SOW is a nutritional health and wellness brand entirely devoted to people of African, Arabic and Asian Heritage. The company was Co-founded by current CEO, Simi Launay. She recalls haven come across her motive for the business whilst reading Covid-19 statistics and finding out that people of either Black, Asian and, Arabic origin were 4-5 times more likely to die from Covid than their Caucasian counterparts. “I learned that these groups had an up to 76% incidence of vitamin D deficiency and that this impacts respiratory tract illness – hence one of the key reasons why Covid-19 had such devastating impacts on the community. Beyond this, there are a number of chronic diseases that these groups have a higher predisposition towards such as type-2 diabetes, hypertension and fibroids. We know that micronutrient intake can impact both the onset and management of these conditions.” SOW has spent the last two years developing a range of 4 products, specifically formulated to meet various needs of these people. The franchise is set to launch online with their pre-sale on November 1 on www.sowminerlas.com
SOW is set to launch with four initial products;
- Women’s Daily Multi-Complex; which increases energy, improves focus and memory, supports healthy red blood cells, stabilizes blood sugar level and is packed with antioxidants.
- Women’s Immune and Serene; which activates your defense mechanism, improves antibody resistance, gives you supercharged sunshine vitamin D3 boost, is anti-Inflammatory and encourages calm.
- Women’s Hair, Skin and Nails; which boosts collagen, nourishes skin, fortifies hair, and strengthens nails.
- Live Bacteria and Digestive Complex; which improves digestion, supports gut immune health, alleviates bloating and upset stomach.
African Americans disproportionally suffer from immune deficiency due to vitamin D deficiency which stands at 76%. Simi explains exactly why this is the case. “There are a number of compounding factors giving rise to high levels of vitamin D deficiency amongst African Americans; Melanin acts as an inhibitor for the absorption of vitamin D, which we get from exposure to sunlight as a lighter complexion individual, you need to have 15-30 minutes of midday sunlight, several times a week. An individual with a darker skin needs to spend a couple of hours to achieve the same level of absorption. Wearing more conservative clothing can mean that less of your skin surface is exposed to sunlight and culturally, it is common practice to actively avoid sunlight in order not to cause their skin to darken as this has not always been a popular aesthetic target.”
SOW recently launched a seed round of 500,000 GBP to which Simi has allocated half of the funds raised to be channeled into their marketing activities, 40% into building the team and 10% into R&D to develop new products and a tech solution. The median amount of venture capital raised by Black brands in the beauty sector is $13 million, which is significantly less than the $20 million raised by non-Black brands, despite the latter’s greater median revenue. Simi’s advice to Black brands on how to raise capital is quite candid “Personally I have had an incredible fund raising journey, however I know that the same is not true for all companies raising funds. The first thing to do is to have a very strong deck that clearly articulates the problem, states the solution and demonstrates strong metrics.” Simi further goes on to explain that a good way to improve access to funds for Black brands is to ensure that all of the “Angels” who have invested in the brand are great allies and they all see the value in the product, its potential and the necessity in the market.
When it comes to expanding the brand to other ethnic groups even though it was initially supposed to be for just people of African, Asian and Arabic heritage, Simi says the expansion will be data driven just as SOW is. In 5 years Simi wants SOW to be able to be the byword to achieve 360 wellness for people of African-Caribbean, Asian and Arab origins. SOW is going to develop a technology solution to make way for personalization of your wellness journey.