A cultural exchange and an idea born
Back in 2009, Sean Hoess and Jeff Krasno were deep in the music scene, running their own record label in Brooklyn, New York. Surrounded by the likes of Bonaroo and Outside Lands, they witnessed a new generation of music festivals.
“We always wanted to create our own festival,” says Sean, “but it had to be different.”
It wasn’t until Jeff’s wife, Schuyler Grant, opened her yoga studio above their office that something clicked.
“There was this sudden cultural exchange with yoga upstairs and music downstairs. Schuyler was also organising these amazing retreats down in Costa Rica at the time,” says Sean. “An idea started to grow... What if we combined music, yoga and wellness at a beautiful location into a festival?”
And so the trio launched Wanderlust.
What started out as a 3000-person event in Squaw Valley, California has turned into a wellness powerhouse, with events covering five continents, several yoga studios, Wanderlust TV and a line of plant-based supplements.
Now, having passed its 10-year milestone, Wanderlust is partnering with Easol to take its events to the next level and bring in a new wave of wellness experiences.
“If we hadn’t done it, someone else would’ve. It was an idea waiting to happen” says Sean. “But after 10 years, it’s time to shake things up.”
Shaking things up
Throughout the years, Wanderlust has tried many different tools to manage and sell its festivals and events. From scheduling software like Mindbody and traditional ticketing like Front Gate, to custom solutions and integrations, Wanderlust has been on the lookout for a platform that could do it all.
“Wanderlust is a strange beast. On top of regular tickets, our festivals also include a load of classes that attendees can schedule, plus accommodation options and add-ons as well.” says Sean. “Easol is the holy trinity we’ve been looking for, enabling us to handle ticketing, lodging and scheduling.”
Sean continues, “the team at Easol really understand the complexity of our business because they’ve created complex events themselves – it’s what really attracted me to join the platform.”
Launching Wanderlust 108 with Easol
To get started on Easol, Wanderlust launched its world-renowned Wanderlust 108 events – a series of mindful triathlons that combine running, yoga, meditation and community in several cities, including New York, Milan, Berlin, Lisbon and more. This year, it has also added virtual events for the first time, featuring multi-cam live streams and exclusive content.
“There’s a learning curve with any new system,” says Sean. “And with many licensed partners working around the world, moving Wanderlust to a new platform poses unique challenges. Despite that, Easol has been very agile and supportive, which has made the transition very smooth.”
Another element that prompted Wanderlust to switch to Easol was the improved customer experience.
Sean explains, “With Easol hosting our website, there is no need to jump to another site to book tickets – they can do everything in one place. The overall customer journey is much more streamlined.”
Working closely with Easol’s engineering team, Wanderlust has also helped shape the platform’s features.
“Easol’s culture of collaboration has been crucial to our partnership," says Sean, "they’re highly responsive and truly listen to your needs.”
A new era of wellness experiences
While Wanderlust’s ambitions to be a leading, global wellness brand has never changed, their mindset for the next phase of its events has.
“Our long-term goal has always been to create an eco-system that inspires conscious living, real community and products to support that kind of lifestyle. But the pandemic has forced us to rethink our approach to creating festivals,” says Sean. “You feel like a hamster on a wheel when you’re running the same event year after year. Now that we’ve had some downtime to reflect, we’re keen to try new things and refresh Wanderlust.”
For example, Sean and his co-founders are rekindling an idea of “Winterlust”, a new festival concept combining yoga and skiing.
“We’ve had this idea for years now and we’re thrilled to be finally doing it. So much of what makes Wanderlust great is baked into Winterlust — the yoga and meditation practice, the mountains and nature, the outdoor adventure, the music, and of course the amazing community that gathers together at our events,” says Sean. “What makes it different is that, for the first time, something other than yoga — skiing and snowsports — is the lead activity. We've always seen Wanderlust as a "yoga and" brand, not a yoga brand, and this is a chance to really delve into that.”
Winterlust is also a new opportunity for Wanderlust to continuously improve upon its experiences.
“Another major change we’ve made is the culinary program,” says Sean. “We've gathered a lot of feedback about the food at our festivals in the past and a micro-festival like Winterlust really gives us a chance to double down on food, Wanderlust-style: healthy, sustainable, delicious, and communal. And it's fully inclusive, which just removes a whole element of planning and stress from the event.”
Sean continues, “This is the kind of festival that’s tailor-made for what Easol does so well. Between yoga and skiing, we’re also looking into lodging, culinary experiences and other add-ons, ticketing and website needs to be seamless, and that’s where Easol really shines.”
Because of its approach to experience commerce, Easol has enabled Wanderlust to think more creatively, go after new ventures, and bring in a new era of wellness experiences.
“We can go beyond yoga and build new concepts,” says Sean. “We can finally be the experience business we’ve always wanted to be.”