Made in Canada: Fortify Natural Wellness
We love our Canadian small shops, so we’re very thrilled to be featuring one right here, on the blog each week! Tune in every Friday to get a sneak peek behind a variety of brands created and built right here in Canada! Be inspired by the owners who hustle, and grounded by their real talk – Cause it isn’t all rainbows and butterflies when it comes to being an entrepreneur, but it sure is worth it!
Fortify Natural Wellness
with Owners, Stephanie & Katrina
Less than a year ago, Stephanie and Katrina, long time friends, began a journey together as entrepreneurs by introducing their company, Fortify Natural Wellness. I’ve had my eye on them ever since because I’ve been so inspired by their story! Faced with personal health issues, including a 3-year battle with cancer, they decided it was time to take control of their health by making a switch to preventative efforts with their line of organic, sugar-free granolas; as well as sharing their passion and knowledge about it with the world! I’m so excited to share their story with you; and I hope you finish feeling inspired and energized to take control of your health, and share your passions with the world!
In just a few sentences, describe Fortify Natural Wellness
Fortify Natural Wellness is dedicated to our community’s personal health journey. It is our mission to help inspire people to take back authority over their bodies. A life of doctors, medications, and poor lifestyle habits is all to familiar for many people. Our hope is that we can continue to build a community of people who can share our passion for health and wellness with us.
How did you two (Katrina & Stephanie) meet?
This is a funny story! We went to the same high school for a full year before we really ever talked. I (Stephanie) was a year older and convinced I was much “cooler” than Katrina who was in grade ten at the time. One evening we ended up at the same party and both jumped in with a mutual friend for a ride home. When our friend stopped the car (in front of my house), Katrina also opened her door to get out. It ended up she lived directly across the street from me! It was too convenient to not be friends after that!
What inspired you to start Fortify?
Both of us have had our own personal health issues, but what really started it all was when Katrina was diagnosed with Cancer when she was only 17 years old. Three years of watching someone fight for their life, be pumped full of drugs, too sick to leave her bed, loose all her hair and be brought close to death makes you think (even at 17) about how precious our health is. Our medical system is incredible in a crisis and to be quite frank – modern medicine saves lives everyday. However, there is a large hole in the system and we believe that true health care is not medicine but rather prevention. We hope to educate women on how to take care of their mind, body, and spirit and help empower them to take their health into their own hands and feel confident in their body’s capabilities.
Tell us three things about yourself that most people may not know about you:
- It is our 10 year friendaversary (friend anniversary) next year!
- We use to be really unhealthy! We mean….partying every weekend, fast-food and sour candies – the whole shebang!
- We love to thrift! The thrill of a good find is so addicting! We made a promise to each other that in 2017 we wouldn’t purchase any new clothes and stick to second hand.
What has been the most valued lesson(s) you’ve learned through your business journey so far?
We are friends first! No matter how crazy business is or how many things need to be crossed off the to-do list, we always try to put our friendship first. If someone is having a bad day or needs to talk, we take off our business hat and try to be 100% present for them.
Tell us about your background before starting Fortify Natural Wellness
Katrina worked as a server at a cafe and always had dreams to be an entrepreneur. She was already making granola under a different business name when we began to dream and build Fortify.
Stephanie worked at an insurance company as an admin assistant and had plans to live in a van and travel the country with her husband and cats.
What is something you underestimated when you started your business?
The amazing community that has come up around us! Social media has always been daunting for the both of us and neither of us have ever had a big presence on our own social media accounts. But since starting Fortify and putting ourselves out there, the support has been incredible! Every time we see a direct message or a notification on Instagram we do a little happy dance! We also LOVE getting to meet you all in person at markets and events!
What do you enjoy doing to relax & recharge?
Send us to Thermea (a nordic spa in Winnipeg) for the day and we are in heaven! Katrina also loves yoga, running and curling up with her hubby on the couch to watch a good movie. Steph loves being in nature, taking afternoon naps, reading and writing.
Tell us about your family
We are both happily married to our lovely husbands! They are truly our rocks and our biggest fans. They believed in Fortify back when it was just a crazy, lofty idea.
What can we expect to see from you over the next few months? One year?
Keep your eyes peeled for new products, exciting new projects and our faces at a lot of spring and summer markets in BC and Winnipeg! We also have a lot of content planned for our blog and website.
How has being an entrepreneur empowered you?
Being an entrepreneur has been such an empowering experience! To dream something up from it’s small beginnings and watch it grow and evolve is magical (and exhausting haha). We wake up daily and work at crushing those voices telling us “you can’t do this” or “no one is going to care about this”. When someones tells us how much their child loves our granola, how much our content inspires them, or calls us to say they haven’t felt this amazing in years, it is fuel for our souls. It’s truly is why we do what we do. Knowing that we have the privilege to speak into peoples lives and help them make change has empowered us beyond belief.
Thank you for following our journey! We feel so blessed to be doing what we’re doing!
I encourage you to connect with Stephanie & Katrina and follow along their journey with Fortify – They’re doing some pretty amazing things! For more information about them and their products, head over to visit their website www.fortifynaturalwellness.com.
Please join us next week for another feature on a Canadian brand we’d love to share with you! Follow along on social media using #LLFeatureFriday and join our community at @lovinglocal.ca on Facebook and Instagram! Thank you for being here!!