Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Naya Powell, Founder and CEO of Utopia Spa And Global Wellness, located in Durham, NC, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Utopia SGW is a Google-backed B2B digital wellness subscription platform addressing global burnout and the future of work and wellness. We offer live and on-demand *wholistic virtual wellness experiences, including mindfulness, yoga, pilates, movement, wellness coaching/workshops, and retreats.
Utopia’s multicultural and *wholistic approach addresses the intersectionality of well-being, mindful inclusion, diversity, and belonging! Utopia SGW helps enterprises, SMBs, educational institutions, and organizations achieve their talent, retention, recruitment, and productivity goals and helps people to show up as their healthiest and happiest selves daily. Utopia is disrupting the $60B workplace wellness market.
Tell us about yourself
My passion for wellness is deeply influenced by my health-conscious marathon-running father and the influences of my mother, the 1st Black National Mary Kay Director in VA. I saw both of my parents working hard to empower their communities with employment opportunities. Their entrepreneurial, wellness, and beauty influences shaped me into the wellness pioneer I am today.
As a 3rd generation entrepreneur, I was motivated to start Spa Utopia, Inc. based on experiences with the impacts of stress and burnout personally and within my family. In addition, I have worn the hats of founder and corporate leader. Therefore, I understand firsthand the immense burnout, time poverty, and lack of work-life integration endured by numerous professionals. I witnessed the stress effects of high blood pressure and chronic illness in my own family. During the pandemic, the world was faced with shifting how we interact. Every industry was affected, and we were no exception. Due to the pandemic, we pivoted to an online wellness platform to meet mental health and workplace wellness needs.
Prioritizing my own self-care was one of the best things I could've done for my clients, employers, and myself.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Being selected as a recipient of the 2021 Google For Startups Black Founders Fund was one of my most prized accomplishments. It allowed us to implement a major rebrand which included a new logo, website, community growth internationally, higher operational and leadership support, and apparel during a time when resources were very lean.
Some of our additional milestones include:
- Delivered wellness solutions to The NFL, Google, Red Hat-IBM, Duke University, United Healthcare, and others.
- Built a team of wellness instructors across five (5) continents and members across ten (10) countries.
- 10+ press features, including CNBC - Women Rising Africa.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
It’s hard to pick one thing! I firmly believe that if something is hard, that doesn’t mean it is negative. The challenges are where the growth is. Making the decision to pivot from spa services to an online wellness platform during a pandemic was difficult, but like the rest of the world, we had to adapt. Building a global company with limited resources during this time was definitely a challenge.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Be strategic. Prepare well before taking the leap. Make sure that your pursuits are something you are passionate about. It can be exhausting and exhilarating, but it goes with the territory.
- Get connected to a strong community that offers encouragement, mentorship, and resources.
- Don’t be too quick to quit. Sometimes when we are ready to quit, that is when the breakthrough happens. If something isn’t working, take what you learn from that and apply it to a more refined vision.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Make sure you invest in your self-care and well-being. Health is wealth. We must be healthy to serve our global community well.
Lastly, Utopia SGW is currently fundraising to expand our impact as we revolutionize self-care so that we can show up as our best selves.
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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