Phoebe Greenacre is a woman and business owner after my own heart. Combining yoga and an eco-conscious ethos, you will find Phoebe travelling the globe, yoga mat in hand, sharing her stories on her blog, Wood and Luxe; where boutique hotel finds meet retreat reviews and wellness tips. But, there’s a lot more to Phoebe than simply her role as a travel blogger. Back in London, you’ll find her running ethical activewear Silou, teaching yoga or planning her next international retreat, and she’s got even bigger plans yet.
Like many of us, you caught the travel bug while at school, didn’t you?
I did indeed. It was on my school trip to Japan where I stayed with a host family. I had studied Japanese for 4 years and it was my first overseas trip. I felt like a complete alien in Japan, but loved discovering every corner with wide eyes and an open mind. My next overseas trip took me to the USA, where I worked a ski season in Park City Utah. From then on, the affair continues to grow strong.
Your background is in marketing. What was the catalyst for you finally taking the leap on your own to launch Wood and Luxe?
After 10 years working in various marketing roles (Napoleon Perdis, Contiki and David Jones), I took the leap and started my own digital marketing agency. This gave me the flexibility and freedom to travel as much as I want for the blog. Wood and Luxe actually started while I was working at Contiki as I was sending bloggers on free press trips and thought to myself – I need to get in on this free travel stuff! I had been blogging for 4 years before that – mostly about wellness, detoxes and yoga.
Wellness and conscious living were a big part of your upbringing. Was that something that heavily influenced you when pinpointing your niche for Wood and Luxe?
Wellness and conscious living was our way of life growing up. We ate mostly vegan, holidayed in the rainforest, washed in waterfalls and tried to embody a zero waste lifestyle. When I pinpointed my niche for Wood and Luxe, I didn’t have to think about it a lot. When I travelled, I always incorporated wellness, healthy living and yoga into my breaks, often booking in for retreats or even creating my own. So it only seemed natural to write about what I was passionate about. I think that’s one reason why 4 years on, I still love sharing my wellness and luxury finds on the blog. If I didn’t love this area, I think the blog would have died a long time ago.
Tell us how Wood and Luxe has evolved since you launched
When I first started Wood and Luxe, I really had no idea how to structure the content. I was writing big long essays and travel stories adding in a few photos. Now, I write with the purpose of being informative and inspiring. I’ve also added yoga and business coaching articles as that’s what is part of my life. Who knows, maybe there will be a “Wood and Luxe Baby” section once I have families. The options are endless.
Boutique properties are your focus. Do you have a few favourites you would go back to tomorrow?
I absolutely love small run family boutique hotels. You’re not just another hotel guest, but you get that family vibe when you arrive and throughout your stay. A few of my favourites are the tree houses in Garden Village Bled, the wooden lodges at Hotel Eder and of course my favourite hotel in Mykonos, Rocabella.
Do you find it easier these days to travel as a vegetarian than when you first began travelling those many years ago?
One hundred percent. I usually gauge how vegetarian friendly a hotel is if they offer a milk other than soy and if they have quinoa. I still struggle in a lot of South American Countries and some European countries. I do eat fish every now and again, so I usually default to a fish option on the menu.
You began practicing yoga as a teenager. What role does yoga play in your business and your everyday life now?
Yes I began yoga at the age of 15 with my mum. I dabbled in lots of different styles over the years, but soon found Vinyasa was my favourite. Yoga plays a huge role in my business and everyday life and If I don’t do yoga in the morning, I can turn into a grumpy person.
You have just finished a yoga teacher training course in Greece. Can you tell us more about that?
I did my first 200 hours teacher training in London and have been teaching for 2 years. The training I completed in Greece was an advanced teacher training – 100 hours in Embodied Flow method. Embodied Flow is a style of yoga which is like nothing else I’ve experienced. Founded by Tara Judelle and Scott Lyons, Embodied Flow is a system of transformational yoga that invites you into the deepest sense of self. Through an integrative blend of hatha yoga, somatics, movement meditations, tantric philosophy, and transpersonal psychology it elicits the experience of stepping into flow as meditation in action. I’m continuing my training with them in Bali later this year which I’m super excited about.
We’ve seen you pop up at F45, compete in fun runs and do juice cleanses and the like. How important is variety and trying new trends for you in terms of your training and diet?
What can I say, I’m an exercise and juicer junkie. I love challenging my body, trying new trends, or giving my digestive system a re-set with a short juice cleanse. My mum was a big cleanser and I was always an active kid, so these have followed me into my adult life.
Retreats have become a part of what you do at Wood and Luxe. What can someone expect from a Wood and Luxe retreat?
Teaching on retreats are hands down my favourite part of what I do. I’m literally the happiest person when I get to create and share a space for women to let go, relax and unwind. You can expect a lot of activities, yoga, hiking, yummy food and sacred sharing circles. I teach on other people’s retreats too so the style can vary from 100% detox to a nice balance of wine and green juices.
There is a particular pressure placed on those of us in the wellness and fitness space online. Is that something you feel personally? If so, how do you manage it?
I think if I was younger and playing in this space, I may feel more pressure. But I’m 33 and am very comfortable in my own skin. I openly eat chocolate by the family block and love a good glass of malbec and I’m not afraid for people to know this. As a woman, we can all have hormonal days and probably don’t feel like getting in a bikini and posting a photo on Instagram. My motto is, tell the truth and don’t post on social if you’re not feeling up to it.
Like many Australians, London is currently your home. Do you have some favourite yoga studios and cafes you can share with us?
Yes London has been my home for 3 years now. Some of my favourite yoga studios include Stretch, Triyoga Camden, The Life Centre Islington and Trip Space Haggeston. Triyoga has a healthy food attached to it and I also love Farm Girl Cafe in Notting Hill.
Silou is your newest baby. Tell us about the activewear label and what makes it different to the others on the market, right now.
Silou was born earlier this year, however I’ve been working on the project for over 18 months. It’s a collection that bridges the gap between the studio and the street using non toxic materials and an ethically approach to manufacturing. They are classic, timeless pieces that have been engineered like Louis Vuitton, but wears like a second skin. We are working on the SS18 collection which will launch early next year.
Can we expect to see the brand expand in the coming year?
We are going through an expansion phase at the moment, hoping to expand into the European and US markets so watch this space.
You travel quite consistently from your base in London and you have now travelled to more than 50 countries. Do you have some favourite destinations you have covered, this year?
This year my favourites would have to include exploring Watamu National Park in Kenya, snow hiking in Finland and sailing around the Aeolian islands in Italy.
What travel do you have planned for the coming year?
Currently, I’m in Portugal teaching on a yoga and surfing retreat, I’m off to Italy for wedding, Paris for fashion week, back to Portugal to review a hotel then off to Bali for my next 100 hours yoga training. It’s always very busy but I love it.
Which are the stand out destinations currently sitting at the top of your bucket list?
I’m dying to go explore the Caribbean and have it on the plan for early next year.
Where can we expect to see you and Wood and Luxe in five years time?
My dream is to open a health, wellness and yoga retreat on a big block of land. I’m not sure if I will call it Wood and Luxe or The Green Acre, but you can expect a whole lot of wood and a whole lot of luxe. I just can’t decide what continent it will be on.