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Founder Spotlight: Mason Levey and Brad Warsh of WAVE Meditation
Mason Levey and Brad Warsh are the co-founders of WAVE Meditation. Only launched four weeks ago, the revolutionary meditation company has already been featured in Men’s Journal and hosted an in-person experience that brought 750 people in over 10 days. Mason and Brad have broken the “rules” of meditation and created an immersive experience that redefines the typical meditation practice.
If you could just share a little bit about WAVE's mission and how you got rolling in this endeavor.
Mason: So it all started at a company we worked on together before this, Y7 Studio, and Y7 is a really modern take on yoga. One of the things that I really loved about Y7 is that we were using music as a gateway into mindfulness. So we would get all these people to yoga who would normally never go and have all these misconceptions about yoga, because we would do a Beyonce themed yoga class or a Drake themed yoga class. Then, I started thinking about how we could get the practice of mindfulness to more people, and make it as scalable and reach as many people as possible.
I was also trying to start my own meditation practice, and trying a bunch of different experiences at home, really found that it was very similar to how we saw the yoga market about six years earlier. Which, not that it's bad, but it was a lot of growth, a lot of interests, but mostly all the brands and experiences on the table kind of sit in one bucket. I wanted to build the meditation experience that I wanted personally. At the same time, I had contacted Brad and started talking to him about where he was at with meditation and what was going on in his life.
Brad: Yeah, so at the same time Mason was trying to find his meditation practice, I had just had a kid about less than a month prior to this conversation. He came to me saying, "I'm looking at the meditation market. It sort of sits in the same bucket as where yoga sat prior to us creating Y7.” We are modern, millennial consumers and there wasn't anything that excited us. It always felt like a chore, we tried all the apps, then some of the in-person studios, and there just wasn't anything that was really exciting.
So we said, taking what we learned from building Y7, we wanted to apply that knowledge to meditation and mindfulness and create a practice that is a brand and experience that's super approachable, super modern born of culture, and can activate a large percentage of the country who's not actively meditating. We found that less than 15% of America is actively meditating on a daily basis. So it’s a huge, huge percentage of the population that we're looking to, to get into mindfulness.
That's great. And you mentioned both meditation and mindfulness, which my understanding of mindfulness is about just maintaining a moment by moment awareness of your thoughts, your feelings, body sensations, the environment around you. And for the 15% of Americans who are practicing mindfulness or meditation, what are the benefits to that group?
Mason: I think that the benefits everyone thinks about when they think about meditation or mindfulness is a sense of calm, a sense of relaxation, and those are definitely things that can be achieved with the practice. But, I think there's a lot more to it too. I always say that meditation gives me time to reflect. When I have time to reflect, I get a better perspective. When I have a better perspective, I can make better choices. And when I make better choices, I'm creating positive change and making waves in my life. So I think meditation also has this ability to give you the chance to spend time with yourself and process. I think doing that allows you to really achieve the goals that you want to in life.
We believe at WAVE that our mission is to inspire and empower your mind so you can use your mind's maximum potential. We believe that if you're using your mind's maximum potential, that's creating positive change or making waves. So we're actually trying to break some of the misconceptions that meditation is only for relaxation. Those are some of the things that come to mind for me.
Brad: We have this formula that we have created for all of our content and it's one part music, one part mindfulness, and one part motivation. We can dial those things up and down based on the intention of our different musical meditation albums and, yes, our product is super relaxing. It's a memory foam cushion. So you're laying on it and there's a lot of ambient sense sounds and vibrations that really immerse you. You have this really interesting balance and mix of a relaxing, grounding, physical experience. There's a really nice balance of what you can get out of Wave.
So this music guided meditation experience that you're talking about, it's in market now. Consumers can try it risk free for 30 days. How did you go about testing product market fit as you were launching this product?
Mason: So we did two different things. We did this big in-person push to survey people who came in and tried and experienced the product in-person. We had a pre and a post-survey. And then we also ran an anonymous survey nationally. For us, we use both the in-person and the anonymous survey of people not trying it, as our two major points of research to develop the experience, price point, and positioning.
And what did you learn along the way about who the ideal customer was or target persona was and what would you share with other businesses who are going through the journey of trying to identify that type of customer? Or their type of customer?
Mason: We found that people value their minds as much as their bodies, but that people are investing a lot more time and resources into their bodies. We found that when we asked people how they currently inspire and empower their mind, a majority of people actually said they use music. So music is a huge thing we're leveraging here at WAVE to help drive the practice and experience.
We found a lot of people saying, "Meditation is hard. Meditation is a chore. I don't know if I'm doing it right. I'm not good at it." A lot of what we have built with our experiences are things to make meditation feel enjoyable. We use a lot of this feedback around where people are investing their time, how they perceive meditation, and what they're looking to get out of it. We also found that right now our customer’s average age is 31, and it's really a millennial consumer.
Brad: One thing that we loved finding out, especially on the music front, is that we've always believed that music is a form of meditation, right? Everyone has a song they listen to before working out that gets them motivated and amped up. Everyone has a track they turn to when they get their heart broken. So it was really great to see that people turn to music already for mental empowerment because that's ultimately what we're trying to do, empower your minds and get you to create better choices in life. I think music is a way to do that and it's a really enjoyable way to do that.
That's great. You're getting momentum in your social media following, there was a really great article in Men's Journal that talked about that mission as well. For those younger millennial consumers, what are the ways that they're finding out about WAVE today?
Mason: Obviously we love any press articles and working with publications to help get our word out. We launched about four weeks ago, so we haven't been in the market that long, but we launched with a huge activation called the House of WAVE, where we had over 750 people come through and try the WAVE experience which was really awesome.
We're definitely connecting with people on social media. We're working on a strategy for continuing our in person, experiential demos so people can continue to try it. Then another thing that we're working on rolling out is brand ambassadors, and people that we think can really help make meditation a part of mainstream culture. We're rolling out a program to work with ambassadors we think can help shape that as well.
That's great. So you're four weeks out from the launch, what are some of the challenges that you've experienced in building the business so far and specifically a subscription based business at that?
Mason: I think the biggest challenge for us was that WAVE is this immersive music driven experience you've got to actually feel yourself. I think our biggest challenge is getting people to bring WAVE home and try it, in the morning and in the evening over 30 days. So we've rolled out this 30 day at- home trial program with no strings attached, free shipping, and free returns. We really want people to try WAVE and experience it in their own environment. I think digitally, we're doing our best, but it's also something that's challenging to explain and show to the world. So I think that's kind of our biggest challenge right now is how do we get as many people trying and experiencing WAVE firsthand?
Brad: Yeah, we could do a five hour podcast and talk straight through about about the WAVE experience, but until you actually try it and feel it, you'll have a hard time grasping the emotional and physical benefits. The product itself is quite immersive and quite amazing. There is nothing else out there like this, it's so new. So we definitely have a lot to learn, but we have, and we're trying to get this under as many hats as possible.
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So let's click one more step into House of WAVE. How did you build out that experience for consumers, and did that end up generating content or lead you to finding ambassadors that would be interested in working with your brand in the future?
Mason: House of WAVE was a huge success. We had a lot of experience from Y7 building out physical spaces, and House of WAVE was a 10 day thing. One of the things we didn't want to do was confuse people into thinking WAVE was this group class that you show up to with 30 people. It's an at-home product that you use on your own time. So that was a big challenge, but we also had no idea if when we launched the House of WAVE for 10 days, if we were going to struggle to get people to come in and try it. It ended up being the complete opposite. We had days with easily with over a hundred people.
Everyone that came through were people that were actually excited about trying a new meditation experience. We found that a lot of people have tried an app, or tried a class, or it's just really hard to go from trying it to really building a practice. By us offering them something that was more immersive, that was music driven, and was kind of just breaking the rules a little bit around meditation, we saw a huge response. We had people that came out of there feeling like they were transported to another planet.
Brad: Yeah. I think we have a lot of learnings and experience building out the Y7 studios and for the past six years have been building out physical spaces. We definitely take a share-ability approach to that, so we're always designing and thinking about physical spaces with the idea of share-ability in mind. We just wanted to make the space really interactive and a space that you want to be in. It definitely garnered a lot of social chatter.
That's great. What do you think the milestones look like in the next year or two for WAVE?
Mason: Yeah, so I think a couple things. One, we're brand new. We just launched four weeks ago, so I think right now we're really still in learning mode. We want to learn how people are using WAVE at home. Physically, how are they sitting with the cushion, in what rooms, what time of day? Are they sharing it with family members? All sorts of stuff with content.
Then another big milestone is really building out this ambassadorship and highlighting people who believe they can do anything they put their mind to. Working with really cool and creative people that everyone can relate to, and people get excited about, and just opening up and talking more about their meditation practice, and their meditation journey, and all that sort of stuff.
Great. And one last question for you. We're in the customer service space, so we always like to ask the question, any great customer experiences that have stood out for you in the past few weeks?
Mason: Yeah, I think for me, House of WAVE has been the biggest customer success. We had over 750 people come through, try the WAVE experience, try more than one track, and have this amazing emotional reaction, plus all the social media and sharing that went on about people sharing their experience. To me, so far that's been the greatest customer experience success that I've seen.
Brad: I think for me, personally speaking, you launch a business and of course the first people that want to support your business are your friends and your family. So actually getting text messages and emails from my friends and even my parents saying, "Wow, this was such a transformative experience. I truly believe I'm going to be using this twice a day," has been really rewarding for me, because you think to yourself, "Oh, they're just supporting me because they want to support the business and want to support what I'm doing." But to hear that they genuinely love the product and they're going to use it and have been using it, is super satisfying.
Thank you, Mason and Brad! Please visit WAVE Meditation for more information.