Amy Chen is busy. Juggling a full-time day job with running Perth wellness brand and platform Bare & Wilde , Amy somehow maintains the balance required to keep it all going without burning out. After all, this is what Bare & Wilde is about - carving out space within the typical modern-day schedule for moments of self-care, whether than be at one of Bare & Wilde’s luxe wellness retreats, or at home with a selection of wellness products from the new online store. The old adage that you can’t give from an empty cup is especially apt for our city-living-insta-multi-tasking culture, and, Amy says, prioritising personal wellbeing is the best way to make sure your cup stays full.
The big news is that you’ve just launched an online store, which features a curated selection of your favourite non-toxic products. How do you define non-toxic, and why is this important?
To me, non-toxic means that the products we stock do not contain any chemicals - the things on ingredient labels containing names and numbers we do not understand. Whether it be skin care or home and lifestyle products, everything in our e-boutique is pure, made from all natural ingredients.
Being non-toxic is so important to our philosophy because research shows that the chemicals in everyday products can cause many health issues, particularly inflammation, allergies and auto-immune problems. Many of us suffer from these health issues but consider it to be “normal”, because it’s how we’ve always felt. That was true for me. It’s not until we get rid of these chemicals in our life that we know what it means to feel well - no pain in our body and a clear mind. Everyone deserves to feel this way and we want to make it a standard that is accessible to everyone.
Are all the products in the shop local? What are the criteria for selecting products for the store?
The products we stock come from all around Australia and we love to source from small businesses with a passionate story behind what they do. Of course, we only work with non-toxic products, and we personally test new products to make sure that they are effective. We also seek out products that deal with particular skin, nutrition or lifestyle concerns that our community has encountered. For example, our e-boutique enables our community members to shop by health concern, so that they can filter through all the products that address a particular need.
You started Bare & Wilde in 2017 as a wellness box subscription, before adding luxury urban retreats, and now the online store. What was the inspiration for starting Bare & Wilde, and how has your purpose changed over time?
I started Bare & Wilde after years of trying to find the right skincare for some chronic issues I was experiencing - eczema, acne, sensitive skin. After many years on antibiotics and medical grade creams for my skin, it was taking a toll on my health. When I decided to switch to natural skincare products, I realised there were so many amazing brands, mainly small businesses, creating beautiful and effective products that barely anyone knew about. I was an avid user of social media, which made me realise there was a marketing gap between the creators of these natural products and the health-conscious customers who didn’t know about them. This sparked the idea of the wellness subscription boxes as, at the time, there were no similar businesses in Perth offering this.
In late 2017, I expanded the Bare & Wilde offering to luxury wellness events and urban retreats as a means to connect with our community in person. Being online, the brand lacked face to face connection and relationship building. Since launching events, I’ve had the opportunity to create and nurture many new relationships with our community and the brands we work with.
Then at the end of last year, I relaunched the website to include a non-toxic e-boutique which features a full range of products from the brands we have worked with for our subscription boxes and events, as well as a few new brands we’re excited about. I felt this was needed to complete the customer journey when they are on our platform. Our community discovers so many new brands through our events and wellness boxes, but until now they weren't able to repurchase these products they’d fallen in love with. Now we are able to bridge this gap with the e-boutique, and the response has been great so far.
Your retreats typically run for one to two days. How can attendees integrate what they’ve learned on retreat into their daily lives?
At each of our retreats, we invite wellness experts and advocates to deliver interactive workshops on an area of health ranging from nutrition, gut health, mindfulness, stress management, positive self-talk and fitness. This format is a great way for our retreat attendees to absorb and digest information on the day, but we also give our attendees a post-retreat workbook containing all the top learnings to ensure that the valuable information and practical tips they learnt will stay with them afterwards. We hold our retreats almost monthly now, with a range of different topics each time to encourage our community to continue developing their health and wellbeing education.
You’re a keen collaborator, teaming up with local legends like Frankly Eco and Lululemon, as well as wellness brands such as Second Nature Botanicals, Nelumbo Skincare and of course The Honest Pantry. How do you choose your community of collaborators - or do they choose you?
I LOVE collaborations! Not only is it fun and an effective form of marketing, but I genuinely love getting to build relationships brands and businesses that have common values and who have a community that I think will benefit from getting to know Bare & Wilde and vice versa. If these boxes are ticked, the partnership is so effortless. Having been in the wellness space for a couple of years now, we are lucky to have brands approach us, but we’re also quite proactive about looking for aligned brands to work with, and we love coming up with innovative collaboration ideas.
Any new projects in the works for this year?
I am excited for 2019. This year we’ve got a few things in the pipeline, including a Byron Bay Wellness Getaway and some new e-books. We’re also teaming up with some well-loved businesses and influencers for our upcoming wellness subscription boxes, and we will continue to expand the range of products on our e-boutique. Definitely stay tuned! It’s going to be a fun year!
What are your personal top 5 favourite products in the shop at the moment?T
This is such a difficult question! But if I have to choose, I would say:
Finish this sentence: To me, wellness means ...
Waking up every morning feeling full of life - being in a body that performs at its optimal level and a mind that is present, free and happy. It sounds simple, but unfortunately, not everyone wakes up feeling this way.
Finally, how do you see Bare & Wilde expanding in the coming year or so?
We would definitely love to travel more with our business in the coming years - with overseas wellness getaways and expanding our subscribers base to places like Singapore, Hong Kong and New Zealand. Overall, we want to be known as at the one-stop wellness shop for our community - a place where they can find all their non-toxic shopping needs, in-person events and retreats and a database of wellness knowledge and education.
Follow Bare & Wilde on socials to find out more about new local wellness products and upcoming retreats!