Self Care: Coping, Calming & Capturing our Dollars

Something I’ve learned in my career, which is a bit of a well kept marketing secret, is that watching and applying trends can ensure your strategies, programs and products are relevant both today and tomorrow.

That’s why I started this newsletter: to illustrate intriguing trends and spark new thinking for marketing leaders as you grow your brand and business.

Each month I’ll dive into a trend with 3 examples, and rate them as (IMHO):

1)   Spot On– An example of the trend I think is “sticky” and well executed

2)   Missed the Mark – A well-intended, but poorly executed example

3)   What the… An example I can’t quite relate to or don’t see gaining traction

This edition goes deeper on a Megatrend I’ve been obsessed with and written about for some time: Self Care. It’s gotten hefty coverage pre, during and post-pandemic, yet given the scale of the health & wellness epidemics it addresses, and the massive industry it’s become ($450 Billion!!), the airtime likely won’t slow anytime soon…so, I’ll help keep that party going!

It’s no secret we’ve become more attuned to and open about our #mentalwellness needs …the stigma has fallen away.  I often quip that the phrase “my therapist says….” is now just part of our vernacular.

Related, we’ve seen the lines between medical or professional advice, consumerism and culture continue to blur.  I find it fascinating to see the number of companies, that have nothing to do with professional mental health services, building businesses around Coping & Calming ourselves from head to toe.

From essential oils and therapeutic massagers to card games, and mindfulness care packages, it’s no wonder we’ve created a $450B Self-care economy!

OK, here go the 3 examples:

SPOT ON: Pawz the Calming Pup™ Stress Relief Toy

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This award-winning toy by hand2mind helps young children self-regulate through lights and breathing. It gets pretty strong reviews, and given its wide distribution, is addressing a much broader problem than we would like to see.

Targeted to parents of young children prone to anxiety and/or sleep issues, I applaud this company and team (shoutout to my friend Sari Winick) for trying to tackle these issues for the two afflicted audiences: the kids and their parents.

The cute little pup features an auto-adjusting light that guides the child though deep breathing patterns (inhale when the light gets brighter, exhale as the light fades), and “encourages children to be fully present and bring awareness to their thoughts and feelings.”  It also includes a night-light with a timer that can be set for 5, 15, or 30 minutes—brilliant!

I will say, after the early months of nighttime hell–oops, I mean “sleep training”– my two kids both became decent sleepers. Yet, I have tremendous empathy for the sleep deprived parents I’ve known who struggle to function for their other kids, or to muddle through the work day, because a child is unable to soothe themself to sleep. And kids suffering from anxiety is a problem we all know is REAL…too many reasons and too many opinions to tackle here!

Side Note: this example is also a marker of a trend I call the Sleep Economy…that’s for another edition. 

MISSED THE MARK – Clariant “the Joyologist” Skincare Range

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As a not-so-recovering #skincare junkie, I wanted to love this one…and it did suck me in.

Skincare ingredient supplier Clariant recently introduced a concept dubbed “the Joyologist,” featuring two hero products, The Feel Good Magic Stick and the Forget-it-All Relaxing Mask.

Full transparency: I spent several years creating concepts fairly similar to this one, which to me, shows up strong and relevant. Great names, convenient/ portable formats, and seemingly solid efficacy, with a formula based on an active ingredient called Rootness® Mood+ that “reproduces the natural benefits of light to revitalize the skin and enhance the mood.”

The items are positioned to promote inner wellness as part of a complementary daily routine, available both separately and in a multi-sensorial Relaxation set, along with a scented candle and relaxing playlist.

So far, so good! It checks several of my “innovation-police” boxes:

  • Multisensory experiences are a cost of entry for consumer products today
  • I buy into the science behind the skin to-brain connection: self-pampering can release feel-good molecules like serotonin
  • There appears to be some clinical proof behind the active ingredient.
  • As I’ve written about, plant botanicals are becoming a super-ingredient in beauty, foods, drinks, and beyond
  • I’m a sucker for sets.
  • I’m pretty sure we ALL believe you feel better when you look better.

But they lost me in the lingo by overshooting their claims and positioning (and this coming from someone who is all about aspirational claims and positioning…ask the lawyers I’ve worked with!)

Example: here’s the first line in a Clariant blog post announcing the line: “The face is a window to the soul. As social animals, humans are very adept at reading moods and even signs of illness or well-being just by the look on someone’s face… how we feel is almost instantly expressed in our complexion.”

 OK… you’re telling me this product gives you a direct line to your inner soul AND then reflects it out to others?? Really?!?!

My skepto-meter went off AGAIN with the description of the mask, which promises to “get rid of negative thoughts [so you can] enjoy the present time.”


And yet.

Depending on the price, I COULD be convinced to Trust and Believe. Like I said: hopeless skincare junkie!  Fortunately or unfortunately, I could not find pricing in my searching.

WHAT THE…. Emotional Utility Beverage

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This one was just odd to me.

Emotional Utility Beverage, previously branded Confidence, “aims to help people feel like the best version of themselves.”  

While the name is clunky, the concept is fine, reflecting an ingredient trend I featured a few months ago: #adaptogens for mood and brain health.

As I could not try the product, I relied on the description: the drink claims to “work at the molecular level to counter the harmful effects of physical and emotional stress,” deliver refreshment and “boost the body and mind” with Euphoric or Focused effects (2 varieties).

But the execution left me perplexed. The featured flavors and ingredients are romanced as natural– berries, mint, coconut, lime, passion fruit, mangoes, and “harmonizing rhodiola and ginseng.”

Yet the package design, website, and overall vibe screams “college kid in a science lab attempting to launch a Gen Z drink.”  

The site aesthetic is techy and jargon-y, the interface is hard to navigate (note the creepy finger in upper left above which constantly pops up as a cursor). And I’m not exactly convinced of the brand’s credibility by reading a pasted in Powerpoint slide listing ingredient definitions I can easily google (and I have.)

HONORABLE MENTION: Widex Stress-reducing Hearing Aids 

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I’ll end with a solid bonus example that’s very targeted.

While over 10% of North American adults suffering from hearing loss or tinnitus, many do not seek medical attention, opting instead to live with this challenge, which can cause stress and further issues. Widex, a reputed hearing aid manufacturer, designed Widex SoundRelax™ “to help all hearing aid wearers – with or without tinnitus – deal with anxiety, soothe the mind and boost concentration.”  

There are a few hearing loss sufferers in my family, so I can attest to the frustration with too much ambient noise and conversations are too hard to follow. (though I’ve ALSO observed one particular family member purposely opt out of conversations…a good excuse to disengage!) In any case, I applaud this company for elevating the benefit beyond the functional to the emotional level.

 What intriguing Self Care products have caught your attention?  

See you next month!

Sources: TrendHunter 2023 dashboard,,,,, Amazon, Premium Beauty News, Cosmetics Business.

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