As I like to say, Nama is not just a brand. It’s really an extension of myself, and if I can inspire one person along the way, I will consider it a success.
– Chris Whelan, founder of Nama
Chris Whelan’s Not-So-Normal Journey of Building Nama
Everyone’s journey begins the day they are born, but each person’s journey takes off at different times. Sometimes it takes a life event, a new friendship, a move to a different state or country, but it always starts with some sort of change.
I grew up, graduated from high school, and went to college. Little did I know that, during my third year of college, I would be in a hospital room along with dozens of other cancer patients (and a few sweatshirts because they really know how to keep that place cold!).
That’s when my journey took off.
I was lucky. I beat it, or to put more colloquially, I kicked cancer’s a$$.
When I was sick, the doctors put limits on what I could do. The only way to make up for that after graduating was to focus on my health, train daily, and push myself to the limits. I became one of those CrossFit nuts everyone hates! I met a bunch of people with the same passion. We would train until we could barely walk to our cars afterwards. We did that for a full year with a few competitions in the mix.
I knew I couldn’t spend my life in the gym, so I went back to the books.
I went to law school, finished top of my class, and (most importantly) met my best friend and future wife ❤. I had a lot of great experiences. I was published in the Brooklyn Law Review Journal, where I drafted a long, detailed (and to be honest, boring) article on the housing crisis and all the mistakes we made afterwards. I worked for some great judges, one who oversaw the Tom Brady deflate gate case and another who gave me the opportunity to work on the GM bankruptcy case. After graduating, I became a bankruptcy attorney, working on Wall Street on some pretty intriguing cases, one of which was the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy case. (Fun fact: I was a sophomore in high school when that case first began. Little did I know that I would be arguing a motion representing the trustee for the Lehman Brothers estate twelve years later.)
My legal career was fulfilling, but it was not absent of both pressure and stress. (This is a reality people face in most careers.)
During my journey, there was one consistency. I spent my free time learning about the hemp (and cannabis) industry, speaking with experts, taking courses, reading everything I could get my hands on, and seeking out a product that would work for me. I sought something natural, clean, and effective.
I discovered the versatility of hemp.
As I took on each new challenge life brought, I began implementing hemp into my routine. Whether during the rollercoaster of my college career, the extreme soreness during my long hours of training, or late nights and high stress from my law school and legal career.
Although the hemp products I incorporated into my daily routine assisted me in many ways, I was never fully satisfied. Whether it was the product’s ingredients, the company’s mission, or the product offering, there was always something that wasn’t right.
I learned everything I could about what works and what it takes to build a quality product, and then I created my own.
I founded Nama.
Four of the healthiest vegan hemp gummies on the market, designed for four different experiences with the goal of helping others “enjoy life, the Nama way.”
But it doesn’t stop there. When my fiancé and I got our puppy, Luke, we had hopes of training him to be a therapy dog to occasionally bringing him to volunteer and put smiles on the faces of pediatric cancer patients. When I was there, it would crush me to see kids half my age going through the same thing, and I always wondered how I could help. COVID and Luke’s eagerness to jump on laps and lick faces has temporarily put that on hold.
So instead, each month Nama anonymously donates stuffed animals and cards signed “from Luke” to kids in hopes to bring those same smiles.
I’m excited for this journey to continue, and I hope to make a positive impact along the way.