by Jason Wachob, mbg Founder & CEOSAVE
10 WELLNESS TRENDS TO WATCH IN 2016
A look at everything you’ll see a lot more of in the wellness world next year.
2. Athleisure start-ups will keep ascending. VIA
Athleisure was destined for a big 2015 when Merriam-Webster added the word to the dictionary. And later in the year Quartz reported that Vladimir Putin had made athleisure official after getting photographed in $1,400 Loro Piana sweatpants.
So what we have now is a giant land grab for the billions at play. You’ve got Nike, Reebok, Adidas, Lululemon, and Land’s End flexing their marketing muscles. Fast-growing Athleta reaches new women in the fashion set with its recent Derek Lam collaboration while still being the go-to brand for barre and boutique fitness devotees.
Then there are the fashion first brands like Tory Burch, Cynthia Rowley, Mara Hoffman, and Kate Spade debuting their new lines and even Beyoncé’s debuting a line with Top Shop (scheduled to hit stores in 2016).
And what might be most exciting are the newbies: Carbon 38, Sweaty Betty, Manduka, and Outdoor Voices are leading the way, each fresh off of institutional funding so they can take on the big boys in the category. We expect to see these up-and-comers continue to gain traction and some might even be acquired in 2016.
So how are these start-ups competing with these billion-dollar companies? Outdoor Voices founder Tyler Haney believes the secret formula is a combination of being nimble and having more of a community. She says, “Bigger brands have built very strong positioning around performance or competition — we’ve recognized that there are a lot of people out there that don’t see themselves as an athlete per se, but are still very much interested in being active. People nowadays don’t necessarily want to be told who they are — it’s all about being less prescriptive and allowing people to be the ‘color in the clothes.’ We’re shifting the perception of what it means to be active and what it looks like. I would say building a community around inclusivity rather than exclusivity is why we’re seeing such great traction.”
Carbon 38 co-founder and CEO Katie Johnson has also focused on community, adding, “The big guys are focusing on merchandise innovation, which is great. But where I see true disruption is in how we get our product into the hands of our customers. When we launched two years ago, we were disrupting how consumers shopped for activewear by creating a multibrand experience. Now, we look to where our customers are going every day (fitness studios) and who they are trusting for the latest and greatest (fitness professionals), and thus we are utilizing these networks as new channels of distribution. We all know that health and wellness does not just start and stop in that hour at the gym.”