Swisse Wellness

The world's fastest growing over-the-counter health product company in 2009 to 2013, Swisse Wellness is using Sydney as its springboard for global expansion.

Growing brand chooses Sydney as distribution hub

The vitamins, minerals, and supplements brand Swisse Wellness started in Australia in the 1960s when the founder, Kevin Ring, began manufacturing herbal and vitamin supplements for his own health food store in Melbourne. As the company grew, it outsourced production to a contract manufacturer in Sydney in the 1990s.

"We chose one of the leading local manufacturers, which was based in Sydney," Swisse Wellness CEO Radek Sali said.

When the business outgrew its Melbourne warehouse, the natural progression was to make Sydney its national and international distribution hub.

A photo of the Swisse Wellness product range

Swisse Wellness products.

"Sydney has a good business culture, and I can't speak highly enough about the can-do attitude of the State Government," Mr Sali said.

"The multicultural and multi-lingual workforce is very useful for exports. Sydney is an extremely valid location for basing an export business."

Expansion plans

Swisse Wellness's turnover has grown from $100 million a year in 2010-11 to $240 million in 2012-13. In February 2013, it launched in 20,000 drug stores in the US. It will further expand in European, Asian, and Latin American markets with a distribution deal it signed in November 2013 with PGT Healthcare, the international joint venture between Proctor & Gamble and Teva Pharmaceuticals.

Assistance from the NSW Government

To assist the company's ambitious export plans, the NSW Government introduced Swisse Wellness to offshore buyers in South East Asia, and sourced a comprehensive report on the state of the vitamins, minerals, and supplements market in the US, including consumer profiles and market trends to assist in product development.

The department wrote a Jobs Action Plan for the Sydney warehouse, which included Payroll Tax deductions. It introduced Swisse Wellness to the NSW Office of Science & Medical Research, to collaborate with the company's research program.

The department also facilitated a promotion by the Government's tourism marketing agency, Destination NSW, in which Swisse Wellness partnered with Qantas to bring the high-rating US TV program, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, to Sydney and Melbourne in March 2013. The promotion exposed Swisse Wellness to Ellen's global TV audience and was also covered in the press and on radio.

"Ellen's values and what her show is all about are closely aligned with our brand values of celebrating life every day, so it was a brilliant fit," Mr Sali said.

Publication date: March 2014