It’s official – the global wellness industry is a thriving economy and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. As of 2018, the wellness industry’s worth represents more than 5% of all economic output. Of course, such growth does not occur overnight. Similar to how the human body gets bigger and stronger by growing new muscle tissue, the progress enjoyed by the wellness industry is largely supported by the incorporation of new talent. While recruitment is the last thing on most people’s minds when it comes to health and wellness, it is organisations like Welltodo that help ensure that the industry in the whole stays innovative and on the cutting edge of things. We sit down with Lauren Armes, founder of Welltodo, and Kate Sarginson, Market Director for Asia, for a deeper look at some of the work Welltodo is best known for.
1. Tell us a little bit about Welltodo.
I founded Welltodo four years ago in London. As a growing team, we have since positioned the brand as an authority in the wellness industry in the UK and worldwide. We pride ourselves on providing essential global business news and insights for brands, thought-leaders, entrepreneurs, and investors in the wellness industry. Through our events, online content, recruitment services, business and careers coaching as well as our bespoke consulting services, we help people build incredible businesses and careers in wellness.
With an already established business in the UK and a global voice online, I joined the Welltodo team in May 2017 to lead the expansion into Asia and namely our key markets of Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. For me, the opportunity to represent and grow the leading voice on the business of wellness was a perfect marriage of my business and marketing background and passion for wellness, not to mention the exciting timing for this industry in Asia and beyond and the opportunity we have to further cultivate the entrepreneurial community to drive the wellness sector forward.
2. How has the wellness scene evolved in the past decade and where is it at now?
Since I started Welltodo there has been a dramatic increase in the number of businesses launching and the variety of their interpretations of wellness and what it means for the consumer. It’s an exciting time to see the explosion of technology-led innovation which is enabling us to become more personalised in our approach to wellbeing. It means that wellness as an industry is becoming more about the individual and our unique characteristics, since I’m sure we can all agree how wellness is not a one-size-fits-all type of solution.
There has been a seismic shift when it comes to the wellness scene in Asia in the past decade. Leggings, green juices and boutique fitness were the things of dreams 10 years ago and that has slowly but surely shifted in the positive direction into the market we see today.
The most significant growth has been seen in the last 3-5 years, however there is still huge potential due to scale, a young demographic, the economy and investment in the region, and that will bring about interesting changes and innovative businesses when it comes to wellness start-ups and expansions leading to interesting investment opportunities.
Ultimately, the best result is that there is now a community of talented and passionate individuals making wellness their mission, and a critical mass so this wave of influence has momentum to continue to impact the wellness sector for the better.
3. Many wellness practitioners these days are delving into cross-area specialisation. Is this a trend you continuing for a while?
Holistic wellness is certainly what the consumer wants – since we are now so aware of the integrated nature of wellbeing and how the pieces of the equation fit together. So, it makes sense that practitioners are looking at ways to complement their existing knowledge and skill set to better support the wellbeing of their clients.
4. What can people expect to gain from attending one of Welltodo’s events?
Our events aim to support people at whatever stage of career and business they are at, bringing together experienced entrepreneurs and industry experts, as well as at platform to bring together the wellness community in Singapore, providing people with the opportunity to meet and connect with forward-thinking individuals representing businesses within the fitness, food and drink, beauty, consumer technology, fashion/athleisure, social enterprise, media and investment sectors.
We seek to inspire people and fuel the continued evolution and growth of the wellness sector.
5. What are some of the more interesting partnerships/collaborations Welltodo has done?
We pride ourselves in forming strong partnerships and working with leaders in the well-being space. Within Welltodo’s global network, a key to our strength is allowing our partners to become fully integrated into the wellness community: building relationships with founders and co-founders, and decision-makers, reflecting a true sincerity as to the passion for the industry and desire to help.
These partnerships include our presenting partnership with international law firm, Bird & Bird, who have taken a stance to position themselves as the leading experts in wellness and we have seen this partnership flourish from London to Singapore. Other partnerships include Mind Body Online, Financo and specific to Asia with leading Barre studio, Barre 2 Barre and GuavaPass.
Success to us, is seeing our partners deliver against their objectives and immerse themselves in this passionate community to the benefit of all concerned.
6. What do you think is responsible for the sudden growth in the health and wellness industry? Is there a ceiling we need to be aware of?
We have access to more information and expertise online than any generation before us. I think that the growth of the wellness industry comes down to the proliferation of this content and the power that this puts into the hands of the consumer. We are more aware of preventable lifestyle diseases and how we can take more action to improve our quality of life, which can only be a good thing.
Whilst it might feel sudden, I feel the growth of the health and wellness industry hasn’t come overnight although it has gained momentum in recent years and isn’t slowing down. It is now estimated to be worth $3.72 trillion globally, and it has never been a better time to launch or grow a wellness brand, in a fast-growing industry that is now ripe for investment.
One of the trends we reviewed for 2018 was the “hype” around wellness levelling out. It’s not to say slowing down, but I think the idea of it being a “fad” or “trendy” is going to change as wellness become more firmly placed in our mainstream world which will ultimately have a positive impact on economies of scale to lower barriers to entry.
7. With health and wellness being a hotly contested market, how can companies stay innovative in such a competitive environment?
I agree that it is a competitive market, but I also believe that there is space for more. The number of people who still don’t fully understand the benefits of making better lifestyle choices is very high, in both the developed and developing worlds. There is so much room for more… and pressure is mounting on big brands to take action as well. That said, the brands who pay attention to the environment and sustainability, improve transparency of the supply chain, create a lifestyle around their product/service, and continue to exceed the expectations of the consumer, will ultimately prevail.
8. What aspect of wellness has seen the most demand in today’s landscape?
LA: The food & drink and fitness categories are the most dominant globally, as these are the natural entry points for most people who make a lifestyle change. You might decide to change something about your diet or increase your daily activity, and with these investments come other shifts in thinking and further exploration about what it means to be well and feel better.
KS: We’ve recognised a positive shift towards a more cohesive conversation around mental health and sustainability. These two areas have achieved the right to a more global stage and will no doubt continue to gain momentum to create the change needed.
9. Do you have a favourite piece of advice for people looking to work in wellness?
LA: Invest in yourself first, be that knowledge, skills, insight or personal passion for the sector. Passion is especially important as it can’t be taught. Cultivating a personal brand as somebody with interesting things to say about wellness will also put you in good stead with brands and industry thought-leaders.
There has never been a more exciting time to work in wellness. There are some fantastic brands and roles out there that require great talent and skill whilst aligning with people’s passions. For me personally, this is what makes it so exciting and such a genuine industry!
We recently launched our Work in Wellness careers course to revered success which is designed specifically to help people navigate their way to their dream job in wellness. We’d obviously recommend this course (!) but outside of that, my biggest piece of advice would be surrounding yourself with like-minded people, meet as many from the industry as you can, ask questions and pick their brains - I’ve never been turned down when I’ve sought these opportunities.
10. Are there any upcoming trends that you’re particularly excited about?
Sustainability – there is a powerful relationship between living well and living consciously as well as a surge in people wanting to know more about the brands they are supporting. As a result, we are seeing more and more brands align themselves with conscious values and we’ll also be touching up on this at a session lead by Stephan Dickson of Green is the New Black at our Founder Series event taking place on 24th and 25th October.
Levelling out – once seen as a “fad” for millennials, in certain developed markets wellness is now well and truly levelling out to be more ‘every day’ and accessible which can only be a positive thing. The fad stage is a part of the growth process and can still be seen across developing markets as well as with certain experimental products and concepts.
Business of wellness – in late 2016, the Global Wellness Institute released research confirming that the wellness industry is now one of the world’s fastest-growing, most resilient markets, valued at $3.72 trillion. Growth hasn't slowed and doesn’t show any signs to be. People are consuming wellness differently and there is room for continued growth and diversity, making it an incredibly exciting industry and business.