Self-care is an approach to wellness in which consumers purposefully take time to foster a positive mental, physical, and emotional state. It is a way to de-stress from a busy life, reduce anxiety, improve mood, avoid health-care issues, and ultimately enhance happiness and productivity. Practitioners stress that it is not a selfish lifestyle; rather, it is a necessary step to be your best self, leading to better performance at work, during life’s chores and errands, and when caring for others.
There is no one right way to implement self-care; motivations and specific behaviors vary by individual. The approach typically involves making incremental changes to daily life to boost health and wellness, rather than focusing on one particular behavior. It can involve steps such as changing your diet, taking herbal remedies, creating a relaxing or feel-good environment, doing yoga or meditation, or simply purchasing things that make you happy.
This is a trend that has been on the rise in the consumer products space over the past two years or more, cutting across apparel and accessories; fragrances and beauty; foods, beverages, and supplements; gifts and home goods; and other categories. It has also been a theme of a growing number of licensing initiatives:
- Women’s Health magazine collaborated with Bespoke Post for a limited-edition holiday gift box. Marketed under the name Unplug, it contains items to promote restoration and self-care, such as collagen drinks, essential oils and diffusers, cashmere-merino socks, and luxurious bath bombs.
- Zoella, the YouTube-centric lifestyle brand and media empire of Zoe Sugg, occasionally features content on self-care, including recommendations for product purchases that support this goal. These range from home décor items that make you feel good to comfortable bedding. When relevant, there are product placements for, or links to, Zoella Lifestyle products that fit the bill, such as journals and candles.
- Lululemon paired with The Class by Taryn Toomey, a self-care program that involves fitness, relaxation, and emotional release via screaming, among other elements, for an 11-piece capsule collection. The 2017 assortment included tops and pants, as well as a medication cloak, in comforting colors, all appropriate for fitness, relaxation, and other facets of a self-care regimen. This month, Lululemon introduced a full, proprietary self-care line.
- Goop’s pop-ups in Nordstrom stores across the country in 2017 featured a mix of Goop-branded and curated products across beauty, home, apparel, and accessories. The items were all in line with the Goop brand’s positioning as supporting wellness and self-care throughout all aspects of life.
Self-care is a big business. IRI says 88% of Americans actively practice self-care and 34% have increased their self-care activities in the last year. The researcher, in a report released in November 2018, valued the self-care market at $450 billion annually in the U.S. Not surprisingly, more and more retailers are entering the sector, with Ikea being a recent example, launching its Tänkvärd self-care line of home goods and other items earlier this month.