Hi friends! Mal here, CEO and Co Founder of MULTI. I was thinking about how cliche the saying “everything happens for a reason” is, but honestly in reflecting back on what brought me to building MULTI, everything truly does happen for a reason, and eventually, things fall into place.
So how, why, and what are we trying to do in the wellness space? The answer to that begins at the why.
WHY DID I GET INTO THIS?
A quick little back story, about 12 years ago I randomly started working at a supplement store to make extra money. I honestly don't even know why I applied to work there, I was working 3 other jobs to pay for school, so it was just an extra gig. A part of the training was to read books on holistic medicine, supplements, and treatments–all the wellness things. My boss would train me, I would help customers find the products they needed for their concerns, and I would communicate and deal with supplement vendors and distributors. I got this inherent training in the wellness industry and subsequently, some of those products, learnings, and practices became habitual parts of my own lifestyle. I was intrigued by what I was learning, but I felt a slight disconnection with the industry. I didn’t ever see anyone who looked like me sharing any of that knowledge, or leading in the space. I even contemplated starting a wellness blog, but felt so insecure in doing so, so all that came from that was a mood board and a potential name (which I will never share haha!). Also my schedule was so busy that my priorities were not taking care of my body–and Ii was so young that honestly even though I was busy, I recovered quickly.
A few years later after working a corporate job, and never having rested from the years prior, I hit a wall. I had been exposed to mold, I had (what I didnt know yet was) leaky gut, I got eczema and psoriasis, my face was breaking out, and I threw my back out. LOL. When it rains it pours. I went to see my GP, who assured me that I was young and healthy, and wanted to prescribe me topical steroids. I was annoyed because I already knew that was a bandaid solution, I thought and I just felt like she didn’t truly listen or want to get to the root of what was going on in my body which I knew was something deeper. I had learned a lot about Naturopathic Doctors while working in that supplement shop, so I booked an appointment to one
I learned I had leaky gut, that I had a lot of inflammation in my body, that my cortisol levels were extremely high, and that I needed to take care of my physical and mental health. It was funny because I didn’t realize how much I had learned previously working at the supplement shop, I already knew what supplements the ND would prescribe me. I ended up having to go on an elimination diet, heal my gut, and detox. Nothing healed overnight, in fact it took months before things started to improve, and years before things really levelled out. However, cut to now, and my psoriasis is completely gone, I get eczema flareups rarely (and now when I do I can usually trace the source–inflammatory foods that I know trigger the dermatitis, or stress), and my gut is manageable (again, I know what triggers it).
Going through all of that really showed me the connection between internal and external health. I am also one of those people that heavily researches everything, so when all of that happened to me, I deep dove into all the books and studies I could find on skin, gut, the skin gut axis, the brain skin axis, the brain gut axis, and so much more. All of that also showed me how much of wellness is holistic. It really is connecting all of the dots, and continuing to choose to be an active participant in doing what your own body needs to feel good.
I will fast forward through all of my work experience, simply dropping in here that wellness always chose me, but I always questioned if I truly felt like I was allowed to choose wellness.
OKAY, SO WELLNESS, THE INDUSTRY ISN'T REALLY...GIVING…
When people ask me about MULTI, I ask this: What do you think of when someone says the word, WELLNESS? A combination of 1, 2 or a few of these come up:
- Yoga pants
- Green smoothies
- Love and light
Now don’t get me wrong, I love yoga, I love a green smoothie, I wear yoga pants every now and then... but that picture of wellness, isn't what it's like all the time. Sometimes it's me going out for dinner, sitting on the couch in my PJs, getting my schedule together for the week, doing literally nothing. Also that picture of wellness rarely includes me, people who look like me, or my community. It doesn’t include BIPOC. It doesn’t include queer folks. It doesn’t include anything outside of a slender size 0 with a 25 inch waist.
My cofounders and I used to talk about this a lot. It’s funny how BIPOC communities are the ones who invented most of the appropriated wellness practices that are commodified in the mainstream space, yet none of us are leaders of those movements nor represented in the wellness facade. MULTI is taking up space–we are Black and Southeast Asian women founded, we prioritize BIPOC on every level–throughout our content, our team and contractors, our research, our collaborators. We will and always do so, because we can.
Adding on to that the fact that wellness has been touted as something that is aspirational, something that people need to try to be, versus meeting us and accepting us where we’re at. It is something that tells us what we need to do, versus asking us first what we need. It tells us there's one way, versus telling us here is an option, if it works for you then use it, if it doesn’t there's something out there for you.
We haven’t even touched on how congested and noisy the space is, and how hard it is to find trustworthy brands…or how intimidating it is to simply walk into a health food store into the supplement aisle and have no idea how to navigate finding what you want.
Non-inclusive. Intimidating. Inaccessible. Untrustworthy. It’s funny, because when we asked our Dotcom what they felt was missing in the wellness space, they said the exact same things.
WHAT IS WELLNESS, REALLY?
The Global Wellness Institute defines wellness as the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health.
So if holistic health is the goal, what does holistic health mean?
Holistic health is defined as physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health.
Feeling good physically
Feeling good mentally
Feeling good emotionally
Feeling good socially
Feeling good spiritually
With all that said, wellness then means the active pursuit of activities, choices, lifestyles, that lead you to feeling good physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.
I personally agree with that. It is connecting all of those dots. Feeling good internally and externally. Internal and external health.
WELLNESS BY MULTI
All of that is not created by one product. That is created by a MULTItude of things (lol you see what I did there). However, as a brand, of course we cant provide you with everything, and so we offer you this:
Since wellness is holistic–we serve you biomimetic wellness essentials that connect the dots between internal and external health.
Since the wellness space is hard to trust–we always back our brand and products with research.
Since wellness isn’t inclusive–we make sure it includes you, by speaking directly to you, and making sure you’re seen.
Since wellness is intimidating–we’re making it fun, and also cute.
Since you want to feel good–we listen to what’s making you feel not so good (like acne, dehydrated/dry skin, and bloat, for example) and create products that help you feel good.
We won’t be THE thing to every person, but for those of you that align, we're so grateful to have you here. We’re here to provide all of the tools, insights, and fun stuff, but real wellness starts with you. Just as our products are inspired by you (literally our biomimetic formulas are inspired by your body’s biological functions), your personal wellness should be inspired by what you personally need. So I leave you with this question–what helps you feel good?