Pairing empowerment and wellbeing

Aug 12, 2021

GDR’s innovation strategist Charlie Lloyd identifies five brand innovations that take different approaches to empowering women and enhancing their wellbeing.

One of the myriad ways in which the pandemic has impacted retail is that it has accelerated and cemented some of the trends that had been developing prior to it. A heightened awareness of physical health and the toll taken on consumers’ mental health has meant that wellness has remained front and centre of both consumers’ and brands’ priorities over the past eighteen months.

Another focus from brands has been to try to help further social justice and contribute positively to important and worthwhile causes; at the beginning of the pandemic, brands across all categories made a concerted effort to support healthcare workers, and since then brands appear to have a renewed sense of social responsibility.

Each of these two strands, of wellness and community, have coalesced to bring about an uptick in the number of initiatives and campaigns from brands that focus on women’s empowerment and wellbeing.

In this article I highlight five such initiatives from brands and retailers across a variety of categories taking different approaches to empowering women, fostering community and supporting their physical and mental health.

An interesting point of note about the examples in this list is that the three most recent are permanent initiatives, and in the case of The Saysh Collective and AthletaWell, have been baked significantly into those brands’ core propositions, suggesting perhaps that brands are starting to accept that permanent change is more meaningful than the fleeting impact of campaigns.

As ever, if you’re interested in talking to us in more detail about any of the themes discussed in this article, or the challenges you’re facing as a business, we’re here to help. Get in touch with


The Saysh Collective 

Six-time Olympic gold medallist Allyson Felix’s Saysh athleisure brand is built around a community that promotes female empowerment and equality. Saysh has launched a unique, paid-for membership programme called The Saysh Collective to connect and inspire the next generation of female leaders. Members of The Collective get VIP access to a wide range of content and events, that are both digital and physical.

Click here to find out more



Athleta has launched AthletaWell, a digital platform aimed at women’s wellbeing and empowerment that will be free, but exclusive to Athleta’s loyalty customers. Athleta has partnered with Obé Fitness to offer four new workouts per month to members as part of the programme. Central to the new platform is its Spaces, where “members will have access to curated interest groups focused on wellbeing. Topics include movement and fitness, women’s health, body positivity and more.”

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Morrisons & Lidl

UK supermarket Morrisons and Lidl Ireland have both started to offer free sanitary products discretely to women who need them in-store. Anyone needing sanitary products at Morrisons supermarkets can now obtain them by going to the customer service desk and asking for a package that ‘Sandy’ has left for them, while the Lidl Plus app allows customers to register for free monthly coupons.

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Female-focused Gillette brand Venus collaborated with popular Nintendo game Animal Crossing to encourage people to be themselves, even in virtual worlds. The two brands worked together to create a range of realistic in-game skins that gamers could use to dress their avatars in Animal Crossing. The expansive collection includes a wide range of skin tones, as well as 19 real-life skin and body conditions, ranging from acne, vitiligo and cellulite, to scars, burns and prosthesis.

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Benefit Cosmetics x Birchbox

Benefit Cosmetics and Birchbox collaborated on a co-branded beauty box, with all profits going towards female-focused charities. August’s Birchbox subscriber box includes six of LVMH brand Benefit Cosmetic’s best-selling products, with profits divided equally between Refuge, which helps victims of domestic abuse, and Look Good Feel Better, a support network for people undergoing cancer treatment.

Click here to find out more


Lead image Copyright: Saysh

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