The Wellness Refinery is my baby; the brainchild of my highest self. I’ve spent the last 3 years wholly committed to nurturing it into existence. It takes a village they say, and that’s for damn sure. Without the support of, and collaboration with the other incredible changemakers involved in building each stepping stone, TWR wouldn’t be what it is today. It wouldn’t have become this ever evolving and flourishing concept of a brand that continues to encourage growth within me, as much as I encourage growth within it. It wouldn’t be there for the community, if the community wasn’t consistently there supporting it right back. So before I delve into the story behind the brand, I’m sending out an insane amount of gratitude to everyone who has contributed in any way to this dream. The community, the customers, the mentors, the staff, the friends and family, Chelsea, and of course our co-owner, otherwise known as Mom.
I Wish I Was Magic
I’ve always had this insatiable desire to do something big in my life. Something crazy-impactful for myself, and every other person and thing around me. The creative energy within me has always pushed my mind beyond its limits. I’m a grand and expansive thinker, and a true believer. I promise I’m not digressing. I’m sharing this story because I’m making a point about our potential as humans existing on this Earth. It starts with how you think, believe, and perceive. When I was little I always wished for the same thing. You know the kind of wish you make when you blow out your birthday candles, see 11:11, or find an eyelash on your cheek? The kind of wish you’re never supposed to tell anyone because if it’s a secret it may actually come true? Well I’m telling you mine now, because I’ve come to realize that first, it was always true, and second, you can grant it to yourself because it’s infinitely available for everyone. To appease my little self, we’ll just say I was an incredibly consistent keeper of I Wish I Was Magic.
As much as I can fly in my dreams, that’s not happening in this waking life. But in my deeply personal and oftentimes trying exploration of existence, I discovered that magic is real. It just shows up in different forms than my 7-year old self would’ve expected. In all honesty, this is the self that I most identify with. The one that has true magic, creates an epic Pinterest board, and makes that shit happen. It’s all energy y’all!
The opportunity to create TWR came at me like a huge wave. But obviously in a super cool beachy way – picture me in a donut shaped floaty on top of said wave. I guess that’s a cute rendition of what manifestation could be. But in all honesty, it’s powerful. The wave of a manifesting idea truly carries you. I did NOT realize that the vision boards, journaling, meditations, and constant daydreams throughout my life would lead to this. Or more specifically, that the notes I wrote in my journal while on vacation in Antigua would lead to me signing a lease 2 weeks later. March 29th, 2018 to be exact.
The Universe Conspiring
This part of the story has a WHOLE lotta personal background to it that will most definitely be explained in a separate post. Long story short, I entered the wellness industry years prior to the birth of the TWR we’re nurturing today. I had been unwell for a frustratingly long time, and sought out LITERALLY everything holistic in order to heal. I became a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, Personal Trainer, Reiki Master, and Life Coach. A take on the wounded healer, we could say.
Before we landed in the building we’re in, I thought I would be opening up a sweet little pop-up smoothie shack in a beach town for the season. This idea followed my aforementioned vacation, during a short visit from Toronto, up to our beach house in Sauble. I remember driving down Lakeshore Blvd., envisioning a super vibin’ healthy spot pumping out nourishing smoothies and grab and go eats. I somehow hilariously managed to miss the very obvious connection between this idea as a starting point, to the journaling and vision boards I had done for years. As my mom and I sat on the beach in Antigua, I explained to her what I had written in my journal that week. Maybe TWR could eventually be:
“a wellness centre, fitness + yoga studio, curated shop, and apothecary café serving alchemical tonics, potions, lattes and superfood snacks”(A real excerpt from that journal entry!!!)
At the time, The Wellness Refinery was functioning as the umbrella brand for my practice as a holistic nutritionist and wellness coach. I was working my ass off trying to figure out how to make it feel right. The struggle was REAL, and I was so fake happy to the outside world, that the thought of it now brings up MAJOR icky feelings of inauthenticity. For this newly conceptualized smoothie shack, I didn’t want to even touch the name The Wellness Refinery. I was stubborn and wanted to preserve it for my grander ideas. I’m fairly certain that my egoic self, so afraid of failure, needed to be tricked into making a move. The wave brought me to the smoothie shack – the official entry point that was feasible enough for me to make those moves. But my ego said it had to be just a pop up because that would save me from failure right? What’s wrong with saving some face? The phrase “testing the waters” came out of my mouth amusingly often.
To be honest, throughout this entire entry point experience, there was a feeling that I still have trouble putting into words. It was an intensely all-knowing intuitive guidance that completely overtook me. My higher self. Suddenly it was more terrifying to turn my back on the idea and opportunity than it was to embark on it. This intuitive connection with self has stayed with me throughout every single decision I have made in my life since.
Now that I’ve had time to observe myself, and this path, I can see how much of it was just the sum of a quote from one of my favourite books,
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
So as cliché as this sounds, what I’m really saying is be careful what you wish for, because we are magic. The energy we put out comes right back in, and the universe will always conspire. TRUST ME.
The smoothie shack turned into a restaurant.
The only available property in Sauble at the time was a 980 square foot bungalow building previously functioning as a restaurant. My expansive mind walked in there, and the wheels started turning. So naturally, I signed the lease.
It should be very clearly noted that this was an unexpected venture, so my calendar was by no means empty through to the planned opening date of May 19th, 2018. I had 7 weeks to go from a general idea to a fully functioning brick and mortar business. Things were miraculously juggled, with my support system thankfully catching what fell. I was somehow working with clients, doing brand promo work, catering a day retreat, and had an already planned trip to Barbados with one of my besties booked smack in the middle of it all. Despite this, I immersed myself into the world of restaurant and retail. I managed to develop a menu from scratch, set up all the systems, sourced equipment and food, curated retail, created a financial plan, attended tea and coffee tastings, managed branding and design work, and wore all the other FUN hats that I’m forgetting to mention here. In case you missed it, all the hats look good on entrepreneurs – we’re super stylish. To top it off, upon my return from Barbados we had exactly 3 weeks to get in there, and transform the physical space. Since then, it’s undergone some major work. This 3 year transformation is documented in detail in my personal archives, but below are some photos we were eager to share.
The photos above encompass SO much more than a before and after look at our physical space. They encompass the evolution of a brand. A brand that from day one, was established with deep meaning, authenticity, and a whole lot of magic.
The Wellness Refinery is my baby; the brainchild of my highest self. I can’t even count how many growth spurts it’s had in the past 3 years, but I’m certain each one has occurred in reciprocity with me. Most times the growth feels out of my control, and the test is to trust in the magic. I trusted enough to build and lead TWR into a space of continuous evolution. As of January 2020, TWR is co-owned by my Mom and I. We provide an incredible work environment and mentorship opportunities for our team, have created beautiful and lasting bonds with our community, and we’re blooming into the 2021 season with some unbelievably exciting plans. Stay tuned y’all 🙂