Why I am creating Bloomy

\ˈblü-mē\ - OR MAYBE IT’S BECAUSE THE WAY THE WORLD IS SETUP DOESN’T PRIORITIZE MY MENTAL HEALTH.

2023

Why I am creating Bloomy

Bray Wilcock

Hi everyone,

Bray here. I’m writing this today because the first part of what I, alongside Makela Pichler and Geoffrey Momin, have been working on lately is live. We call it Bloomy and it is a discovery platform where you can find self-care and wellness services, treatments and experiences in Los Angeles and New York City.

Our overall mission is to change the way people discover and access meaningful care and wellness services. As we expand our discovery platform to include other cities and eventually other countries we are also working on democratizing access to these services, treatments and experiences for everyone.

But why are we doing this? While I’ve debated on how personal to make this, I’ve realized that the only way to truly commit to this mission is to truly commit to my why and to be open about it. I don’t know if it’s to hold my own self accountable or to maybe, hopefully inspire others but either way, here it is:

Over the past year, I have experienced and witnessed the dark underbelly of the mental health epidemic in America. I have personally lost three Marines I was close with to suicide in the last 11 months. Mitch Winters, Christian Raines and Joseph Fisher. All young, enlisted Marines I had the honor of serving with and leading on overseas deployments.

Mitch was in an adjacent platoon of mine and before he got out, he worked at the pool for what seemed like a year. 3 or 4 times a week I’d go for my swims and Winters would be there, egging me on to tread a little bit longer or to swim a little bit farther.

Raines, an assaultman attached to my platoon for over a year, was thick as thieves with his assault brethren and I knew I could count on any of them to get the task done.

Fisher, a Supply Marine from H&S Company, always swung by my office to check in randomly. During a fire team range for my H&S bubbas, Fisher, the only one of his peers, practiced his reloads, worked on seeking cover between bounds and at the end of the range asked me if he could run the range again and have me run it with him, as part of his fire team. Running that range as his rifleman is one of my best memories from the Marine Corps.

Joker Company - The unit I was in command of before exiting the Marines

While I’ve been processing all of this, two other Marines I was close with lost their lives. Matt Tomkiewicz, a good friend from the squad I was in during my Quantico training days, lost his life when the MV-22 Osprey he was flying went down during a NATO operation above the Arctic Circle in Norway and Nicholas Smith, one of my favorite Marines of all time, was killed in a car accident.

Matt, a charismatic young officer, always seemed to have the inside track on life and knew how to make people happy. There were many a nights after long training days where Matt would go off on one of his stories and have the entire squad and platoon rolling with laughter.

Smith was one of the hardest working Marines I’ve ever led and I had the honor of doing so on two deployments. A true student of his craft, he went on to join our Battalion’s Scout Sniper platoon. Our deep respect for one another and the love of what we were doing coursed through every chat we had no matter the topic. He was a little brother to me.

An R&R day with part of my platoon on our first deployment. Smith is top left with his signature "pistols"

As I’ve coped with these 5 losses over the last year, I’ve had to find ways that have worked for me. I tried ways that definitely don’t work for me but I’ve also found some that do. But what I’ve truly found, is that there are so many people struggling to find a way to take care of their mental health. So many struggling to discover a way. Maybe it’s a lack of resources or a lack of community. Maybe a lack of encouragement to try something new or to go walk that first mile. Maybe a lack of access to the means to try some new things. Or maybe it’s because they feel so alone that they don’t think anyone else understands. Or maybe it’s because the way the world is setup doesn’t prioritize my mental health.

OR MAYBE IT’S BECAUSE THE WAY THE WORLD IS SETUP DOESN’T PRIORITIZE MY MENTAL HEALTH.

Here’s what I know: everyone’s different and has their own unique approach to life, including their mental health. I know for me that focusing on my breathing and getting into really cold water for a few minutes a day can help clear and strengthen my mind. I also know that the services, treatments and experiences we feature on Bloomy work. We aim to highlight verified services and experiences that challenge you either mentally, physically or both but have lower and sometimes different stress impacts on your body and mind. These intimate experiences also allow you to be part of a group, meet new people and endure together. When you see it and feel it, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Insert Bloomy. An ecosystem that encourages people to discover and spend on their mental and physical well-being. An empowering community where everyone has a bit of a quirky side and that’s totally cool, because who you are matters and we’re here to support you in where you want to go.

Here’s where we are with Bloomy right now:

We have launched our discovery platform in LA & NYC! Find services, treatments and experiences curated and verified by us for you to take the best care of your mental and physical well-being. All for free. Sign up here.

Makela, Geoff and I on the night we formally founded Bloomy

Here’s where we are going in the next 12 months:

  • - We will be expanding our discovery platform across the US to feature not only services and experiences but also a highly curated selection of self-care and wellness goods at discount prices for our Bloomy members.
  • - Introduce our Bloomy Checking Account and Debit Card, a new way of allocating and spending that incentivizes and rewards you for spending on your well-being through our platform.
  • - Introduce our HRIS integration, your employer should care more about your mental and physical well-being. We are going to give them the right way to do that.
  • - Roll out our internal events, an ongoing series of events popping up across the country, on college campuses, in the workplace and on military installations. Where people can come to take care of their body and mind together.
  • - A few other items we will be announcing in the near future!

This is going to be a real journey. One with many ups and downs but one I have so much conviction in. If we can help just one person that is struggling to take that first step in finding something that works for them and they bring a friend along, it will be worth it.

Our corner is small but mighty. My two co-founders, Geoff and Makela, are some of the brightest minds I’ve ever met and I am lucky to be alongside them in this endeavor as they bring their own powerful whys to this vision. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge my daily inspiration and partner for life, Taylor. If not for you, I would certainly not be here doing this.

If you want to learn more, please reach out to me! Sign up for a free account at hibloomy.com and start discovering ways to take better care of your physical and mental well-being. I welcome all the feedback, advice, criticism, love and hate. I’m certainly still on my own journey alongside Bloomy and neither of us are a finished job.

-B