Wellness: Melisse Gelula & Alexia Brue, Well + Good

January 23, 2017
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This article is part of our Create & Cultivate 100 List created in collaboration with KEDS, you can view the full Wellness List Here.

Your healthiest relationship. 

In 2009 when Melisse Gelula and Alexia Brue launched Well+Good as a digital media company devoted to the wellness scene, it was a relatively new, untapped market. Cold-pressed juice fave Pressed didn’t yet exist. No one knew what Kale was. And forget lifestyle brand, Goop’s newsletter was in its infancy stage, only having commenced a few months prior. 

Like many successful entrepreneurs, Melisse and Alexia saw the train coming and accordingly laid the tracks. Everyone jumped on board. 

Both women, who serve Well + Good as co-founders, did not begin their careers new business ventures, but in book publishing. Alexia at Random House as an editor who then wrote her own book, Cathedrals of the Flesh, about global bathing traditions, and Melisse who had over ten years in book and magazine publishing. 

It wasn’t until years later when the duo met while working for Luxury SpaFinder, did the buds of the site begin to bloom. As the journalists became increasingly switched on to healthy living, the potential opportunity quickly became clear as quartz. There was a swelling, underreported wellness scene. SoulCycle, Blue Print Cleanse, even Lululemon, were all young businesses. “We knew they were going to become huge and a major part of people’s lives,” says Alexia, who also serves as brand CEO. 

They started typing on a WordPress blog, reporting on fitness, lifestyle and wellness trends in New York, becoming the nexus between journalistic reporting and wellness. Word spread. 

Over the last eight years, frustrations have included the challenge of growing organically. Taking on zero investors was a tough mutual decision, but it has also been one of their greatest boons. Not beholden to investor dollars means the co-founders have steered the company as they’ve wanted, growing at an affordable pace. Alexia says, “The right path for us was to grow out of cash flow. It instilled a lot of discipline.” 

From that disciple, elements of their business and life fell into place. 

Melisse doesn’t name her mentors on record but impresses upon the importance of such figures in her life. The Chief Content Officer shares, “I think everyone needs a few people rooting for them and helping them sort through gut instincts, decisions, headaches.” Her business partner, who credits one of the smartest moves she’s ever made as “finding a great collaborator in Melisse,” thanks to her father, an entrepreneur who got the former editor thinking about business from a young age. “He’s always encouraged me to take risks,” she says.

On days when the fire burns low, Melisse swears by the “small habit” of lemon water, and the “big habit” of meditating or working out every day. “Sometimes,” says Melisse, “your own steam doesn’t feel like enough!” But as entrepreneurs, biz life tends to run all over the road and they’ve accepted that part as a given. “I’ve been hardwired, through challenges in my life, to push past it over and over and over again,” shares Melisse. “I love the purpose of Well+Good and the people in the wellness industry,” she explains. “I’ve definitely found my alignment with the universe in this role.”

They believed that they had to do it. Went for it. Now Goop herself, Gwyneth Paltrow, has praised the site as a go-to.

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