Alumni Highlight: Holistic Journeys Wellness |

Feb 12, 2021 11:30:00 AM | nutrition Alumni Highlight: Holistic Journeys Wellness |

ACHS CAM alumni Kelli Kemp talks about discovering holistic wellness, changing careers, and opening her own business.

kelli kemp blog header

Kelli Kemp graduated from ACHS with a Masters of Science in Complementary Alternative Medicine and is the owner of Holistic Journeys Wellness.

Discovering natural remedies

As a freshman in college, Kelli first started to consider natural remedies after ending up in the ER. She was sick with the flu and took NyQuil without realizing that it was not recommended for people with asthma. "My first thought was there must be something I can take while I have the flu that will help me. All of the medications that were for flu at the time were not recommended for people with asthma," she says.

After this, Kelli developed her first immune support herbal decoction, which today, with some alteration to the recipe, is one of the most popular products in her online store.

Immunity Duo

Pictured: Immune Support Decoction and Herbal Tincture from Kelli's Apothecary Shoppe

After creating her first herbal decoction, Kelli began to experiment with more natural products. At the time, she was studying Business Law in college but later switched to Kinesiology. "I’ve always been into movement and learning about the body. I was on the dance team and taught dance, and I did my undergrad work in Kinesiology," she says.

Changing career paths

Around 2015, Kelli was working in Human Resources and decided she wanted to go back to school. She originally wanted to get a Master's degree in Human Resources, but after applying to and getting rejected from two schools, her husband pointed out something important. "My husband said, why are you going back to school for Human Resources? You don’t even like it that much. You’re always messing with herbs, why don’t you go to school for that? 'I said that’s a good point,'" Kelli says.

Kelli started looking for Master's programs in herbalism and alternative medicine and found ACHS. "I applied, I was accepted and it all just worked out and I was so happy. Taking those classes and learning, it didn’t feel like school. It felt like I was on some grand adventure of knowledge," she says.

Although online classes took her a while to adjust to, Kelli soon became comfortable with them. She recommends participating in discussions and communicating with professors to get the most out of your online education. "That helped me feel more connected and by my second semester I really felt like I was in school even though it was online," Kelli says.

Her favorite classes involved herbs and homeobotanicals and Kelli hopes to return to ACHS to get a Master Herbalist diploma in the near future. 


Pictured: Hydrating Body Butter from Kelli's Apothecary Shoppe

Starting a holistic health business

Before starting school at ACHS, Kelli was already making skincare and haircare products as a side business. She made them for herself and then for her friends and family to test them out.

After graduating from ACHS, Kelli continued to work in Human Resources before realizing something: "I wanted to do nutrition and wellness coaching and make my products full time. That’s all I wanted to do, I didn’t want to do HR at all." In February of 2018, she quit her job as an Human Resources manager and started her own business called Holistic Journeys Wellness.

At Holistic Journeys, Kelli works with people who have chronic health conditions. Homeobotanicals are also an essential part of her practice. "People ask me what does it cure? It doesn’t provide a cure, it provides support for a system that is out of balance so that the system can return to homeostasis," she says.

On top of working with clients, Kelli also has an online Apothecary Shoppe. One of her most popular creations, Pepper & Hemp Topical Pain Relief Salve, was inspired by something she learned in a class at ACHS. "I wrote a paper about how cayenne pepper and cannabis work on pain. They both work on the pain receptors in different ways," Kelli says.

Pepper and hemp salve

Pictured: Pepper & Hemp Pain Relief Salve from Kelli's Apothecary Shoppe

Here are four pieces of advice that come from Kelli's own experience with starting her business:

  1. Don’t get discouraged. If it’s your passion, just keep going for it.
  2. Your friends and family can be your first clients.
  3. Set up your business properly and know what the regulations are where you live.
  4. Use the resources from your classes. Kelli says that a lot of the resources about regulations that she used were from her courses.

Working as a sports team nutritionist

 In 2019, Kelli partnered with the Los Angeles Bobcats Football team as the team nutritionist. The LA Bobcats are a semi-pro women's football team and the only team in their league so far to have a team nutritionist. "They are such an amazing, determined, fierce group of athletes that just working with them was a pleasure," Kelli says. "I check in with them, show up to practice with health recovery snacks, give them guidance about what they should be eating. I also do help them if they have chronic health conditions. I service them as a group and individually when they have other concerns that fall in my expertise."

Kelli is also the nutritionist for a local youth track team and hopes to offer similar services to high school and college sports teams in the future.

Pain Relief Bath Salts

Pictured: Pain Relief Bath Salts from Kelli's Apothecary Shoppe

Starting a holistic health journal

When the pandemic started, Kelli lost all of her clients. In the past, she had wanted to start a digital magazine but never had time to get the details together. "Three months of being in my house on lockdown with nothing to do with myself, and I said you know what, I’m just going to do it. The very first issue I published, I wrote every article myself," Kelli says.

Her digital magazine is called The Holistic Californian and now has three contributing writers, an editor, and a photographer. "I was definitely excited and then once the magazine came out, my clients started coming back!" Kelli says.

In the Holistic Californian, you can learn about plant-based medicine, alternative therapies, and California Native Plants. " I was really interested in going wildcrafting in the open space in California and not knowing anything about those plants really got me interested in knowing more," Kelli says.

You can subscribe to the latest issue of the Holistic Californian here and visit Kelli's website here.

New Call-to-action

Disclosure of Material Connection: I am the social media & PR specialist for the American College of Healthcare Sciences, the Institution that publishes this blog. However, all opinions are my own. This blog may contain affiliate links. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine. 

About American College of Healthcare Sciences

ACHS Founding President Dorene Petersen with three studentsAmerican College, founded in 1978, is a fully online accredited institute of higher education specializing in holistic health. Based in Portland, OR; our goal is to make research-driven and science-based holistic health education taught by industry-leading experts accessible to anyone anywhere while still giving students a hands-on experiential learning experience like a traditional college and a strong sense of community, school pride and student bond.

This commitment to our students and graduates reflects in our current survey results that reflect 98% of our students would recommend ACHS to a friend or family member.

We believe education is the most powerful tool for changing an individual and the world around us. 

When a person enrolls as ACHS, it is vitally important that they graduate with tools they need to forge their own holistic and sustainable missions, build up their communities confidently and changing the face of healthcare with knowledge.

Gillian Turner

Written By: Gillian Turner

Gillian joined ACHS after graduating from Linfield College with a BA in Mass Communication and a minor in visual studies. She grew up off the grid in rural southern Oregon and spent time exploring the forest surrounding her house and teaching gardening classes to other children in her garden. While at Linfield, Gillian gained valuable experience in public relations, social media management, and digital art. She was awarded a strategic communication scholarship and inducted into Kappa Tau Alpha, a national college honor society “that recognizes academic excellence and promotes scholarship in journalism and mass communication.” When not at work, Gillian can most often be found making art, enjoying nature or drinking coffee with her husband, Preston. Her interests include sustainability, mental wellness, and trying to stay connected to nature while living in the city. She studied abroad at the National University of Ireland, Galway, and has traveled to over ten different countries. Her favorite place that she has visited is the Scottish Highlands, and she hopes to visit many more countries in the future.