After nearly three decades of pushing her body to its limits, Serena Williams is now focusing on recovery—quite literally. Following the tennis champ’s announcement in August that she is “evolving away” from the sport that made her a sports icon, today, Williams launches Will Perform, a line of topical pain-relief and muscle-care products designed for athletes and non-athletes alike.
“The last few years, I’ve been thinking about recovery, and I learned that the best athletes are the best because they recover the best,” Williams tells Fast Company. “It doesn’t matter how good you are if you can’t show up the next day.”
Williams and her cofounders—??CPG executive Hank Mercier and Eric Ryan, the entrepreneur behind the brands Method, Olly, and Welly—wanted to create easy-to-understand products that are also enjoyable to use, no matter your level of activity.
Will Perform launches with five products: Will Relieve Pain Relief Roll-On and Spray, Will Cool Cooling Pain Relief Roll-On, Will Soothe Daily Muscle Soothing Lotion, and Will Rest Nightly Muscle Recovery Lotion. Each retails for less than $16, and is available direct-to-consumer today and at Target on December 18.
Williams says making Will Perform available to everyone was important to her, as it is with every brand she aligns herself with. “The way I grew up, a lot of things weren’t accessible to me,” she says. “Even with our fashion line, it’s very affordable and accessible.”
While many athletic products are marketed toward men, the line is also more gender inclusive—as well as age inclusive.
“These are beautifully designed and thoughtfully formulated self-care products that consumers will look forward to using,” says Ryan. “We’re also making sure we’re speaking to younger and female consumers who are often underrepresented within this category.”
Of course, teaming up with one of the greatest athletes of all time gives the brand some credibility. Per Ryan, Williams even tested out the products during her last tennis season.
“Serena was very hands-on during this process,” says Ryan. “She had a clear vision of how she wanted to improve upon existing products in the recovery space in terms of efficacy, skin feel, fragrance experience, and application, and created an overall experience that was easy and convenient for athletes.”
With 23 Grand Slam titles under her professional belt, Williams knows a thing or two about what works when it comes to recovery. Her routine consists of stretching, massage therapy, and acupuncture—as well as well deserved “me” time.
“Just watching the silliest program shuts my brain off,” Williams says. “I think it’s important to have those moments where you take out time for yourself and recover not only physically but mentally as well.”
That said, she admits one of the ailments that plagues her most now comes courtesy of picking up her 5-year-old daughter, Olympia.
“Since being a mom, my back hurts way more than it ever has when I was playing professional tennis,” she laughs, adding that in those moments, she reaches for the lidocaine-infused Will Relieve products. “I get a lot of pain relief from that,” she says.
Even with tennis off of her plate these days, Williams says she’s been busier than ever.
“It is very questionable how in the world I added tennis to this,” she says of her current schedule. “I have a venture company and I’m working all day in the office. I’m working on Will Perform and my fashion. It’s definitely a lot.”
That may explain why one of her go-tos is the Will Rest Nightly Muscle Recovery Lotion, which has magnesium, lavender, and geranium to help promote sleep. “I love it, because I never rest and I need to rest.”