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Lane Crawford Steps Up Well-being Offer With Australia’s Bear Vitamins

The luxury retailer will roll out the Australian supplement line into its eight stores in Hong Kong and China and lanecrawford.com.

SYDNEY — Lane Crawford is getting into the vitamin business.

The luxury retailer will roll out new Australian brand Bear’s four-unit vitamin range for 550 Hong Kong dollars per unit, or $70, on lanecrawford.com and in its eight stores in Hong Kong and China beginning Sunday.

While the launch marks Lane Crawford’s first foray into vitamins per se, the one-year-old health and well-being division of its beauty department already stocks two other Australian supplement lines: The Beauty Chef and Elle Macpherson’s WelleCo.

“Well-being is a very exciting area for Lane Crawford, where we will continue to evolve and explore new products and partnerships, but at the same time focus on the importance of building awareness for our customers,” said Lane Crawford’s vice president of beauty, well-being and jewelry Lianna Man.

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“What’s guiding and influencing to motivate people to purchase is very different for the new Millennial known as the ‘awakened generation,’” she added. “Authenticity and transparency are key values. We will continue to see an increased demand for safe ingredients and awareness for toxic-free formulated products, as well as options to relieve modern-day concerns such as stress and sleep deprivation that are fundamental to our overall well-being. It influences beyond beauty and will play a key role in some of our other areas, such as fashion and lifestyle — where the movement is already happening.”

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Lane Crawford Steps Up Well-being Offer
Bear vitamins cofounders Saasha Burns and Samuel Leetham.

Founded by model-turned-blogger Saasha Burns and her husband Samuel Leetham in early 2017, Bear is stocked in Australia’s Mecca Cosmetica, Net-a-porter, Mr Porter and Free People. Five new retail partners in the U.S. and Europe are due to be revealed in the coming months, Leetham said.

Developed with a team of Australian naturopaths and doctors, Bear is backed by a private investor in the Australian health-care industry and has been growing at 100 percent per quarter, according to Leetham.

Spotting a gap in the cluttered vitamin market for a simplified, premium quality and gender-neutral offer with a minimalist aesthetic, Leetham and Burns developed four “bespoke” vitamin blends using native plant-based and laboratory-developed ingredients and strategically pitched the line into the fashion and lifestyle media space.

“We don’t want to compete in the traditional health and supplements space,” said Leetham, noting that he and Burns were inspired by the business models of Australia’s Aesop and Sweden’s Byredo. “Both of those brands have amazing concession stores in the fashion departments of some of the biggest retailers in the world — they started to bridge fashion with beauty,” said Leetham.

The brand’s launch into China is timely, given Australia’s “clean and green” image in the country and notably the popularity of its vitamins.

Australian market leaders, the Australian Stock Exchange-listed Blackmores Ltd. and Swisse, which is now owned by the Hong Kong-based-and-listed H&H Group, have both accelerated their push into China, whose health supplement market is forecast to grow to 180 billion yuan, or $27 billion, by 2020, up 50 percent from 2015, according to a 2017 Roland Berger report.

Blackmores reports China is approaching 40 percent of its 700 million Australian dollar, or $517 million, annual sales, with direct sales into China growing 71 percent from 2016 to 2017.

According to the 2017 Tmall Global Annual Consumers Report, which was released in March by Alibaba’s B2C platform and CBN Data, Australia rose from fourth to third position on Tmall Global’s list of importer countries over 2016 to 2017 and is positioned behind Japan and the U.S.

Health and nutritional supplements topped the list of imported Australian products, according to the report.