Hi again. My, don’t you look lovely today! I wanted to share with you all the backstory of how this whole thing came to be. I encourage you all to keep pursuing those things you love - be it golf, apparel, fitness, your family, jiu jitsu, travel, etc. Hope you enjoy...
Manna was started because of Jay Dee and Thomas’ love of rowing, fitness, and the ability to work for themselves and create something to share with many people.
Jay Dee and Thomas both have a rowing background. They rowed with each other at UC San Diego and remained friends even after an injury took Thomas away from the sport. Strap in your seatbelt, it's a bumpy founding story ride:
Jay Dee, moved to New York City from San Diego in the summer of 2012. As a collegiate oarsman, his time in college was spent training at the highest level at his sport, training his mind in the classroom and possessing elite fitness.
As he transitioned into the working “adult” world, his training, fitness, and focus on health went to the wayside to concentrate on making it in finance in the "Big Apple".
With only $5,000.00 to his name and a hope of making it with the financial hotshots of New York City, Jay Dee got a huge wakeup call from the realities of having no network, being in one of the world’s most expensive and unforgiving cities, and a lack of physical and mental exertion.
He found himself experiencing 8 long months of unemployment, a deep depression, poor health, and poor mental stamina.
Jay Dee eventually did end up as a junior portfolio manager with Wells Fargo and even worked with VC funded start ups in Los Angeles. But it was during the darkest time where the inception of Manna developed.
There is a need for a community to help people who need self discipline through rowing and meditation training.
In the past year, Jay Dee and Thomas Chang, former UC San Diego rower, martial artist of 15 years, and close friend of Jay Dee, have been working on ways to improve mental concentration, stamina, and spiritual health.
They’ve been learning from Dr. Eric Goodman from Foundation Training, Wim Hof (holder of multiple world records), and meditation teachers to improve grit.
During this time, they’ve spent thousand of hours and dollars to develop a clear program that helps people integrate these obscure techniques and methods to track measurable improvement.
The goal is to build a community of like-minded people who are interested in building their personal grit through a multi-disciplinary mental and physical program.
On a personal level, Jay Dee and Thomas are both very entrepreneurial - seeing value in the ability to work for oneself and provide value to people through a means that was created by them.
At some time in 2015, Jay Dee shared an idea about a business plan he had been tinkering over in his head with Thomas.
The idea was to have a mobile trailer that would wheel around rowing machines providing classes on the machine for people out of doors and at revolving locations.
Thomas immediately resonated with the idea as he had a similar idea but for a more general gym-like experience but also mobile and out of doors.
From here, Jay Dee and Thomas began talking more seriously about building a fitness-focused business together. In January 2016, Jay Dee asked Thomas to partner with him on the Manna Rowing venture. They’ve been building, iterating, rowing, and working together since then.
Our main goal is to help people build mental fortitude, grit, physical fitness, and longevity to live an optimal life. It’s not about us, and we are all in this together.
On behalf of Team Manna,
-Jay Dee & Thomas