Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Tracey TieF, owner of Anarres Natural Health Apothecary, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Anarres Apothecary is a social enterprise storefront, online and mail-order resource founded in 2007 for you when you want body care, DIY supplies, and housewares that are Good For You and Good For The Earth.

Operated by Apprentices, Aromatherapy Certification students, and volunteers under the direction of Tracey TieF, Certified Natural Health Practitioner, we offer handmade natural cosmetics, aromatherapy, and cosmetic making supplies, including organic ingredients, 500+ ethically sourced essential oils, and dozens of clays, oils, micas, packaging and housewares that are alternatives to plastics, and other Earth and people-friendly goodies.

Tell us about yourself

I carry on a family tradition in the healing arts. I have an extensive background in physical therapies and the healing arts, training I pursued after a 17-year career in grassroots social work.

I am recognized by the Canadian Examining Board of Health Care Practitioners as a Certified Natural Health Practitioner, Registered Aromatherapy Health Practitioner, and Certified Reflexology Health Practitioner. My work at Anarres Apothecary brings together my passions for the science and traditions of plant medicines, for creating with my hands, for serving personal and planetary health, and for teaching.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I am proud and blessed to have grown a community around Anarres Natural Health of Kindred Spirits - people who care about the Earth, about the health of their bodies, minds, and spirits, about community and taking care of each other, who love learning, and who make and appreciate handmade affordable and fairly traded body care.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

There is no training that prepared me for all the tasks that I needed to perform well starting up a shop! I needed to learn to dress windows, keep books, write and maintain my website, marketing, cashing out and serving customers, making, pricing and inventorying products, designing, creating, and labeling products, write and manage grants, as well as a sourcing and importing ingredients and goods! It is difficult, if not impossible, to learn and accomplish these tasks consistently and well.

Pivoting to survive the COVID-19 pandemic constantly kept us on our toes, and I was and am blessed to work with wonderful staff and students. We had to cope with daily interventions and confrontations with people who did not respect our COVID-19 prevention measures, and false-negative review hate campaigns. As a business owner, surrounding myself with good people has been the most important source of support!

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Be very conservative about ongoing expenses. These repeating costs will always take a percentage from your sales, and these percentages add up! Spend money only on services that require more expertise or time than you have.
  2. Don't go big all at once. People relate to you as a person with expertise with a small business, not as a "CEO." Don't take on expenses or loans based on expected revenues, but rather only as needed to grow.
  3. Surround yourself and your business with people who share your passions and who are kind, intelligent, flexible, capable, and committed to the success of your business. You and your staff will attract customers with the same values and interests.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Anarres strives to be as ethical and environmentally friendly as possible - and I take "possible" as a challenge. I am happily "hardcore."

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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