Health care brand Welly is joining the body care boom


Welly, originally known for its colorful take on bandages and other first aid supplies, has moved on to body care.

The The 4-year-old brand has already expanded, adding over-the-counter medicines and supplements to its assortment in August. The brand is sold at Target, CVS, Walmart, Wegman’s and Amazon, among others.

Now, on February 5, it will debut its first topical products at Target. There will be six to start: Daily Hydration Body Lotion, Eczema Body Cream, Rough & Bulpy Body Lotion, Dry and Itchy Body Lotion, Body Acne Spray and Firming Body Lotion, ranging in price from $16-$17. The brand chose the six body care issues of focus based on data from consumer data company Numerator that was most prevalent among Gen Z and millennials.

Welly was founded by Eric Ryan, the serial entrepreneur known for founding the detergent and personal care company Method and supplements brand Olly. SC Johnson acquired Method in 2017, and Unilever acquired Olly and Welly in 2019 and 2021, respectively. Ryan remains involved with all three brands.

Ryan said that he always looked at the brands he created broadly, in terms of the categories they lived in. “Emergency aid is at its core a beauty product. It goes on your skin, it’s really the only health care product you wear, and it has like this design and apparel quality. It’s also about restoring your skin, which is a form of beauty.”

He said the fusion of beauty and health is an enduring trend. Throughout his career, he has taken “cues” from the beauty industry, allowing him to elevate the experience of otherwise more quotidian categories such as cleansers and vitamins. But the introduction of body care changes the script, he said.

“This is the first time, I’m taking health and bringing it into beauty,” he said.

According to Ryan, the therapeutic course has stagnated. It offers products that everyone needs, through brands including Eucerin and Vaseline, but they have remained the same. Meanwhile, other segments of the beauty industry have evolved to meet the aesthetic atmosphere of the current moment.

“Target got really excited about the idea. Therapeutics [as a category] was absolutely on fire. The brands there have grown like crazy. But there was this gap between how beauty brands presented themselves and connected emotionally [with consumers]and how clinical and boring the [aesthetic of the] therapeutic space,” he said. And this is not to mention that, traditional therapeutic brands are not “clean,” he said.

Welly Skin Savers

With all of Ryan’s brands, he has tried to combine efficiency and “better-for-you, better-for-the-planet” products, he said.

Welly has dr. Zion Ko (586,000 TikTok followers) tapped to lead the promotional efforts for the new collection.

“We know conversations about skin health are relevant [on TikTok]. Dr. Ko will take an educational lens with her content to ensure her audience and other consumers understand how the products work and what need conditions they address,” said Mari Mazzucco Kordahl, Welly’s communications manager. “We also activate TikTok influencers on a mid-level, micro- and nano-scale. We prioritize the channel that our Gen-Z consumers and millennials know [are active on].”

“Millennials were the first to see health and wellness as a lifestyle pursuit, and you’ve seen that show up first in fitness, with [the rise of] SoulCycle and Barry’s. Then it moved into athleisure. It had an impact on how we thought about building the Olly brand,” said Ryan. “With previous generations, like Gen X, the approach to health was more acute: You have a problem, you treat the problem. And Baby Boomers just ignored their health. Gen Z is so much more open, honest, transparent and straightforward about health issues.”

An acceptance of the skin care issues that come with living in a human body is the new frontier. This is part of the message of radical acceptance that Gen Z has become known for. And it’s a message that’s reverberating through the beauty industry right now, whether it’s via Starface’s attention-grabbing pimple spots or Megababe’s no-shame approach to previously stigmatized body care issues, including “chub rub.”

“With these products, we’re saying, ‘Don’t hide from body acne and these different need conditions, where previous generations would have just hidden it and not talked about it,'” Ryan said. “That’s why we’re bringing bright colors to it. [the packaging]make it a little more of a celebration.”