The NatureBox headquarters, a dash from downtown Redwood City, is in an airy building with natural light streaming through floor-to-ceiling windows bordering the street. This would be an ideal setting for an automobile showroom (historically, it was) but now it’s lined with standing desks, couches, whiteboards, a large external air conditioning unit and hundreds of pounds of snacks.
These aren’t your mother’s carrot sticks; the snack company’s catalog runs rich and deep with the likes of dried chile mangos, turmeric black pepper popcorn, sriracha cashews and chocolate chip cookies that won’t give you a stomachache—it’s a cornucopia of reimagined snack favorites made with a healthy focus.
“Munch away on whatever you’re craving and feel good about what you’re eating” reads the label on the back of the trail mix. In an intriguing twist a few months ago, NatureBox took that feel-good eats concept one step further by developing a line of hemp-based cannabidiol snacks, a slightly radical shift made by the company’s CEO after discovering the immensely positive health effects CBD had on his own daughter.
Although individual rooms exist within the headquarters, this CEO’s desk is in plain view off in the corner surrounded by employees.
It’s not a hectic office space and the murmur of phone calls and chatter doesn’t interfere with John Occhipinti’s concentration as he stoically sits at his desk with a pair of noise-canceling headphones on. Eyes closed, he’s meditating. As he’ll do throughout the day.
“I’m listening to a smattering of YouTube-guided meditations,” he later explains. “My mind will run in a lot of different directions and this will get me grounded in more creative energy, then productivity comes back. You listen to your heart to see if it’s beating.”
He’s more blue jeans than Brooks Brothers, wearing a light- blue Vineyard Vines shirt, which seems to enhance his already radiant blue eyes. Prone to smiling and unafraid to use a whiteboard to help illustrate a point, John (or “John O,” a sometimes nickname inspired by an old email he had while working at Netscape in the 1990s) leads NatureBox with a relaxed and focused direction.
“My kids gave me a bracelet that says Be Present,” he says, gesturing to his wrist. “That’s what I’d preach to them when I used to drop them