We had the good fortune of connecting with Alyssa & Toni Junious and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alyssa & Toni, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
“The power of healing comes from within. The journey begins with you to
living vibrant and shining bright.” — Soultry Sisters
This personal quote reminds us of the personal work that we have done and continue to do in our healing journeys. Caring for ourselves is the key ingredient that has given us the capacity to serve others and build a community that centers collective healing, creative expression and conscious holistic living. We like to share this quote to remind others that it’s ok to put your healing first.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
We started Soultry Sisters in 2019 holding monthly workshops in North County San Diego. We created this arts and wellness collective to address the lack of representation of diverse race and socioeconomic status in the wellness industry by providing affordable and accessible events for women of color in our community. We believe that arts and wellness is a birthright and should be accessible to all. We collaborate with female entrepreneurs, women-led businesses, and community-based organizations to increase visibility of the diverse women in our community and connect women of color to these necessary wellness resources. We strive to make wellness more equitable and empower women of color to live vibrant and creative lives. Through our events, we highlight the importance of holistic health and wellness and the connection of mind, body, soul and community. In 2020, we expanded our reach and started hosting virtual workshops, events, and community conversations to continue connecting with and supporting women of color in our community and throughout cities across the U.S. In 2021, we launched our membership-based virtual community, called Soultry Sanctuary. This online community gives our members a dedicated space for collective healing and personal growth. Soultry Sanctuary members have direct access to movement practices (such as pilates, yoga, dance), journaling prompts, meditations, and other soulcare activities to Embrace, Embody & Empower themselves wherever they are in their wellness journey. What started as two sisters wanting to create a space for women of color in their hometown has grown into a diverse collective of women merging arts and wellness.
The most challenging aspect of running our business is keeping our offerings affordable, accessible, and sustainable. Although we are a mission-driven community organization, we are a for-profit business, which means most of our funding comes from the income we receive from hosting events and facilitating workshops. Collaborating with local businesses and organizations has been helpful to offset costs and expand our reach while we continue to apply for additional funding to support and expand our programs and offerings. Another challenge was having to pivot our programming in 2020 due to not being able to continue our in-person events and workshops. Shifting from in-person to virtual programs was not easy at first, but fortunately has allowed us to expand our community across the U.S. and continue to bring arts and wellness resources to women of color.
Soultry Sisters specializes in empowering women to live vibrant and shine bright through creative expression, conscious holistic living, and soulcare. We cultivate meaningful experiences to foster genuine connections and share, celebrate, and heal through sisterhood. Soultry Sisters is a reflection of not only our passions but both of our professions as well. Alyssa is a professional dancer, choreographer and pilates practitioner. Toni is a public health professional and yoga practitioner. We bring our professional backgrounds into the programs we offer for Soultry Sisters, as well as share the resources and activities that we are using in our personal healing journeys. Our collective is about celebrating every aspect of ourselves. The way we lead our community is unique as well. By facilitating open conversations with our community, everyone has the ability to offer their insight and wisdom to the various arts and wellness topics we discuss. We are proud to have created a space where we get to grow alongside our community. A space where we can develop our personal soulcare practices and find community and healing for our mind, body and soul.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Some of our favorite places we love visiting in San Diego are: Village Rock Shop
Dancin Soul Boutique
Mystic Soul Ritual Shop
Eve vegan cafe
Hill Street Country Club
Living Tree Kombucha
Encinitas Meditation Gardens
Torrey Pines hiking trails
Sip Wine & Beer
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
We want to shoutout women of color who have set the foundation in what it means to practice collective healing and shaped what wellness means to us. Some of the women include Angela Davis, Audre Lorde, Adrienne Maree Brown, Jasmine Utterback (Creative Women Build), Angie Franklin (Afro Yoga), and Dr. Chelsea Roberts (Yoga, Literature, and Art Camp).