Her new online magazine and pop-up shop take a unique perspective on what it means to live well.
Driving town PCH toward Laguna Beach is some kind of wonderful. It is quintessential California. It is your favorite car commercial and your favorite yoga ad. It’s clean and crowded. This feeling of juxtaposition is exactly what I experienced when walking into Nikki Bostwick’s pop-up boutique the Fullest. Her tiny stature comes second to her formidable voice and engulfing hug. The starkness of her store is undercut by a giant white husky splayed out on the middle of the floor. She’s a people person, and her store is a minimalist’s dream.
Bostwick is the founder of the Fullest, an online magazine with two annual print editions and now, also a pop-up shop.
Nikki is a California girl through and through. Growing up in Laguna Beach has clearly shaped her attitude toward a healthy lifestyle — where quality trumps quantity, but even more importantly, purpose trumps presence. The merchandise, from stylish recycled plastic totes made by women in Guatemala to an artist-commissioned dress directly out of Bostwick’s closet, pay homage to the eclecticism at which wellness entails. She urges that living well is equal parts feeling good for good’s sake, no matter what you wear or put in your body, and consciously choosing to take care of yourself and the world around you.
We sat down on her midcentury sofa and waxed poetic about what it means to live life to the fullest through her eyes.
COOLS: The Fullest is strongly influenced by health and wellness. How did your personal growth shape your website?
Nikki Bostwick: In high school I became interested in Bikram yoga, and started a vegan lifestyle as well. My habits helped me through my parents divorce and other emotional struggles. Then, in college, I studied business with the mindset that I would start a company of my own focused on health and wellness. I taught yoga, went to culinary school, got immersed in this granola-like lifestyle up in Oregon. But I became super rigid during this time, shifting from vegan to a raw vegan, and becoming obsessed with informing myself on how to be what I thought was the healthiest. Essentially, I was too informed, and that wasn’t feeding me at all.
However, someone approached me during that time because of my wealth of information, because I was so obsessed with whatever I called “health.” They asked me to start a website with them. I said yes, thinking I would do it on the side with my primary focus being a vegan ice cream company based off of my culinary experience. The website we started only lasted a year, but it taught me a lot, because I realized my strict lifestyle was making me sick. I asked myself why I was doing this, and why it was important to me, and that’s how the Fullest was born.
COOLS: So how does the Fullest represent this shift in perspective?
NB: I found myself, during this rigid time in my life, not being able to go to my grandmother’s house and eat any of the food she worked so hard on, because I couldn’t eat so much of what she made. It wasn’t gluten free, or grain free, or vegan. And I thought, “What am I doing? This is social suicide!” So through that whole journey from informing myself to becoming too informed and ending up questioning everything, I chose to develop this website, or this source, of information, that inspires you to eat well, but then allows you to remember the whole idea is about consistency over rigidity. What’s going to make you happy, personally, and what’s going to make you feel like you’re living the fullest expression of yourself is actually not stressing out over little things. It’s finding what makes you happy in every aspect of your life. It’s finding what clothes makes you happy, what art makes you happy, what food makes you happy, what movement makes you happy. The fullest isn’t about defining health and wellness solely based on eating well and exercising. It’s all of these other things.
COOLS: How do the products you sell in your store represent staying true to your integrity?
NB: Everything we sell is in alignment with what we believe. For instance, the bags you see in the corner over there? They’re not only beautiful, but they’re recycled plastic made by women in Guatemala. I have other brands on my website with clothing made solely from linen. Linen is breathable and feels really good on the skin. Our bodies NEED to breath. I also commissioned an artist to draw on that dress you see over there. I found it in my closet and never wore it, and so I chose to find a way to represent this idea that art is a form of self expression.
COOLS: So would you say, in general, you try to harp less on things that are bad for you, and more on what is good for you to try to keep you from falling down that rabbit hole of information overload again?
NB: Yes! I love VICE, but every time I watch it, I feel like the world is going to crumble. And while I think it’s important to get educated, and I continue to go on the site and get informed, the idea of the Fullest is to leave people with hope. And it’s challenging, for sure, but that’s our approach to everything; to give people positivity without being too wacky. And, I’d like to add a component on my site like VICE, but taking more of a step back and just sort of being more light about it while also being informative.
COOLS: What other components help to represent this idea of hope?
NB: We host a lot of events as a means for staying in touch with our digital community. I could sit at home and just be on the computer all day doing work, but it’s so important to get out and connect with each other, so as hard as it can be for me to do it, I want to make it important again. We’ve hosted sound baths, cannabis yoga. We have tea ceremonies, Kundalini yoga. We’ve had experts who talk about their beauty rituals. We’re also launching a book club in Downtown LA.
COOLS: What would you say has been your most noteworthy accomplishment thus far?
NB: The best part, and what brings a smile to my face every day, is my team. That’s why I say “we” so much when referring to the Fullest.
COOLS: Let’s talk about this pop-up shop. What inspired you to do it?
NB: I wanted to connect our digital audience through a space that, if you walked in, it would represent the website. So the space is very light, there’s no clutter. There’s not an overwhelming amount of inventory. When you come in, you feel clear. But along with people being able to buy things, I wanted this space to be a place where people could hang out. I want people to come and sit and read and build community.
COOLS: This space, and the Fullest in general clearly has intention behind it. What does the word “intention” mean to you?
NB: It means to take a deep breath and think before your next step. It doesn’t have to be super panned out on an Excel spreadsheet, it just means taking a moment.
COOLS: What is your hope for the foreseeable future of the Fullest?
NB: Building more community and having more events to be able to connect with more of our readers in real life.