Vol. 127 - NO. 39

Blog Startup CPG

SINCE 2019

Founder Feature:
Chrissy Xu of B.Ready

Meet B.Ready: the brand making science-back gummies for post-drinking recovery

As a recent college graduate and hard-working CPA at a large firm in Chicago, the founder of B.Ready, Chrissy Xu, did her fair share of partying. “I was coming out of school and there was a work hard, play hard culture at the firm.” As she got older, however, she found it increasingly hard to keep up. She explains, “As my body has aged, it was difficult to find balance. The day after going out, I’d be dead.” Chrissy stopped going out as frequently, but she felt she was missing out on various celebrations and quality time with friends. To remedy this, she started experimenting with hangover remedies on the market, but everything she tried either tasted bad, was inconvenient, or didn’t work. One time, when taking a pre-drinking capsule in an Uber, Chrissy was even reported by the driver for taking drugs. “It was insane,” she says.

From this moment, Chrissy decided it was time to make her own hangover solution. She quit her job as a CPA, went to business school, and began developing B.Ready, her line of science-backed gummies for post-drinking recovery.

It took Chrissy around two years to develop her gummies as she strove to use high-quality, science-backed ingredients that had already been proven effective for hangovers. She not only worked with food scientists but also doctors with both Eastern and Western backgrounds. With the help of these doctors, Chrissy chose to use three primary ingredients in B.Ready’s post-celebration gummy: prickly pear, milk thistle, and potassium D glucarate.

It was also important to Chrissy to incorporate her Chinese heritage in her product. She says, “I moved to the US in 2011 from China, so I grew up with traditional Chinese medicine…I wanted to create something that would not only alleviate the short-term [effects] but also the long-term effects of drinking. I added ingredients from traditional Chinese medicine such as licorice and kudzu root to better protect the liver.”

A bumpy road to launch

Chrissy developed B.Ready with a co-founder, but right before they launched, her co-founder got sick and had to leave the business. This took a huge toll on Chrissy, she says. “We worked on it for more than two years, so I knew I had to keep going, but it was really difficult. She’s my best friend, so I was worried a lot about her.”

The road to launch was also made more difficult due to manufacturing delays. Chrissy explains, “Our first production run was low, so it got put on the back burner by the manufacturer, and our date kept getting delayed.” After negotiating, Chrissy finally got her product, and officially launched B.Ready last November. She says, “The first big wave came from family and friends, and they gave us some good reviews and feedback.” Six months in, Chrissy is now throwing things at the wall to see what sticks in reaching consumers.

One of these throws has been listing B.Ready on Amazon. Chrissy says, “I had my listing live on Amazon but it got de-activated.” The reason? Chrissy cannot say the word hangover on her packaging or in the Amazon description. “It’s considered a disease. I didn’t know that before getting into this and it adds more hurdles along the way in terms of messaging. That’s why my packaging says ‘post celebration’ whereas ‘hangover support would be much more straightforward. But Amazon is strict and you have to be careful using words like recovery, relief,  liver detox, or inflammation because you can get flagged.” Chrissy now works with freelancers through Fiverr to proofread her content to ensure she does not use any potentially flaggable language.

New founder learnings

“When I first had the idea and was choosing what ingredients to use, I didn’t think too much about the price point,” Chrissy explains. “In my mind — and in probably a lot of founder’s minds — I wanted to make the best product, so I ended up using a lot of expensive ingredients, which pushed me to become a premium brand. There are pros and cons to that but launching a premium brand is hard because not everybody can afford your products. My product is more expensive than the competitors. If I can go back and redo it, maybe I’ll examine if these super expensive ingredients are necessary. I also decided to make it in the USA, but then I talked to other founders and some people make products outside of the USA and the MOQ [minimum order quantity] is a lot lower.”

Chrissy also ran into issues when naming her brand. After choosing a name and designing their logo, Chrissy sent their name to a trademark lawyer to confirm they could use it. She says, “Thank god we didn’t send it out for packaging yet. We realized our name was used for different products, so we had to change the name. Our company is also registered under the old name, so we not only had to change the design of our packaging but also the legal company registration.” In hindsight, Chrissy says, “Nobody thinks it’s fun and it’s expensive, but having the legal issues squared away is so important. The unsexy work is what comes back to bite you.”

Spreading the word and identifying B.Ready’s customer

For B.Ready’s first year in business, Chrissy’s primary goal is to identify channel-market fit for her products. She says, “There are so many channels right now, so I need to identify where I can find my target audience. I did a few paid ads on Facebook, but it wasn’t effective, so now I’m doing Amazon, and TikTok shop, and I’m having somebody help me build the SEOs on my main website. I’ve also done pop-ups and offline events, and B.Ready sells well there.”

Chrissy also hopes to spend her first year making as many connections as possible. “I love connecting with founders because it’s a community where people pay it forward. I receive a lot of help from other founders, and I’ve also been to a lot of Startup CPG events, and it’s a tight-knit community.” After their first year, Chrissy also hopes to begin expanding B.Ready beyond hangover products alone. She says, “I want B.Ready to become a premiere functional supplement brand.”

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