Street view of Ritual's brick-and-mortar storefront location.
Direct-to-consumer vitamin brand Ritual opened its first owned retail location this year, with the aim of meeting consumers where they are and connecting in new ways. — Ritual

How three trendy brands are capitalizing on their biggest growth opportunities:

  • DTC vitamin disruptor Ritual is seeking to translate the core attributes it’s known for online, such as ingredient transparency, into a physical retail experience.
  • To woo millennials and Gen Z parents, upscale stroller brand Bugaboo is tapping into the demand for both convenient solutions to everyday challenges and sustainable business practices, such as launching a resale collection.
  • ‘Clean medicine’ startup Genexa is eying opportunities in new over-the-counter drug categories to leverage the patented processes it has developed for alternative pain relievers, courting the burgeoning ranks of health-and-wellness minded consumers.

Leaders from Ritual, Bugaboo, and Genexa are all entering new phases of their growth, according to executives at those brands interviewed by CO—.

Ritual, a direct-to-consumer brand offering monthly subscriptions for multivitamins, gut health supplements, and other products, opened its first retail location in May. The store joins a host of other health-focused brands and restaurants on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in the Venice Beach area of Los Angeles.

Meanwhile Bugaboo, known for its high-end strollers, has launched a new marketing campaign, dubbed “With a Bugaboo,” with convenience messaging that’s aimed at millennials and Gen Z parents. The company has also launched a renewed commitment to sustainability that taps into the resale market.

And Genexa, which bills itself as “the first clean medicine company,” and is backed by celebrity investors such as Donald Glover, Chris Pratt, and Gwyneth Paltrow, is expanding into new over-the-counter [OTC] product categories and rolling out in more retail locations.

Ritual: Spreading its DTC brand equity to stores that show ‘the science behind the products’ to attract new customers

Jenn Cornelius, Chief People Officer

[The DTC vitamin brand’s] goal is to continue to deepen our relationship with our existing customers through an in-person experience and to attract and retain new customers to the brand. This year we have opened our first owned retail location, launched into Amazon, and are moving into other wholesale channels later this year.

Being direct-to-consumer affords us a wonderful opportunity to know a lot about what our customers are looking for from us, whether it's what products they love, what products they want to see more of or develop in the future, and where they want to shop and find us in their everyday lives. Our omnichannel strategy will allow us to meet our customers where they are and grow the brand, driving us towards our mission of becoming the world’s most trusted destination for everyday health.

We already have an incredible relationship with our customers online — they share some of their most vulnerable and formative experiences with us — and bringing that relationship into a physical space creates a new way to connect.

Jenn Cornelius, Chief People Officer, Ritual

We had tested a brick-and-mortar experience a few years ago through a pop-up on Melrose in Los Angeles, and the response was extremely positive. We already have an incredible relationship with our customers online — they share some of their most vulnerable and formative experiences with us — and bringing that relationship into a physical space creates a new way to connect.

Our retail store not only sells our products, but we have also thoughtfully integrated and designed an experience as you move through the space. For example, we have constructed a traceability map wall in the back of our store. It highlights key ingredients across our product portfolio and enables us to educate our customers around our first-of-its-kind traceable supply chain. This visual allows us to share the science behind our products—we can speak about our peer-reviewed clinical study and USP verification, which is a leading third-party verification for product transparency that is held by less than 1% of companies.

From the way we’ve merchandised by life stage, to our product technology wall and beyond, the whole experience allows customers to dive even deeper into our brand with us.

In our first location on Abbot Kinney [Boulevard], we are already getting great feedback from our customers. It is seeing a diverse customer base, and our customers are purchasing products for their whole family. The Venice Beach neighborhood attracts audiences from around the world and people of all generations, and we are building new relationships every day. We will continue to learn from this experience in-store and continue to refine our approach for future locations.

[Read: Tech Powers ‘Food as Medicine’ Trend Amid Consumer Quest for Holistic Nutrition]

 Two parents loading the trunk of their car while their child sits in a Bugaboo stroller.
Upon surveying hundreds of American parents, stroller brand Bugaboo launched a new marketing campaign geared toward wooing millennial and Gen Z consumers. — Bugaboo

Bugaboo: Wooing millennial and Gen Z parents with new messaging and a resale collection

Jeanelle Teves, General Manager, North America

We are on an exciting growth journey for [stroller brand] Bugaboo in North America. Our [new marketing] campaign was really inspired by our research that showed that 95% of parents were seeking brands that made their lives easier, and 93% of parents were looking for brands that were relatable to them and their families.

We surveyed hundreds of American parents, and then we partnered with a female-led digital agency called FADE Creative that specializes in cutting through to, and speaking with, millennial and Gen Z first-time parents.

The campaign [features] three unique sets of modern parents, all on their own daily adventures, but the commonality is that they are all using Bugaboo in their everyday lives. One of the big opportunities that we see is growing brand awareness and reaching the modern parent. That varies over time — what appeals to older families is different from what appeals to the generation of Gen Z’ers that are starting to have families of their own.

With what parents are going through with at-home learning and Zoom classrooms and everything else, there is no one set norm for what parenthood looks like.

We are activating this [campaign] across the entire ecosystem, from digital all the way into the store, where we are partnering with our key retailers. Within digital, that includes influencer marketing, which is a really big part of our focus.

What I am most excited about is that this campaign is launching on the heels of Bugaboo’s new sustainability commitment, called Push to Zero, which is our new commitment to reach net zero CO2 emissions by 2035.

With this commitment, there are three key pillars: The first is the reduction of CO2 emissions across all of our businesses and products.

The second is reusability; we just kicked off our new program called Pretty Perfect, where we are reselling any product that would typically not reach the floor, but through refurbishment partners, or through our own quality controls, we are able to sell at a markdown.

The third is under “rebalance,” which is taking action with like-minded organizations, such as the recently announced partnership with Baby2Baby, a nonprofit committed to providing products to families in poverty. We have launched stroller donation program with them where we are able to give back to parents who would typically not be able to have a high-quality stroller like a Bugaboo.

[Read: Hospitality Brands Are Tapping the $919 Billion Wellness Tourism Trend]

 Person pouring medicine from a Genexa bottle with their medicine cabinet in the background.
In response to consumers paying more attention to ingredients on product labels, Genexa is aiming to disrupt the OTC drug industry by offering "cleaner" medicines. — Genexa

Genexa: Bringing ‘clean’ OTC drugs to Walmart’s shelves

David Johnson, Co-Founder and CEO

What’s driving our growth is the simple fact that Genexa is doing something that no one has ever done before. We are disrupting a very, very big category — we are bringing a clean version of [OTC drug] products to the consumer. [Genexa says its medicine contains some of the same active ingredients as national OTC drug brands, but without added artificial inactive ingredients, such as preservatives and fillers.]

Consumers are reading labels, and they are much more interested in what they are putting in their bodies than ever before.

I think this market was untapped because there were four or five Goliaths, and you needed a David to take on the Goliaths.

[We are] consumer-centric. Simple things like the fact that we have a phone number on every package and you can call and get a hold of Max [Spielberg, co-founder] or myself, and the fact that we pick up the phone and call 10 customers [at random] every Friday [is a differentiator.]

We just launched nationally with Walmart; they are partnering with us in bringing “clean” to the market.

I think the [growth] opportunity is kind of endless. Right now we are focused on pain and allergy, but we really can expand across the whole space — it’s a $100 billion space for over-the-counter drugs. The reason we started in analgesics was that it really crosses every single vertical of human life.

We go across a wide variety of [OTC drug products]– everything from tablets to liquids. We have IP [intellectual property] around the preservative system [without synthetics]. That IP has allowed us to go into all these different [product categories.]

We are very focused on [national brick-and-mortar drug retailers] right now. The challenge with selling online is that if you have a headache or a fever, you need the drug now. It’s different from supplements. You can’t wait 48 hours for your drugs to arrive.

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