RETREAT: The WHOLE EXPERIENCE A Conversation with Tameika Gentles

TXTURE Magazine: WHY? "The Whole Experience"

Tameika Gentles: It came into concept in September.  I was in Bali and Bali is the retreat center of the world.  Everything was very yoga focused and every fitness retreat was very fitness focused.  I didn’t really see anything that was all-encompassing.  I saw a hole in the market and I thought I would fill it.  So, my big thing was--  ‘How can we put mindfulness, so yoga mindfulness…I guess hippy stuff that I am very much into.’  Then fitness and strength training, that I am also very much into, as well as experiences.  That’s where the “Whole Experience” was born.  It was me just being in Bali and seeing a massive hole in the market.

TM: Well we are grateful for that.  It came together really quickly.  So how many retreats have you already had?

TG: I had one and it was more of a test.  I had that one in April. After day one, I was like “I’m doing more! (I knew it)”.  So, I decided to basically put up two.  I will have two in the Fall and next year we are on track to do seven. It did scale quickly.

TM: So for your Test run, did you use current clients?  How did you locate prospects?

TG: Instagram. Instagram. I was testing the concept. I put up Instagram story polls (it was a new feature at the time) and the results for ‘Yes’ were 99%.  Then people would DM me.  I saw that there was clearly demand for this.  I was living in Bali at the time so it was really easy to organize. We sold out in two weeks.

TM: What makes your retreat an "experience"?

TG: I think it is the “mind, body, spirit” elements.  Having been on this journey for a very long time it became clear to me that health isn’t just about eating well and working out.  It’s so much more about the mental piece.  It’s about filling your brain with experiences, culture and travel.  When people arrive we say, ‘We want you to leave feeling absolutely rejuvenated. We want you to have a full, full experience.’  Looking at the mind; we do mindfulness meditations.  Looking at the body; we do a lot of activities and active sports. Looking at the spirit; filling the spirit with happiness in joy.  Your days are really full.  There is so much to do!

TM: How many spaces are available per retreat? 

TG: Our maximum number is 14.  It’s still community.  It still feels intimate.  You still have enough people where it’s not too small.

TM: Why a women's only space?

TG: Yes, I am not ready to change the vibe.  It is a safe space.  Female empowerment; don’t want to wear makeup today… Down the road maybe it will make sense to change that dynamic.

TM: How did you determine the destinations? 

TG: It has to be during dry season.  I love the tropics!  I don’t see myself getting away from tropical or warm weather anytime soon.  Southeast Asia is really comfortable for me because I know it so well. I have South America, Caribbean, Europe (the Mediterranean) on my radar for future retreats.

TM: Will all of the "Whole Experience" retreats take place internationally?

TG: Yes, for 2019. The closest will get to the U.S will probably be Mexico, Tulum.  Of course, the Caribbean.

TM: What has been some of your most rewarding moments on this new venture? 

TG: I think I underestimated the amount of impact we would have. Transformation and the community we are building