RelaxZen to Return

After spending months in limbo as product slowly trickled through a declining number of stores and online retailers, relaxation shot RelaxZen has been sold to a pair of Brooklyn-based investors by former CEO Brent Sonnek-Schmelz.

The investors, Fred Rudy and his uncle, Ezra Rudy, purchased the key assets of RelaxZen — basically, its brand name — and intend, after a study period, to have new product out by October or November, Fred Rudy told BevNET.

Rudy said that the brand’s core nighttime product would likely stay the same, but that the pair were thinking about tinkering with the rest of the products in the line.

“One of the problems we determined was a lack of direction of what the products were supposed to do, when they were supposed to be taken,” he said.  “That was a miss on the consumer products front – the day had no identity. We’re going back to the drawing board with the product line, to produce a product that does what it’s supposed to do.”

To that end, the line may even add a caffeinated product to its daytime formulation, he added.

RelaxZen was the first relaxation shot to try to go to market through DSD wholesalers, and won some accounts in drug and convenience, but was unable to sustain its growth through the economic downturn. Its original founder, Nick West, eventually conceded control to business partner Sonnek-Schmelz as funding became an issue. Sonnek-Schmelz announced earlier this year he was beginning work with a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm, and that he was trying to sell the company.

Rudy, himself a former investment banker, said he was drawn to RelaxZen because of his interest in trying to rebuild the company.

“It was a market leader at one point, and initiated a concept, and we want to see if we can bring it back onto the market and back into consumer hands. The hardest part is picking up the pieces.”