The definition – and perception – of wellness is changing. Welltodo founder Lauren Armes, ahead of this year’s Welltodo Summit in London, reveals the drivers behind wellness becoming less elite and aspirational and more, well, normal.
Lauren, this year’s Welltodo Summit is being held on 28 June. Tell us what to expect…
“This will be the third time we’ve run the Welltodo Summit. The initial idea was to bring together the wellness industry’s key players – everyone from thought leaders to its growing community of entrepreneurs and start-ups, who represent the evolution of wellness as a lifestyle and consumer concept. We’ll also have investors and business services, who look at wellness as an exciting industry to be involved with.”
What do you think are the most important issues affecting the wellness industry, and will these be discussed at the event?
“There will definitely be a focus on the globalisation of the wellness industry – now there are huge opportunities for UK brands, for example, to expand their offerings into Europe, Asia and potentially the US. We’ll reveal how to export your brand, how to scale your business, and how to understand the wellness consumer as it changes from market to market.
“We’ll also discuss the opportunities that come from innovating products for consumers who’re thinking about issues like sustainability. This is a conversation in itself about how wellness affects the environment, not just the individual.
“On the commercial side, there’ll be panel conversations around investment. These will cover topics like how to attract funding and what investors are looking for, scalability wise, from wellness brands.”
How big a deal will trends and insights be at the event?
“They’ll underpin everything we discuss. It’s all well and good having the capital to support and scale a business concept, but you need trends and insights to really substantiate them. Because they’re such a key part of the summit, the start-ups and entrepreneurs that come along can continue to play the role of disruptor – and, ultimately, hold a market position that allows them to compete with an increasing number of bigger players, and innovate in meaningful ways.
“I’m really looking forward to hearing from Stylus’ Nia Pejsak, who’ll be delivering your latest Macro trend: Active Lives. It will be fascinating to hear the role that wellness plays in consumers’ increasingly health-driven, thrill-seeking lives.”
A recent stat from the Global Wellness Institute predicted that the global wellness economy will grow by 17% over the next five years. Does this opportunity extend to non-wellness brands?
“Yes. What’s so interesting about this industry is how specific and vague it can be in its application – so there are car manufacturers looking at how wellness might impact an experience of a certain product, and wellness retreats looking at nuances that dictate their decisions.
“This is why, in a sense, wellness is more of a touchpoint right now than it is an industry. For consumers, it’s become a lifestyle marker that affects decisions across so many aspects of one’s life: physical, emotional, financial – even professional.”
Has the definition – or perception – of wellness changed in recent years?
“One of the trends we’ve identified this year is the normalisation of wellness. Where once it was perhaps perceived as elitist and aspirational, things like social media and accessibility of information have contributed to its levelling out.
“Ultimately, this gives greater control to the individual to make decisions that positively impact their health, and which aren’t expensive or inaccessible. It might just be choosing to eat better or join a park run on the weekend.
“There’s an element of hindsight that comes from being a generation that’s more aware of the practical things we can do to take care of ourselves. And now, there are more products and services to support our healthy lifestyles.”
What are you most looking forward to seeing at the Welltodo Summit?
“I’m looking forward to bringing the wellness community together in terms of helping to forge real-life connections that I think play into the growth of the industry.
“We’re big on sharing digital content and insights via our online platform, but to actually see the industry come together and share ideas, form partnerships and have meaningful discussions, is really powerful. It also sets the tone for us in terms of the conversations we have in the digital space going forward.”
Early Bird tickets for Welltodo Summit 2018 go on sale today (18 May). Get yours here before 31 May.