One of the most iconic collaborations in the worlds of fashion and wellness happened in the most fun and organic way. BelliWelli, the wellness brand known for its gluten-free, vegan, probiotic snack bars, has partnered with iconic fashion brand LoveShackFancy to promote the launch of its first solo activewear line. Below, BelliWelli CEO and Founder Katie Wilson spill all the tea about this match made in heaven!
BelliWelli will release a co-branded snack bar featuring LoveShackFancy's new activewear print in its best-selling chocolate chip flavor to commemorate the launch. The exclusive collaboration will be free in all of LoveShackFancy's 16 U.S. stores during January.
The unexpected collaboration between fashion and wellness/food highlights both brands' innovative thinking to engage new customers and entice shoppers back to physical stores. It is LoveShackFancy's most significant step into the health space, creating a healthier shopping experience.
"We are thrilled to be partnering with BelliWelli to assist us in launching our brand-new collection of activewear! From January 10th to January 31st, customers who purchase activewear at one of our U.S. stores will receive a complimentary co-branded health bar from LoveShackFancy & BelliWelli. Being able to participate in an industry-crossing partnership is super exciting for us. We're always looking for new ways to resonate with and to connect with our customers, and BelliWelli feels like the perfect partner as we launch into the wellness space," said a LoveShackFancy representative.
It's not often that you hear how collaborations between brands happen, but when they start with something so trivial as shopping, it is worth knowing all about it. Wilson was shopping at LoveShackFancy's Newport location while eating her product when the sales associates stopped her and asked what she was eating and why it matched the store. She said she was eating their famous strawberry shortcake, which is pink and matches the vibe of LoveShackFancy.
"They asked me, is that snack? It looks like a beautiful accessory versus a snack. I said, 'funny enough. It's my own company, and I'm actually eating my product at your store.' And they all tried them and loved them. So I brought them in the next day for the employees, and it turns out shoppers loved them and went through them in less than an hour. So the store passed that information to the corporate team, and we jumped on a call and decided we had to partner," Wilson said.
She adds that it's interesting that both brands have taken a feminine, pink girly approach to each respective brand, but in totally different categories because brands in the clothing and food categories are afraid to lean into pink because they think it's a polarizing color.
"It felt natural that our brands go together incredibly well. And then what was even more interesting and another amazing layer is that LoveShackFancy is launching their activewear line, and we partnered because BelliWelli is a better-for-you snack bar that's focused on creating a beautiful, aesthetically pretty, and pleasing product versus just your traditional white, green, brown snack bar that lives in the natural channel," Wilson continued.
Wilson started BelliWelli because she had gut issues and wanted a cookie that wasn't bad for her and helped her stomach. According to her, BelliWelli, it's like getting your probiotics in a cookie instead of a pill. The company offers better-for-you products that promote gut health and cause zero bloating, making it the perfect healthy and fabulous snack.
Below, Wilson tells us more about how this collaboration between these iconic brands happened and what it means for them.
Was LoveShackFancy already working on activewear when this collaboration happened or were they inspired by BelliWelli's wellness initiatives that made them go into the fitness world?
Katie Wilson: Their activewear was complete, and they had been looking for the right brand partner, and it was just one of those moments. I worked as a matchmaker for 10 years, so I can't help but always use the dating analogy. But it was one of those cute meant-to-be moments where both sides felt immediately connected and knew it was right. And then one of their prints is this beautiful pink floral print, which fit in seamlessly with us and felt really on brand. So we've never done this, and we are protective of our brand, and I know they are too. So if you'd asked me six months ago if we'd be willing to put another brand's name on our packaging, I would have said no, but LoveShackFancy made sense, and it felt right.
Can you tell us more about the design of the packaging? What inspired this particular pink design with, you know, flowers and choosing the famous BelliWelli's chocolate chip flavor? Were other designs and flavors considered?
Katie Wilson: Chocolate chip is our best-seller, so the flavor was a no-brainer; the artwork was a bit tougher. We wanted to use their activewear print; the print on the box is their exclusive activewear print. And they actually had a couple of designs, but pink was the one that felt most on-brand. This is new territory; we've never applied a print to our packaging. And we weren't sure how that was going to look or feel. Was it going to reduce the credibility of the brand in any way, shape, or form, but as soon as we did it, we absolutely loved it. We talked about just making it a soft pink to blend in at the store. But then we thought, you know, raising the stakes on this and using their print on the product was new and interesting and out of the box.
How does putting BelliWelli in their stores, especially now that they're launching their activewear, help to create a better shopping experience, especially in wellness and fitness spaces that seem to be the trend lately?
Katie Wilson: I love seeing some of these cross-category collaborations that we're seeing nowadays, and retail and food are especially interesting when done correctly. I think if you're launching an activewear line, you are celebrating better for yourself and feeling good about yourself, and showing the customer that you've taken that seriously and you're not just providing them activewear; you're providing them a snack along with their shopping experience. To me, it feels like a much more premium experience, and given it's all branded cohesively, I, as a consumer, hope to see more of those. That's how we should be looking at building brands. You're not just isolated to your own category; you should be cross-channel and meet the customer where they are.
How do you think this collaboration will continue putting BelliWelli on people's radars? Can we expect more collaborations like this one with other companies?
Katie Wilson: We're picky, and I know LoveShackFancy is too, and who we partner with has to feel like our brands and values are aligned, but the short answer is yes. I would love to see us go outside retail and into a few different categories. But we will be in front of new customers. The LoveShackFancy customer isn't necessarily a customer that has seen us in the Sprouts grocery store aisle. So I'm really excited. I hope the same is true for LoveShackFancy Right. We're promoting the collaboration heavily on our side and even mentioned it to a few of our customers, and they had never heard of LoveShackFancy, so they were super excited. I sent them the link right, so there's real earned brand credibility on both sides.
Why was it important to offer the product for free during January?
Katie Wilson: This is not a revenue play. We want to create a more premium experience for anyone prioritizing better for you. In our case, gut health and LoveShackFancy, getting out and moving your body and cute new activewear. The goal here is not to drive up revenue. It's to create a premium experience so that customers remember both brands, and the next time they see us, say, four months down the road, they remember that experience and get excited to try the product and the brand again.
How would you promote this collaboration to our readers, to those into health and wellness?
Katie Wilson: You're going to be obsessed, and you're going to grab these for free in-store, and then you will email us and ask where you can buy them. The short answer is you can buy them at Sprouts, and they're delicious. And also, for the aesthetic, creating a fun, approachable, and beautiful brand was really important to me when we created BellyWelli. So I promise you it will be the cutest snack bar in your pantry. It should feel like an accessory, so grab activewear and grab a bar that matches your activewear for the first time. Yeah, I can't wait for everyone to come to check us out.
What other exciting things are you working on right now?
Katie Wilson: We're focused on retail distribution. So we are expanding our retail footprint, so more to come this year, but we will quickly be in more and more and more stores this year. We just launched nationally in Sprouts, a big deal for the brand, and we've got a couple more exciting retail launches.
This collaboration will only be available while supplies last. However, you can buy the products at a regular price in the iconic regular packaging where they are available. To learn more about the collaboration, click here.
Photography by: Courtesy of Nona Photography