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How one supermarket embodies the notion of aspiration

This month, Erewhon, the health and wellness mega sprawling out across the Southern California region, and often seen on TMZ, launched its second merch collection. The collection represents the perfect case study into a sub-set of brands who have come to represent the idea of, “The Aspirational Everyday”.

Today, any brand that isn’t competing on price or logistics is in the business of selling aspiration. Any consumer good has the potential to be a marker of status; from the products you clean your home with to the coffee you drink to the green juice you pick up after pilates.

The Aspirational Everyday is a shift in consumer behavior, from signaling status solely with traditional luxury goods whose value is derived from being expensive, to the popularization of a new wave of consumer goods that are exclusive because they are symbols of knowledge and values.

What can we learn about Aspirational Everyday brands? 

These brands build success through 2 levels of storytelling:

1. They tell a story about the product’s scarcity and specialness.

From the password protected access on the site, to the ‘made in LA from organic cotton’ product story, the Erewhon merchandise itself obeys the rules of scarcity. It also sits in the wider context of Erewhon itself – a retail experience in elite locations that features rare, local and hard to get ingredients including limited edition smoothies from celebrities like Hailey Bieber. All of this combines to form an idea about Erewhon as a purveyor of an experience few people are able to access.

2. These brands help the customer tell a story about themselves: 

Enshrined in pop culture via a now deleted Kanye tweet and Tinx’s endless ‘Rich Mom’ caricatures, Erewhon somehow manages to combine all of these signals.

With its 8 locations around LA, much like In-N-Out Burger, it’s cultural presence far outstrips its physical one and the ability to visit and shop at Erewhon is a flex in itself – demonstrating a mix of discernment, belonging and financial success – someone who cares about what they eat and how it’s grown, is a resident of an area selected for a store location and is materially wealthy to pay the eye watering prices that TikTok obsesses over. There is even a literal club to belong to – Erewhon’s loyalty program charges a $200 annual fee.

Most powerfully, Erewhon sits at the apex of wellness culture. The idea that ‘health is wealth’ is now an entrenched collective belief, and a healthy lifestyle is the ultimate status symbol and a proxy for personal virtue. In an interview with The New York TimesErewhon Vice President Jason Widener, acknowledged this “I don’t know if it’s cool any more these days to have a Bud Light jumping off a cliff, you know?” Mr. Widener said. “It’s cool to have a green juice in your hand and jump off a cliff.”’

How does the aspirational everyday apply to your brand?