LONDON, United Kingdom — On Thursday 13th July we presented the Welltodo Summit, a unique conference for startups, brand leaders and investors to join forces and discuss the future of the wellness industry.
Our most exciting exploration of the wellness industry to date, in partnership with Bird & Bird, Mindbody, Financo, Planet Organic and a host of other global brands, we welcomed 250+ guests to Bird & Bird in London, for an inspiring day packed full of panel discussions, dynamic breakout sessions and networking opportunities.
Featuring an incredible lineup of some of the wellness industry’s biggest names, including Lululemon, Headspace and Equinox, we listened, we learnt and we debated issues covering new global perspectives on fitness culture, investment opportunities, US and Asia market opportunities, the impact of wellness on travel, retail and the workplace, and more.
Fuelled by Pollen & Grace, Mindful Bites, Smart Water and Botanic Lab, with specially curated goody bags from Planet Organic; at Welltodo Summit ‘17 our guests discovered an innovative curation of brands offering the latest in wellness, were inspired by new thinking, new ideas, and the latest trends and insights, and learnt how to take their business or idea to the next level.
If you didn’t manage to join us for the industry’s most powerful conversation about the business of wellness, we live-streamed all of the incredible panels, which are still available to watch via our Facebook page.
Also, read on to discover some of the key takeaways from the sold-out event, with exclusive photos…
Fireside Chats + Founder Series: Building A Wellness Brand
Renee Elliott – Founder of Planet Organic, Sophie Scott – Founder of Balance Magazine and Patrick Drake – Co-Founder of HelloFresh, discussed the importance of hiring a team that embody the values of your wellness brand.
“It’s really the people that take the company forward,” explained Elliott. “And as the company grows it’s about making sure with training and with embedding those values that you and your team stay true to what you are,” she added.
Drake, who echoed her sentiment, revealed that recruitment had been one of the crucial aspects of growing HelloFresh.
He explained that having the confidence to hire people that are way better than you, shows you have a growth mindset, and for HelloFresh that has been a game changer.
Fireside Chats + Founder Series: Building A Wellness Brand
Caroline Lucey – Co-Founder of Active In Style, Jess Schuring – Founder of Heartcore and Stephanie Johnson – Co-Founder of Pollen + Grace spoke about the challenges of diversifying a product or service offering.
Discussing the growing pressure boutique studios are facing when it comes to diversification, Schuring explained that “it’s not so much what you offer but how you offer it.”
But, according to the entrepreneur, before diversifying you should first understand what your core product or service is, make sure you’re doing it well and then build on that.
Diversifying to cover over the cracks won’t ever work.
Market Well: Investment + Accelerated Growth
Ash Burman – MD at Financo, Dan Stern – Investment Director at Piper Private Equity and Graeme Payne – Partner at Bird & Bird, explored how wellness startups should be getting investor ready, with Payne suggesting that it is imperative to show how you are protecting your brand.
“For example, if your business is all about your brand and you haven’t got your brand protected you’re probably going to be on the negative side of the investment decision,” he revealed.
The role of a good lawyer, he explained, is one that will think about with what funds you have, how you can use them to get the essential building blocks right at the right time.
Market Well: Influencers + Partnership Marketing
Tamara Gillan – Founder of Cherry London, Benji Vaughan – Founder of Disciple Media and Emma Green – Associate at Bird & Bird, gave their advice to early stage startups looking to invest in partnerships.
According to Gillian, it is most important to think about what you want from the partnership.
“Is it to shift people’s’ perceptions of you, to reach people that don’t know you, or to give rewards to your customers? The most important question to ask is why are we doing this? What assets do we have to give and what do we need from them,” she explained.
If you ignore these types of questions you risk entering a partnership for the wrong reasons.
Sector Focus Session: We’re Taking Wellness With Us
Exploring how wellness is influencing the way we shop, travel and work, Jannine Bardouille – London Maven at Lululemon, Brian Chappon – Founder of Flyfit Global and Julian Hitch – Director of Well-being at Leon, spoke about the importance of creating meaningful experiences.
For Lululemon, the brand’s whole model rests on elevating the lives of its communities and bringing people together, so the events it hosts are really a way of facilitating that message, explained Bardouille.
But for other brands looking to create meaningful experiences, she argued that they must always think about why they’re doing it and what they’re trying to give people? i.e what will add value to people’s lives?
For example, Lululemon’s most recent store, located on Regent Street, has a community space, which Bardouille argued adds value to the retail experience.
“You might come in to get a sports bra, but stay to get a coffee with a friend, so it’s really about elevating the retail experience whenever we can,” she explained.
New Market Opportunities For Wellness Brands: US Market Insight
Richard Pyle – Partner at Integrity Square joined Jules Miller – Founder of The Nue Co. and Adam Thompson – Commercial Director at Rebel Kitchen, to explore the US wellness market.
Pyle revealed that investors in the US are very well educated and they need to see a thoughtful development of a plan in order to get behind a brand.
There are ready investors for that, he insisted, but they’re investing in growth, so need to see that potential. “When we represent groups who are raising money we look at does it really work well and repeatedly. If you can demonstrate that, which isn’t always easy, then there are investors out there for you,” he commented.
Miller meanwhile, explained that in her experience, in the US investors are more open to meeting with startups than in the UK, estimating that of 30 target investors on her list, 29 said yes to meeting.
New Market Opportunities For Wellness Brands: Asia & Middle East Market Insight
Sonalie Figueiras – Founder of Green Queen HK and Ekowarehouse, Mylene Mackay of Barre2Barre Singapore & Hong Kong and Victoria Boldison – Founder of Bolst Global, discussed the key challenges for wellness brands in Asia and the Middle East.
Figueiras argued that the main challenge lies with the fact the Asian market is the Asian market, rather than the global market.
She explained that in Asia consumers are very different and that brands need to use different marketing tactics to reach them. According to the entrepreneur, in Asia wellness is very connected to personal health and safety, so consumers approach wellness in a very different way.
However, in the Middle East quality is also very important. “The power of the British brand, produce and prominence is really well valued overseas, so brands need to market and capitalise on that,” explained Bolst.
Forward Thinking: New Global Perspectives On Fitness Culture
Vicky Ellison – Regional Director of Marketing at Equinox, Kevin Teague – Senior VP at MINDBODY and Paul Bowman – CEO at Wexer, looked at growth opportunities in the fitness industry.
Teague explained how the mindset behind the fitness industry has changed, with operators becoming more focused on trying to engage with their customers rather than relying on getting as many members as possible.
With boutique fitness continuing to be a high growth area, the panel discussed what defines a boutique operation today?
“Anyone who’s thinking about the experience more, building a community around it and trying to offer a premium experience,” said Teague.
The use of data was also on the bill, with Bowman referring to data as “the new oil”. However, Ellison was quick to point out that data without any insight is meaningless. She argued that at Equinox, both digital and in-person channels are behind the success of the brand.
“You need that direct communication with people too,” she explained.