Traditional knowledge and technological innovation combined brought together a revolutionary business model.
The health and wellness industry in the Asia Pacific region (APAC) has been on the path to steady growth in recent years. The region is estimated to reach US$1,995.7 million by 2026 from US$1,324.4 million in 2018.
Within the health and wellness sector, the packaged food and beverage industry has been expanding as well. As of 2016, the packaged food and beverage industry of APAC makes up 32% of the world’s health and wellness market.
Lify Wellness first entered the health and wellness sector in 2017. The company differentiated itself from others in this market with the goal of reinventing traditional wellness wisdom.
“Our innovation includes a Smart Herbal Brewer with patented smart infusion technology for herbs, proprietary and compostable herbal discs, as well as the Lify Wellness APP, and a connected cloud data library platform,” says Mazing Lee, the co-founder of Lify Wellness.
The future of wellness report 2019 remarked that one of the main trends in the wellness industry today is personalized nutrition. Personalization has been one of the key tenets of Lify Wellness. Lee mentions that the Lify smart herbal brewer “was the world’s first smart, IoT (Internet of Things) wellness beverage solution delivering personalized remedies under 40 seconds.”
The Story behind Lify
The company began as a way for the founders themselves to adopt healthier practices. Lee shared her own journey of working in a hectic corporate job, which led her to develop stress-related hormonal problems.
Lee says that she was “looking for different solutions, including adopting Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and lifestyle changes in my diet.” This was what inspired her and her sister Connie to create an accessible wellness beverage solution.
Lee believes that one of the best decisions she made in her entrepreneurial journey was partnering with Connie. She feels that their common vision for the company has helped them sail through conflicts and hardships.
The company’s name ‘Lify’ is a combination of lifestyle and health. Lify’s goal is to make wellness a part of people’s daily lives. The company has worked towards creating an interactive companion that understands individual wellness effectively.
Lee says that “the first technological breakthrough is how Lify’s patented smart infusion technology extracts only the essence of natural healing herbs and teas, formulating wellness beverages with the perfect balance of effectiveness and taste.”
Lify and Sustainability
Lify is a sustainable wellness brand. It is committed to making every business decision with sustainability in mind. Its products are made from ethically sourced raw materials, packaged in eco-friendly buck packs, and marketed largely through social media to prevent paper wastage. The compostable herbal discs received the OK Compost Certification from TUV Australia, as it was able to biodegrade into CO2 and pure water in 12 to 24 months time without toxins.
“For our latest ready-to-drink Sparkling Tea Tonics, we produced them locally and chose aluminium cans over glass with a much higher recycling rate to reduce carbon footprint,” Lee specified, when discussing the company’s concern for the environment.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a major blow to businesses worldwide. Lify experienced their fair share of troubles as well. As the pandemic hit China, the manufacturing country for Lify’s herbal brewer, Lify had to rely on its local teams to manage production quality.
Lify produces its herbal discs locally in the facilities of Hong Kong Science and Technology Park(HKSTP), using the best raw materials and ingredients sourced worldwide. For instance, Lify used Canadian-based ginseng to ensure the optimal level of ginsenoside content provided. However, the reliance on global markets for material supplies has affected their inventory level and production cycle under the pandemic.
Lify Wellness aims to expand its business to the US and South East Asia markets, a plan which has been put on the back-burner because of COVID-19. The company however has stayed strong, directing its attention inwards in Hong Kong.
“We pivoted to strengthen our foundation in the local market, penetrating into corporate offices, residential projects and F&B outlets, ” Lee says. The company has also been working with channel partners that have an established customer database to promote their products. To this effect, they have initiated the opening of shop-in-shop concepts and organized roadshows in offices.
Expanding User Base through brand awareness
The company has consistently been innovating ways to expand its customer base. Lify uses a unique combination of online and offline promotional strategies. “We held a ‘wellness tech café’ pop-up with Merecedes me at the heart of Central back in March 2020. The event was widely covered by the media on TV and online,” Lee shared.
The media coverage has helped prospective customers gain an understanding of the product. Lee expressed that the company prioritizes creating brand awareness and credibility through partnerships with like-minded companies.
Lify Wellness has been working towards making its product more accessible to the millennial and Gen X customer base. With this goal in mind, the company participated in Hong Kong’s first holistic wellness festival, Be.Well. Here it launched a series of Ready-to-drink Sparkling Tea Tonics on June 26.
Learning from other innovators
Lify Wellness is a participant of Azalvo’s project. Azalvo’s project is an initiative powered by Jumpstart to facilitate the growth of changemakers and innovators helming the evolution of lifestyle technologies.
Lee shared that the project provided Lify Wellness exposure to mentors and potential investors from different backgrounds. “We also gained a lot of valuable feedback for our business strategy and refined our pitch deck,” she added.
Lify Wellness was the only Hong Kong-based team to be selected for the program. Lee explained how the company was able to get instant feedback on products from the mentors. “The main takeaway was to be open-minded, stay focused and be ready to pivot,” she says.
Lee emphasized the importance of hearing different perspectives from other business owners. She said that the program has helped them develop long-term relationships with mentors. She is keen on recommending Azalvo’s Project to other startups.
Lee concluded by saying that, “If I could time travel to day one of my startup, I would tell myself to be fearless and be ready to embrace failures in this journey. I would also give myself a pat on my back, knowing that it is okay if things don’t work out, there is always a best plan for every one of us. No regrets.”
Images courtesy of Lify Wellness