Building Brands for Mind, Body, and Spirit
Building Brands for Mind, Body, and Spirit: The best brands imbue consumers with positive feelings and emotions that drive loyalty and are fundamentally trustworthy. This is true across fashion and apparel, travel and hospitality, technology, and myriad other categories, yet when it comes to health and wellness, very few brands, outside of some in fitness (think SoulCycle or Equinox), have emerged that cater to a consumer’s mind, body, and spirit. While some like LOLA, Hims, or Headspace have started to make a name for themselves, there is still a distinct void, and as an investor, it is up to me to determine whether this void is an opportunity for entrepreneurs or if it’s the status quo for a reason. Perhaps there aren’t meant to be brands in every category within consumer health and wellness, but my working hypothesis is there should be dramatically more than there are today.
The headline macro trend is that there’s a growing importance being placed on overall health and wellbeing. There are numerous other thematic tailwinds like an increasing focus on the value of sleep, destigmatizing mental health challenges and removing it from a list of taboo talking points, the mainstream-ization of meditation and a variety of forms of alternative medicine, and numerous others. Underpinning all of these trends is the mounting influence of Millennials and Gen Z as consumers who are willing to spend time and money on the above areas in a way previous generations weren’t (or weren’t able to due to lack of options). Moreover, when it comes to mental health specifically, these younger consumers have a desire to share and be open and vulnerable, and the internet and software can foster these connections. Below is a non-exhaustive list of products / services / spaces that fall in the aforementioned realm and which I’m particularly interested in:
- Horoscopes / Zodiacs / Psychics / Tarot / Astrology / Crystals
- Mindfulness retreats / Meditation
- Holistic and Eastern medicine / Herbal remedies / Alternative medicine
- Acupuncture / Cupping
- Reproductive care / Fertility
- Skin care
- Psychiatry / Psychology
- Sleep therapy
When it comes to the above list, I’m eager to see how founders are tackling these areas with a range of business models and approaches. For some, I’m particularly excited to see companies merge online and offline experiences and ones that foster community and togetherness. In others, I believe software can augment a brand and facilitate a daily or weekly interaction to help engender initial loyalty and build a veritable habit that grows over time. I think there is a real opportunity to create a lifestyle brand in a number of the categories above through a mixture of commerce (e.g. subscription, marketplaces) and content (e.g. social and UGC, subscription), and in others, I think B2B2C is the right go-to-market strategy instead of going straight to consumers.
All that is to stay, I am eager to connect with founders and investors who are thinking about the above categories and building and investing in solutions to improve consumer health and wellbeing. If you’re working on something in one of these areas or a related one, I’d love to learn more and see what I can do to be helpful or supportive and exchange ideas — just shoot me a note at adamkbesvinick at gmail.com.
About the Author
Adam Besvinick blogs about entrepreneurship, consumer internet startups, and business development with some sports thrown in. Adam is a VC at a hedge fund in NYC where he focuses primarily on Series A – C investments. On the side, he invests as an angel in seed stage consumer-facing startups on AngelList. Prior to joining his current fund, Adam was a VC at Deep Fork Capital, where he led seed investments. Before that, Adam was the first business hire at Wanelo, leading partnership efforts. He received an MBA from Harvard Business School, during which he worked part-time for Lowercase Capital, Gumroad, and a couple other early stage companies. He also used to co-lead By/Association, an angel investor group. Prior to entering business school, Adam was a telecom investment banker at Jefferies and graduated from Duke University in 2009.
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