Hello all! My name is Ashley Searing. I am the Owner and Founder of RejuveNate - Plants & Wellness. Our mission is to spread awareness of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, through our therapeutically hand painted pottery and wellness pieces! After losing my brother Nate in February 2020, I lost a piece of my soul. Nate and I are 13 months apart. We grew up doing pretty much everything together, played sports, beat the crap out of one another, shared the same friends, made the same questionable decisions, you name it, we did it. Nate was your tough, athletic, kind, caring, big hearted man. He truly had a heart of gold and would do anything for anybody. I always felt as the big sister that I knew how to talk to Nate, I could rationalize with him and make him see the bigger picture. We had no idea that he was suffering. He was the last person I ever thought that would take his own life. On February 9, 2020, I had to say goodbye to my brother. When I said goodbye to him, tears came out of his eyes. He could hear me without really being there. I squeezed his hand, and he squeezed back. I told myself that I was one of the first people to welcome him in this world, and I was one of the last to see him leave. This is a daily struggle for me, and it’s the hardest thing that I’ll probably ever endure in my life.
On February 14, I had gone to the store down the street from my house to get a few things my parents needed. I hadn’t eaten in a few days, most days I had spent crying, I looked pale and sick, and I was just trying to hold it all together for my family. I walked into the store and the first thing my eyes went to was a sign that read “Aloe you Vera much” with an aloe vera plant next to it. I have no idea why, but I walked right up to that plant and put it in my cart. I took this as one of the first signs I saw from my brother. I went home, found a pot I had painted years before and planted that aloe plant. Later that day I took it over to a friend who really was there to support my entire family during this time. That friend, (shout out Kait Soto from Flourish Juice) took that plant and it traveled around with her to random events. A month later, she asked me if I’d paint some pots to sell at her company’s birthday party. She wanted 50… I ended up painting 10. I didn’t have the motivation, I didn’t have the desire, I just couldn’t crank out 50 pots. My mental health was slashed, and I had no idea how I was going to “somewhat” reel it back in. Looking back, I realized she wanted me to paint those pots to get my mind off things. She asked me if I’d ever consider selling my pots and I think I probably laughed at her. Painting was just a hobby of mine, never in a million years did I ever think people would want to buy what I randomly drew up on a flowerpot. One day in May, I sat down and randomly started researching the benefits of plants. If you’ve ever lost someone, you know your house becomes plant city. But did you know there’s a reason for that? I started researching all sorts of information on plants and started learning a slew of different things. I learned that plants are air purifying. Different plants clean different toxins in the air in your home and have beneficial factors for sleep, moods, stress, depression, anxiety, etc. I slowly put the pieces together. Plants help your mental health. By clearing those toxins in your home, depression symptoms, anxiety, stress, sleep disorders, PTSD, Bipolar symptoms, ADHD symptoms, are all being reduced. Taking care of plants benefits your mental health, as does art therapy. Being surrounded by plants and nature also have numerous positive benefits for not just your mental health but your overall physical health, as well. Plants increase our focus, attention span, promote concentration, increase our self-esteem, improve our mood along with numerous other factors. Interacting and caring for plants all have the same benefit. They increase our serotonin levels, which leads to a reduction in stress, depression and anxiety. There is even a chemical in soil called Mycobacterium vaccae that when interacted with, triggers the release of serotonin to your brain in return, lifting your mood and decreasing stress and anxiety.
I started writing everything down and basically drew up a “business plan” aka ideas on a piece of paper. The day Nate passed away I told him that I would do everything for him, in his name. This was that everything. I knew I wanted to spread awareness of mental health. I knew I was decent at painting and have a green thumb, so I decided I was going to combine all my loves; painting, gardening, educating and helping people. Therefore, RejuveNate - Plants & Wellness was born. We debuted in July 2020 and have been going strong ever since. My Mom and I therapeutically hand paint every planter that comes out of our shop. I officially made my business “legal” in November 2020 and adopted the LLC behind the company name. We started hosting Paint & Plant Wellness classes for kids, teens and adults. We then secured space in four locations for individuals to shop our plants. We began the process of implementing school wellness programs throughout our community, have created hundreds of designs and custom orders, ship nationwide and were secured as a wholesale supplier.
My next goal was to create a space where individuals could not only shop our space and see first-hand the products that we sell, but I wanted to create a space where people could come, take some deep breaths and remember they were put on this earth for a reason. On December 23, 2021 (my birthday), I put the deposit down on RejuveNates first storefront. We started operating out of a 12x14 spare bedroom in my house. We slowly took over multiple rooms in the house (and my dads garage) and eventually knew it was time that we needed our own space. Now, I can proudly say you can come shop RejuveNate five days a week, at our very own location. There was no better birthday gift I could’ve received. I believe that gift truly was from my brother from above.
I have never worked harder on anything in my life. I can honestly say that and I’m proud to say that. Our goal is to educate individuals on the importance of recognizing and taking care of your mental health. We want to instill positive outlets in people’s lives to combat mental health ailments. We want to inform individuals that they are not alone, even though sometimes it certainly feels that way. We want to connect people with our story and teach them that you can turn a tragedy into a positive. It’s hard, trust me it’s REAL hard, but it can be done. RejuveNate is my therapy. Without it, I’m not sure I would be the same person sitting here, writing this article. I’ve changed tremendously in the last two years. Tragedy unfortunately does that to you. I’ve changed, yes because of what my family and I have endured, but also because of all the people I’ve met, the stories I’ve been told and the hearts that have opened up to me. So, I fight for them. Too many people suffer in silence, and I think it’s a damn shame that some people feel as if they are not enough in this world. Everyone is enough, and everyone is set on this earth with a story to tell. I believe Nate led me to that Aloe Vera plant on Valentine’s Day, gifted me those keys to my very own shop on my birthday and has been with me every step of the way helping RejuveNate soar. I know he is; I see his signs daily.