Amongst the chaos and stress of the pandemic, there is a common theme that keeps emerging as the world opens up – holistic health.
“Wolf Willow Apothecary has been somewhat of an evolution and an amalgamation of my interests and passions over time,” says Kaitlin Nault, owner of the new Wolf Willow Apothecary in Canmore. “Throughout my adulthood I have had an interest in health and have worked in many different facets of our health care system. Over the last few years I found myself most interested in holistic health and wellness and that started with turning my attention to the products in my own home when I became a mother. I quickly realized these products were not what they claimed to be. I began researching high and low on what all these mystery ingredients were and how they could affect our health and I believe there is a connection.”
Wolf Willow Apothecary is an independent shop that focuses on local and Canadian distributed, sustainable, wellness and beauty products.
“I wanted to be part of supporting local businesses, doing my part in nudging people to more environmentally friendly options,” says Nault. "The trouble was I didn’t know exactly how that would come to be. I was trusting that it would happen when the time was right. The entire unfolding of this space was simply serendipitous.”
Wolf Willow is located inside the family run Grassroots Pharmacy and Compounding on Bow Valley Trail inside the Rocky Mountain Professional Centre. The partnership between the two businesses has been a successful and fruitful one.
“I feel so lucky to have the location that I do. It’s part of the ‘locals loops’ as we like to call it. I’m in a building with many health and wellness professionals and with so many other incredible businesses,” Nault says. “I remember coming into the pharmacy one day just to chat with Ashif (Bhandiaani, the pharmacist) and Anne (Marineau, the pharmacy assistant) and noticing that they had this empty space. So I asked what they were planning to do with it. Ashif had let me know they were looking to rent it out. Fast forward a few months and here we are.”
The ethos of Wolf Willow fits in well inside the pharmacy.
“I don’t believe in absolutes but I do believe we can choose to move in a direction that promotes our overall well-being in a positive way and that holistic remedies can work harmoniously with modern medicine,” says Nault. “We are exposed to so much in a day that isn’t entirely within our control. I think there is a power and beauty in the ability to control what enters our home. To ditch the endless chemicals found in so many products today that could be interrupting the efficiency and overall health of the systems in our body.”
Examples of this are household cleaning products, which Nault hopes more people will shift to the ones with fewer chemicals.
“The non toxic brands available now are just as good, if not better, than their more mass produced, chemical laden counterparts,” says Nault. “With that in mind, it is easier to make the switch to “cleaner” products. For me, it’s about educating consumers of that possibility – that the potential toxic chemicals in many store bought cleaners simply aren’t necessary to create an effective product.”
Other products Nault carries are body creams and butters, bath salts and essential oils, enhance relaxation – all of which have an enticing smell.
“I look at essential oils and related products as a series of 'nudgers.' They have the capacity to nudge our system towards balance. And a balanced system is a healthier system, so whether that’s putting on an uplifting oil in the morning, or a relaxing one after a stressful day, it is another way to help your overall system be as calm, efficient, and healthy as possible. And the body can do some really cool things when it’s more efficient and calm.”