired a media brand called Rue. So I'm really proud of the team behind that. And it's the first time where I'm involved but it's not like I'm not on top of the Massa for involvement. And so it was a good example of like, wow, we have a really beautiful crowd. arch at a beautiful magazine, beautiful books and products coming out. But it was nice to sort of release some control and realize it's gonna be okay if you just surround yourself with really talented people, but also reward them. That it all. It all works out. I think I need a third thing I'm obsessed with right now. Oh gosh, that sounds so stupid. I feel like I should talk about something charitable. But I'll be honest, it's like my Marriott. Like my points
Elizabeth Stein 45:33
I'm right there with you. Where's your favorite place that you've used your points for?
Danny Seo 45:38
Well, I don't go anywhere exotic. But like, I just got ambassador. Do you have that? I do. Is it's kind of nice. Right?
Elizabeth Stein 45:48
It's so nice. I mean, the last few years, I haven't traveled as much for work. But historically, I was on the road every other week. So I've accumulated a lot of Marriott points and status for that.
Danny Seo 46:01
I mean, but it was like I didn't realize it was like I had to take like a really early flight to Minneapolis. And so like the only way to get and so I got there at 9am. I had to be up at 3am. I'm there and then I go to the hotel, they're like, oh, yeah, you can check in whenever you want. And so then I went to sleep for like three hours. And then I went to like my meetings. And when I'm here. I was like, but if I didn't have that, like, I would just be like what do I do?
Elizabeth Stein 46:27
That's so helpful. So there's that. Alright, favorite words to live by.
Danny Seo 46:34
Beauty, truth and goodness. So at the I had a TV show on NBC for a couple of years. And I ended every show by saying, you know, celebrate every day with beauty, truth and goodness. So the beauty of things, recognize it, see, love it, embrace it. Truth, what I say before, Don't fake it till you make it just be honest. Honesty is always key. And when someone's honest and truthful, do recognize it and love it. And then just the goodness of being alive.
Elizabeth Stein 47:03
I love that. What's one thing you wish more people know about you? That I'm not a workaholic? Yeah. Yeah, I think it's kind of it's like, that's not what I aspire aspire to be. And it's also because I it's all about the quality when you do and not the quantity. I think people will be surprised like in the month of February, like I actually disappear for three weeks, but I don't make it a big deal. You wouldn't know it. No one would know. Because it doesn't have to be this thing where it's like, no, don't bother me. It's like I'm on a boat and key west for three weeks. That sounds amazing. And that's what I realized when I started doing it's like nobody even cares, Right. The team can go on.
Danny Seo 47:45
Just there's like one or two people who are like, it's so it's kind of cute. Or it's like I don't respond as quickly to email or something and they just go that's just fun to see them like go on a slippery slope of like, I just had a question about this. It's like, Hey, I just put a check in about that, too. Are you mad at me? And I'm like, won't calm down Lauren. And I think we actually have never even met in person.
Elizabeth Stein 48:08
That's hilarious. It's cute. Favorite all all time favorite magazine shoot, which I'm sure you've had some incredible experiences.
Danny Seo 48:19
I know India, Bravo story. I was able to negotiate my photographer myself to get into the Taj Mahal for 30 minutes before it opened to the public.
Elizabeth Stein 48:30
Oh, wow. That must have been insane. Have you ever been? I have, you know what it's like,
Danny Seo 48:38
The crowd just to get in Rough. Yeah. And I remember like you have to run as it gets all the way for you gotta run all the way in to get to the Taj Mahal and like, so we're rushing to get there as much time as possible. And I remember my photographer, he was like, Okay, it's like you set up he's like, I won't do that. I looked at it, like, Stop, where it actually spend five minutes or three couple of minutes, not doing anything. And like, because you and I right now are at the Taj Mahal, one of the wonders of the world by ourselves. Like, just look at it. And so I think it was stressing him out in the first minute. And then it was like, okay, like, you're right. Like, I'm having a bucket list moment. And he's shooting away and I go, it's just I don't think this is the image and we're missing something. And then suddenly, the stray dog walks in front of the camera, sits down and stares up at the Taj Mahal and that's our shot. That's it
Elizabeth Stein 49:35
That's so cool. That must have been an incredible experience.
Danny Seo 49:39
I haven't had that in a while. But yeah, that's something you just you never forgot.
Elizabeth Stein 49:44
Oh, absolutely. Lastly, what is your number one non negotiable to thrive on your wellness journey? Sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, I gotta get eight hours. Do you have any tips or things that you do to get good sleep?
Danny Seo 50:01
At the time about I don't want to, this is a product that I use, but I actually use a I don't do melatonin. I don't use any sleep aids, I do find that having NAD in my system helps actually with my energy levels so I can sleep properly. But I found that a pharmaceutical grade crystallized CBD that's put into a lotion really helps doesn't make you tired. What it does when I rub it into my feet, is that it helps turn off the mind. Because apparently, it's like the study behind this is that we're all anxious. Even if you are tired anxiety is what keeps people up, no matter how tired you are. And this is a way of actually turning off that anxiety or really softening up a lot so that you can get past that 2am wake up call, and actually get a deeper quality of sleep.
Elizabeth Stein 50:51
And what is that product called?
Danny Seo 50:54
It's such a silly name. I don't do I want to say it? But I guess it's actually brilliant marketing because it tells you what it is. But it's called Sleep Cream.
Elizabeth Stein 51:02
Okay. Great. Perfect.
Danny Seo 51:06
Yeah, it actually works.
Elizabeth Stein 51:09
Yeah, I'd love to try that. Well, Danny, in closing, what do you most looking forward to this year?
Danny Seo 51:15
Can I ask you that question too? But I think for me, it's I really am embracing that mantra of quality over quantity. So quality experiences with my partner with my family, with my friends, and not and the ability to say and they've done this already to say no to things that I'm just like, you know, it's just not my cup of tea. That's okay. Now for you.
Elizabeth Stein 51:46
I think maybe not what I'm most looking forward to. But one of my goals as you're saying quality or quantity is being more present. And just I think I have so much going on in my head as I'm sure you do that it's really hard sometimes not to be as present as I want. And so being present with conversations with quality and people and really honoring that that time that I'm with people.
Danny Seo 52:12
Yeah. That's a tough one. I think you know what, you know why we're not present? Phones. Absolutely. Well, this was fun.
Elizabeth Stein 52:25
Thank you so much, Danny for being on the podcast. This was so much fun. And I look forward to seeing you probably at EXPO
Danny Seo 52:34
Expos our Fashion Week.
Elizabeth Stein 52:38
Danny Seo 52:40
Without the runway. Thank you, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth Stein 52:44
Thanks, Danny. This is great. Thanks so much for joining me on live purely with Elizabeth. I hope you feel inspired to thrive on your wellness journey. If you enjoyed today's episode, don't forget to rate subscribe and review. You can follow us on Instagram at purely_elizabeth to catch up on all the latest. See you next Wednesday on the podcast.