PSFK speaks with co-founders Mason Levey and Brad Warsh on the consumer-driven strategies behind the experiential wellness offshoot of a popular New York studio that answers demand for elevated at-home meditation

In Brief:

  • Technology is perhaps the last thing that comes to mind when one thinks of mindfulness, but New York's Y7 Studio, known for its community-oriented yoga classes, is merging the two in the launch of its new meditation experience, WAVE, which makes experiential and sensory-driven practices available in the comfort of consumers' homes.
  • Surveying consumers for their unmet wellness needs, Y7 Studio noticed a demand for music-driven meditation experiences that had both a digital and analog component, and accordingly designed a digitally integrated system that allows participants to make the practice a part of their daily routines—on their own terms.
  • PSFK caught up with co-founders Mason Levey and Brad Warsh over email to learn more about how the experiential creation caters to consumer demand for high-touch high-feel, and how they aim to disrupt the wellness market by breaking down the misconceptions of meditation and reintroducing it to the mainstream:

PSFK: What are the broader trends you're seeing in wellness retail today, and how does it play into the mindfulness aspect of WAVE?

Mason and Brad: Americans are more anxious and busy than ever. Workplace stress, smartphone addiction, anxiety, depression and loneliness are all on the rise. People are spending more time and money on their bodies than their minds. They tend to invest in their minds when there is a “problem” that needs to be “fixed.” With WAVE, we instead want to encourage proactive investment in mindfulness.

We asked consumers what activities they turn to for inspiration and empowerment. Listening to music was the #1 activity indicated by our respondents.  People are already doing this on a daily basis, which further validates our framework for music-driven meditation content.

Courtesy of WAVE

What inspired you to create WAVE? What gaps in the wellness/meditation market does your experience fill?

Previous to WAVE, we spent five years building Y7 Studio, a challenger yoga brand that gained massive traction in New York and Los Angeles. Y7 Studio is an enjoyable experience that is physically challenging, music-driven, and not intimidating. What we really loved about Y7 was that it was a gateway for a lot of people to get into yoga for the first time because it broke down all the barriers, stereotypes, and misconceptions surrounding the practice.

We aim to do the same for meditation with WAVE. 86% of Americans don’t actively meditate today, despite the seemingly growing trend. Last year when we were trying to build our own meditation practice, we noticed that the existing offerings in the market fell short, noticing a lot of similar characteristics between yoga and meditation.

Existing offerings felt antiquated, cliche, sterile, strict (must be done in silence, must sit up with perfect posture). Music is always an after-thought, and the narrative always leads with the negatives (anxiety, stress, insomnia). With WAVE, we’re offering yet another challenger brand that’s fun, empowering, proactive, welcoming and very much driven by music.

Courtesy of WAVE

What differentiates WAVE from meditation apps like Headspace and similar?

App-only meditation practices are hard to stick to. The hardware component to WAVE creates accountability with a constant IRL reminder in consumers' homes. Every kit comes with our beautiful, pulse-vibrating memory foam bolster, bluetooth enabled so they can breathe to the beat of each track; a sleek and minimal wooden stand; and over ear headphones. The vibrations in the cushion bring a multi-sensory experience to meditation that is engaging and focused.

Our app looks and feels more like a music app than a meditation app. We’ll launch with 10 albums featuring 60+ tracks and our library will continue to grow. Following each meditation, participants can share social media-ready graphics featuring lines (lyrics) from the track on IG/Twitter/Facebook.

Our hope is that members will feel inspired to put these positive affirmations out in the world and embrace our mission to make mindfulness mainstream. Every user will have a hero/points metric called Vibes which are earned by completing meditations, sharing content, and inviting new users. Vibes can be redeemed for merchandise, additional premium content, and, in the near future, for philanthropic donations.

Courtesy of WAVE

How do you see the wellness retail space continuing to evolve, and how does WAVE fit into it?

Our goal is to shift the perception of meditation being a chore into it being a fun experience you actually want to do on a daily basis. Having a beautiful and unique physical product on display in your home helps to build an environment of accountability. As millennials, we view ourselves as the target consumer, so we are constantly looking inward asking what would make us want to spend time investing in our minds. Those insights have helped us create what we believe is the absolute best experience in the market.

WAVE doesn’t look, sound or act like traditional meditation. By making the practice more approachable, enjoyable and culturally relevant, we’re creating a lifestyle brand that is meaningfully different than anything else on the market.

WAVE


Lead image: courtesy of WAVE

In Brief:

Technology is perhaps the last thing that comes to mind when one thinks of mindfulness, but New York's Y7 Studio, known for its community-oriented yoga classes, is merging the two in the launch of its new meditation experience, WAVE, which makes experiential and sensory-driven practices available in the comfort of consumers' homes. Surveying consumers for their unmet wellness needs, Y7 Studio noticed a demand for music-driven meditation experiences that had both a digital and analog component, and accordingly designed a digitally integrated system that allows participants to make the practice a part of their daily routines—on their own terms. PSFK caught up with co-founders Mason Levey and Brad Warsh over email to learn more about how the experiential creation caters to consumer demand for high-touch high-feel, and how they aim to disrupt the wellness market by breaking down the misconceptions of meditation and reintroducing it to the mainstream:

PSFK: What are the broader trends you're seeing in wellness retail today, and how does it play into the mindfulness aspect of WAVE?