It’s been a year of adventure, learning, growing and expanding for Ubuntu Wellness owners Jen Emch and Erin Moore.
And the dynamic duo can’t wait to see how their dream continues to unfold in the new year.
“I’ve learned a lot more than I ever thought I would and I know we’ve got a lot more to learn, but there’s certainly more rewards than there has been negatives,” said Emch, who is a supervising licensed professional clinical counselor with Family Pride of Northeast Ohio.
Emch and Moore, who is also a clinical counselor at Family Pride, said Ubuntu, located on Chardon Square above Square Bistro at 205 Main Street, has steadily increased its services since opening in April 2016.
The wellness center offers individual counseling sessions, yoga classes for all levels, yoga warriors (for people suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and emergency first responders), Dancing Mindfulness classes, Thai massage, deep tissue and Swedish massages, reiki sessions, chakra yoga and reiki restructuring sessions, meditation and grounding classes and mindfulness-based stress reduction (individual and group) sessions.
They also have begun offering their studio space for various workshops, including essential oils, women’s empowerment events and life-coaching sessions.
Their biggest challenge has been marketing, Emch said.
“I think it’s just been word of mouth is kind of how we’ve grown,” she said. “Marketing is certainly not our strong suit or anything we went to school for in any capacity so it’s been a challenge. So I really think a lot our stuff has been word of mouth … and social media marketing.”
Moore added the strong friendships, especially those forged by Emch, who lives in Chardon and grew up in Burton, have been essential in building a presence in the community.
“I think having good friendships in the community … has helped a lot because even if we’re not having classes here, people can come up and do workshops and really get the word out to not even just Chardon, but to different communities across Lake and Geauga counties,” she said. “Having those authentic relationships with people who are associated with wellness and all its different variations really has helped us quite a bit.”
Moore said besides the typical learning curve of being new business owners, she has enjoyed seeing how her work relationship with Emch has evolved.
“Jen is very much an action-oriented person and I like to ruminate and analyze and I don’t necessarily take action as quickly, so it’s nice to have the kind of relationship where we can consult with each other,” she said.
Emch added, “I think we balance each other out for sure. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves and about each other.”
Both women said the biggest thing they want to emphasize about Ubuntu is its diversity in offerings.
“I think people know that we have yoga classes and dance classes, and we have massage and reiki and stuff, but at the end of the day, Erin and I are both private practice therapists,” Emch said. “So we really just want to remind people and have people know we’re here for the individual counseling piece in terms of the whole mind, body, spirit (aspect of wellness).”
She added, “When (Moore and I) had talked before, we had talked about the studio just being a trauma informed location and that is still certainly the core of who we are and the services we provide.”
However, “wellness is for everyone,” Emch said, adding she wants people to know Ubuntu is there for all of their needs, whether counseling or trauma related or general overall wellness needs.
“I think we really stress that and I think we’ve been able to create that environment here where it feels welcoming and open and not judgmental,” Emch said. “We just want to make sure people aren’t ignoring their emotional needs and to know we can help facilitate that stuff as well.”
Ubuntu is planning to have an Open House April 9 to celebrate its one-year anniversary.
“I do really feel like we’re building a community, which I think is really cool,” Emch said. “People are finding us and we’re finding them. I look at the studio and I feel like it’s everyone’s. I just feel like saying, ‘Come on in, it’s all of our place.’”
Moore said while they continue to work on building their presence in Chardon, she already feels successful.
“It was somewhat serendipitous how Jen and I met. I wasn’t expecting to ever own or operate a wellness center,” Moore said. “I’ve always wanted to be a part of one and use the counseling … and here it is.”
For more information about Ubuntu Wellness, the staff and services, visit www.ubuntuwellnessohio.com, like them on Facebook and download the MindBody app to sign up for classes and services.