It then launched in Singapore early 2021, setting up IvyBears Asia at the same time, which is led by managing partner, Christoph Schockemoehle.
Founded in 2012 in Germany, IvyBears’ supplements are now available in more than 30 countries worldwide.
Within Asia, demand for IvyBears’ supplements have been strongest in China, according to Schockemoehle.
The firm sold about 50,000 units in the first three months, with sales of RMB1.7 million (US$260,000) since December 2020. In China, it mainly sells through cross border ecommerce and Tmall.
In other markets, progress has been slower, hindered by lesser awareness of gummy supplements.
The firm is currently working with several social media influencers in an attempt to boost its profile.
Outside of Asia, IvyBears is marketed by ambassadors such as Georgina Rodriguez, Cristiano Ronaldo’s wife. She endorses IvyBears’ core product and best-seller, the gummy hair supplement.
Right now, IvyBears Asia’s focus is on setting up distribution for other Asian markets.
The company has signed distribution agreements for Japan, and finalising plans with Malaysia, Indonesia and India.
Australia, a mature market for gummy supplements, is in the pipeline for next year.
“The benefit is you don't have to educate consumers because a lot of people will know about these products. But the competition is definitely going to be harder than in other markets. We also require about six months for approval in Australia.”
Free from titanium dioxide
IvyBears initially developed its hair supplement which was inspired by the founder’s personal hair problems.
In 2019, the company started to broaden its product range, selling stress relief, skin health, and women’s multivitamins.
“We’re working on expanding our product range and transform into a beauty company, instead of a hair supplement brand.” Products will be launched over the course of two years.
The gummy supplement market is saturated in some regions like Australia and US, but far less mature in much of Asia.
Schockemoehle told us IvyBears selling point was its clean ingredients, which means no preservatives and artificial flavours.
“We also readjusted our formulations to remove titanium dioxide. All the gummies you see in the market that are opaque and not transparent, most likely contains titanium dioxide.”
This ingredient has been disallowed in France for use in skin or food products for its potential cancer-causing effect.
Ivybears supplements are approved by the European Ministry of Food and Health and the German Federal Ministry of Food and Health.
Its supplements are also vegan and halal, which according to Schockemoehle, the latter was difficult to achieve.
“Typically, in gummy production, different types of molds are used. Some use silicone, some use starch as a mold which will then be reused for other products later So, factories that produce gummies with starch, typically are not able to be halal certified.”
IvyBears supplements are manufactured in Germany, and its ingredients and manufacturing site are halal certified.
Supply chain disruptions
According to Schockemoehle, the COVID-19 pandemic had resulted in disruptions to its production.
“We definitely had delays in the production, because ingredients were delayed. Our normal production time was eight weeks, and now it's about three to four months.”
In addition, shipment rates have gone up: “There's a lot of demand for cooling containers now because there's very little flights. So, the freight rates have gone up a lot.” The company transports its supplements in cooling containers.
It had also resorted to flying a few recent shipments, but states it is not a long-term solution.