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Lab Tonica’s Cross-Category Tea Wellness Activation at Selfridges

Published January 29, 2023
Published January 29, 2023

Selfridges London has opened its doors to an exciting new pop-up that centers around mood-boosting herbal tea. The installation was in collaboration with Lab Tonica, a brand that harnesses the power of plants to nurture consumers’ health and well-being, also selling aromatherapeutic mists, as well as body balms and essential oils.

The pop-up was set in Selfridges' esteemed food hall where people could taste-test the teas, creating an interesting hybrid of beauty, self-care, and a café experience. Lab Tonica founder Kitty McEntee, speaking to BeautyMatter, described the herbal teas as a way “to positively reintroduce the consumer to the benefits of functional drinks.”

When it comes to walking the line between all of Lab Tonica’s different points of distribution—food, beauty, and wellness—not all retailers can offer spaces that incorporate consumables, skincare, and aromatherapy in one event, meaning Lab Tonica had to “adapt to their [retailer’s] merchandising, consumer habits, and buying departments.” McEntee admits this can have its challenges as the brand would like to “always have all of the products stocked in one place,” but believes that the “branding and packaging is so eye-catching and bold, it stands out in any environment.”

With five different teas come five different product functions: libido, energy, sleep, immunity, and calm. Each tea is made up of a curated blend of herbs such as chamomile, lemon balm, and lavender for calming, and chili, ginger, and lemon peel for energy. The pop-up encourages Selfridges customers to tap into the alchemy of nature and explore the centuries-old knowledge and herbal ingredients that McEntee believes can “provide a simple yet efficient solution to consumers’ new year routines.” The brand founder being on hand throughout the duration of the pop-up meant shoppers were able to discuss the background of the brand and its products, getting a firm understanding of the science and flavors. McEntee believes this is the driving force behind winning consumers over and managing “to convert lots of non-herbal tea drinkers into herbal tea drinkers.”

Based on current research, consumers are undoubtedly eager for such solutions. According to The Business Research Company, functional beverages are projected to see the fastest rate of growth within the global beverage market, with a compound annual growth rate of 12.4%. The value of the market is predicted to increase from $131.47 billion in 2022 to $147.7 billion in 2023.

This upward trajectory follows the increasing trend of crossovers between the food and drink category and wellness beauty products. In recent years we’ve seen “‘self-care”’ beverage businesses like Kin Euphorics, co-founded by Bella Hadid, and Swirlit rise in popularity. The Global Wellness Economy found that the healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss sector grew from $912 billion in 2019 to $946 billion in 2020, making it one of the only wellness sectors that maintained a positive growth trajectory during the height of COVID-19. In 2021 NielsenIQ found that health-aligned products like over-the-counter remedies and nutritional drinks saw a sales growth of 31%, and that health and wellness products purchased through subscription services increased by 50%.

When discussing the wellness space today, McEntee passionately explains her belief that “as humans, we are so far removed from our preindustrial lives—in fact, we used to live in unison with the organic ebb and flow of nature’s rhythm. We once had an immense depth of ancestral knowledge about plants and natural remedies.” Lab Tonica as a whole believes that “wellness today is all about trying to rediscover our connection to nature and natural remedies.” As the wellness industry continues to grow, this can create confusion for consumers who are given too many options to choose from. McEntee argues that by focusing on “everyday wellness needs, that we all need help with—rather than the more extreme ends” of the category, this makes the brand more accessible and exciting for the modern-day customer. Partnering with Selfridges London for this pop-up was the perfect strategy to put this theory into practice, with ensuing growth in brand awareness.


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