Brianna Ackley was tired of clicking an online purchase button and hoping for the best.
The born-and-raised Juneauite wanted to spend time with a crystal, feel a yoga mat or smell a bath product before spending her money. Ackley said she realized she probably wasn’t alone, and that’s what encouraged her to take the plunge and start her business, Wolfsong Wellness Boutique, which has been operating downtown on the second floor of the Senate Building since mid-May.
“We have to order so many things online living up here that I just figured I couldn’t be the only one tired of not being able to experience something before bringing it into their home,” Ackley said in an interview at her business. “I just wanted a place for people who like crystals and things. You want to take home that one piece of quartz or something that resonates with you, not just any old piece.”
Plus, Ackley, who is certified to teach yoga but does not currently teach, had wanted to do something wellness-based for a while.
“Through yoga, I ended up learning about all the other things like aroma therapy and crystals and all of the other facets of wellness that kind of came to me through yoga,” Ackley said. “My favorite part has been connecting with people in a different way. The whole idea for the store is to be a sort of one-stop shop for well-being.”
Wolfsong’s wares include yoga supplies, muscle rollers, meditation cushions, skin care products, essential oils, candles, incense, crystals, books, necklaces, reusable produce bags and straws and more.
Ackley, who is a first-time business owner after working at the Hangar on the Wharf and Twisted Fish restaurants for about 13 years, said her first summer in business went well.
“I didn’t see a ton of tourist traffic, but locals have been great, which gives me hope for the winter time,” Ackley said. “It’s been really good.”
The store is currently operating under winter hours and is open Wednesday-Sunday. On Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, the store is open 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m., on Thursdays it’s open 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m, and on Sundays noon-4 p.m.
Ackley said starting a business has definitely come with a learning curve.
“Learning about stock and inventory and making wholesale connections and things like that have been learning opportunities,” Ackley said, but she characterized the experience as positive in general.
She said initial paperwork wasn’t too burdensome — especially since she doesn’t yet have employees.
“Finding the space was the biggest thing,” Ackley said. “It was something I’d had in the back of my mind for a while, but then I went to get my haircut at the salon, and I noticed that this space was about to become available, so I just kind of jumped on it.”
Ackley said she’d encourage anyone else thinking about opening a business to go for it.
“I got the inspiration from seeing other small businesses start up and succeed,” Ackley said. “I see so many people around my age (35) have been starting and are doing so well, and it’s like ‘Wow, they’re doing so well, and that seems like something I can do.’ It’s been super rewarding.”
That sort of openness to a new adventure is also connected to the store’s name.
“I sort of connected it with the idea of a mama wolf fostering and nurturing that wild spark inside of a baby wolf,” Ackley said. “I wanted to teach Juneau to foster that little wild spark inside of them.”
• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.