On the patio of the Highland City Club in the heart of Boulder, I enjoyed a meal with Ret Taylor. Vines covered the brick surrounding us and a waterfall on the periphery provided background music – components that felt increasingly faces of boulder_ret taylorrelevant as our conversation progressed.

Ret operates two businesses from the Highlands’ third floor co-working space. He attended CU Boulder but left Boulder for nearly 15 years after graduating in 2001. From humble beginnings, Ret’s early aspirations were cultivated from a perception that success and money were one in the same. He chased dollar signs all over the world, from Florida to Brazil, Saudi Arabia to New York City, and the money never seemed to provide the feeling of success it promised.

It was in New York City where Ret discovered an interest in MovNat, a fitness regimen recalling our early ancestors and encouraging primal-like movement. His runs through Central Park transformed into a Tarzan-esque spectacle. Observers, envious that Ret seemed to actually enjoy exercise, asked if they could tag alone and soon, Ret was leading groups of 40-50. For Ret, climbing trees and crawling over rocks throughout the park had little to do with exercising; it was about reconnecting with nature,

Our ability to thrive is directly correlated to the extent to which we are connected with nature and its processes. We’re fortunate to live at the time when through modern technology, we can see into the body and understand why and what it is about nature that makes us thrive. This represents a tremendous opportunity to me as it means we can tap into at will and when most needed. That knowledge has played a big role in enabling me to live a life far more aligned with my values”

Ready for a bigger jungle gym, Ret moved back to Boulder where nature isn’t cramped amid high-rises and the deafening honks of taxis. Around the time of his return to Boulder, his mother was diagnosed with cancer. Though confident she’d received the care of excellent doctors, Ret’s growing interest in nature’s healing powers motivated his research of natural medicine, ultimately narrowed to: hemp-derived CBD.

From seed to bottle, Ret entrenched in every step of the hemp-derived CBD process. Among the available products, he saw a way to do it better, not just for customers, but for the plants as well. So on an alpine climbing expedition in the heart of Colorado’s Indian Peaks Wilderness, he along with his partner, Adriaan Zimmerman, mapped out their plan to start Ned, a health and wellness company centered around hemp infused products, with emphasis on doing right by people and by nature:faces of boulder_ret taylor

“We [at Ned] believe in the power of plants to provide health and happiness. For fifteen years, I’ve studied the power of nature to heal and optimize, not only the body and mind but for businesses and organizations as well. We [at Ned] treat our plants with respect. They give us their medicine more freely when that happens. That’s why extract our Full Spectrum Hemp Oil in a very kind and gentle process without using high heat or pressure.”

Ned, though a company, is really an extension off Ret’s pursuit to share with as many people as possible what helped him redefine success – abundance, not of money, but of connection with the natural world. As our conversation progressed, I realized I was sitting across from someone that has discovered, after much searching, their purpose in life. Ret speaks with a certain tone of genuineness – a sincerity in the belief that he has found what he was put here to do,

“My mission is to help as many people as possible find a deeper connection with the natural world, instilling a deep love, or at least an appreciation for the value of it. And Returning to Boulder has given me the space to align my beliefs with my research and the ability to execute on that mission.”

Billy Oppenheimer, born and raised in Philadelphia, attended Lehigh University where he studied English and Economics and played Division 1 lacrosse. After graduation, a realization that he hadn’t ventured far from home and the comfort of friends of family sparked a quest for adventure. He spent six months playing and coaching lacrosse in Perth, Western Australia before a month-long van excursion along Australia’s East Coast. An unrelenting itch to ski impelled him back to his homeland and Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. The itch became a bug prompting him to chase winter to New Zealand then back to Colorado. Nomadic wanderings sated, he landed in Boulder in August 2018 eager to immerse in a community passionate about a healthy lifestyle amid the great outdoors. Billy is particularly interested in creative writing; he is passionate about learning and enjoys challenging and exploring abstract ideas. Learn more about Billy at his personal blog, www.bopparound.blog, and email him at billyoppenheimer@gmail.com to be featured or recommend someone for “Faces of Boulder”.