Update: Following publication of this story, Roy Krebs asked us to include a statement from him, which is at the bottom of the post.
The campground at Coachella is the place for a lot of things: body painting, boxed-wine keg stands, even dunkaroos -- submerging one's head in a cooler of ice water for as long as possible, then shotgunning a beer. One might not expect a successful business idea to strike there, but it was at Coachella 2010 that Roy Krebs lit on his idea for RaveAid, the first multivitamin designed to stave off the ill effects of a night of raving.
Nowadays, the 27-year-old Krebs, who is based outside of San Diego, leads a global operation. Blended in Iowa, RaveAid is distributed out of a center in Ohio and shipped to customers as far away as Australia, Belgium and Argentina. Online, it's sold by rave specialists such as RaveReady.com and iheartraves.com, and Krebs says he has sold 1,600 bottles within the last year.
He developed the idea after watching the routines of his friends, seasoned festivalgoers who brought secret weapons to help them survive a weekend of partying. "They were taking a handful of vitamins before they were going to sleep to help with their recovery," he says, "so they could party harder the next day."
It turned out it wasn't just his friends. Krebs found that hard-core ravers -- the kind of EDM enthusiasts who make graphs plotting the exact time a high should hit to match the peak of a DJ's set -- were sharing tips with each other via online message boards about specific supplements to counteract ecstasy hangovers.
"I'd call them home recipes," Krebs says of such over-the-counter vitamin cocktails. "Each person would have five to 10 [pills] that they would take, and they would recommend them to each other." This involved lots of hassle, however; it would take several trips to different stores, and sometimes upwards of $100 to get all the component supplies. Krebs saw an opportunity.
And so, starting with an Excel spreadsheet where he compiled the most recommended supplements and dosages, Krebs narrowed the list to six or seven ingredients, then worked with blending experts at several nutritional-supplement manufacturers to refine the formula.
The finished product contains 5-HTP, an amino acid that helps increase serotonin production (which ecstasy and other drugs of its class deplete), as well as B6, thought to facilitate the body's absorption of 5-HTP. Rounding out the mixture is alpha lipoic acid, which increases blood flow and recycles antioxidants like vitamins C and E (also RaveAid components), and magnesium, which helps with hydration and relaxes muscles after a night of strenuous dancing.
RaveAid is meant to help detox, as well as aid with problems such as overexertion, dehydration and lack of sleep. Krebs also sees his product as encouraging "raving responsibly."
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RaveAid is about "health, safety and respect for your body," he says. Or at least, one suspects, getting it back into fighting shape so you can abuse it more.
[Editor's note: Following the publication of this piece, Krebs asked us to include a statement on his behalf. This is the statement in its entirety:
Roy Krebs, RaveAid, and its affiliates do not encourage, endorse, or condone the use of illegal drugs. Any statements regarding RaveAid's use to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease are those of the editor. All statements suggesting a link between RaveAid and the use of illegal drugs are strictly those of the editor.]