Karolina Kurkova might soon be the Gwyneth Paltrow of the children’s market. The former Victoria’s Secret Angel and mother of two has added wellness entrepreneur to her résumé with Gryph & IvyRose, a children’s wellness line.
“Wellness, it’s a big thing,” said Kurkova. “Adults are already doing it, you see it in supermarket stores, bigger brands are doing it, it’s more accessible. Anyone who is a parent only wants the best of the best for their children. That’s where we’re coming in. We created this brand to offer assistance and alternative solutions and support for parents like me and my partners. We want something different, something that’s cleaner but also has some sort of function and assistance and benefits.”
Named after the middle names of its team members’ children, Gryph & Ivyrose spans supplements, body care and hair care. Prices range from $22.50 for a mood support supplement to $29 for a two-in-one shampoo and conditioner to $149 for a six-product gift box set. Already, the brand has drawn comparisons to Paltrow’s wellness brand, with some outlets dubbing Gryph & IvyRose the “Goop for kids.”
Kurkova quietly brought the line to market earlier this year and is planning an official launch for early 2019. It is sold direct-to-consumer through its web site, and has retail partnerships with a select few, including Maisonette, and will enter Anthropologie in the spring.
In 2017, children’s hair care made up $167.1 million of the market while children’s skin care made up $344.8 million, according to Euromonitor. Children’s hair care is expected to grow by 0.3 percent, while skin care is expected to grow by 4.8 percent. The pediatric vitamins and dietary supplements market is also expected to grow by 2.2 percent to $596.6 million.
To develop Gryph & IvyRose, Kurkova worked with Stephen Cowan, a pediatrician, and Orion Nevel, the owner and operator of a medicinal herb shop frequented by Kurkova.
“Food is number one, above and beyond supplements, but in my own practice over the last 30 years, I’ve definitely seen a growing trend towards kids taking natural supplements and herbs,” said Cowan. “The younger generations are much more aware of healthy choices than when I first started my pediatric practice. One of the things I was aware of early on in my own practice was that the more open I was to [more natural practices], the bigger my practice got. I got myself educated in this because in medical school, they don’t teach you any of that. The more open I was, the more people came. That becomes evidence that there is this interest.”
The products are cruelty-free, plant-based, vegan and free of parabens, pthalates and sulfates. According to Nevel, the formulas — which he described as “symphonic” — generally incorporate five to six more herbs than typical herbal formulas.
“A lot of times you’ll see herbal formulas where there’s five or six herbs, but in our bath and body products, you generally see 10, 11, 12,” said Nevel. “One of the herbs I love that we’re incorporating is astragalus root, [which] has been used for centuries as an adaptogenic, but also as an immune modulator. Because [we’re a] kids brand, we want to make sure we’re using safe and gentle herbs that are gonna be OK for daily use. Astragalus is super powerful but it’s also really gentle and safe.”
Kurkova has a history of alternative practices. After gaining 30 pounds due to a thyroid issue, she gravitated towards herbs and vitamins and is now vegan.
“When I started [modeling] in my late teens, working with different makeup artists and people in the industry who were vegetarian or vegan and super green and healthy, that started to open up my mind,” she said. “I would read things and educate myself with the power of the Internet on what these ingredients mean and how it affects your body.”
She also underwent water births for both of her sons — “I’m a Pisces myself,” she noted — in her Manhattan and Miami apartments.
Asked what her kids think of the line, Kurkova said, “They love it. They’re our biggest critics, of course. They love it and if they didn’t love it they would tell us. Tobin, who is 9, one of his favorite products is the shampoo-conditioner. He loves the smell and the packaging. My little one is obsessed with the probiotics. I keep it in the fridge and he can reach it. He keeps popping it in his mouth like a candy. I have to stop him at a certain number.”