For Bita Doagoo, change is her only constant. She has 3 children from ages 5-months to 7-years old. She has moved 5 times within the last 7 years and she’s busy renovating a new home from scratch that she hopes to move into next year. While running her practice as a naturopathic doctor, she also launched The Detox Market. Originally started in Los Angeles, Bita caught the bug when she visited the much-loved natural and organic beauty store in the summer of 2012 and quickly recognized its potential for Toronto. Soon after she opened a pop-up shop during TIFF on King Street (where the festival’s buzz is at full swing) and today is partners in both the US and Canadian stores; the business has expanded with three locations across the city including a new shop in Toronto’s Union Station, three stores in LA and store in the works for NYC. All this is contrary to what a fortune teller told her during a trip to Colombia soon after her first child was born.
“She said ‘you are meant to be in stillness for 7 years’. It was already difficult for me to be still at home with a newborn; I felt like I had lost my sense of self-worth. That is absolutely ridiculous because being a mother is the most incredible and challenging thing I have ever done,” explains Bita. “I opened the pop-up 15 months post-partum and it helped me feel like I was back in the game again.” While her drive has seen her witness success at work and at home, she admits her growth has come from realizing her weaknesses as well.
“Being a naturopath, I thought I had labour in the bag. I thought I was fully trained for this incredible moment. I had a mid-wife and a doula and all the supplements, remedies and tips I would need. Instead, it was horrible. I had a natural home birth with no intervention (i.e. no epidural), and it was traumatic because it didn’t meet my expectations. The experience was not what I had planned which is especially difficult for someone like me, a Virgo (read: perfectionist) who thrives on being in control. Lesson learned: You can’t control life.
After that, I wasn’t in a rush to have another baby. There was so much going on. I had a private practice, the store, a small child and my husband managing his own full-time career, plus we kept moving. No matter what I preached to my patients about stress management, I wasn’t taking care of myself. After 2 miscarriages, it was time for some much-needed introspection. I finally scaled back my practice and brought in the support I needed at home and at work. I allowed myself the space to recover from my intense post-secondary education, running multiple businesses, having a child and also grieving the loss of my grandfather.
It was very difficult for me to acknowledge that I needed this yin time. I took 3 months to regain my balance and be with my son, and it was during that time that I was able to conceive my daughter. Her birth was such a different experience. I took the wisdom from an incredible mentor who told me to give up my need for control and completely surrender to the moment. It sounds so simple; we hear those words all the time, like in Savasana, but to really apply that in real time, especially in the midst of this incredibly vulnerable moment, was the most empowering experience for me. Unlike my first labour which was full of fear and self-doubt, I completely surrendered. I realized this birth was meant for me to grow, let go of my expectations and be open to whatever comes my way. After my daughter was born, I committed to taking a full year off. It went against my conditioning to go-go-go but it was what I needed. It allowed me to be in stillness and find a new state of balance that I could build upon. I felt guilty about doing it at first…but then I did it and I loved it.
I never worried about my children impacting my business. They are my main priority and they provide the energy for everything else that I do (though it often feels like they take a great deal more of my energy!). I’m fortunate to have the support in order for me to carry on.
Since opening the store, I’ve always hired people who believe in the mission and vision of The Detox Market as much as I do and who practice what they preach by living a holistic lifestyle. Aligning myself with like-minded people whose talents complement mine has been so important for me. I have come to this by recognizing my weaknesses and a willingness to ask for help. I have also learned to let go of the little things, like minding every beautiful detail, so the team and the store could flourish while I found the time and space to focus on where I could excel personally and professionally.
I’m still not great at time management, but there are so many things I have in place so I can enjoy every part of my life. I have a supportive husband and family who I can lean on at home and with the business. My practice is only 10-minutes from home, which allows me to do school pick-ups or come home to nurse in between appointments. That’s a such a special, quiet and meditative time I carve out for the baby and myself. I’m also a big fan of the 5-minute journal. When I do remember to write in it, or when I am overwhelmed and anxious, it grounds me. It is such a great practice to write down an intent or what I want to focus on for the day. It’s incredible how it changes my mindset and reminds me how much I can accomplish.
Between the store and my practice (which I’m just getting back into again), a good 30 to 40 per cent of my time is devoted to work right now, which will change as my little one stops nursing. But I don’t think it’s about a percentage play. I think it really depends on what state of mind you’re in. With my daughter, I wanted to do nothing else but focus on her when she was born. With my second son, I have been so excited to start my next adventure. I laugh looking back at the fortune teller and my ‘seven years of stillness’ (it has been 7 years almost to the date). I guess there was some truth to her interpretation. TDM was a spontaneous passion play that has been growing with my family (that’s 3 stores, 3 kids). I’ve thrived on the energy of always trying something new and love that I have so much change to look forward to.”
“We were at Tirgan, the Iranian New Year’s festival, when my husband said ‘I found the perfect thing for you.” One of his first gifts to me was this little bird and at the festival he found this necklace with 5 little birds to represent our family.”
Bita and her husband love combining tradition with modern instincts and these vintage rugs that were sewn together in a collage-style are pitch perfect for their aesthetic.
A Leander Swinging Cradle is now cuddling up to baby number 3 at this mama’s house.
“This photo came with my husband when we moved in together. It is by his good friend Glen Baxter and it’s truly a conversation starter whenever I have people over.” Morning Glory floor lamp (made of silk!), Aqua Creations.
“Timothy Ferris is my obsession. I love listening to his podcasts. He’s able to bring out exactly what you need from the person he’s interviewing and leaves me feeling so inspired.” One of her favourite interviews was with Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova. Along with Tribe of Mentors, The Ketogenic Bible is a must-read she gave her husband so he can get a health and body primer from a Keto perspective (that’s incorporating more good fat and less carbs for better overall health), and she’s also a fan of Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio. “Coming from a medical background, I value the simplicity of his approach [to business].”
This naturopath’s go-to cookbooks: Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London’s Ottolenghi, and the Low-Carb Vegan Cookbook.
There’s no sugar or sweets in her house, but when it is allowed, she makes it a celebration. “Sugar is such an indulgence so why not make an occasion of it, whether it’s using pretty spoons at home or dressing up to have tea and dessert at a bakery or a café.” The French Market Cookbook: Vegetarian Recipes from my Parisian Kitchen. Dessert spoons, La Merceria.
With three littles, she’s a big fan of flats, however she hasn’t given up on style for function. Converse sneakers, Chloe ballet slippers, Miu Miu suede boots.
Her favourite pair are these Miu Miu glittering slippers. “I’ve had them for so long, they’ve been re-soled at least once or twice.”
“In 2012, I was visiting friends in LA who told me about The Detox Market. It sounded perfect because whatever country I’m, I’m always looking for their beauty secretes. So I walk into this store with beautifully curated products that are all natural and organic and we start chatting with the owner, Romain [Gaillard], who coincidentally spent a few years in Toronto. We had this Toronto love fest going on and decided that we needed The Detox Market too.” Goodies she’s discovered she can’t live without: Odacité face oil in A Winter in Paris—she mixes a few drops with the line’s Night Time Antioxidants Repair Serum, and Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream.
Bita’s career as a naturopathic doctor was sparked by a lifetime suffering with acne. She’s learned that managing blemishes are as much about what you put in your body as what you put on it and as a result always chooses the cleanest products possible: Hurraw! vegan and natual lip balm; mineral-based and paraben-free Ecobrow Defining Wax (and brush); and RMS Beauty Lip & Skin Balm.