It may have been almost two weeks since some of Australia’s top influencers descended on Halcyon House, Cabarita Beach for the launch of BEAR – but it’s definitely an event that is still very much being talked about. Hosted by founders and lifestyle influencers Saasha Burns and Sammy Leetham, the launch played host to the who’s who of Australia’s influencer scene: think Nadia Fairfax, Oracle Fox’s Amanda Shadforth, Yan Yan Chan, See What Shop’s Lisa Hamilton, Badlands’ Talisa Sutton… the list goes on.
But while the event was what dreams are made of (think heavenly location, gin tasting sessions, vintage Kombi vans – you get the picture), the product itself is just as much a talking point. With Saasha claiming “we aren’t afraid to disrupt and challenge”, we chat to the founder about the proudly Australian brand and just what took place behind-the-scenes at the launch.
What made you decide to launch a vitamins range?
It happened really organically and stemmed from a natural gap we identified when we went to purchase vitamins a number of years ago. Standing in a chemist, we were overwhelmed by choice and honestly didn’t know which brand we could trust to deliver real benefits. My husband Sam and I founded BEAR to solve the underlying fog that surrounds the current vitamin landscape. The discerning BEAR customer has experienced the same frustration; standing in a chemist or supermarket trying to decipher the aisles packed with a myriad of low-quality supplements. Our bespoke range of Essential Daily Vitamins are based on four distinct lifestyle territories, are gender neutral and contain the highest quality, simplified ingredients proven in efficacy, safety and stability.
Did you always know you wanted to get into beauty development?
It has been a journey of research and discovery, but from the start we knew we wanted to disrupt the current vitamin landscape and change people’s perception of supplements. Crafted for the modern world, each product is thoughtfully designed with a clean, minimalist aesthetic to fit seamlessly into your everyday beauty and grooming routines.
Have you had much expertise in this area?
Sam and I both have experience in other areas of business but took a fresh perspective to the industry with real insights and questioned every facet of the traditional vitamin supply chain. We have been able to challenge the entire model for the benefit of our customer. We have also brought together a strong team of experts with a wealth of experience and expertise into the core areas of our business.
How did you go about the actual product development?
BEAR has spent the past two years carefully researching, developing and refining our bespoke range of Essential Daily Vitamins. We’ve worked closely with an Australian team of naturopaths, compounding pharmacists and medical professionals along with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), the regulatory body for vitamins and dietary supplements.
What makes BEAR stand out from competitor vitamins?
We use only the highest quality ingredients in all of our formulations to support individual lifestyles, not genders. BEAR uses activated ingredients which are more readily absorbed by the body and can therefore provide more immediate benefits. BEAR uses natural and naturally-occurring ingredients which again allow the body to more easily absorb the benefits of each ingredient. We also avoid bulking – a practice common within the industry where layers of sub-therapeutic ingredients are included in each tablet but are at such low levels, there’s no evidence to support their health claims. All of BEAR’s ingredients play a vital role in the composition of each product.
The launch party looked breathtaking! Can you tell me a bit about what went on?
As a new unknown brand, it was really important to make a strong first impression and create a unique and memorable experience for guests. We wanted to share the BEAR story and educate them on our brand philosophy and products in an authentic and meaningful way. We celebrated our Australian launch, “Leaders of Style”, with an intimate group of guests in beautiful Byron Bay, a place that holds significant meaning for us. Guests stayed at luxury boutique hotel Halcyon House, set behind the sand dunes of Cabarita Beach, and were whisked away in vintage Kombis to a luxury hinterland property outside of Newrybar. With its white washed walls and coastal vista, it was the perfect setting for a poolside gin-tasting workshop with Master Distiller, Eddie Brooke of Brookie’s Gin, followed by a contemporary Australian dinner under the open night sky with special guest Kit Willow. The support of BEAR has been overwhelmingly positive and we are so thankful to each and every one of our guests, team and local suppliers for helping make the event truly unforgettable.
How much planning went into the event?
We had a clear vision from the start and carefully curated all elements of the event to reflect our core values and clean, minimalist aesthetic. Our event was designed around the Australian spirit and coastal lifestyle with influence from Scandinavian minimalism and the Palm Springs Desert Modernism period. We worked closely with artisans in the Byron Bay region to create a unique and distinctly modern Australian setting, tone and style.
It’s so nice to see influencers supporting one another… Was there a lot of love on the day?!
Each of our guests are all leaders of style in their own right, as individuals and as a community. We feel so grateful to have been surrounded by such strong and inspiring men and women of innate style, substance and character. There was a great atmosphere throughout the event and we look forward to continuing our journey with our friends of BEAR into the future.
Has this support helped the brand gain initial traction?
Since we soft-launched a week prior to our “Leaders of Style” event, the response to BEAR has been incredible and exceeded our expectations. We love sharing the BEAR brand and story, and our launch event has helped us create strong brand presence and build a loyal and engaged community.
How have orders been going so far?
Our aim has been to establish BEAR as a trusted Australian brand in the health space. We have received a significant response globally and surpassed our original sales goals for this stage of our journey.
What are you hoping the next 12 months brings for the brand?
BEAR has been fortunate to build a very strong and diverse advisory board who each bring significant knowledge and acumen to the brand. We have ambitious plans, but they all start with and centre on building our credentials as a leader of health and wellness with our discerning customers. We are committed to developing a portfolio of lifestyle products of the highest quality that reach beyond our bespoke range of Essential Daily Vitamins. Stay tuned!
BEAR products are currently available worldwide through bearjournal.com. The brand is also in discussion with a number of high profile Australian businesses and international retailers.
All photos by Cassandra Ladru.