Since our humble beginnings, the TWR Lifestyle Boutique has been ever-evolving – just like the wants, needs, and desires of us and our community! Though, as much as our product offerings have continuously grown, the standards and values we uphold during the selection process have remained the same.
Before sharing new curations with our community, there is a process much more extensive than you’d likely expect! Onboarding these new brands requires heart-lead thought, important research, and exploring deeply personal connections with the products themselves, as well as the individuals behind each brand.
So, as we continue putting our hearts and souls into growing our collection and expanding our boutique online (YAY!!), we thought we’d share with you a behind-the-scenes look at the efforts behind our curation process.
Before we dive into our approach, we feel it’s necessary to share with you the people behind our expertly-curated Lifestyle Boutique!
Founder of The Wellness Refinery, Saida Ilaqua is a Holistic Nutritionist, Life Coach, Personal Trainer, and Reiki Master and it doesn’t stop there. She believes in lifelong learning, and continues to further her education in the worlds of Clinical Detoxification, Human Endocrinology, Functional Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, Medicinal Mushrooms, Medicine Making – and the list goes on.
Like Saida, our Retail + Community Manager, Chelsea, also believes in the empowerment of continued education. While studying to become a Chartered Herbalist, she is also a Yoga Teacher, Practical Nurse, and Reiki Practitioner, among being an avid learner in worlds very similar to those mentioned above.
Between the two of us, the more we continue to learn, the more questions we uphold in our new product searches. This is to ensure that the products we share with our community, not only look the part but work as promised and support the betterment of all – including ourselves! Wait until you get a peek at our personal product shelfies… LOL.
In efforts to support our local economy and our people, we opt for choosing local artisans and craftspeople whenever possible. Plus, we have so many AMAZING local makers, we’d be silly not to support them first! Once the shop is up (VERY SOON!) hop on over to our Canadian-made collection to browse through some of our locally-made offerings.
Zero-waste is about as ideal as it gets! But we also know that this isn’t always possible without alternative consequences. In some cases, the demand for eco-friendly options has created more deficits in the process (while the biodegradability of bioplastics is an advantage, the land required for bioplastics competes with food production because the crops that produce bioplastics can also be used to feed people). However, we always seek to know what the company’s stance is, in terms of the environmental impact that their production has.
For example, here at TWR, we try to be as #PlasticFree as possible! If you’ve been in before, I’m sure you may have noticed that ALL of our takeaway containers and utensils are biodegradable, and our shelves are stacked with products housed in reusable containers. By leading by example, we can only hope to change the demand for plastic use and promote its sustainable alternatives.
Minority Owned + Operated
This one isn’t a dealbreaker, as we like to be as inclusive as we are minority-supportive! Nonetheless however often we can, we always try and support businesses that fall into this category.
We always like to ensure the brands have done their research in order to produce and package their products. This can look different depending on the products, but here are some examples of some of the questions that come into play.
- Our ingestibles – Do the ingredients chosen work synergistically with one another in order to effectively work as promised? Are the ingredients sourced locally? Organic? Wildcrafted (where it’s mindful to do so)? If we’re talking about botanicals, what parts of the plant/fungi are used (some parts can act more as a filler, than for any real benefit)?
- Lifestyle Products – What materials are used to produce the product and its packaging, and where are they sourced? Are they handmade? Who’s making them?
If applicable, we also like to see if there are evidence-based practices being implemented to create these products. It’s safe to say, the more transparent the company, the better we feel.
Peace of Mind
If you’ve read our most recent blog post, What to Look for When Choosing Wellness Products, you’ll know we’re big believers in shopping intuitively. This, however, is only made easy with the peace of mind. Finding a shop that upholds similar values to that of your own, will give you the peace of mind that allows you to explore products freely, shop intuitively, and feel good during the process. Hence, unlocking the door to the vast amount of supportive products waiting to enhance your experience in this lifetime!
Why We Do It
When it comes down to it, we want to hold ourselves amongst the changemakers of our time. The more we choose to support the brands and companies that have values that align with our own, the more we can create impactful change. Not only in our lifetime, but for the lifetimes of those that come after us.
If you know of a brand or product that fits some of the above and you’d love to see it on our shelves – we are all ears! Send us a note here 🙂