By: Andie Horowitz
A traditionally exclusive industry
In the world of health and wellness, taking care of yourself has often been advertised as an exclusive privilege to only a select few. Crucial elements of the industry are consistently marketed in a gendered, classist manner that alienates different communities from participation. As a brand within the health industry, we are passionate about creating a community that ensures wellness is achievable for all — regardless of gender, sexuality, age, or economic status. One way we aim to do so is through amplifying other companies, organizations, and like-minded leaders that work toward the same goal of inclusion and accessibility. And in honor of pride month, we’re highlighting three L.A.-based LGBTQ+ individuals whose work is changing the world of wellness for the better.
Wellness leader spotlight
Allison Simon not only understands the limited accessibility of mainstream wellness brands but devotes her work to actively changing this factor. As both a yoga and meditation facilitator and queer Black woman, Simon has modeled her practice around ensuring outreach to different marginalized communities. When writing on the subject, her website states, “She is devoted to increasing access to self-care practices for people of color. She believes that tools, like meditation and yoga, can help foster a more compassionate, resilient and heart-centered community.”
Simon teaches yoga and meditation classes in numerous different inclusive institutions within LA, including Op en, The Underground Museum, and Compound LB. She works toward reducing monetary barriers within the wellness industry by offering a variety of free classes for both disciplines, with readily available links found on her website.
Otherwild General is a queer and women-owned event space, design studio and store with products that satisfy all of your needs — in an intersectional way. From apothecary staples like herbal medicine to houseware items like candles and incense, Otherwild General offers sustainable products from independent creators who adhere to their strict (and admirable) code ethics: the company promises a ban of single-use plastics in production while still ensuring a clean chain of production. In doing so, the Otherwild General promotes a mission centered around both environmental and social justice, creating a safe space for all in an Earth-friendly way.
Otherwild General has both an online store and brick and mortar location in LA. Their storefront not only includes their wide range of products but also extends to other sustainability initiatives such as a bath, body, and home appliance refill station. The store’s expertise may reach far and wide, but everything is sold with a socially conscious purpose, with the brand stating, “Otherwild is, and will continue to be, an extension of this mission of care -- through community building, queer culture, awareness, consciousness-sharing and stewardship.”
Noto Botanics has taken the LA skincare industry by storm — and for good reason. Gloria Noto, founder of the genderless, multifaceted brand, entered the industry with a priority of inclusion. As a queer, first-generation American woman, Noto noticed, “a gap between clean beauty and inclusive representation” within the wellness industry. With a successful career background in makeup art and a passion for natural products, Noto launched Noto Botanical with a mission of amplifying those who are often excluded from the narrative.
Noto Botanics strives to make products for people of all identities, opting for an individualized, representative wellness experience. with this goal reflected in “giveback products” such as Agender Oil, whose profits led to over $25,000 in donations to companies such as LGBT Youth Center and BLACK LIVES MATTER to date. The company runs a brick-and-mortar location in LA while also offering much of their products online.