Why does the wellness industry greatly lack diversity and inclusivity? What can we, as individuals and as brands, do continue driving change and progress in the Black Lives Matters movement? We chat to Chloé Pierre, founder of thy.self on her perspective and why she’s determined to diversify the wellness industry to make it more inclusive, accessible and relatable.
Your platform, thy.self is all about diversifying wellness. How did the brand come about?
It is – it’s also about demystifying wellness in order to make it accessible to all – especially marginalised groups of the wider worldwide community which will assist our mission about diversifying wellness. It came about as I continuously noticed the lack of diversity within the wellness industry as well as a lack of awareness and therefore service due to the lack of education in wellness spaces by brands, their staff members, marketing and programming. I knew that this was a missed market, an opportunity and I just wanted to make it happen and be the change I wanted and also other members of the wider community wanted to see. This was thought over two or so years and here we are.
Why do you think the wellness industry lacks diversity and how has that influenced your journey?
I think the wellness industry, like many other industries which lack diversity, are either unaware of the issue, they don’t know how to make it inclusive, see inclusivity as a task that is too big for them to integrate or simply that a lack of diversity and inclusion benefits the business and the industry. I have been met with so many comments around there ‘not being an issue’ or companies thinking they are doing enough but there are so many people in my position making the changes and raising awareness that shows everything I previously mentioned as being preposterous. Luckily for me, I see all the issues as they directly affect and appropriate people who look like me, represent my community, identity, cultural heritage as well as the gaps where companies within the wellness industry are missing and because of this, I am in the best position to make the change.
What personal and professional barriers have you experienced within the wellness industry?
As with breaking into and changing most industries, equality often looks like oppression to those who are used to the power and privilege. I have a lot of people listen to thy.self’s goals and mission and then do nothing with the shared knowledge. I have also experienced great ‘shock’ when I inform people that I am the founder and creator behind thy.self – but it shouldn’t really be any surprise. A lack of diversity can breed entrepreneurship in a way that many can’t, won’t and don’t understand.
As a digital marketing consultant, what do you think brands can do to be more inclusive and represent a more diverse audience?
As a digital marketer and within my experience both professionally and personally, the answer isn’t to make your marketing campaigns diverse. Whatever plans you have for diversifying your marketing capabilities as a business, first stop and then redirect those efforts to making your operational team from leadership to part-time staff as diverse as the campaign you once planned.
The Black Lives Matter campaign has, without doubt, changed the way people think about racism and has brought to the forefront the clear lack of diversity in so many different industries. What can people do to continue driving change forward?
I think people, every single person who has even read an article on the campaign which might I add, has been around for over 30+ years, right here in Britain – it just wasn’t recognised, can accept full responsibility to get involved and make changes through their lived experience, their work, their mind frames, their behaviours, their communities and don’t stop. Don’t ever stop making the changes. Revolutions aren’t built in a day, month or a pandemic. It’s worth every single person reading this to understand and assume that the weight of the world, racism in every kind, injustices etc are all on their shoulders. We are one race – human and until that message is alive in every part of our core, the job is no way near done and it really does affect everyone.
Who do you look up to and who inspires you?
Personally, I only really look up to my Grandmother. She is the only person, if ever that I seek true validation from. In the wellness industry, I don’t look up to anyone, if so, the wellness industry would be a completely different place and I’d be without purpose however I admire the likes of Steven Bartlett, Trinity Mouzon Wofford, Sinikwe Stephanie, Ogur Chukwuu, Koreen Odiney and Yasmine Jameelah.
Follow Chloé and support her mission @thy.self