Sundaily’s Yummy Ingestible Skincare Gummies Receive Goop’s Stamp Of Approval

To Sundaily, the phrase, “Tested on people, not on animals,” is more than merely a cruelty-free aphorism.

The rising supplement brand is centered on ingredients that have been substantiated in clinical research to safely work in humans. Driving its debut product launched nearly a year ago, The Base Layer, the antioxidant-heavy polypodium leucotomos extract from an Amazonian fern grown in Ecuador has been shown to fight free radical damage. In its second release, The Back Up, astaxanthin, a keto-carotenoid from red marine algae, was chosen for its corroborated power to combat signs of aging.

“Our goal is to take the sun-care and skin health concerns of people and find ways to address them with our standards of clinical evidence,” says Chris Tolles, co-founder and CEO of Sundaily, elaborating about the brand’s products, “The Base Layer is the foundation of a strong ingestible routine, and The Back Up represents the first in a number of gummies that will focus on skincare concerns. It’s anti-aging focused, and we will focus in the future on sleep, hyperpigmentation and hydration.”

Sundaily has two varieties of its ingestible skincare gummies: The Base Layer and The Back Up.

After sticking to a direct-to-consumer model last year, Sundaily has struck a major distribution partnership with Goop, where it joins a collection of ingestible products that includes Sun Potion, Hum Nutrition, The Beauty Chef, The Nue Co., Four Sigmatic and Kalumi. The partnership is part of a retail ramp-up that could see the brand’s sales triple or quadruple in 2019. Sundaily has hired sales agency Crème Collective to build its store presence, particularly in clean beauty concepts.

Speaking of Goop, Tolles says, “The fact that they have really committed to teaching and storytelling as a key element of their mission really aligned with us. Their internal process is robustly developed versus what it was in the past. It’s been enviable to see them take past controversy seriously and bring in a bunch of sophisticated people to do it the right way. We liked the idea of being tested as hard as we could be tested. Coming through with flying colors was a testament to our ability to walk the walk.”

“The quality aspect of this goes not just along with our actives, but with every single ingredient in the gummy.”

Sundaily and Goop share a commitment to content. In its content, Sundaily explores external conditions that affect the skin, specifically sun, smog, smoking, lack of sleep and stress, and its products’ efforts to battle them, and explains its ingredients. It doesn’t simply explain the active ones. For instance, the brand reveals it uses tapioca maltodextrin and tapioca syrup in its gummy supplements The Base Layer rather than glycerin to thicken the formula and provide structure. Sundaily sprinkles in a dash of sugar to enable its gummy to hold its form. Other ingredients are orange oil, sodium citrate, citric acid and apple pectin.

“The quality aspect of this goes not just along with our actives, but with every single ingredient in the gummy,” says physician Emilia Javorsky, co-founder and chief scientific officer of Sundaily. Tolles underscores the brand is willing to spend for superior ingredients. He divulges the astaxanthin in The Back Up costs $1,000 per kilo. Tolles says, “We would rather come out of the gate with really robust products that are going work and ensure safety, but we are a small company, so economies of scale are an issue.” He adds, “It’s pretty scary that corners are cut in a way consumers don’t have much visibility into.”

Chris Tolles, co-founder and CEO of Sundaily
Chris Tolles, co-founder and CEO of Sundaily

Ingredients aren’t worth anything, however, if customers won’t tolerate them. Tolles and Javorsky promise Sundaily’s gummies are delicious. The Base Layer has a valencia orange flavor, and The Back Up tastes like blackberry hibiscus. Sundaily’s retention rate indicates customers enjoy its gummies. Tolles says 80% of customers stay with the brand following a third shipment. Sundaily’s supplements are priced at $39 for 30 gummies for one-time purchases, but subscribers pay $29 a month.

“One of the challenges with pills and powders is that people don’t take them. There’s a behavioral burden to them. We are about working with consumer behavior,” says Tolles. “Overwhelmingly, we’ve found over the last 10 months that, if you make a product a fun moment, then you create a routine around it.”

“One of the challenges with pills and powders is that people don’t take them. There’s a behavioral burden to them. We are about working with consumer behavior.”

Sundaily started life as Sundots and positioned its offering as an ultraviolet radiation protectant. To support its introduction, the brand raised roughly $130,000 in the spring of last year through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. Sundots subsequently pivoted to Sundaily and an emphasis on overall skin health. In the fall, it amassed an undisclosed amount of seed funding. Sundaily is a certified B Corp.

Asked about fundraising going forward, Tolles responds, “We want to be a financially healthy company as we grow rapidly, and we’re trying to avoid the grow at any cost nonsense. Ironically, for us, the more success we have, the faster we need to raise money. A key issue for us is inventory financing. Thankfully, ‘Hey, I need more money because we have customers that need inventory,’ is the best way to do a fundraising round. If we end up in that situation, I would love to tell that story.”

Emilia Javorsky, co-founder and chief scientific officer of Sundaily
Emilia Javorsky, co-founder and chief scientific officer of Sundaily

Eventually, he envisions Sundaily being helpful in the portfolio of a bigger company that’s deficient in the DTC expertise it has honed. “We think we are an exceptional early-stage team that can take novel things and show a way to make them have impact in the market,” says Tolles.  “I would find it so fulfilling to take our playbook and roll that out to another half-dozen brands that might be significant to a larger skincare company, and we would see our success at Sundaily amplified by what they do.”