Business Story: Grounded Revival — Mind & Soul Jewelry

Business Story Grounded Revival — Mind & Soul Jewelry

About Grounded Revival

Grounded Revival – Mind & Soul Jewelry is a spiritual wellness lifestyle brand. We create hand-knotted natural stone prayer beads, called “tasbih”. Tasbih have been used for thousands of years as a tool to help you keep your focus and count in meditation and prayer. The benefits of using Tasbih in your spiritual practice are to promote overall well-being, balance and protection, and remind you to open your heart and mind, set your intentions, and inspire positive change. We use natural, semi-precious stone such as turquoise, various quartz (such as amethyst), onyx, jasper, and agate in all of our pieces.

Our story is rooted in the struggle of seeking spiritual balance in modern society. Spiritual wellness is what we like to call life’s grounding factor. It’s a tool or a guide that supports you in finding your life’s meaning and purpose and understanding the values, beliefs, and morals that guide your actions. The strength of your faith and deeper connection to self can lead to increased self-awareness, which supports how we think and behave. Essentially, when you are spiritually attuned or well, you can be more self-reflective, present, and purposeful when dealing with life and its adversities.

 Our Founders Story

Suzie Qualle, founder of  Grounded Revival, started the company as a way to grow personally and to raise awareness for the benefits of spiritual wellness. She grew up in Canada with parents from two very different backgrounds. Her mom is a 4th generation Canadian of European decent and her father is Pakistani who moved to Canada at 19 years old. Growing up in Canada, she struggled with her identity and recalls being the only Muslim or biracial child in her elementary school. Qualle says that “the challenge of being biracial is that your ‘community’ is essentially nonexistent; however, this can also make you more accepting of different backgrounds, cultures, and religions”. Instead of sticking to one particular group, she would actively participate in her classmates’ cultural activities. She says that, “the process of learning about another persons’ background intrinsically brings you closer to that person or group”. She’s attended Diwali celebrations, church, took religious studies in university, and so much more. “I am strong in my faith, but it doesn’t mean I can’t learn or appreciate other ways of life”, she says. 

Qualle  also grew up in an entrepreneurial family and over the years her parents owned various businesses from video stores in the 80’s and 90’s, bakeries in the 00’s, and most recently a successful landscaping business. And, she’s worked it all. Her most vivid memory was as a 12-year-old girl handing out flyers in a bird mascot costume at a local wrestling competition. She got pulled onto a wrestling mat and was dog piled by a group of 16-year-old boys wearing nothing but spandex. “For a Muslim girl, it felt like such a scandalous experience and I was embarrassed to tell my parents even though they were the ones that sent me to an all boys wresting competition!”, she says.

Qualle has been submerged in small business all her life and for years would tell family she would never want to own her own business. There was a lot of sacrifice. When friends were out having fun in university, Qualle was working an evening shift at the bakery. Admittedly she says, “It was the fear of taking over my family’s business that drove me to finish university”. Following university, she worked her way up the corporate ladder until she was in a senior level management position reporting to an executive director. She got paid well, went home at 5pm every day, but was miserable. It took her over 10 years to realize that she loved the everyday variety that owning a business brings and the joy felt from building something with her own hands.

 Early Business Challenges

Grounded Revival is in an interesting spot. There isn’t much out there when it comes to modern Tasbih jewelry made of 100% natural materials. Qualle knows this, because she’s kept her eye on the market for the last 10 years. Historically, doing your Tasbih consisted of counting on fingers or with stones or pebbles. Thousands of years ago, beads didn’t exist for the purpose of meditation and prayer nor were they strung together. This counting on fingers and the use of loose stones still exists today. Qualle remembers when she was 8 years old, she participated in her first group prayer session. Her family sat on the floor around two large bowls in her aunt’s living room. One of the large bowls had thousands of small round loose beads. As she completed a one-line prayer, she would then transfer a single bead to the large empty bowl. She did this for hours late into the evening. Qualle explains that “there is something about group sessions that feel natural – the togetherness of the shared energy is peaceful and also happens to lead to an amazing sleep!”. 

Over time, Tasbih developed into a practical tool with stone beads, strung on durable leather or cord. This is where it also developed its traditional hand-held look. It then entered the era of factory-made tasbih which consisted of plastic or glass beads strung on plastic wire and would retail between $5-$10. This is what Qualle had in her house growing up. She remembers the feeling of plastic beads running through her fingers as being unnatural which almost takes away from the meditative experience. 

In the last 5-10 years, plastic tasbih still exists, but it has become a less preferred method. This is where we see a few major challenges. Firstly, there is a shift taking place in society from mass produced, factory-made, fast fashion back to quality, handmade products. The challenge though is that there are those that still want to pay $20 for a handmade gemstone tasbih. Getting out of the fast fashion mindset at low prices takes time. Secondly, the creations by Grounded Revival are not what you would consider truly traditional and certain groups that are less inclined to change are resistant to their modern take on the century’s old tradition. 

Grounded Revival curbs this resistance by detailing the importance of multi-use designs that are purposeful. Let’s be real. The modern woman works, is on the go, travels, and takes care of their kids so the tools they need for wellness or otherwise will look different today than they did thousands of years ago. We believe that it’s more important that people use the beads for their spiritual well-being than to not use them or practice at all just because it doesn’t fit their lifestyle. Qualle explains that, “we need versatile, practical, and beautiful pieces that support us in our day and in our goals.” Grounded Revival offers aesthetically pleasing meditation beads that can be worn with essentially any outfit and allows the wearer their moment to reflect or connect during any point of the day.

Advice

To run your own business and do so successfully is not an easy task. You may even feel at times that you are failing. It takes a lot of effort, support from those who believe in you, and tenacity. While Qualle just started her business this last year, she understands that it can take a solid three years to really establish a new business. There is a relatively reliable pattern that Qualle has learned from growing up in a business family. The first three years are a struggle – financially and emotionally. This is the biggest piece of advice Qualle wants to give and that’s awareness of what it will take to reach your goals. Regardless of whether it will be your first time running a business, capital, or connections, it just takes time. Qualle explains that over the 7+ businesses that her family opened and ran, it wasn’t until about years 4 and 5 where that turn began to take place. There are the lucky few that hit it out of the water in that first 6 months to a year, but the majority will need to really work at it to be successful.

Another consideration to keep in mind is that it will take some capital. To open Grounded Revival and keep it going for the first 6 months, it took a good 20k which can be a big consideration for some. Our advice is to not quit your day job right away if you are on your own or have one partner still working and making enough to cover your living and business expenses. Lastly, get some strong supporters, because it will be this group that will get you through the tough times. They believe in you and will give you that much needed boost at your low times so keep them close 

If you make it through those first 3 years and push during that time, come up with new ways of reaching customers and delivering outstanding service and/or products, then you have a solid chance at making it. Whether you are personally looking into starting your own business or are here for calm and balance, remember we all have our own oddly inter-connected path and journey to follow. Live in the present, stay grounded, and just be.

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