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EXCLUSIVE: Serena Williams Launches Recovery Brand ‘Will Perform’

The line aims to address pain and provide daily support, promoting recovery and self care, with five topical products.

Thursday Serena Williams launched her recovery brand Will Perform with five topical products across four categories including Will Relieve, Will Cool, Will Rest and Will Soothe, meant to provide pain relief and daily muscle support.

“You really are only as good as you recover,” Williams said — a message her coaches often told her throughout her champion tennis career, when recovery often took up more time than tennis matches.

However, Williams didn’t connect with many of the traditional recovery-focused brands on the market, as they weren’t modern, and she struggled to find products with enjoyable scents and textures.

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“I remember being at the French Open and using a product and thinking, ‘I’m too young to be using this product.’ Literally, that was one of my thoughts. And I was like, ‘OK, there has to be something better,’” Williams said. “The category felt solely focused on if you’re injured or older…which, of course, are real needs. But there is a much bigger opportunity. So, I wanted to create something that I could’ve seen myself and really anyone benefiting from.”

This new brand, Will Perform, has been several years in the making. To launch the brand, she partnered with industry veterans Eric Ryan, a serial entrepreneur who cofounded Welly, Method and Olly, and Hank Mercier, longtime consumer packaged-goods executive. Williams and Ryan had a preexisting relationship, as Williams’s venture capital firm Serena Ventures invested in ingestible wellness brand Olly. Ryan noted their business partnership was successful from the beginning because Williams’ daughter Olympia loved Olly’s gummies and Welly’s bandages.

For Ryan, Will Perform is driven by Williams’ incredible presence on and off the court — he referenced her agility in combining “beast mode” with “grace and beauty.” “Serena is obviously a big part of how we think about the vision of this,” Ryan said. “Her ethos is really bringing together this grit in art.” In order to do this, they brought together the medical side of recovery and the design-forward side of fitness to create an aesthetically pleasing, efficacious product lineup.

Williams tested out the products pre-launch during the last year of her professional tennis career, providing feedback to improve the formulas. 

“I was surprised at how much it benefited me. I stayed away from a lot of these products for so long because I just felt like they didn’t really speak to me,” Williams said. With scent and texture top of mind, she “was really excited about developing something that was just more light and more usable in everyday life.”

While Williams tested the products as a pro, she wants the brand to appeal to a broader community and speak to consumers across the board.

“I really wanted to see something that I really could have used on the market, but that could… help all people of all active lifestyles,” she said. “Obviously recovery is super important in my life and my professional performance, but it’s also super important for everyone. I feel like everyone can practice and have benefits from that,” she said. And although she isn’t currently playing professionally, Williams noted she still relies on these recovery products daily, joking that she uses them more now than she did during her career. 

While the brand’s impetus is on recovery, Williams is aiming to broaden and continue the conversation around the importance of self care. 

“It’s OK to take care of yourself,” she said. “The self-care conversation is on everyone’s minds and not only that, it should be… We need to be our best physically so we can be our best in our lives.” 

With both recovery and self care at the brand’s core, Will Perform’s five introductory stock keeping units include Will Relieve Pain Relief Roll-On, $12.99, Will Relieve Pain Relief Spray, $12.99, Will Cool Cooling Pain Relief Roll-On, $12.99, Will Soothe Daily Muscle Soothing Lotion, $15.99, and Will Rest Nightly Muscle Recovery Lotion, $12.99. They are all meant to provide pain relief and daily muscle support for an overall healthier lifestyle. The Will Relieve skus employ lidocaine meant to provide pain relief; Will Cool Cooling Pain Relief Roll-On uses menthol and camphor, which provide a cooling sensation; Will Soothe Daily Muscle Soothing Lotion combines ceramides and magnesium designed for moisture and relaxation; and the Will Rest Nightly Muscle Recovery Lotion includes epsom salts, lavender and geranium to promote recovery and sleep.

“We’re disrupting the category and reframing recovery in two ways with Will Perform: we’re elevating the existing pain relief assortment and creating new recovery-focused products that are meant to be integrated into everyday routines. With Will Perform, you are able to ritualize recovery. And, importantly, be proactive about it; it shouldn’t be reserved for when you’re in pain or when you’re older. We’re reshaping the conversation and encouraging athletes and anyone living an active lifestyle to proactively embrace performance care,” said Mercier, chief executive officer and cofounder of Will Perform.

The brand, which is expected to amass $3 million in sales its first year according to industry sources, is now available on WillPerform.com and will launch in-store and online at Target on Dec. 18 with plans to expand into other retailers soon. 

As Will Perform launches, Williams said there is more to come from the brand, as the team plans for product expansion. “This isn’t the end,” Williams said. “We see a lot more opportunity within the recovery space and are excited to bring new innovation to the market.”

Will Relieve Pain Relief Roll-On, $12.99

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Will Relieve Pain Relief Spray, $12.99

Will Cool Cooling Pain Relief Roll-On, $12.99

Will Soothe Daily Muscle Soothing Lotion, $15.99

Will Rest Nightly Muscle Recovery Lotion, $12.99