We kicked off 2018 with an energetic start, as we welcomed Rhian Cowburn, founder of Hackney Wick’s very own boutique fitness studio, Strong + Bendy. Rhian told us about the concept behind Strong+Bendy, gave us her top tips for starting your own business (but which also apply generally to being successful whatever you do), and gave us a short taster session of one of the most popular classes on the studio timetable, Pop Pilates (which is basically high energy pilates to music).
Strong+Bendy opened in June 2017, offering a range of classes (yoga, pilates, HIIT, kettlebell training, bootcamps, core conditioning). Rhian also offers personal training sessions in the studio. Whilst some classes are led by Rhian, she also has a small army of fabulous instructors (including her identical twin sister – very confusing sometimes) who take some of the classes, so there is always something different to do. For more information, check out her website
Rhian’s Top Tips for starting a successful business and keeping it that way
1. Set a vision
Identify the things you’re willing to compromise on and the things you’re not. In the long run I want Strong + Bendy to be a luxury studio. At the moment I’m having to compromise on facilities (changing rooms etc) but what I won’t compromise on is quality of instructors
2. Battle sexism
On my PT course men were referring to the easier exercises as ‘girl exercises’. I couldn’t let that go without having the lecturer call it out and agree to not tolerate it being said on the course again in the future
3. Be Brave
It will be financially tough and at times you will give yourself excuses as to why it would be OK to give up…. but stay focused on why you started in the first place!
4. Don’t pay too much attention to other people
Thoroughly research the companies you admire and want to be like. Then try not to worry too much what other people are doing. There will always be companies doing similar to you, just concentrate on what you want to do well and try not to be distracted.
5. Be kind
For some people sticking to fitness is a constant battle of wills. Just turning up to a class is often a real achievement (especially on dark winter nights!). If you can be kind to every person that comes, it’s the small things that will make a big difference when you’re hoping to build a lasting community of people who support your business
Happy 2018 to all our inspiring, brave and incredible women.
In case you missed it, check out Catherine Hufton’s piece from the Telegraph from last month, where our Secretary and food enthusiast Sophie talks about Hackney Wicked Women’s recent speakers and local community events.