Why Becoming Fringe is a Powerful Way to Live with Dr. Alyson Evans
Founder of Fringe
Dr. Alyson Evans, DC has dedicated the last 20 years to mashing up her passions for healthcare and education, alongside pursuing her purpose of building and serving a team. Alyson has helped grow multiple businesses, by prioritizing professional education and product innovation.
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Dr. Jeff Langmaid: Hey Docs, welcome to The SMART Chiropractor show in our featured guest interview of the day, I’m Dr. Jeff Langmaid here with my co-host, Dr. Jason Deitch, and we are fortunate to sit down with somebody that we both known for a little while now. Dr. Alyson Evans of Fringe. Alyson, thanks for coming on to chat with us.
Dr. Alyson Evans: Thank you for having me. I’m always happy to be here.
Dr. Jeff Langmaid: Thank you. I have a question right off the bat that is going to go – we’re going to left field to start because we’ve known each other for a while. You know, you were instrumental, I’m going to say in the growth of Rock Tape. Now you’ve started Fringe. and I know there must have been challenges along the way – many untold challenges. But I think of you – how do you maintain a resilient, positive mindset throughout growing different businesses? Practice entrepreneurial endeavors. Do you have any mindset practices, book recommendations? How do you think about it and how does mindset live within your daily life?
Dr. Alyson Evans: Oh my God, I just literally had this conversation the other day when I was trying to summarize sort of, you know, what sets apart the people that continue to push through when it’s super hard? Because I think the most important thing here is nobody is immune to the struggle – the challenges. You know? It doesn’t matter if it’s your company you’re starting or you’re starting a new job or you’re in a new relationship. I mean, you essentially – I feel like we all have a relationship with this comfort and the scale of how we handle that is really different. And so what are I can honestly say right now is it’s been an incredibly – last year was probably the most challenging and transformative year of my life, both professionally and personally. But what I can say is when I notice when people are like “Alyson, how do you do this?” I can tell you specifically the one thing that is different and that is that I too reach the point where things become overwhelming that feel incredibly like at times like the cards are stacked against you.
Dr. Alyson Evans: And often times it would feel a lot easier to just kind of abort, you know, press abort, than it would be to push through. So I really do feel like the defining characteristic for me is that I know that when I reach that barrier – that I’ve had enough times that – when I push through it – that the success is right on the other side of the worst feeling imaginable. So, typically, I have a faith now in that experience of like, “Oh man, this is too much.” That’s the overwhelming feeling. “This is too much. There’s too much going wrong. There’s too much debt, there’s too many challenges.” And I have enough experience with knowing that if I can find even just like an ounce of calm in that, that right on the other side of it is – that’s like a defining characteristic of all the books you can read. All the interviews. Like all the successful people, had a lot of trouble, and they push through it. So, that’s my answer to it all, you know. Easier said than done.
Dr. Jason Deitch: It seems like the hazing and the struggle is in fact part of the process. I mean, there’s very few that actually get where they want to go, including Jeff Bezos and many of the others, without going through exactly what you’re describing it. It looks easy on the other side from outsiders, but nobody knows what’s going on internally, right?
Dr. Alyson Evans: So, yeah, totally.
Dr. Jason Deitch: And that, to some degree, brings us, you know, really to your product. I’m on your website JoinFringe.com – whole person health. Let’s break down – I don’t know how much you want to talk about your history and your story to get you here. Or let’s just talk about you’re here. Yeah. Tell us about Fringe. What, what your vision of it is and who it helps, and what chiropractors should be interested in learning more about it.
Dr. Alyson Evans: Yeah, you know, I mean – the company name and sort of the mission behind this next adventure for me is kind of like for you guys too, you know. Right at this point and you’re like, all right, so I’m not young anymore. I’ve been doing this for a while, and I really have some beliefs that have never wavered inside of me. And a big belief is that we all could feel a lot better if we were doing some of the most basic things to take care of ourselves. And it sounds so insane, but just spending time outdoors every day and learning how to pay attention to your breathing and going for a walk at night when the sun is setting. All these things that, surprisingly, we put a lot of effort into understanding the science of all the things that we know make us feel good. I mean, we know that when we hang out near water on the ocean or lake, that we feel good. So, my thought around Fringe has been inside me for a really long time, probably since I was very young, you know – which is that medicine is something that is around us and within us, and that ultimately our bodies can heal themselves. And it’s so crazy because it’s a very controversial topic now.
Dr. Alyson Evans: So, we have these 10 areas of fringe that we talk about as being sort of like ancient medicine, you know? And today they’re called alternative medicine. Literally, chiropractic care, you know, Going and getting acupuncture. Getting some energy work done – whatever it may be, is considered alternative health care. But my mission with Fringe is to flip that narrative and that the alternative should be drugs, right? And that ultimately, you know, the power of touch, nature, breathing, meditation – all these things that are considered sort of “woo-woo” are really our original medicine that we’ve been doing for thousands of years. So, our first category is plants, which is so fascinating to learn just the history of humans’ relationships with plants and how we’ve evolved together and how all of our medicines for many, many thousands of years came from plants. And that ultimately there’s one plant that is like our first known plant for human medicine and nutrition. And that’s the cannabis plant. And the past 100 years, we haven’t had access to learn about it, but we had thousands of years before that that we used it for oils and medicinal factors and industrial and so on and so forth. So green right now is defined as the border or outer edges of the group.
Dr. Alyson Evans: It’s as chiropractor, I guess how I’ve always identified, and I wholeheartedly believe now that more people than we realize identify with thinking a little differently than the norm. And, you know, want to kind of gather in that outer edge and explore their potential, explore different ideas. And the cannabis plant is controversial. It’s, you know, only recently federally legal for people to even consume hemp, which is a variety of the cannabis plant. And, for us, we went into this space, into the CBD space, knowing it was unregulated and it was highly censored that we would have all these challenges that, at the end of the day, we wanted to jump into it early enough that we can make a difference and innovate and make a brand that people really feel proud to be a part of. So, I always let people know, you know, we’re we’re not a CBD company. We’re a health and wellness company with a mission that is really around bringing these very holistic ways of healing into the world of science and scrutiny to kind of say, “Yeah, you want some science about how breathing heals? How chiropractic heals? We’re happy to talk about it.” So, that’s Fringe.
Dr. Jeff Langmaid: I think it’s fantastic. There’s no question that it’s a conversation that’s not only long overdue, but I think has been brought to a very significant precipice. Let’s say, you know, over the not too distant past and with the leading, you know, product for, you know, consumers and docs themselves being CBD based and the fact that, you know, I just feel like there’s such a lack of education information out there. It’s like, I don’t know, I can go to my spa and something costs $10000. I go to the gas station, it costs 10 bucks. What would you know – how does a doc – you’re clearly putting a lot of effort into the education process, and I’d encourage them to be able to visit live. But, in a nutshell, what are maybe a basic tenant or two as a Doc or a student is like, “I don’t even know where to start with this.” What would your suggestion be?
Dr. Alyson Evans: Don’t go to the gas station to get your CBD is a very good beginning. There’s basically three things. The CBD industry right now is currently not regulated by the FDA. So, an example would be if the fish oil industry wasn’t regulated by the FDA. You’d probably be able to buy fish oil at your gas station, and no matter what was labeled on it, it doesn’t have to be confirmed. And, so, in an unregulated industry, the absolute must have on a CBD product is a QR code that the consumer has to scan. This is such a pain in the butt because no consumer wants to do this and no Doc wants to do this. But in this stage of the industry, this is a must have. You scan that QR code and it takes you to basically a certificate of analysis, which is just a fancy term for something that a company pays to validate what is and is not in their product. So, the what i the mg of the active ingredients. CBD other minor cannabinoids. THC is a big one. Making sure that what you are buying is validated by a third party testing facility. And then the bigger conversation is that those tests also need to validate that there’s not bad things in the product that you’re purchasing. So, no pesticides, no chemicals and solvents, no heavy metals, and no microbial or mold in the product. And that when there is FDA regulation it will be a given.
Dr. Alyson Evans: But right now, there isn’t FDA regulation so people can put out harmful products. And, so, that QR code and the testing for what is in it and what isn’t in it to me is top level. There’s a lot of good CBD companies out there. They have to be paying the money to be doing this type of testing. The next big, like huge soup bowl of everything, is, like, “What type of CBD product do I get?” Should it be full spectrum, broad spectrum isolate, all that sort of stuff? We started sort of approaching that systematically to say this plant has been around a long time. It’s full of all these compounds that we know are really valuable. Medicinal CBD is a dominant compound in the cannabis plant. And, so, it’s studied heavily. There’s a lot of research that supports it, but there’s emerging research on all these other compounds as well in the plant. So I hate to say if you’ve done your work to make sure it’s a good quality CBD product, your next is to try and figure out a company that is helping you understand what their product is – how it works. We went into this space and decided to partner with a group of food scientists because the CBD oil industry and the gummy industry and the teacher industry was super confusing for me and a really unpredictable experience. And I am not a food scientist.
Dr. Alyson Evans: But after learning what I knew about oil absorption and bioavailability – or how much we can use when we ingest it – we met this group of food scientists and so Fringe makes this water soluble powder that’s really, really highly available, you know, to your body. So, when people take the product, they get a lot more value for their money. And if they’re taking it for something that they want to feel the effect like for stress, anxiety. For sleep, it has a really amazing effect quite quickly. So, that’s kind of, in a nutshell. I mean, I I love having good competition in this space, and so I’m always willing to speak very highly about companies that are doing a proper testing. And my take on it is that the companies doing the proper testing that if you’re trying their product and they’re putting the effort forth to educate you and help you understand something, that’s a very good beginning into the industry. We just went down a little bit of a different road. I don’t really love taking oils or gummies. I think they taste gross. I don’t want to take something that tastes like, you know, grass and lemon or grass and orange. And so we got to make partnerships. We made partnerships with a bunch of tremendously nerdy food scientists who taught me so much about absorption and metabolism of, you know, this fat that we consume.
Dr. Jason Deitch: I’m getting a better understanding. You’re on the fringe of the fringe, you know?
Dr. Alyson Evans: Yeah, apparently that’s where I’m comfortable.
Dr. Jason Deitch: And I’ve got to be. We’ve got to be careful of what happens when fringe becomes mainstream. Yeah, but help us understand, more specifically – there’s a lot of chiropractors out there – some I know are already integrating CBD into their practice in a variety of different ways. Let’s get tactical here. You know, what’s your vision of how chiropractors should be using these products in their practice? Is it a one and done? Is it a habit? How how should they be thinking about it and using it? What’s the business model that you recommend?
Dr. Alyson Evans: Yeah. So, the most simplistic way to think of CBD for an effect in the body is three categories. One would be pain, one would be sleep, and then one would be mental health, stress, anxiety, depression – anything to do with our mood. When you take those three categories – I liken it to the fact that most chiropractic offices are treating people in pain, so it would make sense that they would think, “Oh, you know, I’ve heard my patient says the CBD helps their back so much, and maybe that should be something I consider selling in my office versus them getting it at a grocery store.” But the interesting thing is our passion is linking those three topics. So, linking mental and physical health because mind and body health have only been separated by modern medicine, you know. We have become incredibly talented at segregating out systems in the body versus the chiropractic philosophy, which is that’s the person on my table, and if they are not sleeping well and if they are not managing their stress and their emotions, well, I do not stand a chance at helping them with their low back pain. And, so for me, the real opportunity for the chiropractic community is to open up these conversations about topics that have become increasingly important over the past couple of years. “How well are you sleeping? How long are you sleeping? What is the quality of sleep that you are getting? How did that link to pain and inflammation? How are you managing your stress? How is your mood throughout the day? When does your low back pain flare up? You know, is it every afternoon when you’ve been working six hours? Is it every day when the kids come home from school? What is the emotional component of the processing of that pain?” Because as we start learning about pain and unpacking pain, the limbic system in our brain is how we experience pain.
Dr. Alyson Evans: And that process can be greatly improved by cutting something as simple as CBD into somebody’s routine. And so that gives the chiropractor, in my opinion, a couple doors that have opened for them to have a greater effect with that patient. If they can improve the quality of their sleep and improve the emotional aspect of stress, anxiety and that relationship to pain, that it’s interesting that chiropractors know how to help people in pain, but putting this all together, to me, is the opportunity in front of us with CBD. And what that requires for me, in my opinion, with the chiropractors is that they understand how they understand the importance of sleep, stress, anxiety, mental health with regards to how their patients heal within their care and that they are able to pass along a story that we share with them to their patient, so their patient understands. Because then here’s the category it comes down to: “Do I need to take CBD every day?” It’s a really great question.
Dr. Alyson Evans: CBD is not the magic. The magic lives within us, and that is a system inside of our body called the endocannabinoid system. And it’s like me telling you that you have a nervous system or cardiovascular system. This is a cellular signaling system inside of our body. So, it’s basically a communication system, heavily nervous system based – neurotransmitter based – that allows our body to kind of like, hit the gas or hit the brakes based on communications within our body. So, it moderates literally every biological function inside of us and helps to regulate its function. So, it’s very hard when someone says to me, “Will CBD elp me with this?” The answer is the safety profile isn’t the same. There’s no withdrawal. There’s no overdosing. There’s no safety concerns in taking the CBD if you’re taking the properly tested and high quality stuff. So, there’s no harm in trying. And then the next answer to that is you don’t know what the health of your endocannabinoid system is inside of you. We don’t know how well your body is communicating and moderating and trying to create harmony within – inside of you. So when you take CBD, it may be a phenomenal resource for your body to improve your hormonal system, your digestive system, your immune system. It may help tremendously with balancing your circadian rhythms or how you enter into sleep patterns.
Dr. Alyson Evans: It may be amazing at balancing the serotonin system inside of us that deals with sort of like our pleasantness and our demeanor and our mood. It’s really hard to know, but the great answer to all of this is a very easy to find out. You know, you take a good quality product in the morning for a couple of weeks. You see how you feel. You start listening to your body along with the care that you’re receiving and you make the decision for yourself, you know? “Yeah, I’ve seen some improvements in what 2pm feels like for me. I’ve seen some improvements in the quality of sleep that are coming, how I’m managing my low back pain, my, you know, mood swings, my…” you know, whatever it may be. It’s kind of a hard concept for people to grasp, but I’ve been trying to help people grasp that concept for 20 years as a chiropractor. So, in sharing this on a chiropractic podcast, it’s like this endocannabinoid system when it’s functioning well, we feel good. And there’s all these common sense things that boost these endocannabinoids – literally, one of them is called a bliss molecule – inside of us. And this has tons of science attached to it and way more common sense when we get outside and spend time outdoors, the sun hitting our skin. You have a boost in endocannabinoid tone or function inside of you. They just this week on our newsletter summarized an osteopathic manipulation research paper from 2005, another one from 2015 that when people come in, they get an adjustment…
Dr. Alyson Evans: And they look at their endocannabinoid levels or these molecules that make you feel good inside of your body. Before the assessment, their levels are measured. After the adjustment, the levels were 168 percent higher in this one endocannabinoid called anandamine that is responsible for us feeling good. So, when people come into our office and we talk to them – community, we touch them. – powerful endocannabinoid booster, we adjust them – massive endocannabinoid booster. We may, you know, at that point, put heat on them, hold on them, you know, work on some breathing exercises with them, do movement or exercise. All of these things boost this molecule that is called the bliss molecule that makes us feel well. So, to me, I’m like, super fired up these days and going to chiropractic conferences and saying, we all know the power of chiropractic. But did you know that the power of chiropractic and why your patients feel so damn good when they leave your office is much more than you have been taught. That there is chemicals and it’s not endorphins. It’s not an endorphin rush. They totally debunked the runner’s high as being an endorphin rush, which you could maybe call the adjustment. It’s anandamide – or bliss molecule – boosting inside of our body that makes us feel good. So, people walk out of our offices in a time when we are highly stressed – very, very bad thing for our endocannabinoid system.
Dr. Alyson Evans: Not eating well – incredibly bad thing for endocannabinoid levels. Isolated – incredibly bad thing for this system. And they come into our office and it’s like a bombardment of everything their system is craving to be in more harmony. So, just getting in the groove of sharing this message in a much larger platform because I’m more passionate about this profession, I think I’ve said this to Jeff like, I don’t know what’s happening to me. I am more passionate about this profession now than I’ve ever been. And that’s really crazy because I’ve been at it for a long time. And now maybe it’s just the world events. Maybe it’s that I’m older, maybe I’m having some sort of, you know, midlife event of my own, but it’s like, this is what people need. This is the health care that people need. People need to be told by their chiropractor that every night their chiropractor would like them to go for a walk outside for 20 minutes when the sun is going down and if they need research papers as to what that does for their blood pressure, their heart rate, their respiration, their diabetes, whatever it may be, then friends will be the people giving you the research papers. But we know what makes us feel good and that’s what we have to go do.
Dr. Jeff Langmaid: I think that is powerful, and it makes me think of I want to ask you one more quick question, and that’s relative to you mentioned listening to your body, and I thought immediately of kind of listening to the the voice in your head and as somebody that from the outside in. I’ve always looked and and thought of you as somebody who’s successful business person, you obviously have a passion for education for products. Where did that begin? I mean, most chiropractors are entrepreneurial by nature, to a certain degree, right? We’re all running our own small businesses. But, you know, I think it’s very safe to say that you’ve taken that to the next level. Where did that, you know, begin for you? What was that voice that started? Was it an evolution or was it always there?
Dr. Alyson Evans: Probably like my lemonade stand when I was a kid, like, I don’t – I can literally tell you that from the time I started practicing as a chiropractor my, I think, the seas sort of part for the people in any profession. I don’t care if you’re dentists or dermatologists or a veterinarian. I think there’s parts of being in the profession that you could kind of cheesy to say that you’re most passionate about, right? But for me, I just started paying attention to them very early on. The things I loved doing in my practice were creating the systems, were going and giving marketing lectures and bringing new patients in, were the process of the new patient evaluation, the review of findings that I loved – the business aspect of being a chiropractor. And I didn’t hate treating. That was not it. It’s just that it wasn’t the thing that I was like, “Oh, I love doing this.” And, so, very early on, I just realized, you know, I would have been the perfect chiropractor to go have 50 clinics and have all these people who loved treating. And I would just market, you know, the clinics. But I ended up really starting to love educating chiropractors on not on products, but on concepts that relate to products they use in their clinics. And ,so, for me, it was like that love of business collided with being able to feel the benefits of chiropractic through educating other chiropractors and then, you know, making products that sort of, I guess, infringe, you know, disrupt the status quo a little bit. Make it more fun than people are making, you know, our industry, and I have a real love for helping people come together and gather and learn.
Dr. Alyson Evans: And that’s the most rewarding part of all of this for me, is whether it’s my team or – you’ve been to them – definitely having an event where I’m like, I’m a connector, you know. That’s probably what people will say about me 20 years from now, you know, is that I brought people together and try to share fun ideas and, you know, make people comfortable thinking outside the box a little bit. So, that’s it. I ran a lemonade stand as a young girl, you know, and probably should have known very early on. But I think it’s crazy because when you’re like natural talents collide with something that you studied and became really, so, like, you know, my belief about health and healing is it’s foundational to who I am. It’s like I just got some of those things right early on. I don’t think it matters when you get them right. I just think it matters that, you know, the feeling of like, “Whoa, I just worked for four hours and it felt like four minutes!” That’s why you guys are sitting there doing what you’re doing and why I, hopefully, have helped other chiropractors realize there’s so much in our profession that you can go and do. It’s crazy, like the sky is the limit for what we bring to the table.
Dr. Jason Deitch: That is true and inspiring. Just so listeners who are interested can just sort of get a picture of, as you referred to as sort of the business side. How do you describe the business side? Is this a product that a doctor buys has to have an inventory sells over the counter? Is it something that they can have drop shipped to their patients’ doors? Is it a one and done product or do you recommend – Jeff and I wrote a book called The Payday Practice, which is really all about generating monthly recurring revenue through your practice in order to be able to cover your monthly expenses. It’s a way of being able to literally practice financially stress free. This seems like the kind of product that might fit into that philosophy. What – yeah – explain that for people, please.
Dr. Alyson Evans: Yeah. So, you know, I consider CBD sort of like vitamin D today. It’s not essential in old world, but in modern day times where stress levels are high. Diets are not good and we’re not moving as much as we should. That CBD, very much so, is something that when people start taking it and they buy it from your office, that that will be the place that they come every single month to fill their CBD supplies for them, their family, their friends. I mean, Fringe has become a bit of a frenzy in these first six months of a business, and people are coming to us through word of mouth and they’re getting their Fringe from the chiropractic office. So the chiropractor introduces Fringe to the patients. So, “Mr. Jones. I’d love you just to take this for a couple of weeks. See how it affects your sleep. See how it affects your stress levels, your low back pain.” Mr. Jones comes back and is really loving it. Tells your friends and family about it. You can’t buy it at Target. You can’t buy it at the gas station. You buy it from your chiropractor so that chiropractor can sell it from their office. We keystone our products. I’m not in the business of ripping off chiropractors, so any good product you should be able to make a really good margin on, especially if the company is focused on building a business with chiropractors as their customers. So chiropractors can buy our product for 40 or 50 percent off. They can then go sell it to their patients at MSRP if they don’t want to have product inside of their clinic.
Dr. Alyson Evans: They can have an affiliate program with us where we just ship to them and give them a percentage, and it’s all completely hands off, which is great if people are doing telehealth, but also just really good for a chiro to have in case – if their family, you know, of the patient love the Fringe so much, then they can get that residual income coming in. So, we have a chiro – I’m in Colorado. She’s selling a few thousand dollars, she’s making netting a few thousand dollars every month in her clinic offering. And it took her about six months to do so. I think it’s an incredible success story. We have three products. They’re very simple. It’s a dail –, it’s a bag – and it’s a daily powder that you put in your coffee or tea. It doesn’t taste like anything. The ease of use is, we nailed it, you know – the ease of use doesn’t get any better. No pills to swallow, which are phenomenal for you, but are a barrier for a lot of people. And if you can put something in a habit that you already have like your Starbucks or your tea or your mid-day drink, then you’re more liable to stick with the routine. So the model is incredible for chiropractors. I think the CBD industry is going to change a lot in the next year, and people should not be spending one hundred and fifty dollars on a CBD product. There is very reasonable prices for CBD products. You don’t have to rip people off to give them really incredible quality that the patients really love. And so for us, we’re just kind of trying to nail this with the simplicity and the power of, you know, what it can be and giving chiros a really great business opportunity.
Dr. Alyson Evans: You guys know this. This is one of those things where it’s like, if you can find a few products that you really believe about in your practice and recommend them, which I was really good at in my practice, I was selling pillows – rollers at the time. Don’t judge me – orthotics because this was like, you know, 2000. I believed in them. You know, myself, my friends, my family were also positively impacted by those products. And so I think authenticity sells incredibly inside of a chiropractic clinic. So, for me, getting your staff trained Fringe, you know, leaving out samples for people – it’s super easy for people to sample Fringe and just let that sort of, you know, marinade right to clinic. So, yeah, a really great, phenomenal business opportunity. Obviously that’s – I wouldn’t be able to do this if I wasn’t bringing an opportunity for, you know, everyone in the chain. I’m always like, everyone can win as long as everyone’s fair, right? So, the maker of the product sells the product to the person who has a relationship with the patient. Everyone should benefit with the patient being the one who benefits the most. We got it all right. If we do it like that, it’s when somewhere in there you’re like, “Wait a minute, there’s like three middlemen in here and I got a down line and an up line…” And, you know, I don’t. It’s a complicated business structure. So, no multilevel marketing here, just basic retailing.
Dr. Jeff Langmaid: I think that is absolutely fantastic. We’re not taking any offenses on the orthotics, but I’m still going to hold it against you. I think you mentioned something about we’re not as young as we used to be, but that’s that’s a story for another day. Alyson, you’ve been awesome. Thank you so much for coming on. Docs out there, if you have not head over to join Fringe, we’ll also drop that link down below. On behalf of Jason, myself and our entire team, Alyson, thanks so much for taking the time and exploring it with us!