Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kaleen Canevari, Founder and CEO of Flexia, located in Berkeley, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Flexia helps people build strength, flexibility, and mindfulness with the world's first smart Pilates reformer. With first-ever Pilates metrics powered by patent-pending technology, finally, there is a way to interpret and improve your performance while following along with world-renown instructors in an award-winning online studio.
We serve anyone who wants a low-impact way to move their body with performance track technology that works at home or in a studio. That might be someone like my 80-year-old grandmother with spinal stenosis, or it might be LeBron James doing some cross-training in the off-season. Pilates on a reformer is so powerful because it meets you where you're at.
Tell us about yourself
I'm a mechanical engineer and a Pilates instructor. I first found Pilates when I got a job as a design engineer for the world's largest Pilates equipment manufacturer. I started taking classes in order to learn more about what I was designing and building, and within 6 weeks, my chronic knee pain went away, and I was able to get back out on the soccer field with my friends.
I've seen the magic of Pilates first-hand over and over again. And I've also heard countless stories from folks who are intimidated by the equipment or the studio environment or are self-proclaimed uncoordinated people who have a hard time feeling what's happening in their bodies.
I started Flexia to help make Pilates accessible to more people by enabling it to be practiced outside of the studio and give real-time, measurable feedback to help people reconnect with their bodies.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I'm really proud to have delivered hundreds of reformers to customers in just 2 years, going from no product designed to mass manufacturing my own design with far less capital than any other comparable connected fitness company.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Sorting through all the well-intentioned and conflicting advice! It's one part sorting through possible relevant information, one part trusting my intuition, and finally, one part knowing the industry and our customers better than anyone else. There are some really talented and helpful people out there, but they aren't always the loudest voices in the room.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
First and foremost, work with people who leave you feeling energized after a conversation. And when that stops being true, it's time to reevaluate.
Second, leading with honesty and vulnerability is important for building trust among your team. They aren't your therapist by any means, but being human and being open about the challenges as well as the triumphs gives people room to be bold, fail, learn, and grow with your business.
And finally, have a strong support system. It's really, really hard and often lonely. Whether it's your friends, family, or a group of other business owners, that support at the end of the day is key!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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