In Part 1 of our Inspiring Woman interview with DR. CHRISTINA RAHM, she discussed her multifaceted life as a scientist, entrepreneur, psychologist, and humanitarian. In an unprecedented Part 2 of that interview, she talks about how she “sees herself.” For example, Dr. Rahm calls herself a “fashion engineer,” rather than a fashion designer, and as an “artist,” when it comes to applying her skills to formulating beauty and skin care products. In this second part of her interview, Dr. Rahm discusses her “trifecta” of companies: Under the Red Chandelier, Merci Dupre Clothiers/Enviremware, and Ella Pure. And she ponders the one question so many of us have faced, and that is how to apportion your time and energies to family, household, and community while forging a career path and growing a business. Christina holds patents with multiple claims approved in areas of human, animal, and environmental sciences; she is a scientist, inventor, entrepreneur, psychologist, and humanitarian. It is fitting, then, that she uses art in all that she does—the creative process, sparked by a dream, and fueled by a desire to give to others, is intertwined in her more technical endeavors. She views art as transient, yet her work’s impact on countless lives is more enduring.
Christina, thank you for allowing the ELYSIAN readers into your life. Over the past three decades, I have interviewed hundreds of women. Your interviews cumulatively, took place in three geographic locations. Because of length, the interviews span two publications; the previous ELYSIAN Art, fall issue focused on your formative years and inherent creativity through your art and innovations. This winter ELYSIAN Fashion issue delves more into your professional life with the many businesses you have built.
Your career is multi-dimensional and complex, so I thought we might begin with fashion . . . In 2023 you kicked off New York City Fashion Week, showed in both the Hamptons and Times Square NYC . . . and on October 19th will kick off LA Fashion Week. What incredible accomplishments . . . and what is the story behind the story?
People may think I am a fashion designer when in reality, I am a fashion engineer. Bioscience engineering is really my background. I am an artist who believes in people and in beauty. I am not ashamed that I like nice, artistic, and beautiful aesthetics. I want to touch the lives of women and show them uniquely beautiful textiles and designs. But also, how do we make them better? How do we make them cleaner? Merci Dupre Clothiers was much more than a fashion brand to me. It was a way to empower and provide a better life for people and our children. The fabric textiles embedded with our proprietary processes will make major changes to this world.
Where did DRC Ventures originate?
DRC is either a derivation of Dr. Christina, or Deeply Rooted Causes. Clayton and I came up with 10 concepts, each led back to the name DRC Ventures.
When did the idea begin?
The idea was developed throughout my entire career. We have many verticals that are constantly changing and evolving, focusing on environment, pets, and people. We interface with industries, corporations, governments, philanthropies, and more. DRC Ventures runs and manages multiple brands and companies aimed at bringing solutions to the world.
Do you consider DRC your career pinnacle?
Throughout my entire career I have worked overseas in 87 countries, soon 88. I operated in different capacities with their governments or corporations… from environmental, military science, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, and animal health. Typically for corporations, I worked on patents, patent-pending processes, and formulations. From as early as 1995 to 2009 I authored papers and dissertations aimed at cleaning our environment and protecting our world.
Under DRC there are many verticals, but I want to first focus on “the trifecta:” Under the Red Chandelier, Merci Dupre Clothiers, and Ella Pure. Can you explain to our reader the relationship between these companies?
The three entities are tied together . . .
Tell us about Under the Red Chandelier and what was the genesis for creating that entity?
The genesis for Under the Red Chandelier was a desire to touch women through art, music, fashion, food, travel… all that we love, right? Everyone in the office made fun of me, and my business partners said there was no need. I also have a magical closet with a huge red chandelier. But my goal was not the closet or the chandelier, it was to touch people.
You most certainly do touch people through the clothing line Merci Dupre. How did that happen?
I knew the way to touch the most people was through creativity. Because clothing is universal…some of the more powerful and influential people in the world are drawn to fashion. Merci Dupre Clothiers was created to bring solutions to one of the most toxic industries in the world, the textile industry. Rather than get rid of it, why not improve it, and make it better.
How can that be accomplished?
Merci Dupre Clothiers created Enviremware whose purpose is to protect people’s bodies from environmental toxins. The way in which we create fabric, refurbishing it and making it sustainable, is hugely impactful to this world. Making textiles more beautiful also reflects the evolution of people to be more beautiful, powerful, and healthier. I think of Merci Dupre Clothier as a healthcare company for fashion because the fabrics are embedded with multiple layers of a protective barrier. The clothing company also utilizes Ella Pure’s skin defense aimed at protecting skin from environmental toxins.
Where and how did you come up with the Enviremware?
From 2010 through 2014, I was looking at different approaches to help our environment and protect humanity. I worked on projects in graduate school where we contemplated living in outer space, on Mars, or the moon. I thought why not focus on our world with the issues we face and create something here? I studied the astronauts and what kind of fabric they were wearing because interestingly, when they leave our atmosphere, their pH becomes balanced, and it appears they are anti-aging. It was while I was attending classes at Harvard, that I worked more diligently on this process.
I also wanted to create protective clothing for both infants and families. Every time you talk about a mask (post covid) or clothing that protects you in an event of a tragedy, it looks boring and/or even scary. I wanted to approach this differently, create something fun where people understand that our world is changing, and we can adapt too. We are innovators, so let’s innovate and in so doing, make our bodies even healthier.
I developed a clothing brand that I was able to incorporate my pharmaceutical and biotech background, as well as my education, into skin wear and clothing wear.
That is amazing . . . Alright, how long does the Enviremware process take for fabric to be properly treated? And what is the protective coating?
It takes 96 hours to impact fabric by using hydrogen, aloe vera, silver ions, iodine, baking soda, zeolites, silicon dioxide, magnets, heating, freezing, fracking, and more. The process is created so that the application is permanent. Hypochlorous acid is typically a pharmaceutical-grade product, but I made it naturally into nutraceuticals so that people could spray this on their skin or on their clothes and really protect their bodies. For example, by spraying blankets, we can aim at protecting our children while simultaneously making something beautiful.
What is the end game or goal for Merci Dupre Clothiers?
That the brand will last throughout history and be known for its collaboration and partnerships. Merci Dupre Clothiers is a standalone fashion company, though that was not the intended goal . . . which was to provide solutions and include as many partners and collaborators as possible. We want to work with multiple fashion brands. It goes far beyond sustainability, beyond refurbished clothing, and much further than what is happening in the manufacturing arena because we touch everything by providing solutions that no one has provided before. It is perhaps our most essential company, in my opinion. It is a vertical that goes back to my education in science. Behind environmental toxins that enter our body and cause autoimmune disorders and aging and are destructive, my interest is to provide a basic cover for us so that we emerge like butterflies from environmental damage. I want us to progress in a positive way. Our skin is our largest organ; we need to protect our skin and bodies better.
The basis for Merci Dupre Clothiers is the evolution of people and the quest to be something even more beautiful than we were before.
Where and how did you come up with the Ella Pure?
Ella Pure is skincare, dental care, haircare . . . everything aesthetic with physical beauty, which is important to me because again, our skin is our largest organ.
I authored patents on the reversal of aging and regeneration. Why can’t we have the best lives we can until we are 130 years old? And I always say this, if we live to be 130, why can’t we look and feel good? Every time someone made fun of an idea it propelled me forward . . . I decided to just do it.
I don’t want to go off-topic, but can you describe skin wear and how it came to fruition?
At Harvard, I did a project called Super Skin Coating and then filed the patents. I really wanted to protect children because when children are born, they enter a world with heavy metals and environmental toxins. As they leave the hospital, they are exposed to our environment.
I created SuperSkin coating so that people could protect their skin and their bodies. I made it bioavailable, so it could go onto their bodies to protect but also provide a barrier, and to help heal. I use a lot of ingredients that have a 99.9% efficacy to get rid of staph, strep, viruses, fungus, and bacteria. We launched a spray called Skin Defense; a magical combination that can help people like me who travel all over the world or the homebound, scared to venture out to the grocery store. I wanted solutions. It is not about money. You can make money doing anything But, we have an obligation to provide the world with a better place and leave a legacy to make a difference.
Now, let us talk about the relationship between The Root Brands and DRC Ventures.
The Root Brand is really the foundational piece of our business model because it was created to help launch different brands focused on wellness through a proprietary FinTech system. We wanted to prove that we could penetrate different global markets and countries and ultimately, we will be in over 100 countries worldwide. The Root Brand has been a successful venture producing supplements that people need to help the body clean and then support itself.
It was a spontaneous progression because when you are looking at changing the planet, people, and pets, your catalyst begins with people because people take care of the planet, people, and pets. We started with the most natural components and the easiest way to help the most people throughout the world as quickly as possible. We launched TRB during COVID and rapidly changed the landscape of the supplement world, so people have better health and wellness. They experience more complete, beautiful lives so they can enjoy their families and their own purpose on this earth.
Which came first, The Root Brand or DRC Ventures?
Which came first . . . that is hard to say because the formulas came first. But the mechanism or the ability to get products out into the public’s hands was developed by Clayton. When he launched TRB he rapidly grew the company’s footprint globally. When Ted Baker and I stepped in, we were able to bring the vision to fruition by launching the various brands.
You must evolve to change, and I said this earlier, things mutate. I think one of Clayton’s gifts is he is willing to do things that people are scared to do. He launched Root when COVID was here. Most people (in fact, I said, “I have to be honest, Clay, I do not think it will work”) but he persevered. During COVID we even had difficulties sourcing products, not to mention supply chain issues. I was really scared for him to be honest, but he had no fear. As a businessperson, being fearless is what it takes. I give him a lot of credit. We also understood that there was something bigger . . .
What is the actual structure of TRB and DRC Ventures?
Although TRB is structurally under DRC ventures, it is the main sales channel. TRB is where we launch the products for the TRB community, and we are heavily invested in that community. We communicate constantly whether through Zoom calls, interviews, or podcasts. We have 1000s of people we talk to weekly. It requires more than constant travel worldwide. We invest in people and their networks, all of which matter.
Clayton invented TRB’s innovative FinTech system, with many components similar to the business model of Amazon Prime. He developed the system to give individuals sustainability as well as a path to improve their financial health and well-being. The energy of the TRB community and our people is what makes the difference.
You mention FinTech, can you explain how TRB evolved in that space?
The Metaverse, Web3, and so many more tech disruptors are important to understand. These technological innovations are changing constantly and generationally so to be relevant; they must be taken seriously. People are constantly interacting through nontraditional approaches, anything from social media communication . . . to cryptocurrency like Bitcoin financially. All these different technologies are coming into play.
Clayton wanted to develop a system that could accommodate all types of transactions throughout the world and do it legally and compliantly. He was able to develop a system and platform that could do this all over the world which made expansion easier, of course, to go from one country to over 80 countries because you have a platform and fintech system. I started speaking at Metaverse events about our proprietary FinTech backend, a system that worked, which has been an integral part of our success. TRB is not just the products, which I think are amazing, but the emotional, mental, psychological, spiritual, energetic, and economic components of what we bring to the community at Root through our platform. Root is trying to create a circular economy system in all 76 countries so we continue to give back economically to all these countries.
Rahm Group Purchasing was an essential piece of the business. How did that come about?
Earlier in my career, I was the CEO of a healthcare company and contract research organization located in almost every state in the United States. We were responsible for intraoperative monitoring and oversaw improvement of quality and cost of initiatives, as well as patient registries. It was one of the toughest professional environments and I grew up quickly. I became a healthcare CEO that not everyone liked who was constantly dealing with finances, P&Ls, acquisitions, and mergers.
It was a personal and professional turning point. I had four small children, and acrimony amongst business partners and investors. Meanwhile, I was traveling and speaking all over the world as we made advancements in spine and head trauma injuries. We maintained registries that now are still guiding the insurance companies in some parts of the world for standard of care and continue to provide data and information for spine and head injuries.
There was a lot on my plate. I look back now, and I think gosh, we were able to accomplish a lot but not enough.
There were many notable industries, the pharmaceutical industry, the medical device industry, the healthcare industry, and the insurance industry. But where are the natural supplements? What can be directed to the side effects? Where did we teach people that your body is in your control, and there is a natural path as well? We simply missed that point and did not do it. But during that tenure, I learned the value of group purchasing. I understood what hospital conglomerates could do together when they work together, through group purchasing.
Tell me about being a single mother and some of the lessons you learned during that time of personal and professional growth.
Being a single mother was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done. It is lonely and exhausting. I don’t even know what to compare it to. Now that I have someone like Clayton in my life who helps me, and I have business partners who are there for me, I wonder what was wrong with me. I was in bad relationships. I chose the wrong partners. I made major decisions because I wanted to change someone and to love them enough so that they would be better. Now I realize I should have chosen an equal partner, someone who brought both strengths and weaknesses, but we could work together and become better together.
As a single mother, I did not have the capacity really for a relationship. I did not have the ability to talk to someone; it was all on my shoulders. My children did not understand. I think they thought I wanted to work constantly. I will say this, whether you are serving coffee at a restaurant or working in a corporation as a single mother, it is hard. I was working in healthcare and traveling everywhere for work; I developed an understanding of women’s hardships. Through that experience, I developed a love and a passion for all women and single mothers.
I remember thinking how hard it is to stay on your feet for 16 hours and serve people or to hold two to three jobs to provide for your family. I was always juggling different jobs to provide for my kids, and they were angry because I was working all the time and not at home. I was the only one bringing money in, so I had to make it work. One particular time when I had 5 types of cancer, I remember laying in my bed and covering my head and crying and saying, “ I’m staying in bed all day.” I was so upset. That lasted for probably 45 minutes, to an hour and then I got up. I remember thinking if I don’t get up, I may never get up. I remember thinking I did not have an option. I needed to be stronger and better for the kids. But I also remember the nagging feeling of the kids being upset and my not having the patience to deal with their anger. I don’t know if they knew that, but I felt sorry for myself. I just had to find the inner strength and eventually, the understanding there were other women like me.
There is also shame associated with being a single mother. I have to say this to women, I hope they hear me. If someone mistreats you or if a relationship is bad, get out. Who cares what the rest of the world thinks, it really doesn’t matter. You are responsible for your life. I have one person to answer to, and that person is not on this earth. I constantly prayed and did my best to be a better person and to be stronger for my kids. Eventually what happened was instead of feeling sorry for myself every day, I stepped up more. And that is how I have conducted my life.
And you stepped up in every way… Let’s pivot back to your initiative, Rahm Group Purchasing. What makes RGP unique and why is it important to the healthcare industry?
Rahm Group Purchasing is extremely important. I want the pharmaceutical industry and companies (as well as any other healthcare industry) at the table for everyone in healthcare.
How do you do that? And how does the International Science Nutrition Society play into the equation?
I look forward to meeting with CEOs of hospitals and insurance companies worldwide, much like I did previously. I also look forward to distributing amazing products to help as many people as possible. We are also looking at both traditional and nontraditional care.
We have a partnership with the International Science Nutrition Society, which is a society all over the world where doctors are entering patients in a patient registry.
We track TRB products, other supplements, and surgeries per diagnosis. How might a patient be helped if the patient is having side effects from pharmaceuticals? Can nutraceuticals work in tandem with the medication for better outcomes? We look at all the outcomes across populations throughout the world. I am unaware of any other patient registry being launched in 80+ countries. I am also unaware of another group purchasing taking the path we are on. Our approach is backed with research, data, and significant statistics that matter to the healthcare industry. That is a huge game-changer.
How do you do that?
Honestly, it comes from a lot of failure . . . learning tough lessons of how to deal with a system that takes time to change. I know we are at a tipping point in our lives because people want what is good for their bodies. People are starting to understand they must care for their own health every day and not just when they feel sick, go to the doctor, and get a prescription. Every day you should take care of your body. You take your trash out every day. Why aren’t you cleaning the inside of your body out every day? Why is it so complicated to selfcare? For me it is not complicated, it is quite simple. So go back to what is simple and bring solutions to the people of the world.
Verticals under DRC include a pet line Bill and Coo and now a coffee line Rahm Roast which has an 85% rating, which is unheard of for Coffee. How did that happen?
We are testing right now for approval so we can post the actual rating because yes, it is an anomaly to have this high of a rating. I traveled and studied coffee beans everywhere. My goal was to give a portion of every bag sold to charities in the United States and throughout the world, which we will do. Our cleaning process is the differentiator, a process I developed again in 2015. People are unaware, but coffee beans have mold, parasites, fungi, and bacteria. The goal of our process is to release toxins, amplify the beans’ antioxidants, and create amazing coffee that is very smooth and tastes amazing. So far the analysis and lab results have been phenomenal.
Every one of your innovations has an element of collaboration. Talk to me about collaboration.
I think collaboration is the biggest part of DRC Ventures’ success. I do not think it could be what it is or what it will be without these collaborations and partnerships. I was raised in the athletic home on sports teams. My dad was a coach for a while. As a single mom, there were seasons when I coached my kids.
I approach all business with teamwork. I am not a person that achieves success. In fact, I know the opposite. The only time I have ever been successful is by working with great leaders, great people, and great companies. I believe in imperfection. But I also believe in the power of unification in that imperfection because we are all imperfect pieces to a perfect puzzle. We wouldn’t be anywhere without collaborations with hospital systems, governments, key leaders, and corporations. When people ask me if I am into politics I answer, “I am if that helps the world.”
Your fundamental mission. When you get up every day, what do you say to yourself right away?
First, I do not get up right away every day. I meditate and pray for hours. I do the same thing at night. This is probably a bad practice, but I first think of what I did wrong the day before. Maybe something I said hurt someone’s feelings or what action I didn’t take could have healed or helped someone in another country. I really think of all those things. I am very hard on myself, to be honest. I ask God for guidance because I believe there is someone much greater than me. I am just a small part of a piece of something much larger. I start by trying to correct the things I might have done the day before or the week before because it always comes into my mind when I am sleeping.
Then I focus on what I am going to do to have the best day ever in case I don’t live for two more days, right? Because you never know. I think traveling everywhere has taught me the value of life and I understand and have seen death a lot. I want each day to be the best day ever. I want to focus on other people. I had to learn that I have to take care of myself too. I really have a lot to do so that mission propels me to get a lot done in a 24-hour period. I may only sleep for five hours but I don’t have a lot of time to sleep in my opinion because there’s so much to be done right now in the world.
Philanthropy plays a big part in your life and your business. How long has the Global Rahm Foundation Philanthropy been in existence?
The Rahm Foundation came into play when Duquesne, our eldest, was four or five. He wanted to raise money for a school fundraiser, so I sponsored it. The focus was on children and teaching them to give back, but also how to be leaders. I connected children with community leaders who taught them how to build a business, how to ask for money, how to give, how to serve . . . we did huge projects all over the United States actually.
We have grown internationally through our mentorship program and internship program where we bring people in from all over the world and teach leadership and mentoring. We so often focus on what we are receiving and not what we are giving.
One of the things that TRB does to further the mission is to coalesce top ambassadors, to mentor other women or men. We wanted the ambassadors to serve as advisors so we would understand, know, and relate to our communities in 80+ countries. I think as you grow a company, you can start becoming arrogant, particularly if you start being successful. I did not want that to happen with this company. I wanted to listen to the leaders.
But we did not want people on an advisory board if they were not going to be leaders. We wanted mentors who could help others give back. Once we saw who wanted to serve, be a mentor, and give back, those were selected to be the advisors. Just making a lot of money for the company was not our objective.
I am interested in a better way of life for our communities, and in the evolution of people so we become better human beings. This takes work and that takes sometimes doing things for free, it takes love even when you feel angry. All those things that are important to me.
Philanthropy is a huge part of my life. The Rahm Foundation has helped so many children, from physical paralysis to those who suffer from mental illness, to educational assistance, college tuition, and surgeries. We have a robust giving for pets, environment, adults and the military with donations to the VA, CatWalk FurBaby, Rahm Foundation, Tennessee Voices, Chic Awareness, Ted Turner’s Captain Planet, and animal rescues worldwide.
But for me, our internship program is one of our most important initiatives because it requires someone to give their time, which is the most valuable resource you have. Using your time and your energy to train someone to become a better human being, to serve and help others is a cycle that I love the most because it hopefully never ends.
Service. What does that mean?
Service means taking care of other people to make the world a better place. I ask my children, if you are not doing something good for the world and helping others, then why are you here?
We are not here for happiness. If you think you will be happy every day and that is your goal, you will be sadly disappointed and a miserable person. We were not placed here to have a perfect life either, or for everything to go right all the time. We are here to learn lessons, to serve others, and to make this world a better place.
We have a greater calling which is to help our children’s children and our species evolve and to be smarter no matter what we could go through.