Max Wiseberg is a long-term hayfever sufferer who had tried most products with limited or no success – until he discovered a unique prevention for himself in his own kitchen. When other sufferers said ‘it works’, it gave him the confidence to trial the product and start marketing it – and in 2005 the pollen barrier balm, HayMax, was born.
With his products now in great demand, Max now outsources UK production. This is a far cry from the business that he set-up in his kitchen, filling and labelling thousands of pots with partner Christine, after the children had gone to bed.
Max talks about the early days of HayMax, “I started several different things but the one that really started to work was soon to become known as HayMax. It started with a simple trial and was amazed when all the respondents who tried it in their season told me it worked. And that it worked better than the pharmaceutical remedies they had been using. So I chose the name, started the company, and then started looking at regulations……scary!”
“I started with a website, and the response from that and from the press was fantastic. I quickly realised that I would never get huge volumes from the website alone. So it made sense to distribute my products through health stores, chemists and pharmacies. Tree of Life was the first wholesaler to take on HayMax, closely followed by The Health Store. We exhibited at the Natural Trade Show in Brighton and won our first award – Best Non Food Organic Product. And the stores seemed to like HayMax. Just as important, the consumers seemed to like it too. It was great talking to customers and seeing how they appreciated HayMax.”
“I remember Liz Chandler at Natures Corner asking if I would like to talk to her customers about my product and inviting me in to her shop. There was a rep there from one of the larger VMS brands and I overheard him saying their product was based on proper science (– implying that mine wasn’t). I resolved there and then to get some real evidence as soon as we could afford it. We now have 2 successful studies from NPARU, the UK experts on airborne allergens, and two independent surveys by leading allergy charity Allergy UK in 2014 and 2015. When asked if, overall, HayMax worked, 80% of respondents said ‘Yes’.”
HayMax is an ethical company and the product
itself is eco-friendly, using only certified organic ingredients. Max explains
why, “I decided to include organic ingredients in HayMax very early on. I
thought it was a good thing, in the same way that you cook a dinner and use the
best ingredients, you get the best results and if you use the best organic
ingredients in HayMax you get the best product.”
“As soon as we started getting success with multiples we started to get kickback from independents. ‘Why should we continue to sell your product when it’s in the supermarket round the corner and they are running offers on it?’ So we developed a strategy to keep both happy. We keep some product variants which are only provided through the independent channel, and we also provide them with some price cutting options – e.g. a pre-packed 3 for 2 product which is not sold through the multiples.”
HayMax has gone from strength to strength, winning over 40 awards so far, and this year it’s proud to be celebrating its 15th Anniversary. It’s also been used successfully by two Olympic athletes.
As a result of all of this success, Max was recently asked to appear on the panel for the London Retail Symposium, for ‘Successfully Using Entrepreneurship to Unlock Innovation’ and was selected for the prestigious Guardian’s trade mission to Atlanta.
Max recently launched his exciting new addition to the HayMax family, HayMax Kids, which is suitable for children, and this year he is launching his new longer lasting formula HayMax. The brand is also launching into selected Superdrug stores. HayMax organic drug-free allergen barrier balms retail at £6.99 per pot and are available from Holland & Barrett, selected Superdrug, Morrisons and Boots, Ocado, independent chemists, pharmacists and health stores, online and direct on 01525 406600.