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The Skift Wellness newsletter is our weekly dispatch focused on what’s happening in wellness from a global business standpoint. Skift Wellness lives where wellness meets commerce, mindfulness meets technology, the yoga studio meets the boardroom, and health meets business.
Combine a savvy marketing campaign, sharp product design, and early embrace of emerging health tech (also known as telemedicine), and it’s no surprise that Hims, a men’s health and wellness brand that sells generic medication directly to consumers, found major success after it launched last year.
The company recently introduced a similar service targeted toward women, aptly named “Hers.” But will the company see the same momentum with its new brand? It’s tricky. Hims’ goal is to give men easier access to products they need — especially those that they may feel awkward talking about, like medication for erectile dysfunction and hair loss. Women, however, don’t necessarily have those same healthcare hang-ups.
As Hilary Coles, brand lead on the Hers launch, explained to Forbes, “Men have been told for years that it’s weird to want to take care of yourself. As women…we felt like we’ve been inundated.” Thus, Hers will have to take a different approach by cutting through the noise. But the promise of lower-cost prescriptions and easier access to birth control is something we’re pretty sure customers will get behind.
More on the supplement side, adaptogen-infused products have taken off, no doubt riding the same wave as CBD oil. Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of them, though. Once mainly touted by the Goop-devotee set (though some do have roots in ancient medicine), these herbs that are designed to help your body better handle stress have only recently gone mainstream. It’s a whole new wave of “functional ingredients” — ones that add not just flavor, but potential health benefits to your food and drinks.
Even Recess, a newly launched CBD-infused sparkling water, features its own mix of adaptogens, showing that the two wellness ingredients may go hand-in-hand. Will Coke consider adding adaptogens to its drinks, too? We’ll see what 2019 has in store.
— Leslie Barrie, Skift Wellness Editor
Healthcare & Medicine
First Hims, Now Hers: After a successful launch of Hims (we all remember those cactus ads), and $97 million in venture capital funding, founder Andrew Dudum is taking on women’s health with Hers. The brand taps into telemedicine to make it easier and more affordable for women to purchase birth control, acne medication, hair regrowth pills, and more. With its smartly designed packaging and lack of co-pays, the company is likely to have no problem finding an audience.
Vitamins & Supplements
What’s Up with Moon Juice? Companies Get In on Adaptogens: If you’ve read any article featuring Gwyneth Paltrow lately, you’ve probably at least heard of adaptogens — but what are they, exactly? Adaptogens are herbal ingredients that supposedly help your body adapt to stress — and companies are putting them in everything from supplements (like “Moon Juice” and “Sun Potion”) to coffee and coconut butter. Now that CBD oil has taken off, it’s likely that more companies will get on board with all things adaptogenic to further capitalize on our stressed-out state.
Food & Drink
A New La Croix for an Anxious Era: It was only a matter of time before a company would combine the sparkling water craze with the wellness movement. Recess, the new CBD-infused sparkling drink (that yes, has adaptogens, too), is taking on traditional sparkling brands like La Croix, as well as companies already in on the CBD beverage game, like Dirty Lemon. Even at $4.99 a pop, we bet customers will still spring for this of-the-moment drink.
Is Your Fitness Studio Instagrammable Enough? You might think you’re just going in for a good workout, but chances are your favorite fitness studio has thought equally as hard about the sweat you’re working up as the room you’re working out in. Is there an Instagram wall? A photo-friendly doormat? Motivational quotes in neon lights? Fitness brands now realize a studio design that appeals to influencers, as well as everyday Instagram users, is key for survival.
Beauty & Spa
Legacy Beauty Brand Goes Cruelty-Free: Next time you find yourself wandering down the drugstore beauty aisle, you’ll see a new feature on Covergirl packaging: A little bunny. The company announced it’s now the biggest brand in the beauty industry to get the Cruelty Free International “Leaping Bunny” certification, which ensures the product line contains no animal-tested ingredients. It’s a smart move to show that buying well-minded products isn’t just reserved for the well-to-do. The next question is: will more customers flock to the brand because of it?
Good Vibes Follow Good Hair: Sure, a full spa day sounds nice in theory. But the founders of Drybar bet you don’t have time for that, especially not Monday through Friday. Enter Squeeze, Drybar’s take on the massage experience. It utilizes tech for simple booking, payments, and tipping (meaning no waiting in line to settle up, killing your blissed-out state), as well as for personalizing the experience, all for a reasonable cost. Chains like Massage Envy may turn green when Squeeze starts scaling.
Hundreds of Thousands Want In on Heart Study, Thanks to Apple Watch: Finding people to sign up for a medical study is challenging — but not when Apple is involved. The company-sponsored Stanford heart study, which will use Apple Watches to detect atrial fibrillation (a condition that can put people at risk for blood clots and stroke) already has a whopping 400,000 recruited participants, which the Stanford Medical School dean calls “remarkable.” If results show lives can be saved, the tech giant will likely get an even bigger sales boost.
Yep, There’s a Market for $300 Leggings: Of course it’s a ludicrous cost for a thin swath of stretchy fabric. But new athleisure brands like Wone and Ultracor are borrowing a page from high fashion’s book by creating an aura of exclusivity for their luxury, body-hugging wares through limited editions, waitlists, and members-only buying. It’s not exactly surprising to hear they’re finding a niche audience willing to pay a premium price.
Skift Wellness Editor Leslie Barrie [email@example.com] curates the Skift Wellness newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.