Alexia Brue seized her opportunity as an entrepreneur during the financial crisis back in 2008-2009. Expect more entrepreneurs to flourish after our current pandemic.
January 13, 2021 3 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
In 2009 Alexia Brue launched what has become a wellness media powerhouse, Well + Good. She and her business partner, Melisse Gelula, started the media company during the financial crisis of 2009, a time when “wellness” was not yet in our daily lexicon, Peloton didn’t exist, and we never could have imagined that we’d live in athleisure. Alexia was working in print journalism at the time and saw that after the 2008 crisis, the media business was structurally changing. Print publications were shuttering and shrinking, while the barrier to entry for launching a digital site was getting lower.
Alexia and Melisse had a passion and a unique point of view around wellness that they believed would resonate with others; and they saw white space in the market for information and resources on the emerging trends in nutrition, fitness, beauty, and self-care. Alexia and Melisse started the nascent media company while keeping their day jobs, and after about nine months felt they had enough momentum and traction to go all in, and they never looked back. What set Well + Good apart from traditional women’s fitness magazines was that they talked about fitness and wellness from a place of greater empowerment and positivity: you wouldn’t find anything about “blasting belly fat” on Well + Good. Instead, Well + Good chose to focus on the more community-minded, holistic, and inspiring lifestyle aspects of living a well life – inside and out.
Without raising any outside capital, Alexia bootstrapped the launch and growth of Well + Good, eventually growing the company to reach millions of wellness-conscious readers monthly. The brand grew alongside the boutique fitness boom and the clean beauty and clean eating movements, which led to the start of Well + Good’s event business. What began as meetups at local fitness studios has evolved into monthly panels, 4-day wellness retreats at Miraval, and since COVID-19, digital panels and retreats that allow Well + Good to reach a wider audience than ever before. They also published the Well + Good Cookbook (Random House) which features the easy go-to recipes of nearly 100 wellness experts and influencers.
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In 2018, Alexia and Melisse sold the company to Leaf Group (NYSE: LEAF), allowing them to launch more capital-intensive initiatives, such as a thriving video channel, and bigger content programs including their annual Well + Good Trends Report and their January reset program called Re (New) Year. As Alexia’s day-to-day involvement at Well + Good lessens, she’s gotten to focus on investing in and advising innovative consumer-facing wellness brands, including Otamot, Bubble, and Ace of Air. She also enjoys serving on the board of Wellness in the Schools, a non-profit that brings experiential nutrition and fitness education into over 200 schools, and The Global Wellness Institute.
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As for the post-pandemic future of wellness, Alexia believes the newer digital components (eg telehealth and digital fitness) will continue their exponential growth, while the in-person retail businesses will come roaring back as soon as it’s safe to do so. Just like in 2009, look out for many new wellness innovations and opportunities to come from this time of crisis — and watch as Well + Good reports on them along the way.