This week, we had the pleasure of interviewing Tara Miller, the founder of Health Hut, a natural lifestyle shop that’s taking an intuitive approach to wellness. Together, we chatted about her journey as an entrepreneur and her tips and tricks to make her home feel like a sanctuary.
Janice Liu (JL): Tell us about your personal journey as a founder to have created Health Hut.
Tara Miller (TM): Well, back in 2011 I had just finished nutrition school and had become interested in the ingredients used in our personal care products. I had spent all my previous summers up in Muskoka, and was trying to find a creative way to keep that up. My Mom owns a local gas station in the area that was home to a little hut we used to sell ice cream out of. I asked her if I could use it to try out my idea and the Health Hut was born! I stocked it with snacks and creams and all sorts of natural goods and people came. I knew nothing about retail but I think found myself in the right place at the right time as people were starting to pay more attention to products they were buying. We still open that summer hut each year, and we’ve evolved as a brand to include a broader definition of health. We curate and stock items for the purpose of how they make you feel, and encourage an intuitive approach to wellness.
JL: That’s such a great story. And I love that you spotted an opportunity and took a chance. What are the key brands and products your carry and can you please list and describe some of your favourites?
TM: So we try to prioritize local brands, and living in Toronto makes that really easy. They are tons of great ones including Province Apothecary, Wildcraft, Graydon, Lohn, 8 Faces and so many more. We also include some highly coveted international lines like Tata Harper, Rahua, rms, Henné and Noto. Some of my go to’s are The Hair Routine Shampoo and Conditioner, Province‘s Invigorating and Balancing Toner and Tata Harper‘s Illuminating Moisturizer. I also live for all the candles we have in the shop, and anything that goes in the bath.
JL: What is your guide to make your home a sanctuary?
TM: I love surrounding myself with nostalgia and beauty. Fresh flowers, candles, vintage finds and pieces that bring back good memories.
JL: That’s so great that you use memories and scents to bring those feelings in. Can you describe for us your evening and morning facial care routines?
TM: I usually work until about 7 or 8, so a typical evening for me usually includes coming home (or right now coming downstairs haha) pouring a glass of wine and cooking dinner with my husband Tom. We talk about the day and maybe watch a show or read and then up to bed. For someone who has a store full of skincare it may surprise you that I have a really simple routine. I wash my face (usually with Tata Harper‘s oil cleanser), sometime use a serum and sometimes not, brush my teeth and hop into bed. Depending on the weather I may use a balm on my face/lips and right now I have a jar of The Cure Body Whip beside my bed to smooth my dry, chapped hands.
JL: That is super straightforward and simple. I find face care and skincare, such a personal experience. As is wellness overall. What wellness and mindfulness practices are you bringing into your daily routine and home life in general?
TM: I practice listening to my body and prioritizing my internal cues over any prescriptive or external notations of what health and wellness should look like. I let go of the idea of “good” and “bad” foods and “right” and “wrong” ways to do health years ago and have never looked back. I have also spent time actively challenging and unlearn diet culture’s thin = better and healthier mantra and practicing acceptance, rather than seeing my body as something to be manipulated and controlled. Strengthening my compassionate voice over my critical one has been also be really wonderful for my mental health.
JL: That inner voice is such a challenge for everyone to understand and manage for sure. Emotionally and spiritually, how are you feeling? What practices are you prescribing to yourself and your community?
TM: I have never felt better than when I started to let go and loosen the grip on who I was “supposed” to be, or how I “should” do things, especially in the wellness world. I really encourage people to try let go of the noise around them and try to tap back into their own needs and desires – whether it be with food, work, movement, rest, etc… And, don’t underestimate the benefits of embracing pleasure and satisfaction!