Q+A with Jill Monterotti: Yoga Entrepreneur of Mirepoix Wellness
Jill Monterotti is plant-based nutrition counselor + founder of Mirepoix Wellness Studio in Wicker Park, Chicago. For all aspiring #GirlBosses [well, straight up B O S S E S ; )], Jill can provide lots of inspo for pursuing your own business + above all, passion —
Tell us a little bit about yourself! How’d you begin your business?
I’m a vegan yogi living in Chicago. I grew up in a Chicago suburb, went to college in the city and after graduating moved to NYC and stayed for a little over a year. I started blogging about yoga and vegan eating in NYC and found that people were really interested in the foods I was eating and the yoga classes I was taking. I did my yoga teacher training in NYC and things really started to fall into place for Mirepoix from there. I knew I wanted to continue to share lifestyle and wellness tips with others, but that I wanted to do it on a larger scale. I wanted to create a space for people to breathe and move, but also where they could pick up all the wellness must haves I had been blogging about. I had to start somewhere, so I started by launching an ecommerce site where I sold many of the brands you see today in our studio. About a year passed of me doing this part time and I realized I either needed to fully commit all my energy to it or I needed to let it go. I chose to commit to it and began to lay the groundwork for Mirepoix Wellness Studio — a studio that offered yoga classes, guided meditations, and practical and organic goods.
How’d you come up with the name Mirepoix?
I’m a total nerd when it comes to cooking (and food in general) and have always loved how fancy of a word ‘mirepoix’ is for what it actually is. It’s a mixture of chopped carrots, celery, and onions, and is used as the base for a lot of soups and stews in French cooking. It’s the building blocks and foundation of the dish. When it came time to pick a name for the studio I really wanted to avoid sanskrit or traditional yoga language because I wanted it to be an approachable studio no matter of experience level. My husband doesn’t really geek out with me over culinary terms, but he does ask a lot of questions when it comes to cooking (probably because he knows how excited I get about food) and one day we were in Trader Joe’s where they sell a pre-diced mirepoix and he asked me (for probably the 10th time) what it was. After struggling to name my business for weeks it was kind of this ‘ah-hah’ moment where something just clicked. What I wanted to create and offer to people was a mirepoix in life – three simple concepts that were the building blocks to staying healthy and feeling their best. The experience we offer at Mirepoix is movement, meditation, and nourishment.
What has been the biggest challenge as an entrepreneur?
Finding time to have my own self care practice. A lot of times when I get home at night, I feel like I’m too tired to even wash my face before falling asleep. I used to make dinner every night and it was the best part of my day, but now I’m having to learn to meal prep and find moments where I can find time to decompress. Also there are little things every day that go wrong that prevent you from doing the fun stuff that helps grow your business. A lot of days instead of planning workshops and community events, my time is spent figuring out why our sound system isn’t working, troubleshooting the thermostat because we had a power outage, or mopping. You put out a lot of fires that leave you feeling pretty ‘blah’ and uninspired, so you really do need those self care practices to help you reset your mindset about what you’re doing and the path you’re on.
What’s your morning routine?
4:45am – I wake up and brush my teeth.
5:00am – I dry brush my body most mornings (super detoxifying for your lymphatic system), shower, towel off and moisturize with Scratch Goods body oil. I spray my face with Cocokind rosewater, and then apply Scratch Goods morning oil. For makeup, I usually only wear a tinted moisturizer and a little mascara (both are the brand 100% Pure). In the winter, I dry my hair just enough so that I don’t get sick, but in the warmer months I let it air dry.
5:30am – I’m out the door, Sakara beauty water in hand and have just taken a B12 supplement (super important for vegans!) and a probiotic.
5:45am – I arrive at the studio, fill the diffusers and clean. This is actually my favorite part of the day. There’s a real calmness in the studio first thing in the morning when I have just filled the diffusers with an energizing and uplifting essential oil blend and the space is virtually silent.
6:45am – The first class starts and if I’m feeling up to it, I’ll take it. My body definitely enjoys later classes more, so if I’m not feeling it that day I’ll head to Intelligentsia for a tea and get to work responding to emails and getting organized for my day.
7:45am – I go back to the studio and have another tea, a banana and whatever fruit I’ve prepped that week
9am – I check in the 9am class and grab whatever kombucha we have on tap that week to go.
9:30am – I’m usually back at home by this time and will make “lunch” which is almost always roasted veggies on Siete Foods almond flour tortillas topped with tahini, sriracha, and greens (all, always organic). I also make a adaptogenic drink that consists of: 1 tsp Moon Juice Spirit Dust, 1 tsp Moon Juice Beauty dust, 1/2 tsp Ashwaganda, 1/2 tsp He Sho Wou, and 1/2 tsp Triphala mixed with 16 oz hot water (I’m not saying this tastes great, but I’ve definitely seen an improvement in my skin since I started using adaptogens). I like to dedicate this time to strictly eating, so the most I’ll be doing is scrolling through instagram stories.
10am – My morning starts to slow down and I get to work on whatever needs my attention for the day with a cup of tea and Soma pitcher of filtered water beside me!
What’s your fav place to meditate?
At the studio! I love our guided meditation classes, because I’m not great at creating space in my mind on my own. There’s always work to be done or something that requires my attention, so by attending the meditation classes, I’m forced to be in the present moment. Our Saturday classes are typically more breath work focused, which is so helpful for me when I’m struggling to get out of my own head. I love our Sunday class too, which is heart focused, because it’s more about intention setting, learning to accept yourself in your life and practice, and creating awareness.
Who // what is your inspo?
My husband who is also an entrepreneur. From our very first date he inspired me to pursue this route and is truly my teammate in every sense of the word. I have seen him go through and sacrifice so much to pursue his dream and it has and always will be my inspiration to push through the tough times.
Fav health // wellness // meditation podcast or book?
Weekly workout routine?
Yoga, yoga, and more yoga! I take class at the studio every day (if not twice a day) because I love interacting with all of our amazing students and teachers.
Fav sweat sesh other than yoga?
SoulCycle! I’m not big into anything that involves me jumping around/running on a treadmill. I’ve had knee and back injuries in the past, so those types of workouts usually leave me feeling worse than when I started. Cycling is low impact and you can’t deny the inspiring energy in the SoulCycle community.
What energizes you?
Pranayama! Or in other words, breath. The best tool we have is using our breath to help with numerous things we are dealing with – energy being one of them. There’s a breathing technique called ‘breath of fire’ that is extremely useful when you’re trying to energize yourself! But… when I need a little bit more energy, a matcha latte usually does the trick.
Biggest lesson you hope to share through your business?
That living a life where we are conscious of what we put in and on our bodies, as well as how we move our bodies is one of the most fulfilling feelings in the world.
What is your fav way to indulge [#treatyoself]?
For me #treatyoself usually involves a lot of self care and the following:
– A trip to Allyu Spa for a facial
– A pan of Hippie Fudge
– Relaxing and watching Netflix on the couch (because I literally never get to do this anymore!)
What do you imagine your life to look like 5 years from now?
Hopefully Mirepoix has expanded! While I only ever see us having one location, I’d love to see us grow into a larger space where I can fully execute my full vision. My husband and I would also love to open a vegan restaurant in Chicago, so maybe I’m doing that too!
If you had to flow with one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Täo Porchon-Lynch! She’s a 98 year old yoga teacher, still travels the world leading workshops, and is incredible.
What FitGoal are you working on right now?
Inversions! I’ve had 3 ACL surgeries, so the idea of not being grounded with my feet has always led me to avoid inversions. Lately I’ve been trying to get over the fear of falling so that I can start working towards inversions.
Build a body you can listen to.
If you could give one piece of advice for CHAARG girls…
Count colors not calories. In college I was a huge calorie in calorie out counter and while I was ‘thin’, my skin, hair and nails were terrible, I always felt bloated, and I was exhausted all of the time. If you fuel your body with real food, you’ll never need to count another calorie, carb, or gram of fat in your life, you’ll feel great, and you’ll have the best energy you’ve ever had.
If you’re ever in Chicago, be sure to visit Jill at Mirepoix Wellness Studio in Wicker Park! We especially <3 the hip hop vinyasa ; ) Thanks, Jill, for being an amazing role model to mindful CHAARGies everywhere!