Experiences Drive the Wellness Category

The future of wellness is social.

At Beauty Inc’s 25th annual WWD Beauty CEO Summit, founder of Remedy Place Dr. Jonathan Leary, cofounder and chief operating officer of The Well Sarrah Hallock and Peoplehood cofounder Julie Rice sat down with senior editor, beauty Kathryn Hopkins to discuss their approach to experiential wellness.

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The conversation posed several key themes, including solving the loneliness epidemic caused by COVID-19, the benefits of experiential wellness and consumer demand for offerings at home and on the go.

Rice, also the cofounder of SoulCycle, kick-started the conversation by discussing the genesis behind Peoplehood, which offers 55-minute guided conversations to promote social relational wellness. While running SoulCycle, Rice discovered that while guests initially came in for a workout, they returned to class for the connections.

“We understand our physical health. We understand mental health. The past few years, we’ve begun to understand sleep and recovery, but the truth is that social wellness, relational wellness is one of the biggest things that determines the rest of that, and how do we begin to put that into our daily lives in an intentional way,” she said.

Peoplehood is aiming to do this by holding space where guests can learn to talk freely and listen actively. While Peoplehood has one location in New York City, the brand is piloting its program at universities, holding gatherings for corporations and offering a digital platform in an effort to scale the business.

Leary seconded the importance of relational health, noting that the social component behind Remedy was key for several reasons. Remedy, a social wellness club, offers an array of treatments, including vitamin-infused IV drips, ice baths and infrared saunas, all meant to be enjoyed with a group. The company, which operates locations in New York and Los Angeles and has several in the pipeline, is aiming to offer alternatives to social activities like happy hours. As a practitioner prior to starting Remedy, Leary found healthy lifestyles often deterred social well-being.

“In order to fix the root cause of my patients’ issues, they had to change their life. These lifestyle changes, they would implement them and then over the course of their care, they would say, ‘all my symptoms have disappeared but this lifestyle is really isolating,’” Leary said.

With this realization, he thought, “I need to make Remedy even more social because we need to find a way to really enhance their health and their social life at the same time. We call it social self-care.”

While these businesses aim to address the loneliness epidemic, consumers are also more interested in wellness than ever. With this in mind, they are demanding wellness activations wherever they are, whether it be at home, at work or on vacation.

“People are demanding wellness in all areas of their life,” Hallock said, noting this trend is informing The Well’s approach to expansion.

The “one-stop wellness shop,” which combines Eastern and Western medicine, operates four locations with 14 in the pipeline. While its flagship in New York City offers city-dwellers and tourists a wellness oasis, vacation destinations are where the brand thrives.

The Well has partnered with Auberge Resorts Collection to build outposts at several of its hotels, including in Cabo San Lucas and Costa Rica.

“People want more than just green juice and a yoga mat in the room. They want immersive wellness experiences when they’re on vacation,” Hallock said.

However, with wellness top of mind, consumers are seeking new ways to implement daily routines outside of vacations or retreats, resulting in another new trend: residential wellness. The Well has responded to this through a partnership with Terra, as they are building a residential community in Miami featuring a 13,000-square-foot wellness center, which will include a bath house, halotherapy steam room and an infrared and sound dome, to name a few amenities. At each of its locations, The Well also provides consumers with a curated retail experience so residents can take parts of their wellness treatments home in order to create a routine.

“They really want that sense of discovery,” Hallock said of consumers. “If you’re having a treatment at The Well or you’re meeting with a health coach or practitioner, when you come upstairs you can find those products and know that they’re safe. They’re trusted.”

Remedy is also aiming to provide at-home solutions with its Tech Remedies, which will launch later this year and can be built into residences, hotels, gyms and commercial spaces.

“Over the past couple of years, our inboxes got flooded with hotels, developers, gyms, country clubs, all these different companies that wanted Remedy Place within their location or to scale with them,” Leary said. “What we found is it’s unrealistic if we think that we can be everywhere, so what we’ve decided is, as we still scale our brick-and-mortar, as we’re developing this industry, we also want to supply this industry.”

For Peoplehood, it’s all about meeting people where they are by implementing in-person and virtual gatherings.

“For us this time, we felt like we needed to create a digital and physical offering at the same time. It seems like post-pandemic experientially, people want to come and touch things and do things,” Rice said. “People want to come out. They want to try it. They want to do with other people, but they want to use it in a habitual way, wherever they are.”

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