IWD Heroes: Beauty Entrepreneur On Building A Wellness Brand Today
Wellness retail is here to stay—but is continuously transforming. Kelle Jacob, founder of skincare brand Balanced Beauty Inc., explains why wellness consumers are 'seekers,' and how brands and businesses can best meet them along their journey
As the wellness marketplace expands, opportunities across verticals for innovative collaborations and new concepts continue to emerge, offering retailers and brands the chance to respond to the demands of wellbeing-focused consumers in new and improved ways.
Kelle Jacob, a cycle three American's Next Top Model contestant and beauty veteran with experience in development and marketing for Estée Lauder, is accordingly leveraging this potential of wellness market, alongside her knowledge of self-care and holistic approaches to wellbeing. Founding a unique, clinically tested CBD skincare and lifestyle brand called Balanced Beauty Inc, Jacob is working to reinvent how we approach skin wellness.
In this interview, originally conducted as part of New York Retail Innovation Week, PSFK spoke with Jacob about how to understand and connect with wellness consumers as a brand today, and why companies looking to enter the evolving space should focus their efforts on cultivating community and acting as a trusted resource.
PSFK: What are the biggest shifts you're seeing in the wellness marketplace right now?
Kelle Jacob: The wellness market has evolved from being about the basic maintaining of a healthy lifestyle to something much deeper. There is this a sense of healing that is leaving people hungry for a connection to something greater than themselves. It is the touchpoints of these connections that has expanded tremendously over the past 2-3 years, to now include everything from meditation, sleep, plant medicine journeys, and emerging communities.
How can we understand who the wellness consumer is, and what this customer is looking for?
The wellness customer is a seeker, whether they are seeking better sleep, more energy, to feel healthier or just a better way to cope with everyday life. There is an underlining desire to improve some aspect of their human experience.
Where are the biggest opportunities right now for emerging wellness brands? Where should they focus?
One of the most important elements of wellness is community. Therefore, the biggest opportunity for brands and retailers is to find ways to cultivate communities and foster the relationship with their wellness consumer beyond the transaction. One of the ways some brands are doing this well is by hosting events that address a wide range of topics that their consumer base is interested in, allowing them to become more than just a retailer and act as a trusted resource.
What advice would you give a brand or retailer looking to enter this space today?
Understanding that the wellness consumer is on a journey, it is first important to identify where on the wellness journey your consumer is. What is their ultimate wellness objective?
Then a brand or retailer must figure out how their offering or service fits or supports that consumer's need. When a brand or retailer can meet their consumer where they are, they are able to become that trusted resource. This approach will also help inform future opportunities for where your brand should go by understanding where your consumer is heading.
How do you see the space changing in the next 5 years?
Wellness is here to stay. Similar to what we are seeing around topics of sustainability, the broader concept of wellness, or as I like to think of it, conscious consumerism, will no longer be for a select few, but rather a consideration that more and more consumers will continue to demand from the brands they engage with.
Kelle Jacob has spent the last ten years at Estee Lauder Companies in a number of roles, spanning Global Product Development to Millennial Innovation to Estee Lauder Ventures. She has since founded CBD skincare and lifestyle Balanced Beauty Inc, soon to launch. Jacob was also among the female pioneers we spotlit in honor of International Women's Day 2020—for the full list, see here!