The company's natural supplements can boost hormonal health, support metabolism, improve sleep and more
When Aeryon Ashlie went on Dragons’ Den to pitch her supplements brand in 2021, she knew she wasn’t there for investment. “I wasn’t going to take a deal, to be honest with you. I went on for marketing,” she admits. But she also wanted to see how the Dragons do it: “I would like to eventually invest in women in business so I wanted to see how the whole thing rolled out.” And even though Ashlie accepted an offer on the show, she later turned it down because she wasn’t willing to give up any part of Aeryon Wellness.
“And I still won’t,” she adds. “What I did do was, I took the show episode, I went to my bank and I asked for $100,000 line of credit for the business… And I got $100,000 without giving up any of my company.”
Aeryon Wellness makes natural supplements for women. Targeting a range of issues from sleep to hormones and metabolic performance, Ashlie hopes to one day grow her Vancouver-based company into a $100 million brand. Her background as a bodybuilder and decade-long experience as an account manager for Body Plus Nutritional Products helped her capitalize on the strong connections she made in the natural health industry, but it’s really her journey battling bulimia and participating in fitness competitions like the Arnold Sports Festival that helped lay the foundation for her business.
“The only time I never had issues with food was when I was competing because I had all my meals prepared. I didn’t eat anything on top of it,” says Ashlie. “Bulimia, for me, was really an opportunity to lose control because I’m very structured and in control of everything I do. So when I began to work through that, I worked with cognitive behavioral therapy, I worked with nutrition, and then I began to look for supplementation because I really put my adrenals and my body through a wringer with years and years of not only competing but also this excess amount of food and then deprivation of food. Yet there was nothing on the market that appealed to me as a woman, and that had the clinical doses that I wanted. That’s one of the reasons why I rolled the dice and started my own brand because I really wanted to create something different.”
While working through her eating disorder, Ashlie came up with five pillars for a healthy life: the thoughts you think, the friends you keep, daily movement, nutrition and supplementation. Now she’s using those same pillars to build her brand, as each Aeryon Wellness product comes with a QR code for a program that offers meal plans, workouts, affirmations and information about ingredients. There’s also a ton of supportive material on the company website. “We’re really looking at a multi-faceted approach to support women with whatever they’re trying to work through,” adds Ashlie.
Aeryon Wellness scaled from two products in 2019 to 12 in 2023. Its boric acid vaginal suppository won the Canadian Health Food Association’s $25,000 Launch Pad award in 2022. The brand is in over 500 retail stores like Whole Foods and GNC, notes Ashlie, and has four new products coming out in 2024.
“Yes, it would be nice to have capital to work with, but I’m blessed to have great partnerships with the people that I work with,” says Ashlie. “The goal is keep growing, to keep educating women to realize that we all want that quick fix (I know I did many, many years ago) but if we can put these things into place, we can find that elusive balance and sustainability that we’re looking for.”