For the last 13 months, Toni Taylor has been using her shop “Mojo Health and Wellness” located in Swan Hill North, as a platform to get others to recognise their potential, using the products she believes in as the drawcard. As a believer of ‘going with the flow’, Toni and her family are now preparing to embark on an adventure to another river town later this year. So before she leaves, 3585livestayplay caught up with this super inspiring, passionate, hilarious and genuine lady to find out more about what makes her tick.
Growing up in the Swan Hill area, Toni moved away from the area roughly 20 years ago, a time in her life when she was “physically, mentally and spiritually unwell”. Read between the lines and you may get the real gist of what Toni is referring too. And it’s a time in her life that she admits has definitely helped her become the person she is today. Toni’s not the only person to have had that kind of experience. Many people have tough times with drugs, money, abuse, family, illness, the list goes on. But instead of dwelling on all the things that didn’t go well, Toni has used the experience to help others see that they too can get through the sh*t and make it to the other side, all the better for it.
After leaving Swan Hill in her late teens, Toni made her way around Australia, often hitch-hiking, until she arrived in Western Australia. It was there that she had what she calls her “defining moment, (it was) magical”. The friendship group she developed over there could “see (my) light. They let me into their spiritual circle. I was at the moment in my life where I was ready to accept it, be part of it.” This positive and uplifting experience helped improve Toni’s physical, mental and spiritual wellness. On returning to Swan Hill, she used the time spent with her WA friends as motivation to continue to spread the health and wellness message to others.
“It might be selfish, but I get off on it!” The ‘it’ Toni speaks of is the gift that she was given during her time in WA. “My (Western Australian) friends saw my strengths in me. Now I gift this to others. You can’t always see (your light) yourself.” But how does she get others to see their light? Often we don’t just go up to someone and say, ‘Hey, what can you see in me?’ So seven years ago, Toni completed her personal training qualifications and began running group and individual holistic personal training sessions in the Swan Hill area (including Nyah). Using exercise as the drawcard, she was able to engage women in conversations about their well-being and make them aware of being mindful. Ah, being mindful, practising mindfulness. Buzz words/phrases in work places and education establishments at the moment. But as a self-proclaimed “modern mystic”, Toni doesn’t bat an eyelid at using these words in conversation. “My real passion is showing others what their light is. The PT and Mojo Health and Wellness have been the ways to get people in, and then we get to talking about it.”
And that’s how Mojo Health and Wellness came to be. Creating a simple yet light filled space, Toni has stocked the store with products that she believes in and uses in her own home. The shop has also hosted a number of cooking workshops and information sessions for locals, covering a range of health and wellness topics. But running a speciality health and wellness store in a small country town, whilst rewarding, can also be tough. National supermarkets have picked up the trend that consumers want real food, sugar alternatives and the hard-to-find ingredients to whip-up the latest food trend on Instagram. And unfortunately, small stores are finding it harder and harder to compete. But instead of hating on these supermarkets, Toni is pragmatic. “Aldi can sell cacao powder for around five dollars a bag. I can’t get that price from a supplier.” So whilst Mojo Health and Wellness will soon be taken over by a local couple and modified slightly from its current incarnation, Toni is proud of what she has created.
“The last five years have seen a change, a momentum in Swan Hill. More and more people are willing to have conversations (about their health and well-being), there is progress with the women’s movement.” A strong believer in trusting proper nutritional advice, eating real food and simply being authentic in her beliefs has seen her challenge the thoughts of friends and clients. And not all with positive results. Having lost some friends over their promotion of quick fixes and magic pills (“who really can eat 20 apples, six salmon and 17 bunches of broccoli in one day?” she ponders), Toni hasn’t been afraid to keep it real. “Swan Hill doesn’t always cope well with people who are different, have different ideas. But keep doing what you believe in and soon enough your weirdness just becomes your normal.” And that is the perfect way to sum up Toni; someone who is able to remain true to herself, regardless of the naysayers, the backlash or the challenges that life throws her way.
And so now it is time for Toni to “go with the flow” and move on to her next adventure with her family. With no plans, no expectations and no pressure, Toni is looking forward to spreading her light amongst a new community of willing and open-minded residents. “I’m really excited about this new adventure- it just feels right.” So whilst Toni looks forward to her new adventure (which 3585livestayplay wishes her all the best with), we are now left with the problem of trying to get our hands on Zebra Dream ice-cream and Loving Earth chocolate in Swan Hill. First world problems, right?
You can follow Toni on Instagram @tonismojohealth or Facebook: Mojo Health and Wellness