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Small Business Love: Ashleigh Stewart, Founder of The Wellness Refinery

Small Business Love: Ashleigh Stewart, Founder of The Wellness Refinery

As a female-founded small business ourselves, we wanted to highlight some of our amazing female-founded small business partners. We chatted with Ashleigh (@ashleighnoelle), the founder and owner of The Wellness Refinery, Philadelphia’s first infrared sauna studio & tonic bar. She shares how COVID-19 has affected her business, how she’s dealing with the challenges and managing stress, and her WFH morning routine.

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I am a clinical nutritionist and the owner and founder of The Wellness Refinery in Philadelphia. We are a modern self-care destination specializing in infrared sauna therapy, custom herbal lattes and smoothies at our tonic bar, and we also offer a retail section bringing you the best natural personal products, from Wylde One to your favorite skincare and at-home self-care essentials.

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN IMPACTED BY COVID-19? HOW ARE YOU DEALING WITH THE CHALLENGES?

The day before Philadelphia instated all non-essential businesses to close, our ceiling leaked and we had water pouring through our ceiling. We were closed for almost a month after because of the repairs. We definitely would have still been closed because of COVID-19, but we couldn’t physically be in our space thinking of new offerings or pivoting our business in any way. So the beginning of quarantine was very stressful for me.

Not only did that happen, but for me personally, I unfortunately lost my grandfather, my boyfriend and I split up, and I moved back home to my parents–so it was an uproot of a lot of things all at once. It was a lot of uncertainty, a lot of heartbreak, and it was just challenging to see the light in all of this. 

But before any of these closures happened, I had been so positive and hopeful that no matter what happened, my business would still be okay. And I am very fortunate at this time that the business has been okay. Since all the repairs have happened, we’ve launched our online store and all of our retail products are now available on our website. Since we do have access to our space again, we are able to get in in there, pack products, and offer pickup or local deliveries in Philly, which has been pretty awesome.

HAS THERE BEEN ANYTHING POSITIVE THAT YOU’VE TAKEN AWAY FROM THE SITUATION?

I’m trying to take the time to count my blessings and be grateful. The abundance of time this pandemic has given to me has truly been a gift. Without the ceiling leak and closures, I wouldn’t have been home to say goodbye to my grandfather, and I wouldn’t have this time with my family. I also wouldn’t have the time to learn new skills for my business. Right now, I am taking an online course and learning how to write for social media. I also just attended the Create & Cultivate Money Moves Digital Summit to learn more about how I should be saving for myself as a business owner.

WHAT’S HELPING WITH STRESS AND ANXIETY DURING THIS TIME?

I have been very diligent in meditation to help manage my stress. I had never been meditating before, but I added in The Wave Meditation app to my routine, and it has been so helpful. It’s guided meditation to the beat of music. I can dive in so much deeper when I feel the tunes. I use it in the morning a lot to help energize my day or in the evening to wind me down and help me fall asleep.

WHAT’S YOUR MORNING ROUTINE LATELY?

My life has literally been flipped upside down throughout this quarantine, so I’m doing my best to keep some normalcy and routine to my day. 

First up, I like to drink a large mason jar of room temperature water to rehydrate, flush out toxins, and jump start my system. The more water I drink in the morning, the more likely I am to continue and drink throughout the day. Then I brush my teeth. Okay, hear me out! Brushing and flossing is one of the most underrated self-care practices. Your oral microbiome is key to gut health! Your mouth is the start of your digestive tract. Think of it like a river–any bacteria or pathogens that are present in your mouth flow through your digestive tract and can influence your gut microbiome health.

Then I wash my face. My stress levels have been on a wild rollercoaster ride throughout quarantine and it is definitely showing on my face! So I’m being very gentle and only using this gentle, calming milk cleanser from Fitglow and recovery cream from Ursa Major to be kind to my skin.

Then I take my morning supplements and drinks. My morning drink lineup includes water, a celery/apple/ginger juice, and my Wylde One Smoothie. Chill AF Cacao and Yoga in a Cup have been my lifesavers during quarantine! With a whirlwind of stress, I’ve been able to chill out a bit with my smoothies and lattes.

Then I’m ready to work–I’m back to packing and shipping all of the online orders from my parent’s dining room table!


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