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1 Oct

The Top Takeaways From WWD’s 2023 Beauty & Wellness

This week, WWD hosted its second live Beauty & Wellness Forum in Latest York City, with experts across the category’s segments, including tattoo care, clean medicine, retail, fitness and girls’s health. 

While the day was stuffed with informative speakers, including Naomi Watts, Michelle Crossan-Matos, Ashley Tisdale, Dr. Barbara Sturm and Dr. Will Cole, it wasn’t all work and no play. Robbie Bent, cofounder and chief executive officer of social wellness club Othership, led attendees through a brief visualization. Kristin Sudeikis, founder, CEO, creative director and lead instructor of Forward_Space, led guests through a tech neck movement break. And through “wellness breaks,” attendees had the chance to get a hair and makeup refresh with Glamsquad, write a message of confidence with marine collagen water brand B’Eau or test out some sunscreens with Elta MD. 

One sentiment rang true throughout the day. Wellness is here to remain; it’s not a fleeting trend brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. “There is unquestionably a hunger. There’s definitely a market,” said Tonya Lewis Lee, founding father of complement brand Movita Organics. “There’s definitely dollars on the market for this. We’re all seeing it in our businesses.” Nonetheless, the trends may look just a little different, as consumers focus more on longevity, reasonably than immediate immunity boosters.

Throughout the day, several key themes arose, including the importance of kindness, the ever-growing intersection between beauty and wellness and the importance of community within the face of a loneliness epidemic.

Here, the highest takeaway’s from WWD’s Beauty & Wellness Forum. 

Kindness is king! 

Two words kept coming up: kindness and joy. For Beekman 1802 and Kindness.org, it’s at the middle of their origin stories and it’s smart business. “Kindness is a strategic and competitive business strategy,” said Josh Kilmer-Purcell, cofounder of Beekman 1802. And inside beauty and wellness, Ulta Beauty has found shoppers are in search of compassion. “They wish to feel joy,” said Crossan-Matos, chief marketing officer of Ulta Beauty, introducing the brand’s latest Joy Project, an initiative for the brand to instill joy in customers.

Beauty is wellness. 

“The worlds of beauty, wellness, health [are] all merging together,” said Allie Egan, chief executive officer and founding father of Veracity. Simply put for those who don’t feel good on the within you won’t feel good on the skin. “Your beauty comes out of your wellness,” said Devin McGhee Kirkland, cofounder and CEO adaptogen-based brand Deon Libra. With this the sweetness and wellness categories proceed to converge. “Medical and wellness are combined since the journey for skincare, body care, health and well-being, it’s really a transition and a journey,” said Amy Shecter, CEO of cosmetic dermatology company Ever/Body.

It’s all about rituals. 

On the subject of shopping, Crossan-Matos explained “people want rituals.” Tisdale, founding father of Frenshe and Being Frenshe, had this same impetus behind creating her brand. It was a throughline throughout the day as brand founders emphasized the importance of making rituals, so as to promote compliance. In line with Crossan-Matos, brands with a ritual-based assortment will drive growth. 

Lead with education. 

Wellness might be confusing, but consumers are more savvy than ever and are willing to do the research. “There may be this hunger for telling me what I want and telling me buy it and telling me use these products,” said Michelle Jacobs, cofounder and chief operating officer of menopause solutions brand Womaness. With this packaging, marketing materials and direct-to-consumer web sites grow to be key places for content. “Your individual website must be the hub of your brand,” said Oliver Zak, cofounder and CEO of tattoo care brand Mad Rabbit. “That’s where you will have essentially the most control of the narrative.” Jacobs seconded this, noting their goal is to supply customers a “place to begin your journey.”

Simplify and be daring.

While education must be top of mind, watch out to not overwhelm the buyer. “More isn’t at all times higher,” said Cole, a functional health worker. With this, take into consideration daring but straightforward messaging. “They [consumers] love the boldness,” said Kelly Fanning, general manager of United States pain, cardio & dermatology at Bayer Consumer Health. “But they need the simplicity of shop.” Products and packaging featuring direct use cases were emphasized throughout the day — think Genexa’s “clean medicine” or Stripes’ Vag of Honor product.

Tear down taboos, especially around women’s health.

“We will’t educate people if it’s a taboo topic,” said Dr. Fahimeh Sasa, chief innovation officer and founding physician of fertility clinic Kindbody. With this, women’s health got here up as a subject throughout the day, often considered taboo. But as Naomi Watts, founding father of Stripes said, “A lady’s story matters at all ages.” And with this retailers, brands and consumers are championing the category.

Wellness is for everybody. 

Wellness should be accessible. “While you get right down to real wellness, there may be such a chance that’s lacking,” said Lewis Lee. “It’s greater than just putting a Black face in an ad….For those who’re attempting to market your products to people of color you would like people of color in your offices who can really reply to that.” Here, research can also be lacking, as nearly all of medical studies and clinical trials inside the beauty industry have been based on white men. “For those who’re not going to do the research or refer to the community of their language…not less than support the brands which might be already doing the work,” said McGhee Kirkland, emphasizing the importance of monetary support.

Innovate to win. 

Daring ideas are driving the category’s growth — think Genexa’s clean medicine, Mad Rabbit’s tattoo care or Othership’s 32 degree ice baths, all businesses which might be rapidly expanding. “Don’t hand over for those who ever have an idea,” said Tisdale, especially a daring one, since you never know what could occur. 

Consumers need personalization. 

Julie Wainwright from Ahara summed it up best. “One size doesn’t fit all,” she said. And consumers are wanting to try routines and products specific to their needs. “There are such a lot of products on the market that individuals might be overwhelmed,” said Craig Elbert, CEO and cofounder of complement company Care/of. “Personalization is a way of providing guidance for what might be best for you.”

Create community and experience! 

On the subject of wellness, consumers are overwhelmed by all the options, making experience and a way of community key, especially within the face of a loneliness epidemic. “It’s a human business,” said Julia Klim, vice chairman, strategic partnerships and business development at Equinox Group, noting the brand taps its community before scaling latest innovations nationwide. For Ulta Beauty, it’s the identical. “The magic happens in store,” said Crossan-Matos. Bent, cofounder and CEO of social wellness club Othership, seconded the importance of community: “Social experiences are what people want.”

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