Beauty & Wellness Briefing: Therabody makes a case for holistic mind-body wellness

In this week’s briefing, I take a look at Therabody and it’s ambitious plans to become a mind-body wellness brand.

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Therabody is charting a path toward world domination of wellness devices.

On Tuesday, the physical wellness brand launched a product called SmartGoggles, venturing into the sleep category for the first time. Through a combination of vibration, massage and heat, the SmartGoggles are intended to ease facial tension, relieve eye strain, decrease headache pain, and relax the body and mind to prepare for sleep. The Goggles pair with TheraMind, a new mental wellness feature available on the Therabody app, which has settings for focus, relaxation and sleep. This is not the first time 6-year-old Therabody, best known for its Theragun percussion massager, has ventured into a new category; in April, it launched TheraFace Pro, under the realm of “facial wellness.” The facial massager is similar to the Theragun, but tailored for facial muscles. Also, on Tuesday, Therabody released new generations of its Theragun Pro and Theragun Mini percussion massage devices.

“Facial health is such a personal aspect of self-care,” said Dr. Jason Wersland, founder and chief wellness officer of Therabody. “When we created TheraFace Pro, we didn’t want to create a beauty device like others on the market that only works on the skin’s surface. Instead, we wanted to focus on facial health, which essentially is health catering to the surface layer of the skin, the deeper layers of the skin and the more than 40 muscles in the face.”

Therabody is already well on its way to becoming a global household name. The company is present in more than 60 countries, with offices in Shanghai, London and Dublin, with its products available in over 40 retailers in the U.S. via 10,000 doors. The company also has multi-year partnerships with Real Madrid, Manchester City and Paris-Saint Germain European football clubs. According to a February L.A. Times story on the company opening a standalone retail location and wellness center called Reset, Therabody has invested $13 million into developing the concept over the last two years. At the time, it planned to open five more Reset locations, plus six additional retail stores without a mega-wellness approach, in 2022. Therabody is privately held and declined to share financials.

Dr. Wersland said the SmartGoggles also fall under the facial wellness category because they can reduce facial tension, ease discomfort and relieve eye strain. Notably, Therabody SmartGoggles are the first device integrated with a smart sensor using biometric data to help lower the heart rate and effectively reduce stress and anxiety. John Solomon, CMO of Therabody, said Therabody is making a big push into biometrics with its next generation of devices. Its app offers wellness routines to pair with products, integration of activity data from other apps for personalized content, athletic recovery routines, biometrics tracking from SmartGoggles and meditation courses.

“It’s a peek into where we’re going because it helps mind and body,” he said. “It has a biometric sensor that will personalize the treatment for you, and it’s our first product [paired with the in-app mental wellness feature].”

Biometric capability moving to the hands of consumers is one of the most significant shifts in the wellness industry over the last decade. That will only become more pronounced as technology becomes more innovative and personalized. With fitness trackers like Garmin, Fitbit or, more recently, Apple Health, consumers are taking charge of their well-being and using personal health data to assist them. This is even prevalent in more traditional beauty products, such as those leveraging at-home testing kits to promote skin and hormonal health.

Beauty devices have taken a page out of this wellness trend, with companies like NuFace launching bluetooth-connected devices in July with a revamped app. Not all app-enabled devices have faired successfully. Before its demise in 2020, Clarisonic released an app-connected device called Mia Smart in 2018.

“People are not waiting to go to the doctor or are fed up with bureaucratic healthcare systems. People want to take control of their health and wellness,” said Solomon.

Solomon noted an upcoming funding round announcement, though declined to provide details. Therabody representatives also declined to share more information. Therabody raised a “strategic [equity] investment” round in Feb. 2021 from high-profile investors like singer Shawn Mendes, model Karlie Kloss and tennis athlete Maria Sharapova. Dr. Wersland declined to share sales and growth figures for 2020 and 2021, but said the company has been profitable since 2017. The 2021 funding announcement noted that the company grew its profits more than 30x since 2017 and tripled its 2020 overall revenue compared to 2019.

“A lot of people [still] think of us as Theragun, but now with this broad array of products, we’re showing what Therabody means,” said Solomon. “We’re not only talking about our eight products, but we’re also talking [to the wellness community] about our fundraising round and launching a new brand [campaign], called ‘Keep Moving.'”

With the company’s global, multi-pronged “Keep Moving” marketing campaign, the company aims to show that Therabody is more than just Theragun. Therabody is investing in broad media advertising across digital video and television, and within sports stadiums. Its roster of ambassadors like James Harden and Karlie Kloss will promote the products across social media, while athletes on the field and courts will use Therabody devices during game breaks. Therabody plans to have 43 shop-in-shops in Best Buy starting in October, which Solomon said helps with brand and product education. An influencer day trip around Los Angeles, based on the four Therabody categories of sleep, mental wellness, pain management and performance, will take place on Wednesday, September 21.

“One of our biggest goals this year is to launch these incredible products and evolve the perception of our brand,” he said.

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