Since founding Aila, I’ve illustrated our vision differently to people over and over again. I know, I probably shouldn’t be saying that. Your company mission should be steadfast and never change — (I think a VC said that to me once.) But what I mean is that if you consider yourself to be creating a new category, (or in our case, a category sort of meshed between a few), then it can be a bit of a workshop. You must capture your entire business ethos and deliver it with eloquence. Oh, and you have less than a minute.
I’ve had great calls and written impeccable emails where the words just flowed and made sense. Other times I’ve laughed at myself on Zoom calls thinking “what the hell did I just say?” Until earlier this year — I landed on it. It’s weird, but hear me out.
We are active wellness.
Sounds like an oxymoron right? Well, it shouldn’t. But to be fair when most of us think of wellness, we think of beauty, pastel colors, elevated yet simple packaging, and phrases like:
“super powder”, “plant-based”, “well-being” and “boosting your routine”
Wellness looks like a golden turmeric latte in a Williamsburg apartment with a snake plant by the window.
I’m not knocking it whatsoever because I’ve used all those phrases at least once in our marketing. But in reality it’s describing ingestible beauty. It sounds like I’m drinking my makeup.
On the other end, when we hear active, we think performance. Athlete. Sweat. Grey-scale Nike billboards. Adjacent to that category are its products, and the consumable supplements and drinks are intense in their marketing. They often manifest as metallic and lime green canisters of mystery dust. For the guys I went to high school with back in Rhode Island that are coincidentally reading this, I’m talking about your pre-workout.
Why is it like this? Why is there such a stark difference between the two?
I think we can all agree that participating in fitness and living a healthy, active lifestyle are a significant, if not the largest contributors to overall wellness. And yet for some reason they are mutually exclusive on the shelf at the store.
What’s more, being a woman who grew up playing competitive sports, I often find it difficult to relate to some everyday wellness products. I love to run and box and bike and yoga and all of it. I don’t feel like I see me in wellness all that often. I’ve never even done a face mask. But I also don’t see myself in pre-workout supplements on the shelf at GNC, peppered with ingredients I’ve never heard of and a warning label telling me to not use it for more than 8 weeks. Uh, excuse me?
So from this sort of consumer identity crisis that I experienced, came Aila — which brings me to what we’re doing. Quite literally, we’re merging wellness routines and active lifestyles. Ingredients like superfoods can support physical activity in so many ways, but the wellness world doesn’t seem to highlight those attributes. And aside from fitness alone, being active can mean so much more than whether or not you own a Peloton. We all need energizing ingredients that we can trust and feel good about, to show up as our best selves, for whatever it is we’re heading towards.
We believe that being active and being well can go hand in hand — whether you’re running marathons, doing yoga or walking your dog. We embolden your general well-being, with a side of kicking a**.