Stephanie Young ND MHD is the founder of Wellware Collections, a new online health and lifestyle store, which seeks to blend ancient wisdoms with modern needs.
A qualified naturopath and herbalist with 10 year’s experience, she started Wellware Collections from home, providing a platform for both artisans to sell their wares and for consumers to discover quality local products that will wholly engage and nourish their senses.
What initially inspired you to start Wellware Collections?
I first had the idea of Wellware Collections when I was in my early twenties working in a health shop. Being an idealist at heart I was really surprised/shocked that there were products for sale that were known to compromise a person’s health. Particularly ‘novelty’ type supplements like tablets that dissolve and fizz into drinks that contained aspartame and aluminium. Some of these even came from companies that also sold literature around the dangers of such additives and preservatives.
I was studying Naturopathy along side my ‘day job’, and the more I learnt the more striking these types of hypocrisies became to me. There are many places that play on the title ’Health Shop’ and I firmly believed I was not the only person who falsely believed that everything on the shelf would be good for me.
My first ideal for Wellware Collections was to provide a shop where integrity came first. I wanted to ensure my customers knew that what they bought through us was good for them. And definitely not doing them damage! Label reading takes a lot of time and energy and I wanted to take that necessary step out and do it for them.
Is this the first business you’ve ever owned and run? What have been the challenges or obstacles you’ve faced and do you have any advice for overcoming them?
Yes this is a first! The main challenges have been working on my own, without anyone to bounce ideas off, and needing to work other jobs to invest the money I have needed to build the necessary structures for Wellware Collections.
For a long time I tried to build the web store myself, and while it didn’t work out, the experience and learning curve I got from working on backend programmes was invaluable.
Getting other people involved was a turning point, utilising the talents of a graphic designer, to create a visual that represented the body/life force of my business, and getting a programmer to create the site for me. Contracting other professionals gave me a sense of structure and purpose. It had been easy to put my project at the end of the priority list for my ‘paid work’.
Is Wellware Collections fulltime or do you juggle other jobs or roles?
I do juggle other roles, and am really grateful for the other work I do and the experience I get that I can then use for Wellware Collections.
I have gone from being a Naturopath at Huckleberry Farms to being their Marketing Manager. This has been teaching me about design, social media, input into shop design and merchandising.
I also work for Franchelle Ofsoské-Wyber Medicine Woman, and First Light Flower Essences of NZ®. The work I do here is really inspiring and keeps me developing and honing my skills as a practitioner.
Clients make up a big part of my work as well, it is incredibly inspiring and rewarding to have people share a part of their journey with me, and for us to work co-operatively in creating plans to simplify and enhance the joy in their lives.
And juggling would be the word when mixing work and family. With a partner who also runs his own business in the music industry and a boisterous 4-year-old boy it does get pretty hectic. There are times when all I can do is put everything down and have a laugh with my boys!
How is your business different to others in the industry? Why?
My business is unique in the way we view holistic wellbeing. Through my naturopathic work it has become glaringly obvious that diet, nutrition and exercise are not the full picture for a person to feel amazing in their life.
Collections of ware for wellness became my focus. I love fashion, music, art, jewellery, literature and plant medicine. For me they are the pillars of wellness. I believe in quality and longevity of clothing, there is great power in creating how and who we present to the world. I’m not interested in what is on the catwalk, but what reflects who you are, and where you want to be. What we listen to can totally affect our mood, our energy, our thoughts, by being mindful of this we can use music as a tool.
The basic cornerstones for all civilisations and cultures throughout history have been medicine, music, art, studying the stars, and a belief of something divine. These are the aspects of wellbeing Wellware Collections embraces. I am also keenly aware of building and strengthening our local communities, and providing a platform for artists and artisans to showcase their work.
How did you come to be a naturopath and herbalist? Is this a field you’ve always wanted to work in?
When I was at school I came up with a theory that if I smelled a particular scent whilst studying and then took the same scent into the exam, then surely some part of me would recall what I was reading/doing at the time I was first exposed to it. I then learnt that this was a well-known phenomenon ‘sensory recall’. I wasn’t sure if my memory was any better, but the ritual of choosing an essential oil and putting into a burner (or tissue for the exam), really calmed and centred me. I knew I was tapping into some Ancient Wisdom, and it sparked a light for me!
I went to university to follow my passion of Art History and English Literature, but I found tertiary study to be really disheartening as we were encouraged to critique and pull apart another’s creative output. It felt mean-spirited and arrogant. I did three years, but could not complete as it felt really out of integrity. I got a job in a clinic/health shop and apprenticed for an amazing herbalist. My job was to fill her scripts and file her case notes. I loved the way she prescribed – recommending books and music, meal suggestions and meditations – it felt right, and I knew that was what I wanted to do.
Why is Wellness your passion?
Wellness is everything to me. It is your ability to function, feel gratitude, to love, to work, to be joyful. It provides quality of life and relationships to celebrate that with.
What motivates you – both in life and work?
I am motivated by my sense of reverence for the earth and for all that has gone before me. It blows me away to think that civilisations have looked to the stars for millions of years and worked out that we are a part of a solar system, to map the way the planets move, to plot and understand life cycles, without the modern technology we take for granted.
I am motivated by doing service in my community, being trusted and having people share their struggles and dreams with me.
I am motivated by music and art and that really taps into my sense of gratitude and the divine.
Who has impacted you most in your career?
There is a long list of mostly woman who have had a huge impact on the way I think, what I dream about and what I know is possible from their example. When I look at the list I am really privileged that I have relationships with most of them. These are the top three
First would be Caroline Myss, her teachings are wonderful – she does not sugar coat or tend toward the fey (flakiness) of a lot of self-development esoteric teachers. Her work on Sacred Contracts and Anatomy of the Spirit made so much sense to me, it was like being reminded of the truth, rather than learning a new way of thinking.
Franchelle Ofsoské-Wyber, Medicine Woman and Co-creator of First Light Flower Essences of NZ®. Working ceaselessly to bring ancient teachings into a modern framework, and accessible to the masses. She works in co-operation with nature to create a system of medicine that is effective, sustainable and work to gently restore balance and harmony.
Susi Newborn, Rainbow Warrior. A tireless activist and strong supportive woman. Susi’s enthusiasm and drive is infectious working for the greater good.
What’s your favourite pick me up and what natural product / treat do you swear by?
My staples are herbal teas with a few drops of a flower essence remedy and Echinacea. I love hot drinks and am often lugging around a thermos if I’m away from home. It is great to be able to make a daily brew that I can tweak depending on how I am feeling, or how I want to feel.
Echinacea is one of my favourite herbs, it is an immune modulator – so it primes the immune system to deal with pretty much any onslaught! It is a great liver tonifier, blood purifier and generally awesome plant!
One of my favourite things to do is have a cup of tea with a friend and pull some tarot cards. It is a lot of fun, and often helps to put things into perspective.
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