SleepDrops maker restless in pursuit of $1.2b US market

Naturopath, medical herbalist and nutritionist Kirsten Taylor is targeting the US$800 million ($1.2 billion) sleep medication market as part of global expansion plans for SleepDrops.

Taylor developed the product for her own use in 2009, but it was the realisation that she was not the only person with sleep issues that led her to form the SleepDrops business, which is now on track to sell around $2 million of wholesale product in New Zealand this year.

Seven years on and the company has been No 1 in the natural health sleep remedy market for two years, and won numerous awards including Best Emerging Business at the Westpac Auckland Best of the Best Awards last year.

“I was in private practice and making remedies for people and I realised … that if I didn’t get them to sleep really well first then all of their other little niggles or health complaints took much longer to heal,” Taylor said.

The company is planning to work with Otago Medical School and the University of Auckland to develop clinical trials so it can enter markets such as Korea and Japan. Taylor said natural medicines could not be patented, so few companies spent the money on it. However, successful clinical trials would help with entering particular markets, she said.

“I’ve been offering sleep drops to the New Zealand public for 11 years … and we wouldn’t be the No 1 brand if they didn’t work,” Taylor said.

SleepDrops are already sold in pharmacies in Singapore, health clinics in the Caribbean Islands and the company has just had its three liquid remedies approved for importation into China, but the focus in the next year will be the US.

“The US was always my target market,” Taylor said.

“Fifty-six per cent of Americans don’t sleep, they’re really naturally health savvy,” she said.

Kirsten Taylor is the keynote speaker at the upcoming PwC Herald Talks breakfast event in December. Tickets for the event are available now on iTicket.
PwC Herald Talks
Subject: Growth
When: December 9th
Where: 7-9am SKYCITY Theatre
Tickets: $89 available on iTicket.