Pura Vie Holistic Studio & Boutique is a new business located at 229 N. Kentucky Ave. (next to Mitchell’s Coffee Shop, in the former space of Coppertree Boutique & Studio). Sadly, Pura Vie was scheduled to open their doors in their renovated space in April, but since they are considered a non-essential business, their opening has been delayed. The community has not gotten a chance to meet them in person yet, but readers will be able to get a good idea of who the owner, Noemi Pareja, is based upon her eloquent words. We can’t wait to meet you in person, Noemi. And book one of those ayurvedic massages for me!
How long has your business been open? Did you own/manage other businesses before this one?
Pura Vie has not been able to open in Lakeland. We are waiting for restrictions to be lifted for non-essential businesses and for when we feel it is safe to operate.
Pura Vie-Lakeland is our second venture. We owned and operated Pura Vie Spa-Sarasota, an award-winning luxury holistic spa and yoga studio for two years before selling our first venture in downtown Sarasota.
What inspired you to open your business?
We are a new business, and we wanted to open a different version of our holistic concept in Lakeland as a way to say “Thank You” for the support we have had from friends and long-time clients. We have been Lakelanders for 22 years and wanted to come back to our roots with a specialty boutique store and wellness studio experience for the community to enjoy.
I, Noemi, the owner, have been a licensed holistic massage practitioner for over 10+ years with a background in corporate hospitality. I have managed many prominent luxury hotel spas in Florida, including local Streamsong Golf Resort & Spa, while creating a unique massage therapy practice focusing on sports rehabilitative therapies, resort-style treatments, and ancient Eastern practices rooted in Ayurvedic medicine.
If your business is family-owned or operated, can you tell us what that’s like? What roles do your family members fill in your business?
Pura Vie Holistic Studio & Boutique is family-owned! I created and worked on my concept close to 7 years before opening our first venture in Sarasota. My parents and my sister help me create my interior design, select and test my products, as well as help me in my shop with customer service. Customers will meet my mother Pam and sister Laura on Saturdays when the Farmer’s Market returns.
Why did you decide to open your business in Downtown Lakeland? Do you have a special connection to the area? To Lakeland in general?
After selling Pura Vie-Sarasota, I wanted to take some time to refine my concept to create a more personalized, small-scale experience, so I could continue my personal practice and expand my holistic retail offerings. During this period, the opportunity presented itself before the holidays in 2019 for the location we are currently in to become available. It was a unique space that energetically felt like the home for Pura Vie-Lakeland. The plans came together for my new business and I’m excited to unveil my concept to the community.
My family and I have been Lakeland residents since 1997. I’m originally from Baton Rouge, LA. (a good Ragin’ Cajun at heart), and we moved to Central Florida for work opportunities my father was pursuing at the time. We never left the area and I spent my teenage years attending school at the former Evangel Christian School and Mckeel Academy.
I began my college career at Florida Southern College studying Business Management before transferring to other schools and finishing my degree in Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida. I worked many part-time jobs in businesses here in Lakeland that included Family Fundamentals (part of United Way of Central Florida). That’s where my love of charity and philanthropy began. I also worked for Mark and Jeanna Parker, owners of Bella Visage Medical & Aesthetic Rejuvenation located in Downtown Lakeland while my business in Sarasota was being constructed. They taught me the meaning of community and opened my eyes to the vast network of great businesses and owners within our great city.
I’ve lived all over the world: Hawaii, California, North Carolina, the Caribbean and South America. I always find my way back to Lakeland. It’s a great comfort to be near family and friends who are happy to welcome you back no matter how long you have been away and it’s the main drive for me to open a business here.
What’s your favorite item, product, or service that you offer, and why?
My favorite service I will be offering is my Ayurvedic Massage. It’s a unique treatment that is a central part of the Ayurvedic Healing System that originates from India that is over 5000 years old. Ayurveda means “Knowledge of Life” and is the form of holistic medicine that is tied to Traditional Chinese Medicine and other prominent Eastern practices. It addresses physical issues by connecting the mind and body together, not just the problem within the body. Exercise, nutrition, bodywork and meditation are utilized to create a personalized treatment for each individual in traditional consultations.
I focus on the bodywork and meditation in my practice. Each treatment is 100% unique. I never repeat the same service because it is tailored to each person’s Dosha, or characteristics that are based on personality, emotional state, physical features and concerns, which changes every time a person comes for a service. This treatment begins with an awakening of Prana, or life energy, with a silk-glove lymphatic exfoliation called Garshana. It is a detoxification process to boost lymphatic flow with rapid movements, increases blood flow and boosts the immune system. After the exfoliation, a specialized massage that focuses on the joints and muscles and incorporates many different movements. Some fast, some slow, tapping, friction and yoga-style stretching. You feel like jelly in the best way possible at the end, and I bring the mind and body to balance with a guided meditation, while playing my Tibetan Sound Bowl. The tones and vibrations of the bowl reset your energy points, and you feel more connected in your mind and body. It’s a wonderful experience I enjoy providing.
When you think about your business, what makes you feel the most proud? What challenges or difficulties have you had to overcome in your personal life or in your business to get to where you are today?
When I think about Pura Vie as a whole, I’m proud of the vision and mission that I have had since my 20s to create a center of rest and education and a collective of partners over the years to provide a much needed service to the communities that I have served. It had never wavered nor been compromised in any way. My voice and message is loud and clear and as a single, minority woman, I’m proud to have made this dream a reality since the age of 30.
I’ve had tremendous challenges to get to where Pura Vie is today. As a young, solo entrepreneur, I sacrificed a tremendous amount to stay focused on my goals to create this business. I saved every penny, worked up to 3 jobs–7 days a week for many years, faced physical illnesses that set me back a few times, lost friends and family, and faced financial obstacles that I was sure would derail me. Every time a problem would present itself, often compounding, my family, friends and supporters would help pick me up and push me to keep going. In those moments of true faith, things came together for me, and I am blessed to have this opportunity again.
What changes have you made to your business or how have you adjusted your business during this pandemic?
At this time, my business has not been able to physically open to the public. I took over our physical location and completed a small remodel in March. I created an online boutique, which has always been part of the plan, and launched it quickly after the required closures were announced. During the month of April, I’m working on setting up the shop to have it ready for the public when it is safe and permitted to do so. I am very active on social media via our Facebook and Instagram page. I post almost every day about products, vendors, positive messages, and about myself and my story during this time. I’m trying to establish an online relationship with the community so that they have an understanding of what Pura Vie is about before they come through our doors.
What is the most important thing for the community to know about your business right now? What’s the best way they can support you?
The most important thing I want the Lakeland community to know about Pura Vie is that myself and my business are here to support you mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically during this time. I want to be a helpful source of peace, tranquility, and positive energy and encouragement as we get through this crisis together. I am available for guidance and support in any way possible.
The best way for the community to support me is to follow, like and comment on our posts on social media via Instagram and Facebook. Yes, our link to our online boutique and gift cards are available, but I know that purchasing items is not always the priority at this time. I want to create a dialogue, a forum of positive reinforcement that together we can be of support and connect with one another. Until I can physically meet people inside the boutique, I want to create awareness and make community friends online. I can still educate and share information that is priceless, while engaging with others to learn more about the holistic needs of the community.