Decolonize your business

August 31, 2023

Honouring Holistic Wellness: The Spirited Journey of Carissa Beresford and Waterfall of Wellness

In an era where holistic wellness and self-care have grown in significance, Carissa Beresford, who is Anishinabe, Beothuk, Innu and Mi’kmaq living in Mississauga, Ontario, and is the founder of Waterfall of Wellness (WoW), stands as a beacon of inspiration. 

“I began creating my own products out of necessity,” Carissa began, reflecting on her initiation into the world of holistic products. Sensitivity to artificial fragrances and an unyielding passion for understanding the source of ingredients culminated in her own venture. Carissa shared, “It is important for me to know the source of an ingredient and that it was utilized in a good way through intention and ceremony.”

WoW, registered in 2020, presents a melange of products that echo Carissa’s journey of self-healing and rediscovery of culture. It is an award-winning holistic wellness brand bridging the gap between physical and spiritual by honouring Medicine Wheel Teachings. Its offerings, from whipped body butter to Reiki-infused wood-burned combs, each come with a ‘hidden gem,’ a crystal inside, symbolizing a deeper spiritual connection.

Having won 15 community awards in just three years, Carissa’s hard work has not gone unnoticed. Carissa mused, “Being recognized in my community has been an amazing support. Building and growing a supportive community in a healing space has been rewarding both professionally and personally.”

But every success story isn’t without challenges. For Carissa, the unpredictability of entrepreneurship posed the most significant hurdles. “There is not a steady paycheck to rely on,” she expressed. “It has pushed me to be creative, resourceful, and to develop a new relationship with money.”

Pow Wow Pitch, however, presented itself as a guiding light. “This year, I kept hearing about Pow Wow Pitch in random places as well as spaces of alignment,” Carissa shared, attributing her decision to participate to serendipitous nudges and the unwavering support from her mentor and late best friend.

Through the her Pow Wow Pitch journey, Carissa was paired with two mentors. Clara Price from RBC, encouraged her to “share more of my story to connect with their hearts.” This counsel became the backbone of Carissa’s communication strategy, enabling her to forge a deeper connection with her audience. From there, Johannes Valdes from Shopify, advised Carissa to stand while practicing her pitch, emphasizing that it would help her feel more comfortable and dissipate any anxious energy. Taking this advice to heart, Carissa felt a notable shift in her demeanor, carrying herself with more confidence and authenticity. These invaluable insights from her mentors not only honed her business strategies but also enriched her personal growth journey.

At its core, Carissa’s entrepreneurial experience underscores the importance of interconnection. “WoW offers an inclusive, family-focused, holistic approach,” she highlighted. “Building relationships and genuine connections are the most important. Relationship to each other, self, plants, products, materials, processes, etc.”

For budding entrepreneurs, Carissa’s advice is profoundly spiritual and grounded: “You can decolonize your business and do what feels right and is in alignment with your values.” She encourages authenticity, urging entrepreneurs to “stay connected to passion and purpose” and to perceive rejection as guidance from the Creator.

In a world striving for balance and wellness, Carissa Beresford’s Waterfall of Wellness is not just a brand—it’s a philosophy, a journey of spiritual discovery and a testament to the power of genuine intent.

Register to watch Carissa pitch at the Health and Wellness Semi-Final Online Watch Party on September 8, 2023, at 6 PM ET and vote for Waterfall of Wellness to win the 2023 People’s Choice Prize (#116) before September 17, 2023.