Shifting from blogs to YouTube to monthly subscription boxes, Leaf is finding a way to monetize its relationship with Millennials.
Five years after posting its first YouTube video that taught young women how to tie a turban, the Los Angeles-based digital company is offering $60 boxes curated to fit a yearlong theme of wellness. Tested and selected by Leaf founders Geri Hirsch and Erin Falconer, the program begins this month with Detox, a kit filled with an Ayurvedic copper water bottle, skin brush, Herbivores Botanicals’ rose clay soap and other items and tips to enable cleansing of the mind, body and social circles.
Upcoming boxes fit with themes such as Nourish (cooking) and Natural (beauty and hygiene). Leaf is also breaking into the private-label business, designing a leather jump rope for its fifth package, titled Rest, as well as a sports bra for its seventh bundle, called Energize.
“There is a lot of curiosity around this element of wellness,” Falconer said. For some time, Falconer and Hirsch have been exploring topics on healthy living and self-improvement on their respective blogs, PickTheBrain and Because I’m Addicted.
Plus, “we always wanted to do a commerce site,” Falconer said. “We have a real audience that is really engaged in content and has a real hunger for wellness content. For us it makes sense to make content and go one step further.”
The venture is the latest iteration of the evolving blogosphere, which has tracked the commercialization of high-profile sites like Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop. It is Leaf’s first attempt to generate revenue directly from consumers, outside of advertising and sponsorships. Leaf — an acronym for living, eating and fashion — has accumulated more than 154,700 subscribers on its YouTube channel.
Currently shipping only in the U.S., the subscription service allows consumers to pay for an entire year at a discounted rate, pay as they go each month or buy a pair of boxes as a gift. Subscribers can stop at any time. While Falconer and Hirsch declined to disclose how many people have signed up, they’re on track to double their original projection. Already 15 percent of the customers have paid for the 12-month program in advance, Falconer said.
Eventually, they aim to expand deliveries to countries such as Canada and France, where they’ve received inquiries from fans, and host events. “We’re working on developing an app and a couple of other amenities that let you dive deeper into your wellness factor,” Hirsch added.
While the partners don’t always take the same approach to their daily routines — Falconer likes to swish coconut oil in the mouth for 15 minutes as a form of dental detoxification but Hirsch prefers chewing natural gum — they agree that women their age are valuing experiences and goods that encourage a better life over materialism. The sight of a twentysomething splurging on a pair of shoes and later dining on instant ramen is fading.
“Especially here in L.A., instead of going to cocktails, girls of all ages are going to workout classes and they’re getting juice afterward,” Falconer said. “There is a real shift.”