Wellness may be the buzzword of the decade, but for countless women facing stressful gigs, crying kids, and chaotic households, the term is more fantasy than reality.
But VowTo, headquarted in Wynwood's LIght Box at Goldman Warehouse, is looking to change all that. Through its 12-week online, in-person, and snail mail program, the company aims to give women a gaggle of tools to make balanced living an achievable goal.
The program is backed by an assortment of friends in the health and wellness industry, including The Standard's Resident Dream Coach Jennifer Grace and Marcia Carazo of Reminessence Naturals.
Fernanda Bressan and her husband Pablo have worked in wellness-based e-commerce (among other things), and were inspired to do something to help overwhelmed women.
"After doing a lot of work -- I'm certified as coach, yoga instructor -- I really started noticing that there was a lack of balance. We as women tend to take care of everyone else except ourselves," says Bressan, one of VowTo's four co-founders. "This is really a space for women to feel empowered and inspired to put themselves first -- to be able to really focus on themselves."
The lessons are short, 15 to 18 minutes -- designed to squeeze into the hectic schedules of today's women.
The three-month endeavor includes an online lesson plan and handy app; a monthly gift box with items that correspond to the weekly teaching; a social network component for participants via MightyBell (and/or Facebook); and even offline support groups for real life bonding.
The lessons focus on different intentions or vows, all intended to help women form positive habits and daily rituals.
"It's a journey. You're learning things -- you can use digital devices but a lot of times, unless you have an experience it doesn't stick. So the idea with the gift is, you don't have to wait for anyone to gift something to you. It's about you gifting it to yourself," Bressan adds.
A VowTo gift box.
The gifts arrive monthly in fancy packaging a la Birchbox. The lineup of presents will include intention cards, shakes in vegan and non-vegan varieties, a salt scrub, a mirror, and lots of other carefully curated goodies that tie in to each lesson. We won't spoil all the surprises.
"It's beautiful and special, a 'wow' thing you're going to really feel good about each week. You open this gift and it's a special experience that's going to be tied into the lessons you're learning," Bressan says.
Last year, the company ran a test group, with 65 percent of participants based in South Florida. The response was overwhelmingly positive, says Bressan.
"The test group was nine months ago. We were joking, it's almost like a pregnancy. Now it's actually birthing!" she laughs.
Women at Lotus House packaging gifts.
And this isn't just an online endeavor. They're putting roots down in the community by operating out of Wynwood's Light Box, using local purveyors as sources for many of the program's gifts, and hiring women from Lotus House women's shelter to help with packaging efforts.
"We wanted to touch the lives of women locally and in our own community, so with VowTo, that's exactly what we did," Bressan adds. "We know not everyone is going to be ready for VowTo or able to afford it, but we want this company to touch the lives of women every step of the way."
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The program costs $319.95 up-front, or three payments of $119.95. It kicks off tomorrow, July 15. You can sign up at vowto.com.
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