Fearne Cotton on finding her Happy Place and what’s next for the wellness brand
The Drum sits down with Fearne Cotton to hear how she has been happily growing her Happy Place company and what plans she has in place for the multi-faceted wellbeing brand.
Fearne Cotton's wellness brand Happy Place set to expand in 2022
Famed for fronting some of British TV’s biggest shows, Fearne Cotton has taken a step back from the small screen in recent years. As the one-time face of Top of the Pops, Celebrity Juice and the Xtra Factor tells The Drum: “I don’t know how people stay in the entertainment world their whole lives.”
Instead, since 2017, Cotton has been focusing on the next chapter of her life – her aptly named Happy Place, which spans an award-winning podcast, a wellness festival, five books and a product line with Boots.
“These days, I’m just so fascinated with running a brand and the behind the scenes of it all. My focus has shifted in terms of where I’m at in my life and that works perfectly for growing Happy Place as the brand gets bigger and more time-consuming.”
Cotton and her close-knit Happy Place team are prepping for their busiest year yet with a return to in-person events, a website launch and further product collaborations. Cotton has planned for 2022 to be the year Happy Place expands and brings clarity to its offering. “I want to be making much more deliberate decisions about how to run the brand now.”
A key ambition for Cotton and collaborator Holly Bott, the UK managing director of YMU Entertainment, is for Happy Place to “stand on its own feet” and grow an audience beyond Cotton’s fans, building an international base.
As part of this strategy, the team recently launched the Happy Place website to bring all aspects of the multi-faceted brand under one umbrella. Cotton acknowledges that while websites have been losing relevance, there is “a real beauty in taking your time to navigate something that isn’t a two-second TikTok video”.
Bott, meanwhile, says that the website requires more curation and thought than other channels. “There is a temptation with communications to broadcast for the sake of it, instead of really looking at the purpose of each of the channels,” she tells us.
Giving away content for free via the website and newsletters also ensures the brand doesn’t feel “transactional,” Bott says. “We have the attitude that we want to engage as many people as possible, even if they never spend a penny.”
Away from the site, Instagram is still Happy Place’s most fruitful communications channel. “I love Instagram because it feels like a conversation and a relationship,” says Cotton.
The platform is also key to gathering audience insights, she says. “It’s interesting to find out which subject matters and stories we’ve missed out and how we can see things differently – that has become really valuable to us”.
Forging new partnerships
Happy Place has already tied with a swathe of brands, from product collaborations with Boots to video content with beauty brand Aveeno to signing with podcast company Acast. While Happy Place is on the hunt for new brands to tie with, Bott caveats that it turns down more pitches than it says yes to. “If a brand’s attitude doesn’t fit with what we are trying to do, or its sustainability or HR policies don’t match, we push back,” she says.
New opportunities have to fulfill Cotton and Bott’s criteria around inclusivity. Bott says they are only looking to partner with brands that avoid “jargon”, brands that aren’t aimed at “people with a ton of wealth – both money and time”.
“It’s very important that the price point is very reasonable so that we can reach more people,” Cotton adds. “One of the barriers we want to break down is that wellness is for a certain demographic.”
Elsewhere, Cotton reveals she’s mulling over how to execute more small local events and conceive a project that will get Happy Place users’ creative juices flowing.
“I’m naturally an introvert and like being at home writing my books or squirreling away working out little ideas for Happy Place,” she says. “I’m just really content and excited to work out what we do with Happy Place next.”