The number of units sold doubled from 2013, with a growth rate of 100 percent from the previous year.
The figure doesn’t include sales from its online store or from health stores.
While natural products were once only found at niche health stores, they’re now found in many pharmacies and, according to Natural Products New Zealand, contribute $1.4 billion per year to the New Zealand economy.
SleepDrops founder Kirsten Taylor, who is a naturopath, nutritionist and medical herbalist, says she thinks people’s perceptions to natural products have changed.
“I think people actually prefer having a natural, non-toxic solution,” Taylor says.
“When it comes to sleep, people are more interested in the results. They just want to sleep and they don’t care how they get there.”
The company was set up in 2009. Its range of products was first available online and through a 0800 number.
Taylor then created customer demand in bricks and mortar shops by changing her radio advertising to issue a call to action. Customers were asked to buy products in stores.
“I drove customers in the door when I didn’t have any stores on board,” Taylor says.
“By the times our sales representatives popped into stores, the stores said yes because they had so many people asking for them. There was no hesitance whatsoever.”
She says the products are stocked in most pharmacies and health stores around New Zealand, including Unichem and Radius pharmacies.
SleepDrops sales have boosted pharmacy sales in the sleep remedy category by 20 percent from the previous year.
She says a lot of customers have trouble with sleeping and stress, so it’s an important product for pharmacies to have on their shelves.
“By understanding that sleep is the foundation for wellbeing, pharmacies can build a relationship with their regular customers by getting them to come back over and over to buy the sleep products,” Taylor says.
“That foundation creates a revenue stream to keep the store going.”
Restrictions on advertising therapeutic products means SleepDrops can’t talk about curing or alleviating sleep problems, as stated on the company’s FAQ page.
“Legally (due to NZ med safe regulations) I am not allowed to go into any detail at all about what results people can expect from my SleepDrops but the name of the product pretty much covers it,” it says.
Natural product laws
The Green Party’s Natural Health and Supplementary Products Bill was brought into Parliament in 2011 and is currently awaiting its third reading.
The bill regulates the manufacturing and selling of natural health products, including strengthening rules around what health benefit claims can be made.
Natural Products New Zealand executive director Alison Quesnel says the legislation will benefit consumers, the natural product industry and New Zealand as a whole.
“Local and global consumer demand is accelerating, so New Zealand therefore needs a modern regulatory environment that recognises consumers’ right to information about natural health products and their functions,” she says.