As most of us already know, the world of self-care can feel a little overwhelming at times — so much so, that we often forget what the fundamentals of wellness really are. A healthy, well-balanced diet, regular exercise and most importantly, a good night’s sleep will always be the starting point of any great routine, which will only make all those skincare and wellness products we so religiously count on to work even more effectively.

For Anna Heinrich and Christie Whitehill, after the birth of their children and admittedly too many restless nights, wellness became about getting back to basics, which is exactly what the duo’s recently launched beauty brand INTU Wellness, seeks to do. “The idea for the brand came from our own personal experiences and journey into wellness,” Christie explains to Her Black Book. “For me, personally, it was all about a big health overhaul after the birth of my second child. I had a lot of gut issues and things that needed cleaning up from having a busy, always-on, stressful life running businesses. For Anna, it was when struggling with sleep during her pregnancy with Elle and discovering supplements were something that really supported her.”

The pair say there was never an ‘ah-ha!’ moment that sparked INTU’s creation, instead, it was a natural progression after they both realised what they needed to get out of their own wellness products. The brand’s very first product, Sleep & Skin Renewal, is about getting that all important rest, while also supporting hair and skin health, and overall hydration and elasticity.

“Sleep is the foundation and the basis for everything,” Anna explains. “It’s the biggest thing, along with nutrition and hydration for your skin, and I think people forget that and they’re always trying to find things that they can put on their skin. People really just have forgotten about the basics and how much sleep affects your skin, but also the role and effect it has on everything you’re doing in a day.”

INTU’s hardworking product combines the power of eight potent ingredients, including astaxanthin, marine collagen, magnesium glycinate, Lemon Balm and Passionflower. And while many of us are probably used to supplements designed for the morning, INTU’s Sleep & Skin Renewal is formulated to be taken at night, something the pair says makes them much more likely to remember to take it, removing that all too familiar stress of the rush out the door each day. Even better, it was designed to carve that sweet tooth craving most of us get just before bedtime, creating a flavour that is perfectly balanced, as Anna and Christie say, with a delicious lemon flavour finished off with a hint of vanilla.

While the product has launched to huge success, being stocked on the brand’s own website as well as exclusively at Stylerunner — both online and in store — the pair admits that it was months of work behind-the-scenes to get the brand off the ground. Both Anna and Christie say they couldn’t have done it without the other’s expertise.

“I think one thing that works really well for us, as a partnership, is we do have that diverse background and it’s great because I trust Anna and she trusts me,” says Christie.

“I think we bring different things, which is why it works,” adds Anna. “Someone I was speaking to about starting a business recently said, have a business partner to start because it is so much work and there is so much you're not going to know. And there's a lot that Christie doesn't know, there's a lot that I don't know, and it's good to bounce off one another but also, it's all a learning curve. Every challenge or every hurdle that pops up, it's like, what's the best way to get past it, move on and then keep going, really?”

While the business hasn’t been without its hurdles (as many business owners who founded a business during COVID will already know), it’s come with an immense sense of pride, with the pair feel incredibly touched by those who have reached out to share their positive experiences with the product.

“When we get the reviews in and people saying that they were having five hours sleep and now they’re getting seven hours sleep or now they’ve had such a good night’s sleep, has been really rewarding. One of the most important things going into it, was we wanted premium ingredients but we also wanted a product that really, really works. The reviews and the testimonials have been the best thing for us so far.”

As for what’s next for the brand, Anna and Christie have big plans — including another product that’s already in development, as well as hopes to take INTU to the global market. The pair will also be looking to expand on the Sleep & Skin Renewal’s original flavour, a response they’ve started after listening to feedback from customers.