A new wellness focused e-commerce platform, youtime, is set to launch in February, with a business model combining events, curated beauty & wellness products, and personal development, with a large focus on content to engage readers and drive sales, or what youtime calls contextual commerce.

This includes a podcast, newsletters, and videos/tutorials across its socials where the content will be predominately curated by hand selected, local and international ‘youtimers’ who will be credible experts in their respective fields.

The business is founded by Steve Terry and his wife and business partner of 34 years, Helene. Steve is former executive general manager of Hairhouse, ex-founder of Toni & Guy Sweden, and founder/co-owner respectively of Swedish retail businesses The You Way, a highly successful media platform combining commerce founded 2010 and sold in in a world-first to Sweden’s largest newspaper and magazine publisher in 2012and LYKO, Scandinavia´s largest beauty focused e-commerce operator with 24 own stores.

The youtime team also includes Lani Barmakov, former e-commerce director at Nourished Life and number 24 on the Inside Retail list of Australia’s E-commerce Top 50; Andrea Robertson, former editor of the Femail section of Daily Mail as editor; Claudia Aughey as content manager and Caroline Beard as art director to date.

Terry tells RetailBiz the business model has morphed from a “a service-driven, omni channel offering, to a publishing, contextual commerce platform, however the ambition for physical spaces still remains.

“It’s about intercepting people in context and engaging with customers, facilitating retail-as-a-service, rather than interrupting consumers. We exist to enrich the lives of those who interact with youtime.”

Terry says the closest thing youtime can be considered to is Gwenyth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand Goop, but what sets youtime apart is that it will be “engaging with experts, our ‘youtimers’ that are authentic and knowledgeable in their space”.

“We’re not going to be a Goop. Goop is a great business model, but it can at times be controversial and rely on hype marketing at times. We’re going to be relevant, authentic and upfront at what we do,” Terry says.

Terry says that the wellness space has become increasingly busy in the past 18 months, with non-wellness brands entering the space but not always successfully.

“COVID has changed everything, it’s made the online space very noisy and it hard to get cut through for brands. The space has become understandably highly transactional as a necessity but as a brand and for the consumer this is not sustainable, it can be overwhelming for the consumer and for brands, increasingly hard to gain share of voice, maintain brand equity and meet customers in a personal and meaningful manner.

“There is also a strong direct-to-consumer movement at the moment which is also understandable but it’s always more powerful for a third-party to talk about you rather than you talking about yourself.”

That logic underpins the approach to brands about why they should work with youtime. So far, that list includes The Beauty Chef, Bala, Kora Organics, Kevin Murphy, Krof amongst many others.

For consumers, “It’s a corner of the internet where you won’t just be sold to. It will be a place where you can immerse yourself in wellbeing and transact if you find an item and/or experience interesting,” Terry says.

The brand was named after Terry’s child’s personal time where they could do what they liked — their ‘you time’. That comes through in Terry’s beliefs about wellness being about balance, being authentic to who you really are and taking time to engage in activities that make you genuinely feel good, however that may look.

“In the wellness space, we are elevated and curated. Some elements of what we have are expensive, and things that are inexpensive, but one thing that underpins our offering is that our experts truly believe that they’re best in class in adding real value to your youtime,” he says.

“You don’t have to be a vegan vigilante who doesn’t eat sugar (not that there is anything wrong with that either). At youtime, wellness is about engaging in things that feel good. It’s about what works for you.”