“Wellness is an especially burgeoning area for female entrepreneurs,” says Claudia Chan, the founder of ClaudiaChan.com and creator of the upcoming S.H.E. Summit. (Many know her as the former President of Sheckys.com.)
“We see women flourishing in all aspects of wellness,” Chan observes. “In the technology space with companies like Classtivity, Fitist, and Fitmapped; in the food and beverage space with companies like Peeled Snacks and BluePrint; and in the fitness space, with companies like SoulCycle and Physique 57. The number of companies in the wellness space that are started by women will only increase.”
“You are what you do”
What exactly is it about the health and wellness industry that explains the almost-total female takeover? After all, even companies that make products largely geared towards women (think Revlon and luxury-goods conglomerate LVMH) are run by men.
“Women as a group really understand the concept of return on investment when it comes to keeping healthy. You are more productive when you’re less stressed,” says Chan, who maintains a regular yoga and meditation practice.
This translates into women practicing—and professionalizing—what they preach. Chan cites personal growth grande-doyennes like Oprah as paving the way for a new generation of mostly female entrepreneurs who are increasingly focused on a wellness-centered lifestyle.
There’s a career motto that more women are finding compelling: You are what you do. “You go through lots of hard stuff, lots of great stuff in your work life, and ultimately you really learn a lot about your values, and you begin to align your career with those values,” says Chan.
Making a healthy sea change
“The word ‘wellness’ has really become a replacement for ‘health,” says Chan. Two huge examples are Gabrielle Bernstein and Kris Carr, both New York Times best-selling authors and brands on spirituality and clean eating, respectively.
Chan is quick to point out that men care about their health, too, but women tend to be much more in tune with how stress affects their bodies. And are more likely to do something about it.
“As women, we tend to beat the crap out of ourselves. Constant email and social media access means that we never really stop working. I feel guilty because I have 100 LinkedIn articles I haven’t read!” she confesses. But what’s really interesting here, says Chan, is that “women are excellent at creating products that help with our own problems.”
Perhaps this is the key to why women are leading the way in the wellness area. They already have the ideal consumer in mind–themselves. —Carla Vass