According to theGlobal Wellness Institute,the worldwide wellness industry is a $3.7 trillion market and it’s only getting bigger. For that reason, the health and wellness session of Startup Studio—presented in partnership withGoogle Chromebook—at the recent Girlboss Rally LA was incredibly popular.
Entrepreneurs in the beginning stages of their business journey got to hear and learn from three women who have created and grown businesses in the space. And who have, to use a wellness term, thrived. Here’s what was covered.
Kate Simmons, COO ofWundabar, a machine based pilates studio with nine locations in California and New York, went from someone who works out (“I did every single thing from Jane Fonda’s workout tape … That’s where I started when I was 12 in 1982”), to a pilates instructor, to joining with Wundabar founder and CEO Amy Jordan in designing a pilates machine, and growing their business into what it is today.
“The conversation is much more about community than it is about competing with one another.”
In Simmons’ opinion, the best part of being in the health and wellness world right now is the shift toward body positivity. “An industry that celebrated skinny, and perfect, and work hard, and no pain no gain, has become an industry where strong is prized,” she told the group. “Where feeling good takes the place of looking good. Where the conversation is much more about community than it is about competing with one another.”
Simmons said that shift toward healing a space has been the most powerful thing about being in the industry. “I think we all spend a lot of time trying to be ‘enough’ and we’re working in an industry where a lot of people come to the fitness and wellness industry hoping to be fixed or improved or better, but what I truly believe is that we are enough right now, today, exactly as we are,” she said. “If you can figure out what it is that you wanna bring to the world, the inspiration or empowerment or confidence, then I feel like you’ve got a great vision for success.”
“If you can figure out what it is that you wanna bring to the world … you’ve got a great vision for success.”
Up next, transitioning from the emotional to way that technology has transformed the health and wellness space, Lisa Zhu,Aaptivled an interactive workshop on building products based on user needs.
Senior product manager, Lisa Zhu from Aaptiv—the #1 audio fitness app on the market—works to figure out how to build an app people will love. She shared the process she uses to figure out how to build new features into the app. A process she says can be applied to any business idea, not just app or technology-based businesses.
“So, we have a five step process that we use typically to consider what new features to build,” Zhu explained.
Analysis & ResearchProblem & IdeationFeature DefinitionDesignImplementation & Launch
Using a case study from Aaptiv as an example, Zhu went through the process of how they improved the app. In the analysis and research phase, they found that “members who identified themselves as beginners were actually way less likely to complete a workout,” said Zhu. “So, we realized there’s something there. For some reason our beginner members are not getting what they need, they’re not getting … they’re not finding the workouts they actually want to do.”
From there they spoke to some beginning members who didn’t complete workouts to get an idea of why. Most noted that they didn’t complete a workout because of the length of time it took to get from signing up to actually starting. Zhu then tasked those in the rooms to use theGoogle Chromebooks in front of them to actually fix the problem. Using either a stylus or their finger, the group created wireframe drawings of a new app user experience that would fix the issue. One group suggested adding a live chat function, to which Zhu said, “I think we might actually steal that one.”
In summary, Zhu said “this whole process of figuring out what it is your users want and then trying to come up with a problem statement and coming up with ideas, then defining the features, designing, implementing, then coming back to the feedback process is critical to making sure that you have a product that your users truly love.”
Meanwhile, Tal Rabinowitz, founder and CEO ofDEN Meditation, one of the first drop-in meditation centers with two locations in Los Angeles, had some advice for actually marketing a wellness business.
“Perception is based on presentation.”
As she put it, “perception is also based on presentation,” so from the beginning of the process, Rabinowitz took her challenge—making meditation more accessible—and made it her strategy.
To do that, special care and thought went into creating a professional look for both their physical and digital spaces that gave off an air of a business that had been around a lot longer. “We needed to gain trust and confidence and that’s always been our main goal, how can we get them to trust us,” she said.
When it came to making the physical space accessible, Rabinowitz explained that her goal was to make the DEN feel more like a comfortable, inviting living room then what one might think of when they think meditation.
“There is not a Buddha head in there even though we have buddhism classes,” she said. “There’s nothing that specifies a certain religion or any way of thinking. We have tea, we have coffee. It should make you feel really comfortable.”
Similarly to how the physical space eschewed what felt exclusionary and hippie-ish about meditation to the public, Rabinowitz said she was insistent on the DEN logo feeling universal and very true to her vision, “which meant right away no mandalas, no lotus flowers, no figure of someone sitting in the posture, all the things that you would typically think of meditation.”
To help those in attendance get a better of idea of what their logo and colors might be, Rabinowitz had them use theGoogle Chromebooks in front of them to answer some questions about what they wanted their businesses to stand for and the colors that statement evoked. Eventually they used the Hatchful app from the Google Play store to create a mockup of a logo to give them a better idea of look, feel, color, and fonts for their own logo.
“Vision, vision, vision,” she emphasized. “You, just remember who you are. If you have trouble with your vision then maybe that’s not the right idea. If you had a vision and you feel like you’ve lost it, do all these exercises and try and get back to it or come in and meditate ’cause that always helps.”