Meet Gretchen: a mom of two, certified holistic esthetician, and badass business owner of Wildflower Beauty Bar! We love Gretchen’s approach to skincare - ethical, sustainable, and natural, and we love the vibe of her boutique spa set in a heritage building in Port Moody. Read on to learn more about this super mom’s journey to entrepreneurship, including the challenges and triumphs she’s experienced along the way.
What is your story?
I decided to go to esthetics school in 2003 and to be honest, I don’t remember what inspired me to first do it, but I’m so happy I did. I instantly loved the work and the connection with people and have been doing it ever since.
What inspired you to open up Wildflower Beauty Bar?
A few years ago I was at a job I had outgrown and knew was no longer the right fit for me. I needed a change but didn’t know exactly what that change looked like. One day a client messaged me to ask if I wanted to collaborate with her on opening up a spa. This idea was really exciting and opened my mind to a new list of possibilities. I’d played with the idea of having a spa in the past, but didn’t believe it was possible to do on my own so this felt like a serendipitous opportunity. In the end, we didn’t end up opening a spa together but it was that request that sparked the creative fire in me to eventually open up Wildflower Beauty Bar. It changed my belief about what I could do on my own and I was reminded what I loved best about my job and was inspired to create a space based on those things: human connection and personalized, holistic care. The beauty industry has a tendency to pick the body apart, disconnecting people from the root of true beauty. Often, the skin is treated as a separate entity from the body, mind, and emotions, but really they are all intricately intertwined. I hope to empower my clients with beauty routines that help them focus on the big picture, and not just pick apart the things they dislike about themselves.
What does a typical day look like?
A typical day for me starts with getting my kids ready for school and daycare. There is absolutely no romance in this. It’s difficult to be the present, patient parent you want to be when you are pressed for time and are wrangling a three and six year old! Any other parents out there feel the same way?! After that it’s straight to the spa. I’m there from about 9 in the morning until 6:30 in the evening and the time flies by. Between the back-end stuff that’s required to run a business and servicing my clients, there’s a lot to keep me on my toes. Thankfully I get to work with amazing clients that make my work interesting and rewarding.
Favourite part of your job?
The human connection. I love getting to know my clients and building relationships with them. This is what drives me and makes my job a true pleasure. I also love that I get to share my passion for skincare in a meaningful way.
Most challenging part about running your own business?
Not letting it overwhelm you and remembering to take breaks. There is SO MUCH to learn and do when you run your own business. Sometimes the responsibilities can feel heavy, but I’m learning better ways to deal with this kind of stress. It’s been an expansive learning experience for me. Your strengths and weaknesses become really apparent when you’re on your own and I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I’m capable of.
What are your self-care rituals?
Natural + sustainable beauty is becoming more and more popular. What advice would you give to someone looking to transition to a more holistic approach to skincare?
Seek the help of a holistic skincare professional. People tend to think of skincare routines as cumbersome and even unnecessary, but we can design a personalized skincare plan that suits your lifestyle. This truly is the secret to sustainability. Incorporate only the things you need and love so your skincare routine is something you believe in and can look forward to. At Wildflower, we offer a range of services that will truly revitalize your mind, body, and spirit and support your journey to discover which holistic self-care rituals will ultimately work for you.
Top 3 skincare/beauty rituals, products and/or tools you can't live without and why?
1) My Facial Gua Sha board: Facial gua sha has truly changed the way I care for my skin. It’s like exercise for your face. It lifts, smooths out wrinkles and contours your face like nothing else I’ve ever worked with.
2) This kind of counts as three things but I can’t cut it down! Cleanser, serum and moisturizer. I don’t go a day without those three steps!
3) Sleep! I learned this after I was sleep deprived when my kids were babies. Sleep is essential to beauty. This is when our bodies do their best healing and rejuvenation.
Best piece of advice for others wanting to start their own business?
Follow your gut and do things your way. Also ask for help along the way.
Life motto you live by?
Treat others as you want to be treated
What's next for Wildflower Beauty Bar?
I’ll see what unfolds. I’ve developed a deep interest in traditional chinese medicine so there will be more from that incorporated into my treatments as I learn more. I’ve just reached the stage where my initial vision has become a reality and so I’m enjoying that for now and finding ways to keep it sustainable and interesting. Follow us on Instagram at @wildflower.beautybar for holistic skincare tips and tricks, and to stay updated on new and exciting things to come.