Candice Bryan is the founder and creative director of Noire Wellness which was established in 2015 and joins a growing number of wellness companies that focus on the health and well-being of African and African-Caribbean communities living in the UK. After receiving her BA(Hons) in Leisure Management from the University of Wolverhampton in 2004, where she would later review degree modules as an industry advisor for programmes content, she returned to London to lead a successful community sports development programme increasing physical activity amongst children with disabilities and managing a health and fitness community centre.
With memories of dancing in Nottinghill Carnival as a child and growing up in Harlesden, having three older brothers and heritage in Jamaica (mother) and Barbados (father), Candice has been proud of her rich cultural identity. Coupled with a relentless pursuit for new adventures and experiences, Candice is determined to advance her research into understanding the black British leisure experience.
More recently, Candice coordinated a multi-award winning project that enabled disabled adults to become qualified fitness instructors, creating partnerships with a vast number of leisure operators across London and South-East and supporting professionals to help make the fitness industry more inclusive. Her spare time activities include dance fitness classes, volunteering for community events, and imbibing copious amounts of hot chocolate while taking her two young children on the many new experiences and adventures! Candice has also completed 2 bungee jumps, a 10ft sky dive, walked on glass and fire, and soon embark on yet another challenge for charity.
CB: Giving birth to my children has been my greatest success and as they continuously guide me to constantly learn and grow, their wellness is my reason for the creation of Noire Wellness. In addition, it could be argued that the miseducation of cultural identity, leisure choices and constraints has led to:
- People from African and African Caribbean communities being three times more likely than the general population to develop type 2 diabetes.
- Almost 70% of Black British people reported the least average rating of life satisfaction in 2013.
- Black men being 17 times more likely to be diagnosed with a serious mental health illness than their white counterparts.
Our mission is to improve the health and wellness of African and African-Caribbean communities through the offer of local wellness clubs, community consultancy services and newly created network of professionals. As an evolving and very new wellness company, for me – Noire Wellness means, “A journey to the best of you through the enrichment of culturally related activities and practices which are designed to improve the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of communities through reflective identity.”
RB: What major challenges did you face when setting up your business and how did you overcome them?
CB: “If you want to accomplish the goals in your life, you have to begin with your spirit” – Oprah Winfrey. The major challenge was simply to begin. We had begun researching in 2014 through focus group interviews and an on-line survey in 2015 attracting over 250 respondents. The business was registered in February 2015, yet we were not fully operational until August 2016 and still in the very early stages of our first 12-week pilot pop up wellness club. We had pushed back dates to begin the pop up sessions, to have “the Big Launch”, get the “Press Release” out, etc, etc. After such a short time we have learnt so much and are very happy with the progress and feedback we have received from our new members, which is who we are here to serve.
RB: Who has been the greatest influence on you since starting your venture and why?
CB: There has never been a more exciting time to get “Black” involved in the business of “Wellness” through using the rich cultural identity and traditions of Africa and the Caribbean. Since starting Noire Wellness there have been many people who continue to influence and inspire me. Being surrounded by a wave of newly emerging and innovative businesses I feel inspired hugely by the number of networks and coaches that are readily available to help start-ups like us.
RB: What is the vision for your business and where do you see yourself 5 years from now.
CB: Our vision is to become the leading wellness company providing authentic African and Caribbean inspired services in the UK. Over the next 5 years we will be working to steadily grow the Noire Wellness brand through launching a number of pop ups across London and the South East, whilst building on the growth of our network of wellness professionals and increasing consultancy work.