Black women are building their own retreats: ‘We deserve to scale the wellness industry’
Black women aren’t just living the "soft life"; they’re profiting from it through culturally-crafted retreats. Christina Rice is showing them how to do it.
Christina Rice’s wellness journey started on a yoga mat in a room filled with women who didn’t look like her. Occasionally, she’d lock eyes with another Black woman across the room, they’d exchange an “I see you” nod, and it was back to the mat. Eventually, as Rice got her yoga teacher certification and started chronicling her journey, she started to notice more and more Black women showing up on yoga mats, too. That’s when she had what she calls a “light bulb moment.”
“Black women want to and desire to be led through their wellness journey by someone that looks like them, that understands their unique challenges in this world. Just being in these spaces, and you’re the only Black woman, it feels very isolating,” said Rice.
Rice began expanding her wellness offerings outside of yoga classes and into hosting retreats. Right away, her community was asking her for retreats of all kinds.
She realized the need was bigger than just her. Her entrepreneurial spirit kicked in.
“There are 8 million Black women in the United States alone. If you add women of color, that goes up to 43 million plus. I can’t host retreats for them all. And so, at the top of 2020, I got another email asking if I was hosting a retreat somewhere, and I was like, ‘I got to start training other facilitators,’ ” said Rice.
Rice began planning how she could coach women on how to host retreats and share her knowledge on how to make them profitable. Then, the pandemic hit. All her retreats went on the back burner. She knew her time was coming to launch a global wellness training course.
“At the top of 2021, I just knew that travel would explode because people were in the house, and they were ready to get out,” Rice recalled. “And so I gathered my army, you know, my copywriter, my mentor, my spiritual advisor… [and] a young woman that worked with me and was a former teacher. And so, we just put this master team together to help me put together this course. I had 59 women and one man sign up. It was so out of control — which was a good thing — that I had to close registration,”
OMNoire, a global wellness brand for Black women and women of color dedicated to living well from the inside out, was born. The brand is a one-stop shop for the professional or entrepreneur looking to build out their own retreat with The Retreats Academy — or for the curious traveler seeking a safe space to relax and see the world, offering a curated list of retreats from Texas to Cape Town.
Rice was looking for herself on that yoga mat. She not only found herself, but a tribe of other women looking for their place to heal, unwind, and be seen. I’m glad she followed that still-small voice to keep pushing the vision forward and was willing to fail to make it happen. (Her first retreat profited $5k. Her second? $20k.) Her risk is our reward. Now the question is: Where are we going, and who’s hosting?
To more about Christina’s journey and the OMNoire brand, watch the full conversation on this week’s episode of “The Reset,” above.
Letisha Bereola is a life coach who helps ambitious women overcome burnout and reach their career goals, so they feel great at work and happy at home. She’s a former Emmy-nominated TV news anchor, Podcast host of AUDACITY, and a speaker. Learn more at www.coachtish.co.
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