Creating a marketplace for wellness
- 15 June, 2022 08:41
Adam Matheson understands the intimidating feeling people can experience when seeking information on wellness. It’s something he himself felt when he began his own wellness journey soon after his wife received her diagnosis of breast cancer.
Around the same time, Matheson came into contact with Gregg Taylor and Rachel Tonkin, who were in the process of setting up their own wellness company, following Tonkin’s own diagnosis of aggressive breast cancer.
“She [Tonkin] was shocked by the news and was going down the usual medical path with chemo and all the other treatments. But she was also looking for more of a holistic wellness solution as well,” Matheson says. “She found it very difficult to find consistent information all in one place.”
That experience led Tonkin to set about creating True Woo, as an online portal where people could find expert practitioners, relevant content and products relating to whatever their journey might be. And it was that vision and story that gave Matheson the confidence to pack in a 25-year career in air transport and dive headfirst into the wellness industry as True Woo’s CEO.
Since joining in October 2021, Matheson has worked closely with the founders in the leadup to the company’s official launch early this year. The team engaged Sydney-based creative agency, Percept, to develop True Woo’s brand identity and a marketing strategy, including its catchphrase of ‘spirit plus science’.
Matheson says the purpose of True Woo is to bring wellness information together all in one place, to make it easier for anyone to find what they are looking for.
“Customers are looking for a place where they can find consistent information and a one-stop shop for wellness, because at the moment it is quite a fractured environment, particularly online,” Matheson says. “There are different companies doing bits and pieces of it, but no one really brings it together and makes it accessible.”
The company launched with a focus on reaching audiences via Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn, while also building up its range of partners, including product companies and wellness practitioners. For this last task True Woo has adopted the Marketplacer platform to host the different offerings it presents online.
“We always had a vision of bringing products, content and practitioners all on one platform as a one-stop shop for wellness,” Matheson says. “The most difficult piece was the product side, because it includes logistics and everything else. We looked for solutions and couldn’t go past Marketplacer and its experiences with the likes of BikeExchange and others. Plus, the company had an integration with Shopify and a few other technical solutions we were looking at, so it really slotted straight into our platform.”
Matheson and his team have taken a hands-on approach to curating True Woo’s offering, including creating an advisory board and publication of ‘True Woo Naughty Forty’, a list of ingredients that it will not allow in its marketplace.
“We wanted to ensure our partners were neutral, consistent, accessible and so on,” Matheson says. “There are certain products and ingredients we don’t allow on the platform. We have benchmarks for practitioners we go through before they are onboarded to ensure they meet our values. We are working very closely with some bigger name products and practitioners now and they are very positive about our curation process.”
Since launch, Matheson has been focusing on studying the personas of various True Woo customer cohorts, who tend to fall into categories such as curious, proactive and reactive, with the goal of creating profiles that can be used to deliver tailored journeys. The company’s strategy is also highly reliant on high-quality content, with a library of written articles and videos from True Woo partners and its team being built up in coming months.
“We are in the middle of piecing it all together and looking at where paid ads might be of benefit, and how we can link our blogs and content back to the products and practitioners. Because the next part of our vision is to more tightly integrate our offerings,” Matheson says.
True Woo is now developing a subscription model, which will commence later this year and is oriented around higher-quality content from practitioners. It is also launching a wellness studio in Sydney, as well as working with partners to run retreats – something Matheson hopes to eventually offer internationally.
And he remains committed to seeing True Woo stay true to its goals.
“For the curious, the wellness market can be intimidating, so we spent a lot of time making sure we do stick to that value of making it accessible to anyone in the world,” Matheson says. “We want to provide that ‘ah ha’ moment where a customer moves from a confused state with lots of questions to a clear understanding of what wellness is, and we want to sit in the middle of that and be a big part of that journey for them.”