Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Annik Elle, Founder, and CEO of CoalitionSkin, located in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Coalitionskin [est. 2004] is a multi-faceted business- our services + products encompass holistic health and healing. We have a storefront space in Vancouver, Canada, and online offerings to the world. I live in Sayulita, Mexico, where I offer sessions, workshops, and wellness tinctures. Our second storefront location is opening here soon. Other offerings include infrared sauna + detoxifying programs, skin services, reiki, cellular and frequency-healing using our beloved bio-resonance device, readings, yoga, fitness, holistic self-healing guidance, and retreats.
Our clients are seeking tools to nurture their health + wellness naturally. Other clients are curious about starting a spiritual path or are fully on their spiritual path and healing journey. Some clients are coming in for skin services appreciating our expertise and the plant-based formulas being used on their bodies.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Annik. I am the founder, owner, + CEO of coalitionskin. I started teaching yoga + pilates in 2010 and fitness classes in 2002. I became certified in Swedish massage, acupressure, and aromatherapy + as a skin therapist in 2002/2003. I now remotely run my studio. I am originally from Toronto, traveled the world for four years, and lived in Vancouver for a decade to build up a foundation for coalitionskin. I spent several years building this biz from scratch, alone, in a workaholic type of way. Eventually, I was able to hire help. I am grateful to now work with an amazing team of gorgeous souls.
In the beginning, I was the only technician seeing clients and teaching in our fitness + yoga studio, plus I was doing the entrepreneurial work + admin that goes on behind the scenes for any biz to run. I was working 80-90 hrs a week for years, yet for the first six years, unable to pay myself a wage from the shop's income. I felt that was the sacrifice that was needed to enable me to build a biz with no investors + no financial help. That was unsustainable + took a toll, but it was part of my path to make me realize I big-time needed balance in my life. Month by month, coalitionskin grew its clientele and became stable. In 2017 it was time to permanently leave Canada; I envisioned for myself before I opened my business. This was my biggest goal that I had put on a "pedestal." When the level of stability came that offered me the chance to do this; I almost didn't recognize I had arrived there. I find we often look at our biggest goals that way - they're always "one day…". It's important to stop the grind for a moment every few months to celebrate all your wins and lessons, to see if any goals need to be re-assessed, and to align them with your current you. We grow so much on this entrepreneurial journey.
For me, my motivation to continuously work on this biz is that I make sure to always share my passion for holistic living + healing.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
The realization that anything is possible. It won't always be easy or even look like it is possible, but through entrepreneurship, we have the choice to design our lives creatively. It has been an extremely rough path to keep my Vancouver location open throughout the years, and even more challenging since march 2020 [as many brick-and-mortar small-biz owners will agree.]
Throughout my entrepreneurial journey, I have mostly been in struggle mode. Barely checking off the boxes needed to move on to my next goal. For example, to be able to work remotely and live where I want to live, I had the idea that my roles had to be all the roles that aren't my genius the hard way. I remained in struggle mode, but yet- while living in a beautiful + tropical location. This is what I am currently healing. I'm learning the state of feeling abundance and ease. I was calling-in additional income into the business to enable me to hire more help, so I could be fewer pulled-in-all-directions, doing so many roles. When I added frequency healing to our offerings, this piece of holistic technology was the addition of all I was looking for. This device helps us towards more wealth while aligning with our company's values in holistic health and healing.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The lessons. Through all the rough moments and stress, in my experience, I'd say the universe is continuously teaching us lessons to help us heal and grow, whether that's our distorted relationship with money, a fear of being seen, dimming our light, trust issues, etc. Owning a biz will surely bring all our wounds out. Crack us open to heal them and grow. The healing path and the entrepreneurial path are both not easy paths but so expansive and rewarding. I wouldn't go back and take a different route. [I do, however, have a lot of advice I would give to new entrepreneurs on lessons I learned the hard and long way. I've seen it doesn't need to be like that for everyone if they heal the wounds first. But grateful to have noticed this and be in awareness of it now.]
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Reflect on what triggers you have. Write them down. Research ways to self-heal or what type of practitioners can guide you in healing them.
- Don't give up. If something feels out of alignment, tweak the business to align.
- Don't watch your competitors. Be creative. The world is literally your oyster, and you may revolutionize your industry or create one by going against the grain. Follow your gut.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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