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  • Claire Kalikman

DTC brands taking health & wellness to the next level - boldly addressing underserved customer needs


When it comes to health and wellness, there's a lot we still don't feel comfortable talking about. Previously stigmatized or ignored areas like mental health, women’s health, and sexual wellness have found a new place to thrive in the DTC ecosystem. DTC brands have embraced underserved markets, and in the process, enabled customers to take charge around their own health and wellness in ways previously unavailable. As these topics are increasingly normalized in everyday conversation, people are more than ready to feel good in their own skin and confidently fulfill their own needs. Now, companies are not only willing to discuss formerly unpopular topics, but they're expanding, rebranding, growing, and receiving funding because of it. In our latest edition of the DTC Moves of the Month, we're looking at brands that have boldly tackled an underserved or ‘taboo’ market and are empowering their consumers along the way.

Hims & Hers

Hims & Hers was one of the originators of providing treatment for taboo topics in ways that minimized discomfort, like packaging baldness remedies in subtle, unmarked boxes. Now they're expanding beyond just taboo topics and are aiming to become a total healthcare provider. CEO Andrew Dudum said, "we are building Hims & Hers into the new front door to healthcare, a new front door that will span dozens of medical specialties, welcoming customers of all demographics into a unified consumer platform." We know that there’s a huge opportunity for DTC in healthcare, and even legacy brands are looking towards DTC tactics to stay relentlessly relevant to customers. As the pandemic has helped accelerate the trend towards digital medicine, Hims & Hers is poised to expand its reach beyond taboo topics and into daily health needs, and become an even bigger player in the healthcare space. Hims & Hers recently shared that their revenue is up by 69% in Q2, thanks in part to their recent acquisitions of Honest Health in the UK and Apostrophe, a tele-dermatology company.

Maven Clinic

In 2014, CEO and founder Kate Ryder witnessed how the women’s and family health sector had been “under-researched, under-sized, and under-innovated” and “as a result, it’s profoundly underperforming, failing patients during some of the most challenging times in their lives”. So she launched Maven Clinic, a digital health clinic focusing on women’s and family health areas such as fertility, pregnancy, and early parenthood. The company recently raised $110 million in a Series D funding round, giving it a valuation of more than $1B. This marks the first time a brand in this sector reached unicorn status in an area historically ignored by the venture capital industry which claimed the women’s health sector is too small for meaningful growth. With the rise of e-health and an extremely relevant value proposition to at least 50% of the population, it’s no question that investors saw the value in this digital health startup this time around. This new investment will fund additional product innovation, enhancements to its member experience, and improvements personalized care for better outcomes. We certainly think this is a brand to watch as it completely reimagines women’s health in this digital, direct-to-consumer age. (And it doesn’t hurt to have icons like Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon, and Oprah Winfrey herself as investors behind the brand.)

Bloomingdale’s

Bloomingdale's has entered the sexual wellness business, introducing its online-only Sexual Wellness Shop featuring "the ultimate self-love essentials from our favorite female-led and body positive brands." From vibrators, to lubricants, to hair trimmers, Bloomingdale's offers wellness products from growing DTC brands like Maude and Fur who are bringing intimacy into the open. While mainstream retailers like CVS and Walmart also offer at least some sexual wellness products, Bloomingdale's has unique equity as a fashion forward, edgier brand to create more desire for these products. By aligning with purpose-driven DTC brands, Bloomingdale’s is not only reaching the modern woman who is ready to prioritize self-care and sexual wellness, but also growing its slice of the pie in this burgeoning market.

Headspace

Historically, mental health has often been shrouded in social stigma and taboo. And today, “we are witnessing a mental health crisis unlike anything we’ve experienced in our lifetimes, yet the majority of mental healthcare today is neither broadly accessible nor affordable,” according to Headspace CEO CeCe Morken. Headspace Health, a merger between meditation app Headspace and Ginger, an on-demand mental health support platform, plans to tackle just that. With a bold ambition to create the world’s most holistic, scalable, and effective mental health and well-being company Headspace Health plans to address systemic challenges of access and affordability and provide care across “the full spectrum of mental health needs – from prevention to clinical care—all from one integrated platform”. As the pandemic put a strain on mental health and healthcare everywhere, it’s clear that immediately accessible mental health support is a winning strategy. Headspace Health is bringing mental health to the forefront and delivering the self-care and well-being that we all need.

Sources: Fierce Healthcare, Retail Dive, Forbes, Fortune, TechCrunch

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