Gryph & IvyRose Delivers Wellness Products For Little Ones In Packaging Their Parents Will Like, Too
Wellness is as relevant for wee ones – or perhaps more so – as it is for grown-ups guiding (and occasionally misguiding) them, but it’s not often emphasized in tender-age supplements and personal care. Gryph & IvyRose is stepping into the children’s products playpen to make it a priority.
The high-design lifestyle brand founded by mothers Rachel Finger and Karolina Kurkova, and father Orion Nevel has rolled out to upscale beauty retailers, including C.O. Bigelow, Gee Beauty and Botanica Bazaar. Its dozen products priced from $22.50 to $29 stretch across bath and body, herbal elixirs and probiotics to tackle the kid body holistically with natural, organic and fair-trade ingredients fusing Eastern and Western health philosophies.
“We really wanted to create a full, well-rounded regimen for children. It’s alternative, and it’s preventative. There are some healthy products available for this age, but they aren’t addressing health as a whole. We wanted to create products that are a go-to first if you are having an issue before you have to go to the heavy stuff,” says Finger. “There’s a whole element of health and wellness that has caught on for adults, but I don’t think anyone is approaching the health and wellness of the child the way we are.”
It wasn’t easy for Gryph & IvyRose to formulate products driven by its particular approach to wellness. Finger underscores the brand reached for elevated concentrations of ingredients – she estimates its concentrations are up to 20 times greater than the concentrations standard in other products on the market – while simultaneously landing on formulas that felt, smelled and, in the cases of the probiotics and elixirs, tasted good. Among the ingredients featured in the formulas are ginger, hibiscus, calendula, mint, and tremella and poria mushrooms.
“We wanted to make sure we’re using safe, super healthy ingredients, but it’s still an enjoyable experience for a child, who is pickier than an adult,” says Finger. To assist with the development process, Gryph & IvyRose depended on the expertise of pediatrician Stephen Cowan and Daniel Atchison-Nevel, an acupuncturist and herb specialist. Atchison-Nevel’s son is Orion Nevel, and Finger connected with Nevel after visiting Atchison-Nevel to help care for her twins. The now four-year-olds were born premature at 28 weeks weighing 1.5 pounds each and spent three months in neonatal intensive care. The brand name Gryph & IvyRose refers to their names and the names of Nevel’s two kids.
“There are some healthy products available for this age, but they aren’t addressing health as a whole. We wanted to create products that are a go-to first if you are having an issue before you have to go to the heavy stuff. There’s a whole element of health and wellness that has caught on for adults, but I don’t think anyone is approaching the health and wellness of the child the way we are.”
Kurkova entered the brand last year. Finger, a former realtor and business consultant for Bumble and bumble, met her through a mutual friend, and Kurkova, best known as a model, was enthusiastic about joining the entrepreneurial venture. “She was raised with alternative methods, and has huge respect and passion for natural beauty. She’s also been in the industry for so long that she’s seen everything, and she has a great design aesthetic,” says Finger. “She was really passionate about the project and believed she could take it to another level.”
Aesthetics are extremely important to Gryph & IvyRose. Finger described the brand’s packaging as not packed with words like much of the packaging in the children’s space. It contains sketches of animals and muted colors. The look of the products is meant to square with Gryph & IvyRose’s customer’s tastes beyond children’s merchandise. “Our mom is definitely a bit fashion-forward,” says Finger. “She’s ahead of the curve. She’s probably into fitness and wellness for herself, and she has disposable income because we are a little pricier than let’s say Honest. Design definitely matters to her. She puts herself together well. Clothes matter to her, and what she puts on her skin matters to her.”
Gryph & IvyRose has discovered beauty shops catering to Gryph & IvyRose’s core customers are a sweet spot for its distribution, and plans to continue to target those sorts of shops as it enlarges its retail network. International distribution is under consideration, and the brand is expanding to the offices of practitioners such as acupuncturists and naturopaths as well. Gryph & IvyRose has pursued traditional children’s stores, too, but Finger explains bath and body care is a tougher sale in those venues, and the probiotics and elixirs require education that they may not be able to provide. Overall, though, she mentions the education hurdle hasn’t been as towering as she thought it might be, and a possible reason is that moms and dads are clamoring for remedies to regular problems that don’t require them to tote their children to doctors.
“As parents, you experience moments where you are absolutely desperate. There might be emergency solutions out there, but there aren’t long-term tools for parents. There’s no relief for them,” says Finger, noting Gryph & IvyRose is working on eczema and focus-enhancing products that will, similar to current products, attempt to deliver remedies that don’t require prescriptions.
“Our mom is definitely a bit fashion-forward. She’s ahead of the curve. She’s probably into fitness and wellness for herself, and she has disposable income because we are a little pricier than let’s say Honest. Design definitely matters to her. She puts herself together well. Clothes matter to her, and what she puts on her skin matters to her.”
Since its launch in November, the brand’s sales are pretty evenly split across its three product categories, demonstrating to Finger that its probiotics and elixirs are being understood, and meeting a demand that most brands aren’t responding to. In choosing its debut products, Gryph & IvyRose sought to cover the basics with its bath and body selection, various formats with its probiotics (there are chocolates, banana powder and chewables with yacon root and coconut powder), and different conditions with the probiotics that support immunity, sleep, digestion and positive disposition.
For its first year in operation, Gryph & IvyRose’s goal is to generate close to $1 million in revenues. The self-funded company is expected to start fundraising later this year. Finger’s husband Tev Finger is founder, president and CEO of Luxury Brand Partners, which has Pulp Riot, Smith & Cult, V76 by Vaughn, IGK and R+Co in its beauty portfolio, but he’s not involved with Gryph & IvyRose.
Going forward, Gryph & IvyRose is buttoning up its messaging to hammer home its positioning. “You don’t know by the packaging that it is this really healthy line, and that we don’t use hundreds of ingredients,” says Finger, adding, “Long term, we really want to capitalize on the experts that we have and spread awareness. That’s what will ultimately get our brand attention and, in turn, sales.”