The stage was set.
Sean Lake’s primary goal as a coach at SEALFIT Kokoro Camp in 2014 was to give one particular participant a very “special time” that weekend. That participant’s name is TJ Ferrara. Lake is not one to miss a mark, and so he did just that.
Ferrara thought he would return the favor, and has tortured Lake with friendship ever since then.
Just kidding, they actually kind of like each other. After that first weekend, Lake and Ferrara discovered that they had been running in the same circle for more than a decade. “We've actually been in the same room on multiple occasions for over 20 years but didn't know it,” Ferrara told me. Still, it was not brotherly love at first sight. “I thought he was a complete asshole, which is so far from the truth. Getting to know him, he's so selfless when called on, it will make you uncomfortable,” TJ said about Sean Lake.
Lake feels the same way, actually, which is funny given the fact that they now spend almost every waking moment together. The first time Lake remembers meeting TJ he thought he was “as arrogant as could be. That was the first impression,” he said.
From those two stellar first impressions came the foundation of what is now a tried-and-true friendship that has spanned years, weathered storms, rucked miles and miles, done Murph after Murph, and has now become a business dedicated to bringing the life changing benefits of collagen protein to people all over the world.
From friendship to collagen.
Tired of him complaining about slow recovery after his regular daily routine of surfing, cross training, and running, Lake’s wife, Heather, brought him home a tub of collagen. TJ came over to visit that night and Lake showed him what his wife brought home. TJ loved it and suggested they start a company.
TJ had been looking for something just like collagen. “I actually didn't care what kind of company we started. I just wanted to do hoodrat shit with my friends. Culture and brother(sister)hood over everything. I wanted to have a group of people that would have my back as much as I had theirs. I think I've got that with BUBS. It makes me smile,” he remembers.
(I can vouch. The man has it with BUBS.)
And BUBS was born.
But they set a few parameters. First, they decided off the bat that 10% of profits would go to charity. “We are doing what no other company in the supplement/health wellness space is doing by dedicating this much of our bottom line to helping others,” said Lake. That same selfless energy that TJ saw in Lake years ago is the same energy that they both deliberately bring to the table at BUBS. It’s important to Lake. “Having that moral compass, that sense of what we want to accomplish leads all of our decisions and though we approach things differently we share the same end goal,” he told me.
We still, to this day, give back to charity with every purchase. And the company is still owned by Lake and Ferrara, two best friends with a passion for doing what is right, every time.
And they mean it. The BUBS website reads, “Helping yourself and helping others goes hand in hand. That’s how we see it. Our BUBS Collagen Protein is designed to make a better you. And YOU can help make someone else’s life better in the process...BUBS isn’t about getting rich, it’s about having a rich life….and paying it forward.”
For TJ Ferrara and Sean Lake, its authenticity and transparency as a brand that holds them together. For the two friends, they know where it all stops and starts. “We care about the brand and Glen's legacy and operate with a level of authenticity that isn't typically found in the business world, “ said Ferrara. “We wouldn't be this company if it weren't for the chemistry we have.”