Wellness is a concept that by its very definition is meant to feel transformative, and Lily Kunin felt that idea acutely while designing the layout of each Clean Market, the one-stop retail experience that currently boasts two locations in New York and one in Las Vegas.
“We wanted to create an engaging mix of retail and spa,” explains Kunin, the celebrated blogger, Instagram influencer, and cookbook author who co-founded Clean Market, which debuted its first New York location in 2018 and quickly became a sought-after spot for grabbing a smoothie in the morning, a salad for lunch, or a signature drink like Lily’s Glow Matcha for an afternoon pick-me-up. “When you walk in, the store feels really welcoming and approachable, with a lot of energy, while the café is also meant to feel like a gathering place, because we want to foster a community of people interested in wellness. As you move back toward the IV Drip Lounges and the sauna, the mood becomes quieter and more tranquil, and that’s very much by design.” As an innovative holistic wellness concept, Clean Market indeed has been a gamechanger in a category that’s been valued at $4.2 trillion annually since 2017.
From the start, Kunin envisioned a combination of healthy food, imaginative smoothies, and nutritional supplements amid a relaxing environment, where forward-thinking treatments like IV nutrients and cryotherapies are administered by medically licensed professionals in a space that’s anything but clinical. “We designed it so each consumer can create his or her own experience,” Kunin says. “They can watch TV, they might come with a friend and chat while receiving their treatments, or they can chill out in a Zen environment with the lights dimmed. It really is whatever you want it to be.”
Kunin is passionate about the impact of food and nutrients on the human body, and early on in her research, she discovered NutriDrip, the New York-based company that pioneered IV therapies to solve a range of personal health issues. “These days we find so much curiosity for IV drips and how they can benefit your daily life,” says Kunin, who asked NutriDrip’s founders to partner with her on Clean Market’s concept. “We believe in education in a way that’s fun and straightforward. People can understand that an IV drip is similar to taking oral supplements, but it’s much more viable—your body might absorb only 30 percent of an oral supplement, for example, but it could absorb up to 100 percent of an IV therapy. If it’s been recommended that you take a B-12 supplement, for example, that might take three to six months to have a major impact; an IV therapy can really speed up that process.”
At Clean Market, appointments are recommended, but walk-ins are also welcome for the IV Drip Lounge, where therapies include everything from cleansing to immunity boosters and infusions designed for relaxing and de-stressing. “Whether your goal is energy, detox, or boosting your metabolism, we can guide you toward the right therapy,” Kunin says.
While Clean Market’s immediate success had spawned an aggressive growth plan, including a recently opened location at Brookfield Place New York in downtown Manhattan, the pandemic changed everything, though not in the ways you might assume. “I think we got really thoughtful about how we were growing, but we also saw ourselves as a necessary resource in these times,” Kunin notes. “In the wellness industry, you find that your customers are very open in discussing what they’re experiencing, and lately we’ve spent a lot of time talking about stress, or how they’re having trouble sleeping, or issues like indigestion. We have those conversations every day, and we’re so happy to be a resource to recommend products and therapies.”
In addition to its exclusive therapies, medical-grade supplements and CBD products are among Clean Market’s bestsellers. CBD stands for cannabidiol, the non-intoxicating, hemp-derived substance found in cannabis, which these days is offered in everything from tinctures and candies to bath salts. “Roughly eight out of our 10 best-selling SKUs are CBD products,” Kunin says. “It’s become a huge industry very quickly, and we do a lot of education around how to take them.”
These days Kunin is devoting her time not only to exclusive brand collaborations and exploring proprietary opportunities, but she’s also thinking about how Clean Market moves forward smartly. “I realized that it doesn’t have to be this cookie-cutter concept,” she says, noting that a recently opened location at Wynn Las Vegas is situated not near other retail, but on the resort’s spa level, with its products and services designed as a partner, and not a duplicate, of what’s available just steps away. “Lately we’re very thoughtful about expansion, and what each brick-and-mortar location should look like,” Kunin adds. “For Las Vegas we designed what made sense. I like that our concept can have that kind of flexibility.”
And while she understands that wellness is a category that’s utterly exploding in retail, Kunin prefers to focus on the essence of what that means when charting the current and future success of Clean Market. “When I started working in wellness, it felt pretty niche, and now it’s extremely mainstream,” she says. “It’s not just that the everyday stresses of our lives have increased; there’s much more awareness that whatever your personal and professional goals are, taking care of yourself has to come first. You can do that in a lot of different ways: you can eat healthy, drink a lot of water, get a good night’s sleep. But we devote a lot of time to letting consumers know that there are tools and products and resources that can assist with this as well. The possibilities are just beginning.”