This post is part of our collection of Food and Wellness Trends in honor of Women’s History Month.
March is a time to celebrate the achievements of women — those who blazed trails and current females making waves. That said, like anyone who has a month devoted to recognizing them, we know women’s equality still has a long way to come. Instead of dwelling on the undeniable inequalities that remain, we want to recognize that what has made the wellness industry so successful for women is partly due to the fact that traditional medical care frequently “dismisses and dehumanizes women.” A study from Academic Emergency Medicine found that women often wait longer than men to be treated for reported acute pain, to name just one example.
Let us be clear, these aren’t only “women issues”. Think about how much more we could accomplish as a society if “women issues” were treated as, I don’t know, just issues. Anyway, let’s get back to why we’re here! We want to celebrate some of the women not afraid to take risks in the wellness industry to make self-care more inclusive and representative of the issues plaguing us all. From inclusive meditation apps to environmentally conscious bath products — these women are creating real, tangible, progressive change in the health industry and beyond. It’s time you meet the women who might be your boss someday, if you’re lucky.
Stacey Johnson and Jasmine Johnson, BLACK ZEN
There’s one thing we need to address right out of the gate– wellness has long been dominated by the privileged, primarily white female. Stacey Johnson and Jasmine Johnson, co-founders of BLACK ZEN have set out to tell the story of a more diverse demographic in the form of a free weekly podcast and online meditation guides. As they put it in their mission “BLACK ZEN is a movement dedicated to improving the health and well-being of black and brown communities. It is a social enterprise designed to make meditation accessible, relatable and effective across a dynamic range of individuals.” Refreshingly, their #weeklywellness podcast topics range from choosing the right partner to navigating false assumptions.
Britteny Floyd-Mayo, Trap Yoga Bae
Have you ever thought about where your local yoga studio is located? What kind of music is the instructor playing? Or who is on the mat next to you? Well according to a 2012 Yoga Journal Study, “About one in every 15 Americans practices yoga, and more than four-fifths of them are white.” Founder of Trap Yoga Bae, Britteny Floyd-Mayo, has transformed the yoga practice into something everyone can participate in by creating a yoga experience incorporating trap music and “#RachetAffirmations”. Trap Yoga Bae was created to build an accepting space for those who may have felt excluded from the traditional yoga experience.
Lauren Ash, Black Girl in Om
Similar to the founder of Trap Yoga Bae, Lauren Ash, founder of Black Girl in Om, identified a need for inclusive wellness tools in a space that was largely, well, white. Through their free podcasts, online publication, newsletter, and a soon to be store — BGIO “promotes holistic wellness and inner beauty for women of color.” In an interview with Nylon, Ash explains the initial inspiration for Black Girl Om came from a series of hate crimes witnessed in her undergraduate career. Serving as an RA her sophomore year, the events culminated with a specific occurrence she talks about with Nylon. “There were these three black women who lived together a couple doors down from mine, and someone just kept on harassing them—everything from the N-word written in Sharpie on their door to death threats.” Following these events, Ash switched her major to study “prejudice and racism from the perspective of social psychology.” During her time as a stressed graduate student, she turned to yoga as a means to unwind and noticed women of color were largely not present on their mats. Skip forward a bunch of years, hated jobs, and many collaborators, BGIO was born and thank goodness!
Dakota Hills and Sierra Brashear, Moon Bath
Moon Bath brings joy to this world in the form of environmentally conscious, responsibly sourced bath products. Their triple bottom line approach encompasses profit, people and planet. Founded by two lady friends devoted to plant-based healing, Dakota Hills and Sierra Brashear, Moon Bath’s story infiltrates everything from their mission statement to their product descriptions. We can all bathe in peace knowing that companies like Moon Bath are behind the products we’re willing to invite to our beloved bathtime.
Rose Marcario, Patagonia
If you’re offended by us saying our planet is not well, this article is not for you. But what’s wellness if it’s not the wellness of our planet? Luckily, there are women (and of course men, but that’s another article) who are doing their part to help detoxify our suffering planet. One of those women is Rose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia. Other than their evergreen (pun intended) commitment to the planet’s wellness, Marcario has pledged to donate 10 million dollars worth of surplus revenue following Trump’s tax cut law to fight climate change. Marcario says “far too many have suffered the consequences of global warming in recent months, and the political response has so far been woefully inadequate—and the denial is just evil.” Wellness for our planet means wellness for all of us and that of future generations. We’ll get off our soapbox now.
Ashley Merrill, Lunya
We can all attest to how important sleep is to wellness, just ask anyone who’s ever lost a night of sleep. One company is helping us sleep in a new way — simply put, they’re helping us be comfier. Founded in 2014 by womentrepreneur, Ashley Merrill, Lunya is meeting women where they are: at the intersection of the tattered oversized t-shirt and pajamas we wouldn’t mind wearing to the grocery store. Lunya is developing lounge and sleepwear made for the modern woman. We might be annoyed by the term “modern woman,” except this time it’s coming directly from a woman so we’ll give it a pass. Ashley Merrill is devoted to making the third of our lives we spend sleeping both comfortable and cute. Not that we weren’t ready to purchase a cart full of their comfy attire, but Lunya is also devoted to celebrating fellow powerful women on their blog playfully named “our bedroom”. We can sleep easy knowing that women like Ashley Merrill have probably lost some sleep to create sleepwear by women for women.
It’s easy to get discouraged in the wellness space, both as a consumer and as a brand, when we are bombarded with trends like detox tea and hair growth gummy bears. However, it’s important to remember that wellness itself is not a fleeting trend, but rather a way of life that people are adopting in conjunction with traditional healthcare options. Because of this, it’s increasingly essential for all people, regardless of gender, socio-economic status, and race have equal access to wellness tools. We applaud these women, to name a few, who have devoted their careers for making wellness that much more accessible by creating products that weren’t available until they stepped on the scene.
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