In today’s busy consumer brand universe, very rarely does a product come along that’s unlike any other and first-of-its-kind.
Enter Sugarbreak, a newly launched brand that’s a blend of online retail, CPG, and healthcare, born out of a customer need. We caught up with Scarlett Leung to learn more about the company and what inspired her to launch it, even amid a global pandemic.
ForceBrands: What exactly is Sugarbreak, and how does it stand out in the market?
Scarlett Leung: Sugarbreak is the first-ever, all natural, complete solution for diabetes and blood sugar management. The comprehensive system offers proprietary formulations of herbal remedies with proven effectiveness, all conveniently available direct-to-consumer, without a doctor’s prescription. Sugarbreak’s three introductory, sustainable products, Resist, Stabilize, and Reduce, were created by harnessing the power of plants and nature, with minimal side effects.
Sugarbreak is unlike any other product on the market as its products are designed to fit into daily life. These products are the first to market that are affordable and help consumers manage their blood sugar levels without receiving a prescription from a doctor. Sugarbreak helps boost consumers’ blood sugar confidence, without completely altering their daily lives or costing them an arm and a leg.
FB: What inspired you to launch this product?
SL: According to the American Diabetes Association, 1 in 3 Americans have diabetes or are pre-diabetic, and these numbers are only on the rise. Diabetes is an incredibly challenging illness to maintain and I personally have seen firsthand the physical and emotional toll it takes on diagnosed individuals. We developed Sugarbreak specifically to help people navigate these pain points in their life that wreak havoc daily.
On a more personal level, I had a very close friend who was diagnosed with diabetes in his late 30s, and I saw how much he struggled to make decisions about food — even ordering a pastry carried so much emotional weight! I knew I wanted to help improve the quality of life for him and all those like him facing chronic illnesses.
FB: And why now? Did you have any reservations about launching a new brand during a global health crisis? What are the pros and cons as it relates to timing?
SL: 2020 has really revealed a great issue that our nation has with the prevalence of diabetes and pre-diabetes, particularly due to the negative effects that COVID-19 has had on this demographic. While it’s not ideal to launch a new brand during a global pandemic as our team has been forced to work remotely over the past six months which brings its own set of challenges, we are actually entering the market at a primetime for our brand. The numbers and the comorbidity rates related to COVID-19 and diabetes are around 25 percent, and the impact on marginalized and BIPOC communities really emphasizes the need for an accessible and price-conscious approach for people suffering from these conditions. 2020 has really brought to light the importance for consumers to get their diabetes and pre-diabetes in check and we hope we can be part of that journey.
FB: What does the distribution strategy look like?
SL: Sugarbreak products are currently available for purchase direct-to-consumer on Sugarbreak.com and on Amazon. However, we believe in meeting where our customers are, so will be complementing our current distribution with national retailers early next year.
FB: What is your marketing strategy? Who is your target consumer and how are you reaching them?
SL: Our target consumer is anyone who is looking for a more approachable, affordable, and natural solution to blood sugar management (including diabetics and pre-diabetics, but not limited to). We are reaching our consumer through paid media, influencer marketing, and traditional public relations.
We know that navigating through a healthy blood sugar and reducing sugar in your diet isn’t easy, with a lot of conflicting information on the Internet and medical jargon that is difficult to understand. We want to use Sugarbreak.com and other channels where we reach consumers to be an easy-to-understand resource that makes this journey easier. Our scientific advisory board is made up of leading experts that approach blood sugar and sugar consumption from integrative medicine to psychology to nutrition, to name a few, so that the information we provide is holistic and sustainable.
FB: What about your entrepreneurial background has best prepared you for Sugarbreak? What lessons are you taking from past experiences and applying to your current role?
SL: Prior to Sugarbreak, I founded a fertility studio and egg-freezing company called Trellis. Our goal was to provide meaningful medical options for women. My passion for accessible healthcare brought me to Sugarbreak when I was introduced to my co-founders through a mutual friend. Immediately, I felt connected to the company mission and wanted to help grow the product line.
If you look at my career, I have worked in everything from accounting to fashion to online grocery, and I truly believe that these experiences have allowed me successfully create Sugarbreak. Sugarbreak is a blend of online retail, CPG, and healthcare, born out of a customer need, so my experiences in navigating the healthcare system, managing stores online and offline, and overseeing manufacturing and logistics, are all very relevant.
FB: Sugarbreak is a Public Benefit Corporation (BCorp). What inspired you to make this decision?
SL: Sugarbreak was founded with the goal to help a large, yet marginalized, community in this country, diabetics and pre-diabetics. As such, it was important to our team that Sugarbreak should be a BCorp to show our consumers that we are holding ourselves and our business to a higher standard. In addition to that, it allows for myself as the leader of the company to make decisions that would stay true to our mission, over financial drivers that regular corporations would not be able to do.
FB: How have you approached team building and making those first key strategic hires?
SL: Sugarbreak is still a very young company and with every startup, you need to find a balance between fulfilling a need on your team right now and anticipating how these needs will evolve. Luckily for me, my co-founders and I all have a lot of experience managing businesses and have complementary skill sets, so our first key hires are really filling those gaps, which tend to be at more junior levels. We sit together and look at hiring plans based on our needs now, and how we expect the company to look like in 6 months, 1 to 2 years from now to see where the gaps are, and what the business triggers and milestones need to be for each hire.
FB: Where do you see Sugarbreak in the next 3-5 years?
SL: We have some exciting innovations in the pipeline for Q1 of 2021 and beyond, including an entirely new product line targeting a new demographic, and an expansion of our current SKUs into new formats for ease of use.
Sugarbreak is not just our products, but the mission of providing easy tools to help manage chronic disease states, in a natural and measurable way. Our solutions are accessible and destigmatize the shame and feeling of defeat that many suffer right now.