The wellness industry is booming.
No, we’re not just talking about spending a day at the spa or taking a 3-month sabbatical leave.
Wellness encompasses both physical and mental aspects of self-care, from signing up fitness classes, to consuming motivational content, to taking health supplements.
According to the Global Wellness Institute, the industry was worth US$4.2 trillion in 2017.
Maybe, some can argue, the boom is part of some devious marketing ploy to get us to spend more (and feel good about it), but there’s really no denying that many have benefited from picking up healthier habits.
For the founder of POP Store Kenneth Loh, his approach for self-care was taking health supplements to fill gaps in his diet.
Being accountancy-trained, he worked in the field for several years.
However, the typically hectic mornings also meant that he often forgot to take his supplements before heading off to work.
He also found the process of uncapping multiple bottles “too much trouble”.
More than that, Kenneth wondered if the pills he had been faithfully popping were effective in the first place.
“I have often wondered about the robustness of each claimed benefit I see on these bottles,” he recalled.
To find out more about these supplements and their ingredients, he decided to “jump in at the deep end” and started doing his own research, even “dipping [his] toes into medical journals” at one point of time.
Not wanting to keep all the newfound information to himself, an idea popped into his head – to create a product that won’t just “evolve the bottle routine”, it would also “enhance integrity in the supplement industry”.
To ensure that all his attention and energy was going into the venture, Kenneth even quit his job to do it full-time.
“Thankfully, my family and friends were receptive to it,” he shared. “A few were especially encouraging and helpful.”
Just POP It
POP Store launched in April 2019, with Kenneth and his co-founder (who prefers to remain behind-the-scenes) investing “a good amount of savings” into it.
Both of them also play instrumental, yet varied roles in the startup.
“I’m the ‘brawn’ that does the heavy lifting,” he laughed. “I also punch numbers!”
On the other hand, his partner is “the brain with sharp eyes” and the one responsible for their aesthetically pleasing social media posts and website.
Their social media posts might be cheery and lighthearted, but the process that goes into producing their supplements is one they don’t take lightly.
For one, they avoid using commonly used “feel good” descriptives like ‘potent’, ‘super’ or ‘premium’.
We want to strip everything about a supplement to its essentials, down to facts only.
“If a particular supplement is not listed in the Recommended Dietary Allowances, we state it plainly – ‘Unavailable RDA’. We do not want to sugarcoat it.”
They also make sure to “avoid making audacious claims regarding the potential benefits of supplements”.
To do so, they created their own “matrix system” to determine if the benefits of each supplement should be labelled under ‘Reputable Science’ or ‘Ancient Wisdom’.
For example, their Elderberry supplement is labelled as ‘Ancient Wisdom’.
Kenneth is quick to reiterate that supplements should simply be a complement to, and not a replacement of a healthy diet.
“With each product on our site, we would remind our consumers that the best way to get the required nutrients would be through a balanced diet.”
As for the manufacturing process, the duo source the ingredients that go into their supplements from different locations all around the world, before they are produced in the United States.
Looking To Add More Supplements
Kenneth declined to reveal the number of boxes sent out so far, but shared that they are “encouraged by the figures and responses from consumers”.
As for future plans, the team is looking to offer more supplements, and are “considering reaching out to consumers outside of Singapore”.
- Check out POP, and start building your own cocktail of supplements here.