If you work in the wellness industry or are toying with the idea of getting into it, then you probably already have your calendar marked for the Welltodo Founder Series in Singapore this week. We recently had the pleasure of chatting with Welltodo founder Lauren Armes to find out more about this unique global wellness industry network. Lauren is a business coach, speaker, writer, and entrepreneur who founded Welltodo in 2014. Today the company is widely known as the definitive voice on innovation and trends, case studies, and insights in this rapidly growing industry. Here she shares her insights on the business of wellness and offers up some tips and inspiration for living your healthiest life.
Urban Journey: What inspired you to create Welltodo?
Lauren Armes: I moved from Australia to London about 5 years ago and after a year or so, noticed that many of the wellness trends I had seen in Australia and the US, were starting to make their way into the UK market too. I was also looking for my ‘tribe’ and realised that a growing community of people were also looking for products and services that would inspire a healthier way of living in this urban jungle that we call home. Juice bars and healthy cafes, boutique fitness studios and a broader range of supermarket offerings were the key markers of a change in thinking. I started having as many conversations as I could with the founders of these new ventures, and realised that I had a real passion for the intersection of entrepreneurship and wellness. I felt passionate about supporting these people to turn a passion into a commercially successful business, and also pin pointing the key aspects of other success stories outside the UK. And so Welltodo was born, mainly as a media platform with interviews, insights and industry commentary… but that developed into an event series (now in the UK and Asia), consultancy services and a careers platform to help businesses hire and individuals find jobs in this fast growing global industry.
UJ: Define what ‘wellness’ means to you.
LA: Wellness for me, is quite simply a proactive approach to preventing illness… it takes many forms — including eating well, taking time out to reduce stress (meditating or just spending time with those close to me), exercising, and doing work that fulfils me. I’ve recently become fascinated by Dan Buettner’s research into the Blue Zones which are parts of the world where people live the longest. They typical eat more plans, less meat and have strong sense of community and connection. It’s fascinating.
UJ: What were the biggest challenges in making the jump from the corporate lifestyle to entrepreneurship?
LA: The biggest challenge for me was learning to be patient, consistent and trust that momentum was building. It’s true that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and with a business like mine, there wasn’t a crystal clear plan from the outside — a lot of what we do has been a direct response to the needs of our audience (which has been growing over the last few years). Corporate life was very monotonous for me, in that I pretty much knew what to expect day to day. Entrepreneurship is a rollercoaster ride of emotion, challenges and learning resilience… a journey I wouldn’t change for anything.
UJ: Could you share what ‘A Day in the Life’ is like for you?
LA: It really is so vastly different… it could be a full day of working one on one with clients (founders of wellness focussed businesses) who I coach and mentor. Or it might be a day of meetings in our office in London, with partners, industry professionals or my incredible team. I often get invited to experience new innovations in the wellness industry — which frequently requires travel (I was just in Turkey for a brand new retreat collaboration with Six Senses, a leading wellness resort). Some days don’t feel like work at all, but rest assured there are plenty of days when I’ve just got to get the boring stuff done too!
UJ: What are your top 3 wellness hacks that anyone can incorporate into their daily life?
LA: I think we’re all on a journey of better understanding how to listen to our own bodies. We usually know what makes us feel good (and not so good) but it’s the habit forming aspect that most of us struggle with. For example, meditation is such a transformational practice (and it makes me feel like a million dollars) but it often feels hard to incorporate it into your life. Even 5-10 minutes a day is a win though. I have a few friends who are really interested in the science of gut health, who say that fibre is essential every day and simply eating more greens! Finally, I recently heard that loneliness can be as bad for us as smoking 15 cigarettes a day… and so remembering not too take life too seriously and making time to cultivate real and meaningful relationships is absolutely key!
UJ: Can you recommend any wellness apps?
AD: I don’t use many… but Headspace or Calm are both great ways to start if you’re getting into meditation. I love the Kayla Itsines’ Sweat app for easy daily workouts, and the MINDBODY app for finding cool classes and wellness hotspots.
UJ: Top 3 places for healthy eating here in Singapore?
LA: I love Plentyfull, The Providore, and Food Rebel! Oh and Common Man for amazing coffee (I am Australian after all!).
UJ: Who should come to the ‘Welltodo’ Founder Series and Founder Series plus here in Singapore of 24 and 25 October?
LA: Anyone interested in the future of the wellness industry — whether you’ve got an idea for a business or are already growing one, you’re interested in transitioning your career in the wellness sector or want to invest in this space. We are all about connecting the industry to create meaningful conversations, connections and opportunities…. fundamentally our mission is to help people build incredible businesses and careers in the wellness industry and invite you to be part of that.