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JSHealth founder Jessica Sepel and CEO husband Dean Steingold have meeting at Chemist Warehouse


JSHealth Vitamins founder Jessica Sepel is embroiled in a messy public spat with rival brand Life Botanics, which is offering similar products for half the price.

And the ‘vitamin war’ seemingly took a twist on Friday when the clinical nutritionist, 32, and her CEO husband Dean Steingold were pictured arriving for a meeting at the head office of budget pharmacy Chemist Warehouse in Melbourne.

Given that Chemist Warehouse prides itself on offering ‘great savings’ and ‘aggressive pricing’, the sighting suggests the Double Bay power couple may be considering lowering JSHealth’s premium brand tax in order to sell their products at the discount chain.

Shock twist: JSHealth founder Jessica Sepel (pictured) and her husband Dean Steingold were pictured arriving for a meeting at the head office of budget pharmacy Chemist Warehouse in Melbourne on Friday, as her battle with rival vitamin company Life Botanics rumbles on

The retailer also offers a ‘low price guarantee’ on their website, meaning that if a customer finds the same item at another retailer for less, they will match the price and give 10 per cent off the difference.

JSHealth, which currently charges $45 for a single bottle of its ‘skin and digestive’ tablets, could well be negotiating putting out a more affordable range at Chemist Warehouse in light of the recent price war with Life Botanics.

Meanwhile, a well-placed source told Daily Mail Australia that Sepel and Steingold are potentially thinking about selling JSHealth for a rumoured $600million.

Sweet: The Double Bay power couple were seen kissing outside the store

Sweet: The Double Bay power couple were seen kissing outside the store

Changes: Ms Sepel, who is based in Double Bay, shared a photo on Instagram on Friday hinting her brand could be stocked at Chemist Warehouse in the near future. She posted this mirror selfie in business attire, and captioned it, 'To help you see our vitamins in many more places,' alongside three aeroplane emojis

Sighting: Ms Sepel was seen wearing the same outfit in Melbourne on Friday

Changes: Ms Sepel, who is based in Double Bay, shared a photo on Instagram on Friday hinting her brand could be stocked at Chemist Warehouse in the near future. She posted a mirror selfie (left) in business attire, and captioned it, ‘To help you see our vitamins in many more places,’ alongside three aeroplane emojis

Corporate mantra: Given that Chemist Warehouse prides itself on offering 'great savings due to aggressive pricing', Sepel and Steingold could well be considering lowering JSHealth's 'brand tax' in order to sell their products at the discount chain

Corporate mantra: Given that Chemist Warehouse prides itself on offering ‘great savings due to aggressive pricing’, Sepel and Steingold could well be considering lowering JSHealth’s ‘brand tax’ in order to sell their products at the discount chain

Daily Mail Australia has contacted a representative for JSHealth for further comment.

Ms Sepel, who is based in Double Bay, Sydney, shared a photo on Instagram on Friday hinting her brand could be stocked at Chemist Warehouse in the near future.

She posted a mirror selfie in business attire, and captioned it, ‘To help you see our vitamins in many more places,’ alongside three aeroplane emojis.

Smart: Ms Sepel looked smart in a white blazer, white shirt and black trousers, which she teamed with a large black tote

Smart: Ms Sepel looked smart in a white blazer, white shirt and black trousers, which she teamed with a large black tote

Effortlessly chic: She swept her hair into a messy bun, and opted for minimal makeup

Effortlessly chic: She swept her hair into a messy bun, and opted for minimal makeup

Casual: Her husband kept things casual in a black T-shirt and blue jeans

Packing light: The couple had two suitcases each after travelling from Sydney to Melbourne

Packing light: The couple had two suitcases each after travelling from Sydney to Melbourne 

Meeting: The pair chatted to another man outside of the venue

Meeting: The pair chatted to another man outside of the venue 

Love story: The couple married in a 'healthy wedding' in Koh Samui, Thailand, in 2015

Love story: The couple married in a ‘healthy wedding’ in Koh Samui, Thailand, in 2015

In photos taken on Friday, Ms Sepel was seen sharing a kiss with her husband after their meeting with the retail giant.

For the occasion, she looked smart in a white blazer, white shirt and black trousers, which she teamed with a large black tote bag.

She swept her hair into a messy bun, and opted for minimal makeup.

Meanwhile, her husband kept things casual in a black T-shirt and blue jeans.

War: The vitamin war between the two brands has only accelerated recently after Life Botanics disrupted the market and offered similar products for half the price. Pictured: Ms Sepel

War: The vitamin war between the two brands has only accelerated recently after Life Botanics disrupted the market and offered similar products for half the price. Pictured: Ms Sepel

The vitamin war between the two rival brands has only accelerated recently, after Life Botanics disrupted the market and offered similar products for half the price.

Earlier this month, Life Botanics, which is backed by actress and model Jodi Gordon, publicly shared formulation breakdowns of a JSHealth product and a similar Life Botanics product, demonstrating how the budget brand offers ‘premium ingredients without the premium price tag’.

In response, Ms Sepel wrote on Instagram: ‘As you may have seen, there are copycats trying to replicate our vitamins. I just want you to know that JSHealth Vitamins is built on trust and efficacy.

‘The person behind this brand does not stand for that. Our formulations are NOT identical. The advertising statements are false. Our synergy of ingredients are unique to us. It took me and a team of experts many years to perfect them.’

Ms Sepel added: ‘It’s now just unethical to see how retailers are allowing for this brand to be sold. And I’m confident, this will not be a strategy that equates to success.

 

Vocal: JSHealth founder and clinical nutritionist Ms Sepel told her Instagram followers that Life Botanics are 'copycats trying to replicate' their vitamins, and insisted she won't let them 'diminish what she has built'

Vocal: JSHealth founder and clinical nutritionist Ms Sepel told her Instagram followers that Life Botanics are ‘copycats trying to replicate’ their vitamins, and insisted she won’t let them ‘diminish what she has built’

Support: Ms Sepel thanked her loyal customers for their support and said their health will continue to be their 'number one priority'

Support: Ms Sepel thanked her loyal customers for their support and said their health will continue to be their ‘number one priority’ 

‘JSHealth Vitamins cannot and will never be replicated. To anyone feeling confused or misled by the copycats, please know: JSHealth Vitamins will always be the brand that supports you, from a place of genuine care for your health.’

Ms Sepel concluded by encouraging her fellow female business founders to never ‘let anyone try to diminish what you have built or what you are capable of’.  

‘What I’ve learnt is – doing what is right, with good intentions – wins. Every. Single. Time,’ she wrote.

 

Near-identical: Life Botanics, which is sold at Coles, publicly shared formulation breakdowns of a JSHealth product and a similar Life Botanics product earlier this month, demonstrating how the budget brand offers 'premium ingredients without the premium price tag'

Near-identical: Life Botanics, which is sold at Coles, publicly shared formulation breakdowns of a JSHealth product and a similar Life Botanics product earlier this month, demonstrating how the budget brand offers ‘premium ingredients without the premium price tag’ 

Cheeky: 'Proofs are in the pudding or shall we say, in the supplements. Premium ingredients without the premium price tag,' Life Botanics said

Cheeky: ‘Proofs are in the pudding or shall we say, in the supplements. Premium ingredients without the premium price tag,’ Life Botanics said

Not backing down, Ms Sepel responded in the comments section of Life Botanics’ formulation comparison, asking where the kelp was sourced from and why the cheaper brand was ‘misleading’ its customers.

‘But where is the kelp is sourced from is different? It’s exclusive to JSHealth? Why are you misleading your customers? It’s not right for them…’ she wrote. 

She also commented underneath an advert for Life Botanics which claimed the two vitamin brands had ‘identical formulations’, writing: ‘This is untrue. 

‘Our kelp is exclusive to JSHealth. Has been for four years. So it’s a false claim.’ 

Stance: Not backing down, Ms Sepel responded in the comments section, asking where the kelp is sourced from and why they are 'misleading' their customers

Stance: Not backing down, Ms Sepel responded in the comments section, asking where the kelp is sourced from and why they are ‘misleading’ their customers

The drama began late last month when Life Botanics announced a ‘two bottles for $40’ deal for its wellness vitamins, which are sold at Coles supermarkets.

Life Botanics angered Ms Sepel by spruiking the deal on social media alongside the tagline: ‘If you love JSHealth vitamins, you will love Life Botanics. Identical formulations, same results, half the price.’

A single bottle of JSHealth’s ‘skin and digestion’ vitamins – which Life Botanics sells with similar ingredients – retails online for $45.

Ms Sepel shared Life Botanics’ advert with her 390,000 Instagram followers, and wrote: ‘This is another level of not OK. How low can you go?’

‘I have the strongest community in the world, so please know this is NOT our brand and can never be. Our ingredients are very unique. Our community will help stop this from happening,’ she added.

Furious: The drama began last month when Life Botanics announced a 'two bottles for $40' deal for its wellness vitamins. Pictured: JSHealth founder Jessica Sepel

Furious: The drama began last month when Life Botanics announced a ‘two bottles for $40’ deal for its wellness vitamins. Pictured: JSHealth founder Jessica Sepel

‘I just have no words for how morally low people will go to make money. Luckily JSHealth was built on efficacy and trust, not the dollars.’ 

In response to these claims, Lauren Jones, Senior Marketing Manager at Life Botanics, told Daily Mail Australia: ‘We have tremendous respect for the JSHealth products and as manufacturers we have the opportunity to offer consumers better value at a more affordable, everyday price. 

‘At its core, healthy competition is a part of the Australian retail market. Our goal is to bring premium-quality products at an affordable price, no matter who we compare ourselves to.’

'How low can you go?' Ms Sepel lashed out at Life Botanics after the budget brand announced a 'two bottles for $40' deal for its wellness vitamins, which are sold at Coles supermarkets, and used the tagline: 'If you love JSHealth vitamins, you will love Life Botanics'

‘How low can you go?’ Ms Sepel lashed out at Life Botanics after the budget brand announced a ‘two bottles for $40’ deal for its wellness vitamins, which are sold at Coles supermarkets, and used the tagline: ‘If you love JSHealth vitamins, you will love Life Botanics’

Comparison: A single bottle of JSHealth's 'skin and digestion' vitamins - which Life Botanics sells with similar ingredients - retails online for $45. By contrast, Life Botanics, which is backed by actress Jodi Gordon, is offering its 'identical' products at $40 for two bottles

Comparison: A single bottle of JSHealth’s ‘skin and digestion’ vitamins – which Life Botanics sells with similar ingredients – retails online for $45. By contrast, Life Botanics, which is backed by actress Jodi Gordon, is offering its ‘identical’ products at $40 for two bottles

Emotional: Ms Sepel also shared a tearful selfie, alongside the caption: 'Please help me. Please reach out to this company copying us... Morally, this is just awful to stomach'

Emotional: Ms Sepel also shared a tearful selfie, alongside the caption: ‘Please help me. Please reach out to this company copying us… Morally, this is just awful to stomach’

Ms Sepel also shared a tearful selfie, alongside the caption: ‘Please help me. Please reach out to this company copying us. I don’t care for copycats usually.

‘But morally, this is just awful to stomach. Is this what people will do to make money? We’ve worked hard for a decade to be the most trusted vitamin brand in the world. I know we always will be.

‘But this is causing our customers to feel misled. Our ingredients cannot be replicated because they are exclusive to us (most of them). They are using my name for advertising.’

Ms Sepel then vowed ‘legal action now has to happen’. 

Ms Jones responded to these claims by saying: ‘We have only been using comparative advertising to communicate the strengths of our products. This is similar to many examples in the market such as the Aldi advertising model.’ 

Favourites: Former WAG Nadia Bartel (pictured) used to be a JSHealth ambassador before she was dropped by the brand last year in the wake of her white-powder scandal

Favourites: Former WAG Nadia Bartel (pictured) used to be a JSHealth ambassador before she was dropped by the brand last year in the wake of her white-powder scandal

Furious: 'Please know this is NOT our brand and can never be. Our ingredients are very unique. Our community will help stop this from happening,' Ms Sepel said in response to Life Botanics' claim its products have 'identical formulations' to those of JSHealth products

Threat: Ms Sepel then vowed 'legal action now has to happen'

Furious: ‘Please know this is NOT our brand and can never be. Our ingredients are very unique. Our community will help stop this from happening,’ Ms Sepel said in response to Life Botanics’ claim its products have ‘identical formulations’ to those of JSHealth products

Success story: Ms Sepel and her husband, JSHealth CEO Dean Steingold, once made the Australian Financial Review's Young Rich List with an estimated worth of $426million

Success story: Ms Sepel and her husband, JSHealth CEO Dean Steingold, once made the Australian Financial Review’s Young Rich List with an estimated worth of $426million

The dispute between the two vitamin companies escalated when Ms Sepel accused Life Botanics of lying about a charitable donation.

Life Botanics announced on Instagram it had made a $20,000 donation to Breast Cancer Network Australia after selling out of its energy and hair vitamins.

Ms Sepel commented below the post: ‘This is even worse. Lies about charity.’

However, a spokesperson for BCNA told Daily Mail Australia a donation had been made, confirming on Monday: ‘We can confirm a donation has been received. 

‘It was a nice surprise. All donations go towards BCNA’s services to provide information and support to Australians affected by breast cancer.’

Ms Jones of Life Botanics added: ‘We are deeply disappointed that JSHealth misled their followers that we did not make a donation to our charity partner.

‘Giving back to consumers and the community is what we are all about.’ 

Celebrity endorsement: Married at First Sight star Martha Kalifatidis is also a fan of JSHealth

Celebrity endorsement: Married at First Sight star Martha Kalifatidis is also a fan of JSHealth

Donation dispute: The row between the two vitamin companies escalated when Ms Sepel accused Life Botanics of lying about a charitable donation on Instagram

Donation dispute: The row between the two vitamin companies escalated when Ms Sepel accused Life Botanics of lying about a charitable donation on Instagram

Ms Sepel shared another post revealing why she’d decided to spark an online row with her competition, writing: ‘You may wonder if my posts are directing attention to this brand that they do not deserve.

‘I don’t really care about that to be dead honest, because they aren’t a threat.

‘I have to stand up for what is right in life. I have to stop this from happening to any other fellow female founders. I have to do this for my brand. I have to protect my formulas. I have to call out such disrespect. It feels right to do so.’

Having her say: Ms Sepel shared another post revealing why she'd decided to spark an online row with her competition

Having her say: Ms Sepel shared another post revealing why she’d decided to spark an online row with her competition

Meanwhile, Life Botanics ambassador Jodi Gordon threw her support behind the affordable brand, saying in a press release: ‘I’ve always taken care of myself inside and out, and a huge part of that is taking the right supplements.

‘But not everyone has been able to afford premium supplements. Other brands have made their products so expensive that ordinary people just can’t afford them.

‘That’s why I love Life Botanics: they put people first with the same amazing ingredients and results for half the price.’ 

Support: Meanwhile, Life Botanics ambassador Jodi Gordon (pictured) threw her support behind the brand, saying in a press release: 'I’ve always taken care of myself inside and out, and a huge part of that is taking the right supplements. That’s why I love Life Botanics: they put people first with the same amazing ingredients and results for half the price'

Support: Meanwhile, Life Botanics ambassador Jodi Gordon (pictured) threw her support behind the brand, saying in a press release: ‘I’ve always taken care of myself inside and out, and a huge part of that is taking the right supplements. That’s why I love Life Botanics: they put people first with the same amazing ingredients and results for half the price’

Ms Jones also said: ‘We use the same ingredients as JSHealth but Life Botanics is less than half the price. 

‘We absolutely love the JSHealth products that are made for her by other contract manufacturers; however, we feel that everyone should be able to afford them and not just people willing to pay the brand tax.’ 

Ms Sepel and her husband, JSHealth CEO Dean Steingold, once made the Australian Financial Review’s Young Rich List with an estimated worth of $426million.

The company’s roaring success now sees JSHealth sell a bottle of vitamins every 10 seconds, and there are now plans to expand into Britain, North America and Asia. 

A JSHealth spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia last month: ‘Aside from the legalities involved in this case [with Life Botanics], what is most disappointing is the complete disregard for consumers.

‘JSHealth Vitamins is a brand built on efficacy and trust. Our formulas are completely unique, created with ingredients exclusive to JSHealth. 

‘Our JSHealth community trusts us, as is evident in their response to this blatant social media marketing campaign.’ 

Affordable: Lauren Jones, Senior Marketing Manager at Life Botanics, said: 'We use the same ingredients as JSHealth but Life Botanics is less than half the price. We absolutely love the JSHealth products that are made for her by other contract manufacturers; however, we feel that everyone should be able to afford them and not just people willing to pay the brand tax'

Affordable: Lauren Jones, Senior Marketing Manager at Life Botanics, said: ‘We use the same ingredients as JSHealth but Life Botanics is less than half the price. We absolutely love the JSHealth products that are made for her by other contract manufacturers; however, we feel that everyone should be able to afford them and not just people willing to pay the brand tax’

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