You launched your business this past year in 2017, tell us a little about what your life looked like prior to being one of Portland's beloved meditation and yoga gurus:
I've been an athlete my whole life and in the fitness industry for over a decade. Even though I looked like the picture of health throughout my 20s—I exercised 4 to 6 days a week, I drank all the green smoothies....I even worked for a fitness company and taught group exercise!—I was stuck in this cycle of feeling not enough. I had body image issues always wishing I could lose 5 pounds. I also had so much negative self talk, and my attitude of trying to prove myself to myself every single day was leaving me exhausted. It wasn't until I had a series of anxiety attacks at work that I considered meditating seriously. After a few months of meditating regularly, I realized meditation was the missing piece I needed. It helped me uncover this stronger, more resilient part of myself I didn't know was there. It also taught me how to be more compassionate and patient to myself and others. And then when I started combining my daily meditations with movement? Game over. I felt so good. I had to share it and start this company.
As I hope you now know, my personal goal in having the store is to create a warm & relaxed space that invites honest & real human connection and interaction. Yes, we love having pretty things that you might want to bring into your closet or home, and that is so special, but beyond that, it's about the people. At the risk of getting political, the world is a little batty right now and I think we are all craving genuine connections that make us feel like we've found 'our people' (no? just me?).
That's why I talk to you as a human rather than a business on social media, why WM hosts talks like Create+Connect, fundraisers and random nights full of wine and insanely delicious Trader Joe's cookies (trust me. woah.). It's why I love when someone reaches out on Instagram and asks if I'll grab a coffee (the answer is always yes). It's why I encourage my employees to have outside lives and interests that expand their circle of connections. It's why, as a business we trudge along through tough winters, protests and political uncertainty. It's why I love having this shop, for better or for worse.
The last few months at WM GOODS have had some ups and downs. A few months back, an unwell man walked by our store and kicked in one of our massive windows (downside to having a ton of light pouring in) in the middle of the day. Yesterday morning someone broke into our shop, banged up our front door and stole our cash register. There's also the day to day issues of figuring out respectful distribution in a small city with lots of wonderful boutiques, crossed-wires due to wonky communication, the list goes on... It's hard not to feel worn down and low when things like this keep happening (come on karma, did I do something wrong?!). I don't think I'm alone in this feeling.
It's in both the hard moments and the beautiful moments that I see the big picture of why. We are coming up on 2 years of being open in Portland and I feel #blessed to have made genuine connections with some of the most talented, interesting, business savvy, kind, and inspiring people I've ever known and likely never would've known without the store. I am a natural introvert, but hosting little meet-ups or just chatting with someone who pops into the shop has been so expanding for me. My life is enriched by knowing you all and I truly mean that. This isn't some sort of marketing ploy or weird attempt to humanize a business. This is the gosh-dang truth of why I do what I do.
The moral of the story is that I want to thank you for the love and support you've shown to me and my team. I also want to invite you to join us in honesty, laughter, friendship, and community. Come by and hang out, sign up for an event, or reach out digitally. You might just meet some cool people that become your circle.