The company owns HempFusion, the CBD brand selling hemp-based cannabidiol tinctures, capsules, topical creams and gel products, as well as the Probulin brand which sells probiotic enzymes, digestive capsules, and topical products.
Probulin first entered China through cross-border marketplace Tmall Global in March 2021, with six SKUs, targeting women, colon, immune, gut, children health (digestion).
The company now plans to double the number of products on Tmall within the next 12 months.
According to HempFusion CEO, Dr Jason Mitchell, probiotics are one of the best-selling items on Tmall.
For Probulin, the women’s health probiotic is its best-selling product on the platform.
Mitchell said: “We believe Probulin to be the first American company to deliver cold and protected probiotic supplements direct to Chinese consumers.”
Probulin’s probiotic products are formulating using its MAKTrek 3D delivery system, which is designed to protect the probiotic and allow more to reach the gut alive.
Probulin’s coating is made from natural brown seaweed extract, without wheat gluten, soy, dairy, magnesium stearate, fillers or binders and non-GMO. The marine polysaccharides shield the probiotic strains and prevent them from being compromised by the harsh, acid-rich environment of the stomach.
“This allows the probiotics to be delivered to the digestive system to reap the maximum benefits.”
Mitchell told us that the Probulin brand will be partnering with a reigning winter sport gold medalist to market its probiotics. The unnamed individual comes from US, and will be defending her title at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
“She is a strong wonderful woman of athletics and a shining example of health and wellness. We're looking forward to work with her and also show consumers that women's health is an important focus of our company.”
According to Mitchell, its first livestream on Tmall saw ‘exception’ conversion rates of 13%, and the brand hopes to conduct more to increase its brand awareness, in preparation for the upcoming 6.18 and 11.11 sales festivals.
Besides China, the company is also expanding Probulin into more markets in the Middle East.
Probulin first launched in UAE six years ago. Mitchell told us probiotic are popular there because of the country’s high usage of antibiotics in medical care.
Because of this, people were also increasingly aware of the negative effects of antibiotics on the digestive system.
Probiotics are a tool to help support a healthy digestive system even in circumstances where certain medications are used.
“So, doctors are very keen to prescribe probiotics and provide them the health benefits,” he added.
Recently, the company received a US$216,000 purchase order from its Dubai distributor.
"Due to COVID-19, they have been on lockdown for a long time, so this purchase order represents them opening up again, to begin building back up and growing the business as we have done for many years,” Mitchell said.
The company is now eyeing the Saudi Arabia market, and also hopes to expand into India soon.
CBD in China
For HempFusion, its CBD brand, the company is set to launch its topical creams and ointments on Tmall soon, targeted for acne, eczema, pain relief and wound healing. These products contain hemp-derived omega fatty acids, CBD and moisturising ingredients such as aloe vera, shea butter and jojoba oil.
For its CBD supplements such as capsules and tinctures, the company has been given conditional approval by Tmall. The products are categorised as OTC drugs (class 5).
According to Mitchell, the China market holds much potential as its population are keen in CBD products.
“CBD is in its infancy stage now, as government agencies and municipalities are deciding on how best to regulate products that contain CBD whether its dietary supplements or topicals, to ensure safety.”
Safety is a priority for HempFusion, it focuses on conducting safety assessments and toxicology studies to getting GRAS affirmation, “to make sure that the products that we sell are safe for people to put on their skin or to put in their body.”
The company also participated in what is considered the world’s largest human observational liver toxicology study with CBD.
Conducted in 2020 by Validcare, the study observed potential side effects in adults ingesting hemp-derived CBD for at least 60 days. It included 12 products from different brands, including HempFusion.
The results were published this year, and it found that the average daily use of HempFusion supplements was 39.3mg per day, with the lowest of 8mg and the highest of 181mg.
“We found zero toxicity with the subjects that used HempFusion products,” Mitchell said.
In the US and international markets, HempFusion sells its products through e-commerce, doctor practitioners, food, drug, mass, and convenience market retailers.