Circadian Optics is a light therapy start-up founded by Amber Leong. She will be appearing on Shark Tank to pitch her business, in the hopes that an investor will help her expand her reach.
Circadian Optics was founded in 2016, and helps maintain circadian rhythms during winter. Read on to learn more about Leong, her background, and how she plans to expand her light therapy business moving forward.
1. Circadian Optics Offer Light Therapy Lamps That Mimic the Brightness of Sunlight
According to the official site, Circadian Rhythm is “your body’s natural way of telling you to sleep and rise, triggering important biological processes that help you function best. It is an internal clock in our bodies that makes us alert during the day and sleepy at night.” Circadian Optics functions as a means of supplementing that rhythm when things like work and weather get in the way.
“If you’re feeling tired, sluggish, and down, it could be due to normal disruptions to this cycle,” the site continues. “With busy schedules that go until past dark and almost constant screen time, our modern lives are full of interruptions that could possibly throw off our sleep/wake cycle.” Circadian Optics offer light therapy lamps that mimic the at mimic the brightness and color of sunlight, so that you can maintain a healthy rhythm during winter. Circadian Optics are also advertised as a means of regulating sleep, boosting energy levels and improving a person’s general mood.
Circadian Optics lamps vary in price, from $34.99 to $59.99. The latter includes an adapter, a two year warranty, and LED bulbs that last approximately 50,000 hours, which is significantly longer than fluorescent bulbs. Click here for the full list of products and lamp variations.
2. Leong Thought Up Circadian Optics After Suffering Long Work Hours & Little Sunlight
Leong was born in Malaysia but moved to Minneapolis to pursue an undergraduate degree at Bemidji State University in 2005. Whilst there, she worked long hours during the day and didn’t see much sunlight. Leong told American Inno that she had a hard time adjusting to the weather change, and it affected her general attitude.
“I often had to work long hours during the winter,” she recalled. “It was dark when I arrived in the morning, and dark by the time I left at 5:30 or 6:00. It really affected my energy level and mood.” Pressed for a solution, Leong began researching light therapy and decided to purchase a lamp for her desk at work. She began feeling the positive effects right away and discovered that she had more energy than ever.
Leong was inspired by the results of the desk lamp, and decided to pursue a career in the field of light therapy. At first, however, she had a hard time selling to investors. “The problem is that it didn’t look very good. It invited a lot of negative attention,” she admitted. “There was a lot of stigma associated with light therapy even though it provided a lot of benefits.”
3. Leong Co-Founded Circadian Optics with Her Husband In 2016
Leong co-founded Circadian Optics with her husband, Chew Kin Mun, in 2016. She told the Star that she was inspired to create her own line because of the boxy, unappealing aesthetic of most light therapy products. She opted for a design that was more sleek and minimal. “Our lamps have a bold, unique take on what a light therapy lamp can look like, and we have successfully revolutionized the light therapy lamp industry,” she explained.
“We realized that there was a market for light therapy lamps that looked good and had a designer touch,” Leong told the Bemidji Pioneer. “We built a lamp that was both functional and looked amazing. All our lamps have a point of view. They have bold designs that we are proud to have on our desk all year round. This focus on design has revolutionized how light therapy lamps look, and has made significant headway in making light therapy more accepted and mainstream.”
4. Leong Said That Her Goal Is to Bring ‘Light to the World’
Leong told the Star that her goal as a co-founder is to bring “light to the world” and help people maintain their Circadian Rhythm under the harshest weather. “With our modern lifestyle, we spend most of our time in dimly lit offices; our bodies deprived of sunlight,” she reiterated. “We want to spread the word that light is as important to our well-being as diet and exercise, and that getting enough light is as simple as using a lamp right at your desk.”
As far as future plans for Circadian Optics are concerned, Leong wants to have a strong presence in Malaysia one day, and even contribute to the country’s economy. She made a point of saying that, despite setbacks, success is a matter of persistence. “Nine in 10 startups fail, and the odds of your first, second or third company failing is relatively high,” she reasoned. “But all you need is one success.
Leong said that she was nervous to appear on Shark Tank, but that she found her confidence as she went into the pitch. “It was the most terrifying thing that I’ve done in my life,” she revealed. “But once I started going I realized that all I had to do was really explain the business and what our product does. No one knows it more than me. That’s how I regained my confidence and momentum as I was pitching. I really did my best. I gave it my all, laid it all out there.”
5. Leong Said Her ‘Shark Tank’ Experience Helped Refine Her Business Plan
Leong showcased the Circadian Optics lamps at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2018. While there, she decided to take a chance and audition for a Shark Tank casting call. “We were at a trade show in 2018 and participated in a Shark Tank casting call,” she recalled. “We didn’t expect much because every year, the show gets 40,000 applications, but we decided to take the chance anyway… We had to wait in line for hours to pitch at an open casting call.”
Much to Leong’s surprise, she was contacted 18 months later and asked to come back and pitch before the panel of investors. “As an entrepreneur who has loved watching Shark Tank for years, pitching my business is a dream come true,” she gushed. “A lot of emotion and effort went into highlighting my product’s benefits for the Sharks and I am excited for the chance to share Circadian Optics with the world.”
Leong couldn’t talk about the specifics of the filming process, but she did tell American Inno that her experience helped her refine her business plan moving forward. “It’s a very long process, and it’s very involved. It’s not something that you can just do and wing it.” Leong said of the experience. “Every step of the way there’s doubt and uncertainty, but what propelled me to keep going was the dream of being on Shark Tank and telling the story of my business and a problem that I know I can solve.”