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Relaxing the rules

Sophie Maxwell, Futures Director

‘Wellness’, and our desire for it, is here to stay. We have talked about supplements and a whole host of new product innovations – but while we have endless ways to bolster ourselves how are we approaching our growing need for relaxation? When we have finished winding ourselves up, how exactly do we wind down? I think many feel that this is already sewn up: from ever more tailored retreats and holistic spas to the home spa products – for a stressed generation it has become a vast and intriguing marketplace. But as our multi-channel and multi-tasking lifestyles appear to be accelerating – rather than decreasing – stress levels and the physical complaints associated with stress, is there not a new, more consistent and accessible opportunity for relaxation?

So what solutions – and opportunities – could this open up? The drinks sector is already and wholeheartedly embracing the wellness offer. We are currently buying into energizing, pumping up, vitamin infused products but what about the flip side opportunity?

Various niche drinks brands have created intriguing propositions that invite us to an emotional wind down – such as The relaxing tea and Mary Jane’s soda created to help their drinker tune in and drop out . http://therelaxingtea.com/. In beauty, Aveda discreetly coined its own corner with its Comforting Tea but we have not yet seen other similar beauty offers hit our shelves. But with an already captive audience and heritage, drinks could potentially be one of the most obvious routes for a more instant, accessible and (eventually) mainstream relaxation offer?

Other industry sectors are making approaches in this area. Davines recently launched its new Natural Health Care range with a gorgeous portfolio of products such as Calming Shampoo or Wellbeing Conditioner.

A promotion of mood and care or time and space is a clever tactic yet we are still waiting for a brand to truly deliver a potent dose of what we really need – a move away from re-packaging and re-promoting existing sources, and using clever semantics – to create a totally new definition and experience of relaxation.

Business guru and entrepreneur Simon Woodroffe is famed for Yo! Sushi and family of Yo! Initiatives – the latest of which is the development of the Yo! Zone: an alternative social occasion, part spa, part cafe, part bar and part nightclub.

What is maybe ironic is that we are relaxing the rules in so many other areas of beauty experience and product and yet we seem to be finding it hard to innovate here and totally break away from the formulaic – either with experience or product.

Attempts to create holistic lifestyle initiatives such as the Yo! Zone show a clear breakthrough for a new cross-category experience and it will be interesting to see just how – and if – this can filter down into a new raft of product offers. A YO! Zone kit comprising a new drink and beauty offer? Could be a creative’s dream.

One thing is certain, our lifestyle is creating new definitions of – and spaces for – relaxation and beauty would seem to be one of the best candidates to take ownership of it?

Originally published on Beauty Packaging

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