When I first met Nicole we were both on the beach in Costa Rica. I was the third wheel of a business meeting that she and a mutual friend were having regarding collaborating on a Yoga Teacher Training (yes, we have beach meetings). I loved her sense of community, her ability to bring people together, and her "let's do this" attitude. Also, Nicole is the owner and founder of Wild Ginger Apothecary based in Sarasota, FL and I LOVE a good apothecary!
Nicole's vision of creating an inclusive space where the community could come together and individuals could nourish their body, mind, and spirit became a reality in 2014 when Wild Ginger opened its doors. Following one's life passion is not an easy road, however, Nicole has not only followed her passion for educating consumers on the benefits of natural products, she has grown to expand into both a Movement Studio and Learning Lounge! Nicole is an inspiration on what becomes possible when we follow our dreams, lean into our Kula, and allow abundance to enter our lives.
WanderFreely: Wild Ginger opened its doors in 2014. Can you tell us what led you to open an Apothecary?
Nicole Marie Leffler: I have always been passionate about health and wellness - a lifelong natural food and beauty junkie. This was the perfect blend of both after a transition towards small retail entrepreneurship led me out of previous careers. After working in large natural retail settings, I realized the offerings were far too excessive for customers and believed a smaller, carefully curated mix would be a better option.
WF: When did you first become interested in health and wellness?
NML: We grew up shopping at natural food co-ops, so I’ve been in this world my whole life! But after college the interest grew more and more as I realized the direct connection to my daily world.
WF: Why is it so important to use natural products?
NML: The reasons to switch to natural are endless: but primarily, keep your body and environment as clean and natural as possible to ensure maximum health! We absorb so much of what we use on our skin, and the more basic and pure the ingredients the more we avoid long term health risks.
WF: What was one of the hardest moments when first opening Wild Ginger?
NML: Doing it alone on the back end of operations has been tough. I have a strong, amazing community of supporters, customers, teachers, and loved ones… but it was definitely a huge project to take on as a solo entrepreneur.
WF: How did you/do you keep moving forward in the face of challenge?
NML: The community support and feedback is really what keeps us going. I’ve never been involved in a business with such a huge loop of gratitude; every time someone thanks us for improving their life it’s more reason to power through the hard times. The network we’ve created is a powerful one and it wouldn’t exist without this space.
WF: What does community mean to you?
NML: Community for me is this network of like-minded, supportive, passionate individuals that have come together to really create a space that we can all learn, thrive, dream, and connect together. It’s a home away from home, a safe space, and an educational/business/personal incubator all in one.
WF: What becomes available when a community comes together?
NML: Limitless potential! We are all provided with deeper connections, better opportunities, increased abundance, more enthusiasm, and further support. (See quote below - that’s key for my mission!)
WF: You opened the Movement Studio in 2015 (two doors north of Wild Ginger Apothecary). How do the two compliment one another?
NML: The studio opened in 2015, and the lounge opened in 2016. Both have added a great full-service community element to WGA. We have something for everyone for body, mind, spirit. Customers are able to explore movement or education classes they may not have been exposed to previously; and class attendees can learn about our natural products.
WF: How has the practice of yoga affected your life?
NML: Yoga practice has radically transformed my life in so many ways - in particular the anxiety, stress, and mental calm it provides. It’s allowed me to have a better connection with and deeper appreciation for my body, and has been significant in improving pain issues.
WF: What are you most excited about right now?
NML: Yoga teacher training (FINALLY!), community growth at WGA, additional offerings for classes/community work. More abundance, ease, vibrancy, and inspiration for everyone involved. :)
“Had I not created my whole world, I would certainly have died in other people’s. ”
― Anaïs Nin