Get to know Jillian Mariani, founder of Niyama Wellness. She is a Canadian woman entrepreneur, registered yoga teacher, certified sleep coach and natural wellness geek. She also holds the (sometimes challenging) roles of wife/soulmate, mum and bonus-mum, and dog & cat mum. Jillian spent her 20+ year corporate career in the Canadian Natural Health Supplements category, in sales, marketing and product development with some of Canada’s favourite brands of vitamins and supplements. Jillian holds a BA from UofT, a diploma in Nutritional Management from GBC, an MBA from Schulich School of Business, and a YTT-200H from Downward Dog Yoga Centre. She lives in Toronto with her husband and children, and teaches Vinyasa part-time. In addition to yoga, she enjoys cooking, travel, Netflix/HBO, good books and turmeric lattes, dark chocolate, and dog walks.
Get to know her story.
Tell us a bit about your business
Niyama Wellness is a 100% Canadian female founded, owned and run wellness brand, based in Toronto.
In Sanskrit, niyama loosely translates to good habits. And we believe that good habits and self-care practices build healthier, happier lives. Good Habits are so much easier to create and sustain when they are enjoyable, and when they yield positive results. That’s why Niyama Wellness creates products that are super effective, (so you know they are working) and delightful to use (so you actually enjoy them).
Niyama supports your self-care from head to toe, supporting an active lifestyle and nourishing your overall well-being. All Niyama wellness products are vegan, non-GMO and made in Canada. Free from gluten, soy and sugar with no artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners or preservatives.
What inspired you to start your business?
I was incredibly lucky to spend my whole corporate career in the natural wellness and supplements category, with access to lots of fantastic products and ingredients. Yet even with all the amazing products available, I was still combining loads of single ingredient products, and mixing up my own elixirs to get exactly what I wanted to support my own lifestyle, without any of what I didn’t want - namely artificial sweeteners, flavours, preservatives and less ideal forms of nutrients. It was doable, but expensive and not terribly convenient. As a type A woman, biological and bonus mom, with a busy career and family life, I am no stranger to stress; and I knew my desire to manage my wellness naturally was not unique. Niyama is really the embodiment of a wellness & self-care line of products that meet my own exceptionally picky standards for myself and for other like-minded consumers, to make creating and sustaining good habits for a healthy, happier life, easier and more enjoyable - with no guesswork!
What has been your proudest moment thus far?
Having Niyama listed and supported by The Detox Market. They are so selective about what they carry in their stores, because they curate a clean beauty and wellness experience for their clients that takes the guesswork out of it. Having Niyama as part of that selection makes me so proud. And whenever I get an email from a customer telling me how a Niyama product has made aa difference in their life. Often it’s about Sleep Like Buddha – from someone who is finally getting the sleep they need. That is so personal for me, because I’m a recovered insomniac so I totally know how awful it is to not sleep. It fills my heart.
Entrepreneurship often comes with a boatload of challenges, what has been your biggest challenge thus far?
In short: profitable growth/scale. When the pandemic hit I was focused on building wholesale distribution in the health food/speciality channel and that came to a grinding halt. Few retailers wanted to bring in new brands with low awareness when consumers were not shopping the same way. Our online grew, but not enough. We are still very tiny in terms of revenue, after 3 years.
If you could give any piece of advice to a new entrepreneur, what would it be?
Watch your cashflow. You’ll need more $$$ than you think, and it creates aa lot of stress.
Homemade granola right out of the jar. And Mid-Day Squares Peanut Butta.
Favorite way to destress?
One beauty and wellness product you can’t live without?
From Niyama: our Hey Relax Magnesium Powder – it is a delicious natural pineapple drink mix that takes you straight to zen.
Not from Niyama: Kosas Tinted Facial Oil
One person who inspires you?
Joanna Griffiths - Knix
“Mantra for anxiety: This is not you. This is something moving through you. It can leave out of the same door it came in.” ― Cleo Wade.