In conversation with Saasha Burns

 
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Thoughtful design and quality ingredients are at the intersection of the ethos behind BEAR, a natural, laboratory made vitamins range by wife and husband team, Saasha Burns and Sammy Leetham.

With the vision of creating modern Australian lifestyle products that fit in seamlessly with morning beauty and grooming rituals, BEAR is disrupting the vitamins landscape in Australia. And unsurprisingly, with a culture that is increasingly being drawn to quality in product and design, the brand has attracted a cult following.

A clear vision in brand and product can be credited to for this, as can the couple’s genuine interest in creating an honest, trustworthy brand for the discerning customer that asks for more from healthful supplements.

Artfully created, and Australian owned and made, Burns and Leetham have created a whimsical product reminiscent of the Australian culture; happy, healthy, and breezy. 

 

Interview by Anna White
Introduction by Lucinda Mckimm


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In conversation with Saasha

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On the inspiration to start BEAR

My husband, Sam and I both love thoughtful design and quality products. BEAR started organically from a gap we identified in the supplement market a number of years ago when we were standing in a chemist. We love discovering unique international and emerging brands on our travels and have always been drawn to gender neutral products with a clean, minimal aesthetic and clear point of difference. We are inspired by so many incredible brands, such as Acne Studios, Aesop and Le Labo for their attention to detail, unwavering quality and craftsmanship. We wanted to create a modern Australian lifestyle product that fit seamlessly into your morning beauty and grooming routine and contained the highest quality, simplified ingredients proven in efficacy, safety and stability.

On crafting a modern range of vitamins
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. We spent two and a half years carefully researching, developing and refining our bespoke range of Essential Daily Vitamins before we launched, working closely with an Australian team of naturopaths, medical professionals and compounding pharmacists along with the Therapeutic Goods Administration. We are very detail driven and it was important to create a quality brand
across all touch points from the unique formations to the minimalist branding. We took a fresh perspective to the industry with real insights and questioned every facet of the traditional vitamin supply chain and have been able to challenge the entire model for the benefit of our customer.
 


On why BEAR is unique
We are proud to be owned and made in Australia. We use only the highest quality ingredients in all of our formulations to support specific lifestyles as opposed to the traditional split towards genders. We’re working with some amazing suppliers all over the world, from a globally certified organic farm on a Tibetan plateau to a family owned organic farm in the Byron Bay hinterland. BEAR uses activated ingredients which are more readily absorbed by the body and can therefore provide more immediate benefits. We also avoid bulking – a tactic 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.

Business lessons she's learnt so far
So many! We continue to grow and learn every single day. From the start, we have surrounded ourselves with a strong network of thought leaders who have helped guide us across all facets of our business, from our product development to our legal foundation to our operational processes. We have also always been very clear on the BEAR brand and vision, which has helped us make sound business decisions throughout our journey. I think it’s also important to continuously think ahead, build relationships and be unafraid to do things differently.

Building an engaged audience
We have a strong vision for BEAR, together with a clear strategic marketing plan that canvases events, PR and digital marketing. For our Australian launch event in Byron Bay, 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 are launching BEAR into the US next month and are currently planning our launch event in Palm Springs which is very exciting. Launching into Mecca across Australia and New Zealand has been incredible as a young brand, and has
helped us to build trust within the Australian market as a leader in health and wellness.

Finding  balance as an entrepreneur
The balance between life and work is definitely one of the greatest challenges. It can be hard to create your own boundaries between your personal and professional life, but sometimes you have to do it in order to remain focused and move forward. We are most inspired and motivated when we travel and meet new people, so it’s important to continue to expand our horizons and immerse ourselves in new cultures to stay relevant and keep a balanced perspective.

Personal wellness rituals
Nothing beats an ocean swim! I also love yoga and long walks to clear my mind. I always happiest when I’m outdoors, immersed in nature and spending time with friends and family.

On the future of BEAR
We have ambitious plans, but they all start with and centre on building our credentials as a leader of health with our discerning customers. We are close to launching a number of new lifestyle products of the highest quality that reach beyond our bespoke range of Essential Daily Vitamins. We also have a social responsibility as a company to give back and are proud to be working closely with WildArk, a modern Australian conversation movement that helps protect and conserve the natural wonders of the world and the wild animals that inhabit them. BEAR donates a fixed amount from each product sold and together, we hope to make a significant
difference to species protection and conservation projects worldwide in the years to come.

Life lessons she's learnt along the way
Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
– Ferris Bueller

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PeopleAnna White