Rachel and Robin Thompson on Redefining the Wellness Industry

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VGN AF is a wellness destination created by Rachel and Robin Thompson. It was born out of the desire to highlight their own personal health journeys. VGN AF showcases their experiences on how being healthy is supposed to feel. They are mothers, entrepreneurs, and multi-hyphenates. Here, they talk business, wellness and the beauty of being VGN AF!

Morning Ritual:

We both meditate and pray within the first hour of waking up. We used to roll over, pick up our phone and scroll through Instagram but we have found that to be very disruptive, mentally.

Skincare Regime:

Our skin care mantra is that beauty starts from within. Whatever you feed your gut and body, will appear on your face. Since becoming hardcore vegans 3 yrs ago, our skin has improved tremendously. A lot of people don’t realize that consuming dairy causes inflammation. Once we removed that from our diets and added cruciferous vegetables, our skin glow was unmatched.

Daily Wellness Practice:

Taking a two-hour break to detach from everything, every device, and everyone. This is something we have been committed to doing over the years. Resetting our minds to disconnect in order to reconnect.

Workout Routine:

We love cardio and resistance building exercises. One thing we do is yoga 2x a week and underwater cycling for strong legs 2x a week. Biking underwater is a low impact full body workout. It is soothing and challenging because the water creates amazing resistance!

Sleep:

This is the biggest challenge we face as moms and entrepreneurs. How to get a full 8 hrs of sleep daily! On some days we do and other days we flat out don’t. Wellness is something you don’t get perfect at, it’s always a work in progress over here!

On Being an Entrepreneur:

Outside of VGNAF.com, we both own individual businesses. Robin has owned a photography studio in Miami for about 8 years and I (Rachel) have owned a Beauty Salon in Baltimore for the past 13 years alongside an online fashion boutique for 4 years. Entrepreneurship has been the most rewarding and challenging commitment. Some days are great, some days are bad but it’s very important to look at the bigger picture. It’s not gonna be fun and cute all the time, but as long as you work towards a greater goal, everything else will fall into place.

What inspired you ladies to venture into the wellness industry?

Our own health journeys inspired us to enter the wellness industry. Robin had a severe case of anemia, we were both having gut and digestive issues and started researching and consulting with doctors on what we could do to feel better. Growing up, health wasn’t a big priority and as women, soon as you hit 30, everything slows down. We are 2 women in our late thirties and we couldn’t find people like us. One of the biggest motivating factors for us was making sure we remained ourselves. We are 39. We are moms. We are vegans. We listen to Wu-tang Clan and love Hip-Hop! If you look around the Wellness industry, it’s very one dimensional. Wellness isn’t one size fit all and we wanted to show people, specifically African Americans that we can take care of ourselves (mind, body, and soul) without compromising our integrity or personalities. It’s ok to curse. It’s ok to make your health your #1 priority and it’s okay to do things your way.

Give us 3 sentences explaining how you keep it all together:

We don’t. We strategize and execute. We leave the rest to God and the Universe to work their magic.

What’s your Movita? (Motivation):

Our children. Creating a space for them to see what hard work looks like has been the greatest joy of our lives. Children are incredibly curious and perceptive. Our kids are our interns. They love planting new veggies, taste testing and harvesting fruits with us. They are also around when our farmers, nutritionists, and doctors are around, so they get to learn from experts on various topics during our meetings. Seeing them ask questions and seeing their faces light up when they learn something new inspires us to keep going!

All photographs by Val Hasani (c) 2019