Local beauty, wellness entrepreneurs focus on healing, health

Offering products and services that satisfy and heal at the same time is difficult to do.

Meet four female entrepreneurs working in the Tampa Bay Area to change lives one client at time when it comes to beauty and wellness. Their personal philosophies have led them to provide products that heal and services that inspire.

Grissell Carron: Brava Yoga

Grissell Carron, of Brava Yoga first encountered yoga in a park over 15 years ago in San Diego. She was mildly fascinated by the practice, but didn’t give it too much thought. Yet, soon after her encounter, her boyfriend at the time lost his right leg in a motorcycling accident and the pair was looking for ways to cope with his loss.

She sought out that yoga instructor in the park. 

“I was willing to try anything to help him cope,'' Carron says. "I hoped that breathing and slowing down his mind would help him to get better.”  

Using the breathing techniques he learned in yoga, he gradually began to conquer his situation. 

This experience significantly changed Carron's life. Today she is dedicated to teaching powerful yoga experiences that promote self-love and gratitude through meditation, breath and movement.

In her yoga classes at the Florida Hospital Wellness Center, Wesley Chapel or in her practice with Cancer Survivors in the Wellness Center’s vitality program, Grissell commits to remain the source of light that the yoga instructor in the park was to her and her former partner.

“I am committed to teach from love, never from fear,'' she says.

Carron’s personal philosophy about yoga inspired her to make teaching yoga a life purpose: “Modern medicine says if you want to be healthy you’ve got to look at your mental state. Happiness has nothing to do with stretching your hamstrings. Yoga is a tool to cope with stress and trauma.”

Brava Yoga is an extension of her practice at Florida Hospital Wellness Center. She started Brava Yoga last year to serve the community. She decided to begin the retreat service as an extension of her own experience on a personal retreat to Costa Rica.

“Our upcoming Power Vinyasa Yoga Retreat is taking place this summer. Waking up every day, taking different yoga classes and still having the vacation feel. You can take a class or go to the beach; it is the perfect combination of both, yoga and vacation. We are not separate from the world around us, spending time close to nature is deeply healing for our soul.”

Each retreat package comes with a 6-night stay at a luxury hotel, gourmet vegetarian cuisine, two daily (optional) vinyasa yoga classes and excursion options. 

Brava Yoga is offering a luxury yoga retreat this summer from July 15-22nd. To register for this summer’s retreat email Grissell. Upcoming retreat destinations are Bali, Spain and Cuba. More details about the retreat can be found at BreatheFlowTransform on Facebook. Grissell is also on Instagram as @dragonflyogi.

Shelley Parris Williams: The Womb Sanctuary

For Shelley Parris Williams, “every womb has a story.”  

In 2011, Williams watched the documentary, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.'' This detox documentary inspired her to go on a 30-day juice fast. On day 15, she had a moment of clarity.

“I realized I had been asleep for most of my life,” she says. Up until that point, she lived her whole life in her mind, without paying any attention to the body. A lesson her niece encouraged her to share by blogging.

A while later, she attended her first yoga class, where she discovered there was a disconnection that she had with her body. The principles of yoga helped her reconnect: “Be present.” “Occupy [your] whole self.” Her growing online community or “soulTribe,” as she calls them, responded with questions, requests for advice, products and service visits. They were struggling with health issues that kept them feeling as disconnected as she was: hormone imbalances, endometriosis and fibroids. 

After completing trainings in holistic wellness, yoga and other complementary healing modalities, she positioned herself as a self-care advocate creating sacred space for women to be seen, heard and loved. Three years later, The Womb Sanctuary was born.

Williams’ mission to reconnect the women in her care to their “wombs: their divine feminine energy” is deeply personal work. When Williams was 15, her mother died from complications from fibroids. She views this moment as a landmark, guiding her to offer products and services that would possibly have helped keep her mother alive. The Womb Sanctuary’s Sacred Sweets Boutique offers lifestyle coaching including self-study and guided meditation, one-on-one Thai yoga sessions centered on womb health, herbal vaginal steams, yoni eggs and herbal pads. 

Williams’ philosophy on treating women revolves around self-care.

“Martyrdom and self-sacrificing is not the way to go,'' Williams says. "You have to nurture your spirit and rise up in this world. You have to rise up and love the woman in the mirror, everyday.”

Williams carries this wellness mission across the Tampa Bay Area community. She is expanding her platform to include education and awareness about energy medicine and its profound benefits. 

Shelley channels lessons from her mother’s death into community empowerment.

“We wait and our cost of care is so much more,'' she says. "I’m inspiring people to help themselves.” 

She’s mentored her 11-year-old daughter to begin a junior self-care ambassador program and remains particularly passionate about educating women about natural feminine healthcare in the Bay area and beyond. 

Dana Rose: Beauty+Health+Nature      

When visiting Dana Rose at her farmer’s market locations, you may be tempted to slather her body butter all over your hands. It's irresistible in more ways than one. The only ingredients: olive oil, beeswax, honey and organic essential oils. The scents are so delicious you may be tempted to swallow a spoonful of the vanilla body butter if left unattended. It smells that good.

Rose’s products range from African black soap to almond and bergamot cleansers, lemon repair masks, hemp body butter and nutritional face masks made of mint and moringa powders. Rose promotes that these products are good for every body part, even hair.

“What sets me apart is that I use very few ingredients,'' Rose says. "I try to taper the products to work universally. If you’re using clean, pure, natural ingredients, you can use them anywhere, even for babies.”

Her entrepreneurship using minimal, natural products started way before natural and organic became trendy. A graduate of Savannah College of Art & Design, Rose began a raw vegan food service called “The Raw Way” in San Diego, CA in 2004. Yet, after a few years in a preparation-intensive business, Rose decided she needed to create products that did not require her to live in the kitchen seven days a week. She tried her hand at bar soaps and soon transitioned into body butters.

In 2009 Rose moved to Tampa to be closer to family. In the beginning, she was developing her products as well as working fulltime as the Executive Assistant to the Chair and Assistant to the Dean at USF Health. The research process she witnessed here impacted how she formulates her products for customers. She uses ingredients that medical journals affirm to support cellular health. Consistent research goes hand-in-hand with her product development.

The beauty of Rose’s products comes from their simplicity. She wants to get rid of the “convoluted nature of being beautiful.” In her words, being beautiful can simply involve using “natural products with simple ingredients.” Her guiding principle for beauty is, “if you can’t eat it, don’t use it.”

Rose’s products are healing remedies that outperform conventional medicine. Her body butter has helped a cancer survivor’s skin heal following a double mastectomy; it was a reprieve for a mother who could not find a product to heal an angry rash covering her son’s body. These are the stories that help Rose stay focused and motivated in the production process. 

In addition to Beauty+Health+Nature, Rose owns Minimal Systems, a natural homekeeping and professional organization service. She also provides web design services (logos, graphics) for other businesses. 

Rose is launching a men’s care line this summer and recently has begun a partnership with Bodyology, a spa in Gainesville. This spa will carry Beauty+Health+Nature products before the end of the year. Rose’s body butter can also be purchased at Nutrition S’mart. 

Annie Tyrell: Annie’s Beauty Supply
Annie’s Beauty Supply is listed on 52 most notable black-owned beauty supply stores in the nation, according to Official Black Wall Street.
The store opened four years ago in a strip mall on 34th Street South in St. Petersburg. It is now located in the 22nd Street Quarter of Midtown (920 22nd Street in St. Petersburg), a neighborhood currently being revitalized in St. Pete. The move is what Tyrell considers, “the best decision I’ve made. People in the community are glad that I’m here.”
Tyrell’s highest priority is meeting the beauty and aspirational needs of her community. This priority came from a question she was asked over five years ago at a Bob Proctor self-development Mastermind group call. A group member asked her, “If money was not an issue, what would you do?” She determined then that she’d open up either a bridal boutique or beauty supply store. And when she began pursuing steps to open the beauty supply store, everything fell into place. A beauty supply chain based in Atlanta stepped in to help her secure a lease and stock the store. Annie’s Beauty Supply opened in May 2013 and now, four years later, the business is getting closer to self-sustainability.
Annie’s Beauty Supply currently sells “natural hair products, wigs, extensions, kids, men’s hair care, a little bit of everything to enhance inner and outer beauty. If we don’t have product a customer requests, we will do our best to try and get it.” Tyrell and her four “angels” who serve customers at the store are committed to “providing true, friendly customer service in a welcoming, warm and clean environment.”
Tyrell’s personal goal is to support other black entrepreneurs in the beauty supply business.

“It makes me feel good to help someone else. If we lend a hand down to support someone else … we can all grow together,” she says. Between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Sundays, Tyrell hosts an Entrepreneur Product Demo Launch that supports black entrepreneurial beauty products. She also mentors some of these entrepreneurs.
Her success as a businesswoman depends on her commitment to empower and grow. 

“What I do see is a problem of empowerment in the beauty supply industry. Being that we spend billions of dollars in the beauty supply industry, we should be spending our dollars in black-owned businesses,'' she says. "I will always open in the black community, directly in the black community. I hope to open many more stores.”

Within the year, Tyrell aims to extend the beauty supply store to include e-commerce and a salon. If you would like Tyrell to carry your beauty product, email the store.
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Read more articles by Denia Fraser.