Ever the enterprising supermodel, Cindy Crawford is climbing to new heights with Ladder, a health and wellness lifestyle brand that launches today. By her side are some unlikely founding partners: LeBron James, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lindsey Vonn.
“It was kind of an interesting group of people in that sometimes it’s a little less obvious,” said Crawford, explaining that James and his personal trainer had been developing a nutritional supplement at the same time as Schwarzenegger. The NBA legend and the former bodybuilder and California governor decided to join forces but they didn’t want to be speaking to just muscle men or elite athletes.
So Crawford and Vonn came on board to round out the team. “I’ve been involved in fitness since my early twenties. In a lot of ways, the fitness is easier to figure out than the nutrition,” said Crawford, who had an exercise tape in 1992. While most people know what forms of exercise they like, navigating walls of product at a health food store isn’t so easy. Nor is much of it marketed to women, a white space where Elle Macpherson saw an opportunity for her WelleCo line of ingestible beauty products. They also may face competition from another glamorous duo: Tom Brady and model wife Giselle Bündchen, who reportedly are plotting the launch of their own lifestyle and diet line based on their diet book “The TB12 Method.”
Ladder aims to engage its users of all types with content, community and product via direct-to-consumer subscriptions through its web site weareladder.com.
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Its advisers are Mike Mancias, the Los Angeles Lakers’ trainer and James’ personal trainer; Adam Bornstein, author, health journalist and former Men’s Health fitness editor; Candice Kumai, “Top Chef” judge and author, and Abbie Smith-Ryan, director of applied physiology and human performance at the University of North Carolina.
Together, they developed a greens supplement; two variations of protein powder, whey and plant, and an energy supplement. They come packaged in individual packets ready for daily use.
Subscribing to the “one size does not fit all” philosophy, Ladder offers personalized product regimens based on a customer quiz that covers everything from fitness goals to workout preferences to barriers and frustrations. Customers have the option of learning about the products and their benefits on their own, and then creating their own subscription based on individual preferences. Subscriptions range from $60 to $90 monthly, and can be modified any time.
“I’m not competing in a professional sport; my life is different, so the quiz is helpful to learn how I would use these products,” said Crawford. “It really is about the community, the content — the products are just there to help support.”
The content, which will include lifestyle and workout videos, is designed to be “different and responsive to what our audience wants from us. We definitely want to widen the circle,” said Crawford.
“My tagline is ‘life is a workout.’ My job does take a certain amount of athleticism and a toll on the body. Maybe there are moms or working women who can relate, so that’s my role within the four of us,” she said.
Crawford’s experience with her own DTC brand, Meaningful Beauty, also made her an asset to the team. “Really what it boils down to — I don’t care if it’s luxury or not — is that the products need to be good. I’m always pushing for the quality of the product and why it works,” she said.