Dallas-resident David Sepulveda says his new company Marma was inspired by family remedies. Photos courtesy of Marma.

May 5, 2015 

Dallas-resident David Sepulveda, a self-described social entrepreneur, wants to market the natural remedies he learned from his grandmothers to provide social outreach. The new company, called Marma, launched this week via IndieGoGo.

Marma is structured as a B or benefit corporation, a type of for-profit entity that strives to have a positive impact on society and the environment

Right, David Sepulveda is a member of the Grove, a coworking community in Dallas.

Sepulveda, an Uptown-area resident  and member of the Grove coworking community, says his company is based on the TOMS' one-for-one model (for every item purchased, another person benefits), while offering a variety of homegrown health-solution products, proven to work.

“The idea behind Marma is to rediscover health remedy knowledge from many sources,” Sepulveda explains. “These are not specific to my grandmothers or to a specific culture, but our goal is to embrace the vast trove of knowledge made possible by cultural and ethnic diversity.”

He says that growing up in Monterrey, Mexico, he was inspired by both of his grandmothers – one from a large city and the other from a rural setting. 

Left, a sore-throat sufferer gets the evil eye from a grandmotherly figure when he goes for an over-the-counter drug in Marma's promo video.

“My mother had to deal with such ambivalence when raising us,” he says. “That made me realize that useful health solutions can come from many places, but what matters is whether there is scientific data to prove these remedies work.”
Sepulveda’s site went live on May 4 at a launch party at the Grove and the first product he will introduce is called Marma Gargle.

“Marma Gargle is ready to be manufactured, but we need a minimum scale,” he says. “The objective of the campaign is to receive pre-orders instead of contributions or donations. People can support the launch of Marma by ordering and spreading our campaign on social media. Our goal is to obtain orders for 2,500 boxes during the duration of the campaign. Each box sold gives a child in need a chance at a better life.”

The name Marma, reminiscent of both "mama" and "karma," was chosen “as a reminder of family comfort and the warm care our grandmothers provided us.”

A Certified B Corporation under the pending category that B Labs issues to startups, Sepulveda’s company is incorporated in Delaware as a Public Benefit Corporation. He says he decided to launch the business after he was fundraising for several other causes in the area and also a Grant Panel volunteer with United Way. 

“I realized how difficult it is for non-profits to raise funds to expand their impact,” he explains. “I thought businesses like TOMS and Warby Parker can make a huge difference by partnering with recognized non-profits and using the power of the free market to fuel donations with every purchase. We think that by encouraging the creation and growth of this type of business model, we can improve capitalism to help more people in need.” 

Marma items will be sold online and Sepulveda says that by buying directly from his company folks are avoiding distributors and that means more funds to generate impact in other areas that need support.

“For each product sold, we help fund deworming programs for children in developing countries while partnering with support organizations in the United States  to employ individuals struggling with unemployment/homelessness to do the fulfillment of online orders.”

The first product, Marma Gargle, is for sore throat relief. 

“It’s based on the salt gargle remedy known by many grandmothers,” he said. “It has anti-septic properties to alleviate sore throats caused by beginning infections. The philosophy behind our products is about simpler health solutions for simple health ailments. We believe we don't always need to use drugs.”

Some of the company’s future products will likely include teas that fulfill the criteria of having reliable third-party scientific research that proves it works as well products that help educate consumers by explaining the scientific proof behind each product.

“Overall, our goal is to develop products inspired on traditional remedies whose efficacy can be proven with independent scientific research,” he adds. “In most cases, these will contain common ingredients with minimal processing.”

Also in an effort to be environmentally friendly, Marma uses Forest Service Council-compliant packaging and also seeks to work with contract manufacturers that prioritize energy efficiency practices. Sepulveda said their long-term goal is use organic ingredients.

“When all is said and done the goal is to form a community of people who believe in a simpler approach to health and in sharing ideas and exchanging experiences,” Sepulveda concludes. “Marma hopes to help drive that conversation.”

See Marma's website.

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