The Vitamin Brand Shaking Up Our Top Shelf
A Q&A with BEAR founder Saasha Burns
Saasha Burns and Sam Leetham, the talented duo behind BEAR, have style (in spades!). So it’s no wonder their bespoke range of daily vitamins, launched this year, effortlessly combines both aesthetics and functionality. With four different formulas to choose from, BEAR has something for everyone. Did we mention how good the bottles look on our top shelf?
We caught up with BEAR’S Sassha Burns to talk us through the journey thus far…
What is the story behind BEAR?
BEAR started organically when my husband Sam Leetham and I discovered a clear gap in the supplement market. Overwhelmed by choice, we didn’t know which brands to trust and which products would deliver real benefits. We started a journey of research and discovery and worked with a team of naturopaths, compounding pharmacists and medical professionals to develop a bespoke range of Essential Daily Vitamins that contain the highest quality, simplified ingredients proven in efficacy, safety and stability. With a clean, minimalist aesthetic our products are designed to be seen and used everyday, fitting seamlessly into your morning beauty and grooming routine.
Has health/fitness/wellbeing always played a role in your life?
I’ve always lived a healthy and active lifestyle, and loved sport from a young age. I trained in classical ballet for 15 years, and still love running, yoga, and swimming in the ocean. I walk everywhere and love being outdoors, surrounded by nature. I find it clears my mind and allows me to focus my thoughts and creative energy. We love enjoying simple, high quality food and seeking out unprocessed, unrefined ingredients to support and strengthen our body and mind.
Saasha Burns, earlier this year in Palm Springs
Image by @jimsandkittys
What was the process of coming up with four vitamins for four lifestyles?
We discovered that different lifestyles require different supplementation to support and strengthen the body, as opposed to genders as found with traditional men and women multivitamins. We created a bespoke range of Essential Daily Vitamins that are gender neutral and help support four distinct lifestyle territories. Explore is for balance and contains Vitamin C and Rhodiola – it’s a great product for traveling when you are jet-lagged and often low on energy. Protect is designed to strengthen the immune system and contains Vitamin A and Echinacea. Perform is for clarity and contains Vitamin B12 and Bacopa – perfect for people who work in a corporate environment to assist with mental performance and the symptoms of mild stress and anxiety. Restore is great for energy and is designed for those who work on their feet, to help support muscle development and bone health with Vitamin K2 and Gingko.
Aussies are proud of embodying a healthy lifestyle, and now you’ve launched BEAR in America. What made you choose the US as your next location to launch?
We had a clear strategic vision to launch BEAR internationally within the first year, yet we were overwhelmed by the positive response we received from both customers and retailers in the US so early on. California is a leader in the health and wellness movement and having visited Palm Springs the year before, we knew it was the perfect place to hold our US launch event, Leaders of Style, to celebrate our partnership with iconic US retailer Free People. We are excited to base ourselves in Los Angeles next year to help strengthen BEAR, our expanding product portfolio and our team in the US.
Sam Leetham and Saasha Burns in Palm Springs
You travel a lot for your job. Have you found this inspires the direction of the brand? What has been your destination highlight so far this year?
Travel definitely helps us to open our mind, stay inspired and think differently. We are so fortunate to have the freedom to travel with BEAR, and the ability to see things from a unique perspective as we interact with creatives from all around the world. We find inspiration everywhere when traveling and experiencing another culture first hand. Each day we are creating, learning, researching, meeting new people in different industries, and building meaningful relationships and connections that influence the direction of BEAR. We loved being in New York recently for NYFW, as a presenting partner for Australian Designer Dion Lee. We love supporting Australian creatives who share similar values around quality and sustainability. It was a true highlight this year.
What I really lovely about BEAR is the complete transparency between the company, in everything from the ingredients, packaging and even selling – did you see this as an opportunity to stand out?
The supplement category is extremely confusing for people and one of the founding ideas for BEAR stemmed from our frustration with the category’s complete lack of transparency. We certainly made a conscious decision to simplify our brand across each touchpoint, from our ingredients to our minimalist packaging, so people could make a clear and informed choice as to which of our four Essential Daily Vitamins would best support for their lifestyle.
A portion of the profits from the sale of BEAR products goes towards conservation projects like WildArk, which is amazing. There’s a real focus on sustainability, not only for the user but for the environment too. What was the inspiration behind this?
Animal welfare and conservation is a cause that is very close to our hearts, and we understood the importance of being a socially responsible company from the beginning of our journey. We wanted to partner with a small, local organisation and heard about the incredible work of Australian modern conversation movement WildArk, founded by a husband and wife team out of Sydney. WildArk are working to secure identified green belts to protect as much of the world’s biodiversity as possible for future generations. They have just secured Pridelands Conservancy, located in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, that opens into the greater Kruger National Park, adding an additional 4500 acres of land to conservation. BEAR donates a fixed dollar amount from every product sold to help support the conservation work of WildArk.
What’s next for BEAR?
We’ve just launched our limited edition High Summer collection into Mecca, in collaboration with Australian Artist, Hannah Nowlan. We are excited to inspire the gift of health in the lead up to Christmas and the New Year. In January, we will be launching BEAR into the UK with one of the world’s leading luxury retailers – an exciting partnership which we will be announcing very soon. We’re also in the final stages of our new product development and are really looking forward to bringing this collection through Mecca in the first half of 2018.
Above & right, The BEAR Leaders of Style event in Palm Springs. Image by @lostinlove_photography
Image by @saasha_burns