EnvisionBody founder, Salina Ray, shares the remarkable journey of the development of the company
The Big Idea
The aha moment that is described as the sudden insight or discovery of something, hit me as I stepped onto a treadmill several years ago. I was visiting the Miami area and staying at a high-rise condo building. I decided to get up early one morning and use the condo gym to get in a quick workout. As I walked into the gym I noticed that it was completely empty and quiet.
When I stepped onto the treadmill, before I turned the dashboard on, I could see my reflection on the black screen. And just at that moment, it hit me! My mind started raising with ideas. I thought of how powerful it would be if you could allow a user to see themselves with their diet and fitness goals already achieved, while exercising or not. What if you could give someone their After image instantly? That is extraordinarily powerful.
I thought of the fact that before and after still images have been used for years to sell products or services because that is what motivates people to take action. I also thought of the old use of photographs that people put onto their refrigerator of themselves in a bikini when they were in better shape to remind them of their fitness/health goals. I believe there is a reason that we have a 500 billion dollar beauty industry. People want to see themselves look their best.
So, I quickly went to work; writing down an outline of how to form the company and a list of things to do. Number one on the list was to start filing patents. I am happy to say that we have achieved three granted AI/AR software patents. I say we because, without the help of my patent attorneys and technical guidance from software engineers, I could not have achieved them.
Get the Word Out
Once I had the patents in place I wanted to introduce EnvisionBody to the world. The Consumer Electronics Show is held every year in Las Vegas, NV. I was accepted to exhibit there in January of 2020. It was my coming out moment to put my idea on the world stage. I was overwhelmed by the response from the attendees and the press. I met people from all over the world that saw my advertisement and sot out my booth. Some people brought translators to talk to me. It was fascinating! I knew after the CES show that I was really onto something big.
We were ranked by USA Today as one of Best in Show alongside Lenovo, Quibi, and Hyundai. The Financial Times rated us one of The Most Thought-Provoking Devices at CES. As well as mentions in BBC, GeekWire, and PC Magazine.
After I returned from CES, I had remarkable forward momentum. After so many years of hard work, I knew that 2020 would be the year that everything would take off. Then COVID hit a few months after that, and everything stopped. I thought....
An interesting thing happened during COVID that I do not think anyone saw coming. The complete shutdown from COVID actually drove technology forward on a fast track. We had to use the only resource that we had to do everything from Zoom business meetings, online grocery shopping, working out online as we watched Peloton sales soar, and even dating. AI, AR, VR, and MR development was part of the upswing during COVID and I certainly benefited from that.
The Washington Post Came Calling
I received a call from The Washington Post earlier this year asking for an interview. As a startup, it was a total game-changer. There are no words to describe what kind of weight and power that has to receive that kind of acknowledgment from a highly respected publication with 69 Pulitzer Prizes. It is such an honor and validation to receive that kind of recognition. Along with the US, we were printed in several different countries including Spain, France, Ukraine, Russia, and the UK.
What is more validating and gratifying though, and the entire reason I built my company, is the constant messages that I receive through my website of people asking where they can go to download the application. The stories that I read are so heartwarming from people that are on a diet, weight loss, and fitness path. I find that in each of the stories, it is a very emotional and personal endeavor, and I am tremendously honored that people are reaching out to EnvisionBody to help and be part of their journey.