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.
There’s a joke in Silicon Valley that mocks entrepreneurs trying to pitch their startups: “It’s like Uber for (fill in with any industry here).” But in the wellness space, it seems like Peloton’s business model rivals that of Uber.
Take the new meditation app Journey LIVE. Like Peloton’s live classes, which users can stream alongside fellow cyclists located in other cities and states, Journey LIVE users can meditate with fellow zen seekers across the country. The idea is to tap into the energy people receive by participating in a group activity.
Stephen Sokoler, Journey’s founder and CEO, is betting that the live, group-based, subscription business model will lock people in. And its business model differs from its competitors Calm and Headspace, which offer users endless listening tracks. “There’s a paradox of choice, and having so many options makes it hard for people to stick with it and come back every single day,” said Sokoler.
So far, investors seem to like the Peloton take on meditation. Journey has received $2.4 million in seed funding so far, though time will tell if it can gain a Peloton-level following.
Speaking of fitness, brands more strictly known for exercise and workout-related products, such as Athleta and obé (which is like Peloton, but for boutique workout classes), are retooling their strategies to reinforce that they’re a part of the growing wellness trend.
If companies are smart, they too will hitch their wagons to wellness, or even recast their business models to be the next Peloton for …
— Leslie Barrie, Wellness Editor
Mind & Body
A New Meditation App Attempts to Replicate the Peloton Model: Many people find meditating difficult — especially the solo aspect of it. Journey LIVE, a new subscription-based meditation app, aims to help those customers by offering 15-minute “live” group meditation sessions. Considering the live group-exercise model has worked for Peloton, this is a clever way to lock in customers who might otherwise drop off. Read more here.
Thinking Beyond Fitness, Brands Angle Toward Wellness: Athleta sells exercise apparel, and obé is a workout platform. But both brands now want to be considered more than just fitness brands. To accomplish this, Athleta has partnered with media company Well+Good to host wellness-themed events, and obé recently launched a video interview series with wellness company founders on its platform. With the wellness culture continuing to grow, this is certainly a solid move. Read more here.
Beauty & Spa
Unilever Debates Buy of Skincare Startup Drunk Elephant: In what could be a $1 billion purchase, Unilever is reportedly considering the acquisition of Drunk Elephant, a nontoxic, natural beauty brand. Uniliver has been expanding its portfolio of wellness-oriented brands, especially as growth has slowed for many of its more traditional brands. The purchase of Drunk Elephant, which has a diehard following, could be a savvy way for Unilever to stay contemporary. Read more here.
Food & Drink
How GT’s Living Foods Stays on Top of a Growing Kombucha Market: GT’s Living Foods, the first bottled kombucha brand to hit store shelves — and still owned by its founder, George Thomas Dave — has stuck to its craft roots, and it’s paying off. Dave continues to “emulate a homemade process,” brewing the drink in small batches and keeping it unpasteurized, even though pasteurizing would make it easier to ship. The company currently owns 40 percent of the U.S. kombucha market, but PepsiCo is trying to change that after its purchase of rival brand KeVita. Read more here.
Target and Walmart Consider Selling CBD Products: Even though the Food and Drug Administration still prohibits the sale of CBD-infused food and beverages, big-box stores are preparing for the day when that ruling changes. According to the New York Post, “Top executives at major chains such as Walmart and Target have been quietly meeting with makers of drinks, gummy bears, topical creams, and oils that are infused with cannabidiol.” Getting the research in now is a good call so they can spring into action at a moment’s notice. Read more here.
Saks Fifth Avenue Gets In on the Upscale CBD Market: Not to be left out in the luxury space, Saks Fifth Avenue is now selling CBD beauty products and offering CBD treatments at its Flagship Salon in New York City. Barneys’ new cannabis and wellness shop, The High End, launched earlier this year, so it’s a natural move for Saks to embrace the trend as well. Its tactics are unique: Saks won’t just sell the product, but also educate customers. It’s a smart idea considering there’s so much confusion about the oil. Read more here.
Skift Wellness Editor Leslie Barrie [firstname.lastname@example.org] curates the Skift Wellness newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.