A Good DayCereal x BEAR
If you are confident about how you leave the house in the morning, you’re really setting yourself up for success.
Three years ago, founders of vitamin brand BEAR, Sam Leetham and Saasha Burns were feeling depleted after long spells of travelling for work. Walking into a chemist in Melbourne in search of much needed micronutrients, they were struck by the array of supplements on offer, but underwhelmed by the quality of the ingredients. Inspired, they spent the next two years crafting and refining a range of four essential daily vitamins. Each ingredient had to meet stringent expectations in terms of quality, was to be vegan, GMO free, and if it was a botanical extract, organic.
The creation of BEAR came with a growing understanding of the need to be kinder to ourselves and our bodies in a culture that is driven by ever increasing standards of productivity. The remedy may not be one single thing, but rather a multitude of small choices that can cumulatively enhance our lives. With a sleek design which slips seamlessly into bathroom cabinets and desks, and shirks the scientifically unfounded gendering of multivitamins, Cereal took an interest in BEAR’s balanced approach to the highly debated but sometimes ill-informed field of wellness.
Cereal: What was your vision as you embarked on the creation of BEAR?
Sam: We’ve always loved investing in quality skincare and fragrance brands, and we thought there was an imbalance when it came to supplements. We basically wanted to be the antithesis of the traditional supplement industry, which imposes a lot of frustrating tactics on their customers. One big example of this is tactical bulking, which packs nearly fifty ingredients into each supplement, despite many of them lacking high enough levels to give therapeutic results.
Saasha: At the end of the day, when you’re sick or rundown, you want medicine. You want something that works!
Cereal: How important are natural ingredients to you?
Sam: The focus of our research was on bringing together the complementary forces of nature and science, and cherry picking the best of both. There have been some amazing discoveries in laboratory-based ingredients, in cases where a completely natural equivalent that is as safe, stable, or therapeutic may not exist. Having said that, we still love to source extracts from plants wherever possible. There is a globally certified organic farm on a Tibetan plateau, 16,000 feet above sea level, where we source our Echinacea. The severity of the climate means the plants develop more adaptogens, which research and clinical data indicate can do great things for our health and wellbeing.
Cereal: How does ritual play a role in BEAR’s approach to wellness?
Saasha: To quote Ovid, ‘Habits Change into Character’. It takes around 21 days for a habit to form, and with that in mind, we designed BEAR to become, and remain, a simple part of our customer’s morning routine. Brush your teeth, moisturise your skin, and take your supplement with a glass of water. One of the founding philosophies for BEAR was the ‘Good Day’ motto, which weaves into the notion of self worth. If you are confident about how you leave the house in the morning, you’re really setting yourself up for success. We would like everyone to have a morning, which, in their own way, sets them up for a good day.
Sam: We’ve found that the typical BEAR customer is well travelled, intelligent, and appreciates being relaxed in the day to day. Our four products are essentially one whole that speaks to individual lifestyles. Combined, they’re great not just for your immunity, but also for improving energy levels and addressing mild stress, anxiety, and jet lag.
Cereal: What does wellness mean to you?
Saasha: I think it’s all about the little things, like waking up with natural light if possible, staying hydrated, and eating wholesome, nourishing foods. We have a wonderful farmer’s market in town. We try to make it a part of our weekend to go and stock up on produce, and enjoy cooking a healthy meal and sharing that with friends.
Sam: Saasha often throws out a quote from her favourite movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day off: ‘Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.’ Noticing small moments can really help us appreciate the world we live in on a bigger scale. It doesn’t have to be an hour-long walk, it can literally be five or ten minutes. What matters is allowing yourself to stop and reconnect to what’s important.
Cereal: How does one promote greater wellbeing in their lives?
Saasha: It’s hard, but disconnecting from technology at night allows significantly better rest than watching TV or scrolling through your phone. It’s a simple change that becomes a self fulfilling cycle when you wake up feeling energised.
Sam: Presence is something I’ve focussed on during the last few years. You can be in your car, at your desk at work, or out with friends, but if you’re present you can enjoy each moment for what it is. On the more practical side, every night before I go to bed, I write in a gratitude diary; just one or two things that I was happy about. These little things may not always seem that significant, but at the end of the year, I can browse through a collection of 365 positive moments.