Following the lead of fellow media brands like Well+Good, Women’s Health, Cosmopolitan and Thrive Global, Hearst’s Good Housekeeping is the latest player to tap the wellness market for growth.
On Jan. 24, Good Housekeeping will debut its Good Housekeeping Institute Wellness Lab, a new facility at 300 West 57th Street, intended for testing wellness innovations, products, and fitness programs, sponsored by Elysium Health. The Good Housekeeping Institute, which has conducted quality testing on consumer products since 1902, currently has seven other labs, including one tackling the categories of health, beauty and environmental sciences, and another that focuses on nutrition. The Good Housekeeping Seal (which began in 1909) is authenticated by the Institute’s team of engineers, scientists and technology experts, and ensures a product’s safety and quality. Current recipients of the Seal include Garnier’s All-in-1 Micellar Cleansing Water and Eucerin’s Advanced Repair Hand Creme.
The impetus for the Wellness Lab was Good Housekeeping’s observation that, increasingly, many of the over 300 products it tests monthly — from skin-care products to fitness trackers to yoga mats — have a wellness bent, said Good Housekeeping Institute director Laurie Jennings.
“More of these kinds of products were hitting our existing labs daily and, simultaneously, our readers were asking for more wellness content,” she said. “This [Lab] satisfies what is happening in the market, but also what our readers want to know about.”
Good Housekeeping has audience of over 36 million (18.4 million monthly print readers and 18.2 million monthly visitors on GoodHousekeeping.com, according to newsstand and comScore data for November 2018), and its health and wellness content accounted for 13 percent of site traffic in 2018. (That equated to about 27 million users interested in wellness in 2018, said Jennings.) That vertical experienced 82 percent year-over-year growth, from December 2017 to December 2018.
The amount of seemingly questionable and non-traditional wellness products (and subsequent related content) is growing: There are ingestibles offering a beauty from the inside-out proposition, sexual wellness products and even products with a mystical bent. Thus, Good Housekeeping realizes the opportunity in positioning itself as an authority in the landscape. According to research from the Global Wellness Institute, the global wellness industry grew nearly 13 percent between 2015 and 2017, and is now valued at $4.2 trillion.
“With thousands of wellness products on the market and a new fad launching daily, the GH Wellness Lab cuts through the clutter to identify the innovations and services that can help make our readers lives better, healthier and safer,” said Good Housekeeping editor-in-chief Jane Francisco.
Like Condé Nast’s first-ever Beauty Studio (a physical space at 1 World Trade Center for its editorial brands, advertising clients and influencers, which launched in September 2018), Good Housekeeping’s Wellness Lab will be a test bed for events and activations, product samplings and tours for both consumers and brands, said Jennings. The location is already decked out with a meditation area and a fitness streaming center. For its launch event on Jan. 23, Good Housekeeping will host its partner Elysium Health, where the anti-aging startup that is focused on supplements will debut a biological age test and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide [NAD+] test that it will later offer to its consumers.
“Good Housekeeping is known for being associated with trust. When we think about how we approach science and research, we want to partner with brands that have a distilled vision of what they stand for,” said Elysium Health CEO Eric Marcotulli. While Marcotulli admits the rise of the self-directed customer continues to trend (especially with his own company, as it has never worked with a consumer-facing partner in this nature), the cross section of wellness products and content is a newer one and needs rigorous testing to be applied to it to see what “actually works.”
Additionally, on Jan. 28, the new Wellness Lab will host a research event with the Global Wellness Institute, complete with panel discussions and roundtables to further emphasize the publisher and new lab as a leader in wellness. “The Wellness Lab is an obvious place to experiment with more programming. People may [want to try] a new a fitness class or a new light therapy for sleep,” said Jennings. “Hot-button topics like sleep, stress and self-care are all areas we want to cover more in depth, and in interesting and experiential ways.”