Creative Lives – Saasha & Sammy, Bear

The wife-and-husband founders of lifestyle brand BEAR designed their high-potency products as a once-a-day route to looking and feeling fantastic. They live and work together in Australia’s Byron Bay.

No one glows quite like Saasha Burns. No offense to her husband Sammy Leetham – he cuts a fine form, too. Maybe they’re born with it, or maybe their radiance is the result of a daily regimen of supplements from their lifestyle brand, BEAR. 

Both raised in Melbourne, it was love at first sight when Saasha and Sammy met on a night out with friends in Byron Bay. A decade and one enviable Amalfi Coast wedding later, they call the town’s hinterland home. 

The pair’s business originated from a desire to create the highest-quality Australian-made supplements on the market – products you can trust, that also look chic on your nightstand. While some wellness elixirs contain such low levels of the good stuff there’s scant proof they do much at all, BEAR’s meticulously researched essential daily vitamins and superpowders contain activated ingredients at therapeutic levels, encouraging better absorption and real benefits. Certified organic, vegan, and gluten- and GMO-free, they’re designed with the utmost integrity and for real life – they don’t require refrigeration and are taken just once a day, with or without food. 

The couple also donates a portion of BEAR’s profits to species protection and conservation group WildArk. We asked creative director Saasha about their life together.

How did BEAR begin? A number of years ago, Sammy and I went to buy vitamins and were overwhelmed by choice. Identifying a gap in the market, we started a journey of research and discovery, and began working closely with a team of naturopaths, compounding pharmacists and medical professionals to create a bespoke range of supplements with proven efficacy, safety and stability, using the best ingredients from around the world. 

What do you and Sammy enjoy about working together? It’s an incredible gift to work alongside Sammy each day. We have so much trust in each other and understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We inspire, challenge and push each other every day to be the best version of ourselves. It’s a rewarding dynamic, and we’re fortunate that we can travel the world, grow our business and experience life together. 

What’s your creative process? I’m naturally curious and constantly inspired by the world around me. Travel helps open my mind, fuel my imagination and keep me grounded. I have a very clear, strong vision for BEAR: everything we do is authentic and meaningful and I’m not afraid to think differently and challenge what’s been done before. I love refining our ideas and knowing which ones to execute and when. I’ve found timing is everything in business, and so are relationships. It’s important to always be original, professional and kind. 

What’s been a highlight of the journey so far? Our two Leaders of Style events [BEAR’s 2017 Australian and US launches in Byron Bay and Palm Springs] were truly memorable. We’ve met so many incredible people and built so many genuine friendships through them. Our community is everything to us. 

What’s your and Sammy’s mantra for a life well lived together? One of my favourite quotes is from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” 

Which BEAR products do you suggest couples try in the lead-up to their wedding? I’d recommend our Explore vitamins and Nourish superpowder. Explore contains vitamin C to help promote immune function and stimulate collagen synthesis; adaptogenic herb Rhodiola rosea to increase energy production, assist with mild stress and anxiety, and help restore the skin; vitamin E to protect against cellular damage; turmeric to help revive skin and enhance its natural glow; and a vitamin B complex to nourish skin and assist in wound healing. 

Nourish is a prebiotic supplement that helps support your gut microbiome to build a strong foundation of health. It contains one of the richest sources of resistant starch in the world, from certified organic and biodynamic green Lady Finger bananas. With essential minerals including magnesium, potassium, zinc, vitamin E and phosphorus from this single Australian ingredient, Nourish helps to support a healthy digestive system, immune system and nervous system, and promotes healthy, radiant skin. 

What rituals do you and Sammy enjoy? We love making time to enjoy nature together – it helps us recharge. We enjoy going for a morning ocean swim, then having coffee together on the sand, or taking a break from work to go on a long walk through the paddocks with our husky, Minnie. It’s always when we’re the most relaxed that we come up with our best ideas – the fresh air gives us clarity. 

How do you achieve work-life balance? I’m not sure that we do! We never really switch off and our travel certainly isn’t a holiday, but I feel so thankful to be doing what I love every day with Sammy. 

What are you guys looking forward to? We’re currently working on a range of products in an entirely new category, which we can’t wait to launch, and we’re planning an event for BEAR’s second birthday in a remote location. There’s so much on the horizon, but we’re also trying to live in the present and enjoy life one day at a time. 

Saasha Burns | BEAR | Photography by Cassandra Ladru |  Interview—Philippa Prentice