Photo credits: @wellnessrefineryphl
We’re expanding in Philadelphia! With fully-furnished suites, all-inclusive utilities, household essentials, and an incredible location, we will have two new coliving buildings, as well as one building with completely private unfurnished apartments, open in the city of brotherly love by the beginning of next year.
To celebrate, we set out to get to know some of our neighbors, and we quickly found that Philadelphia was filled with entrepreneurs passionate about cultivating community within their own expertise: just like The Wellness Refinery.
The Wellness Refinery is a self-care haven focused on making wellness accessible to a wider range of individuals outside of overpriced spas and health-cafes. Their team aims to bring awareness and emphasize the importance of self-care for physical, mental, spiritual, and community well-being. Their Philadelphia location offers infrared sauna services, organic beverages, and sells the highest quality natural wellness products.
We caught up with their founder, Ashleigh, to learn more about how her business started and her top tips for practicing self-care at home.
Hi Ashleigh! Can you tell us more about how The Wellness Refinery started?
The Wellness Refinery began out of a personal desire for greater wellness offerings and a larger wellness community in Philadelphia. After completing my undergrad at Temple University in Philly, I completed graduate school with a Masters in Applied Clinical Nutrition and while working my first full-time job at a functional medicine practice in New Jersey. In 2018, I moved back to Philly after finishing my degree and immediately felt that something was missing. I couldn’t find a place that allowed me to treat myself to some of my favorite forms of self-care on a budget! Of course, there were plenty of workout studios and over-priced spas I could spend an entire day at, but an affordable space to rejuvenate for one to two hours didn’t exist.
I was also unable to find somewhere in the city that offered infrared sauna therapy, something I was deeply craving once I moved back to Philly. All of these realizations pushed me to explore the possibility of opening an infrared sauna studio in the city and take the next step in my career.
The beginning days were filled with a great deal of market research, learning more information about infrared saunas, and looking at commercial properties in desirable neighborhoods. As I began to check out properties, I came across a space that was once an old cafe and it hit me: ‘How cool would it be to have a place where you could sauna and grab a smoothie or juice on your way out?’
I was thrilled about the idea of incorporating community into a wellness space and I started to focus on creating a welcoming space for ALL individuals interested in health and wellness. Depending on a customer’s preference, you could come sweat and grab a drink, or meet a friend and catch up over adaptogenic lattes. Once this was established, it was also important to me to empower our community to continue self-care beyond our doors through wellness routines and rhythms. So, I incorporated a retail component for individuals to shop all things self-care and keep the care going in between their visits to The Wellness Refinery.
How did your business have to shift during the pandemic?
There were so many shifts! Not only were we dealing with closure due to a pandemic, but we simultaneously had massive ceilings leaks. Our team was going through building repairs and navigating a novel virus outbreak all at once. It took us a few weeks to get our heads on straight and shift focus. Once we did, we launched our online retail store, and we’re so grateful to now be able to reach a larger audience across the country that we may have never reached with our brick-and-mortar shop alone. This has also allowed us to start working on our in-house brand and prepare for the launch of The Wellness Refinery’s first product line!
Once we felt comfortable enough to be back in our space and building repairs had been completed, we transitioned to online ordering and curbside pick-up drink service from our Tonic Bar. We also launched our new DIY Smoothie Kits (watch their IGTV tutorial here) that allowed people to still get the nutritionally delicious smoothies they loved at home!
Eventually, we were able to reopen our space to welcome in sauna goers. We reinforced our thorough cleaning procedures, extended downtime in between each sauna session, and shifted our schedule to minimize guest contact in-store. The shifts have been incredible and although we certainly had our fair share of obstacles with COVID, it propelled us into making changes and exploring new ways to extend The Wellness Refinery’s reach.
Tell us more about your at-home smoothie kits!
Absolutely! Our at-home kits help you to bring our smoothie blends to the comfort of your own home. When you order a kit, you’ll receive four different smoothies pre-portioned and ready to blend. All you have to do is add your liquid of choice and a little bit of ice if you like a thicker smoothie. It’s perfect for the individual who loves a variety of smoothies for breakfast throughout the week but doesn’t want to load up on all of the ingredients, adaptogenic and herbal powders. All kits can be ordered through our online site with a one-day pre-order minimum.
If you want to test out one of our latest smoothie recipes, you can download the recipe to our Tropical Green Smoothie.
What are the benefits of an infrared sauna?
An infrared sauna has a whole host of benefits ranging from detoxification and muscle recovery to immune support. What most people don’t know is that an infrared sauna heats the body before it heats the air, which helps the body to increase its core temperature and promote a deep detoxifying sweat. It also helps to circulate oxygen-rich blood to sore or aching muscles for pain relief.
A raised core body temperature can also induce a fever in the body to trigger an immune-like response to fight off any infection within the body. This, of course, is a great added benefit to help keep the immune system strong to fight the cold, flu, or even COVID*. Other benefits of the infrared sauna include melatonin production to promote a restful night’s sleep, skin purification with the physical exfoliation of intense sweating, and weight loss.
*Not scientifically proven to cure COVID, only an immune-boosting benefit overall!
What are your top tips for practicing self-care at home?
Gratitude & affirmation practice
Right now, it’s so easy to get caught up in the negativity of the world in our day today. Implementing a simple practice of writing down three things you’re grateful for at the start or end of the day can help you flip your perspective and give thanks for all that is going right for you at the moment! Personally, I always love tying in our I Am Everything affirmation card deck to focus on a certain theme, enforce positivity, and bring on confidence as I move about my day.
Meal planning or food prep
Having a veggie-packed meal planned for a few nights during the week or even prepping some veggies to include with your next takeout meal will be sure that you’re still getting all the good stuff like vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytochemicals, antioxidants, without adding extra work to your schedule throughout the week.
Keeping up with a daily movement routine will help to get the blood pumping, the muscles moving, and endorphins flowing. I’m not saying you have to outfit the latest and greatest at-home gym but scheduling a midday walk break or signing-up for that virtual class with your friends before the workday can make a difference in your mental health.
A great sleep routine is often underrated. Winding down at the end of the night goes a long way when aiming to get a restful sleep. I like to incorporate teas with sleepy herbs like chamomile and catnip (yes! The same catnip your cat plays with). The routine of brewing a cup of tea signals that you’re getting ready to hit the hay and helps your body to get into a restful state. When I’m not feeling a cup of tea, I use our Sleep Juice by Organic Olivia for a quick and powerful dose of sleep-inducing herbs to settle down.
Want to stay up to date with The Wellness Refinery?
Follow The Wellness Refinery on Instagram or shop directly online!
The team is creating new seasonal adaptogenic lattes and smoothies that change each month. Don’t miss out on delicious gems like the Pink Peppermint Smoothie (banana, date, cashew, coconut yogurt, peppermint, beet & lucuma) and our Gingerbread latte (housemade gingerbread syrup, Jot coffee, Wylde One Immune Shrooms & oat milk).
Curious about what life could look like in Philadelphia?
We have stunning traditional apartments and fully-furnished coliving apartments with utilities, household goods, weekly cleanings, and member events early next year! Head to our website to get put on our waitlist for our upcoming Philly homes and book a virtual or in-person tour with one of our leasing agents.