Dr. Jacqueline Shan is a successful entrepreneur and leader within Canada's natural health products industry. As the founder and creator of Canada's best-selling cold remedy Cold-FX, she has now turned her attention and passion to a new health start-up with the Afinity brand.
1. Dr. Shan, Cold-FX is Canada's best-selling health and wellness products and is a major Canadian success story. Have you always had an interest in health and wellness and how did you come up with Cold-FX?
Ever since I was a little girl in China, I have been fascinated by the ability of herbal medicine and other forms of natural health products for disease prevention and treatment. After receiving two doctorates in pharmacology and physiology, I have been lucky enough to be able to pursue my childhood dream to develop evidence-based natural health products to help people to improve their health and wellness. The success of Cold-FX is a reflection of long term dedication and hard work of myself and our research team in search for natural health products helping immune system naturally fending off cold and flu virus.
2. Like most start-ups, your company struggled for years. At what point did you realize you were getting closer to a great product and profitable company?
The initial stage involved research and was an expensive investment to undertake, but important to validate my vision. I knew the product was effective and in order to commercialize on large scale, I wanted to show the safety and efficacy to consumers. The amounts of repeat sales were impressive and consumers and professional athletes loved how the product made a difference. The NHL and CFL teams were users and that was a great testimonial and when Don Cherry confirmed it worked for him, people were all talking about it.
3. Cold-FX was closely aligned to hockey, which makes a lot of sense since you are a Canadian company. Was this by co-incidence or a strategic marketing initiative? It was a bit of both. Our focus was always on research and one of the studies involved a study involving the Edmonton Oilers. The product made a difference for the players and our research proved why it was supporting their immune system. Glen Sather & Mark Messier were early advocates and Don Cherry experienced great success as well. Many other medical trainers heard about this in sports and we made efforts to market this and create awareness on the impact it has with professional athletes. The bottom line was that it had research to support its efficacy and it did help them.
4. You have since sold Cold FX and have now founded a new start-up, Afinix Life Sciences. Can you tell us more about the new company and what drew you back to healthcare?
I feel that Cold-FX only represents one of many chapters in my scientific and business life. More than two decades medical research training and product development and commercialization experience enable me to continue to pursue my dream of developing more and better natural health products to help people to prevent diseases. More importantly, more and more consumers are health conscious and proactively searching for solutions for their health-related issues such as aging related cardiovascular, brain and joint conditions. I have never felt a need to leave the industry, on contrary, I feel more confident and pleased to move forward to create another company, which provides another platform for me to start the 2nd & 3rd chapter of my journey.
5. Your affiliation with professional and Olympian athletes won you marketing awards and helped put your previous company on the map. What are your new plans to market the product and take over the Canadian market?
The Afinity brand will involve different natural health products and the initial ones being launch are four products targeting cardiovascular, joint, cognitive and overall health. The active ingredients in all four products are premium quality omega-3s. I am excited about these as we have conducted independent testing on them and know that they are unique in purity and efficacy.
My vision was to ensure they would be different than what was available on the market today and am confident that we have done that. Afinity uses a proprietary, multi-step molecular-distillation manufacturing process, and formulations are developed using Afinity Technology. Our unique research and testing system uses Biological, Metobolomic and Chemical Fingerprinting to ensure the purity, potency and bioavailability of the active ingredients. This process not only produces highly purified Omega-3's, it also removes impurities and contaminants.
Each Afinity Product is designed for a specific health condition: cardiovascular and cognitive health; maintaining brain function; managing the pain of rheumatoid arthritis; and general wellness. Original research on Afinity products has also shown that these products produce an impressive anti-inflammatory effect, which may help to reduce the risk of developing several chronic conditions.