Meet Erin and Yvonne, best friends who are more like sisters.
They are practicing Registered Massage Therapists and the co-owners of Origin Wellness.
Since meeting in school, they have always been there for one another. A friendship when you don’t even remember when they became your person for life.
Yvonne was present at Erin’s first birth. They are now slowly learning how not to dress like each other. And together they have worked hard to build a business that they love.
It was their artistic sides and love of music that drew them to one another.
Before massage therapy, Erin did her undergrad in theatre. She performed in a Fringe show, was in the house cast at Bad Dog Theatre and performed in improv festivals in Toronto and Chicago. She then decided that a different career might be a better fit for her.
Yvonne was a musician and a student in Humber’s music program. As an introduction to professional playing, Humber held information sessions – speaking to students about carpal tunnel, tendinitis, and caring for their bodies. Playing up to six hours a day put strain on Yvonne’s body. She saw a physical therapist to help relieve her aches and pain.
From artistic backgrounds, Erin and Yvonne came together as massage therapy students. They were study buddies who then became colleagues. While working together in various spas and clinics, they realized more and more that they shared similar philosophies and ideas on how to provide the best patient care.
Origin Wellness began one night at Christmas. Erin and her husband had recently moved into their east end home and Yvonne and her partner came over for a visit. The guys, always encouraging and supportive of their work, suggested that Erin and Yvonne should start their own business. They had been practicing RMTs for 4 years at this point. From their experiences in spas and clinics, they knew what elements they would intentionally bring together to benefit the lives of others.
Within a month, Yvonne had a list of places they could rent and Erin was busily making spreadsheets. The switch was flipped. They were all in.
It seems fitting that they found their first space at Danforth and Moberly. Erin lives only a few blocks away and Yvonne’s first home growing up was on Moberly. Her dad, aunts, and grandma all lived in the neighbourhood.
Erin and Yvonne rented a little, 200 square foot nook from Ankh Yoga (at the back of the studio building). It wasn’t long before they outgrew the space and needed more rooms to accommodate their bookings. Luckily for them, the entire main floor of the building suddenly became available and they had to act quickly.
At the time, Erin was 30 weeks pregnant with her son and Yvonne was just picking up her music again. It was an intense period but these two friends made it happen. Erin described it as the ultimate nesting (helping with the expansion of the clinic). Her baby was 5 days overdue on opening day.
Together they have created a beautiful space – warm, cozy and quiet. Their hope was to avoid a clinical feeling and they most definitely have. Walking in, you will feel like you’re in a spa, with the professional and research-based practices of health care practitioners.
Origin Wellness has an incredible mix of patients: parents, professionals, athletes, kids, and more. There are people who run up to a dozen marathons a year, those recovering from cancer treatments, to kids who seek relief from anxiety and growing pains. Word of mouth has kept them busy and many long-time patients come to see them from across the city. People trust them and feel their sincerity.
As friends, they miss spending time with each other. With the nature of their work, they’re often in therapy rooms with patients. It’s a wave at each other down the hallway or a spontaneous trip to IKEA to grab supplies. Their schedules are very different which makes their time together even more valuable.
Along with caring for patients, Yvonne is a musician. She performs regularly with the Arkells, playing in their horn section. She also plays with a Motown band, The Intentions. Yvonne’s a baritone sax player who plays on the spectrum from jazz to punk rock.
When Yvonne is getting ready for an evening performance, Erin is usually in her pyjamas. Erin is on an extended maternity leave and enjoys her days with her 6-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son. She does a lot of the clinic’s administrative work from home whenever she can squeeze it in and continues to enjoy treating patients in the clinic every few weeks.
It’s their opposite nature that has made them not only great friends but great business partners. They get each other and their strengths complement. Where Erin is calculated and organized, Yvonne encourages them to go for it. One provides the energy, the other the support.
It’s pretty special to be able to do what you love and with your best friend. Erin and Yvonne have both.
If you’re interested in booking a massage or naturopathic medicine appointment at Origin Wellness, they would love to see you. Bookings are done through their easy-to-use, online appointment calendar.
Erin, Yvonne, and their team care about helping people feel better. Perhaps you’ll find it’s a great fit for you and a quick walk from home to get to your next appointment.
For information about the vast array of treatments available, visit their website at www.originwellness.ca
Additional posts from The Humans of Danforth East series:
Chris from Firefly Creative Writing