Last week health and wellbeing professionals Sarah Thompson and Jess Smit announced the launch of their wellness class ‘Work out, Work in’, a three part outdoor exercise class that includes a hike, 30 minutes of HIIT and 30 minutes of yoga.
We caught up with the duo to find out more about the concept, their journey and received some words of wisdom for those looking to launch a business during a pandemic.
Can you tell us a little about your business?
“I’ve loved yoga for over five years and wanted to deepen my own practice. I went to Thailand and completed my Yoga teacher training in January 2020. I began teaching over Zoom a little during lockdown but I felt that with restrictions easing, and the weather improving as we head into summer, now is the perfect time to utilise my qualification.”
“I’ve always loved sports. I first looked into personal training and nutrition a few years ago but never got round to it. Jess had always been so supportive, encouraging me to do it and when we went into the second lockdown I decided now is the time. Until recently I’d been holding classes three times a week over zoom but I’ve since moved these to outdoor bootcamps.
“The aim is that my classes promote mental and physical health. So much of exercising is about your mind as well as your body. It’s time that we change the perception of exercise and start to have fun again.”
“It’s the same with yoga. A lot of people are scared of yoga because they think that it’s about tying your body in knots trying to get into the right position. But it’s all about connecting your body to your breath. My aim is to show people that it’s not a competition, anyone can do yoga and take it to whatever level works for them.”
Can you tell me a bit about Work Out, Work In?
“I love being outdoors. Going on a hike and getting air into your lungs is one of the most invigorating things that you can do. I was chatting to Jess one day about my weekend plans and I realised that this is something everyone could benefit from.
“Our ‘work out, work in’ classes are made up of three parts; a hike, thirty minute HIIT class and then thirty minutes of yoga. Each month we will find a new beauty spot to visit or a hiking trail to visit, and depending on the area our walk will be anything from 30 minutes to an hour.
“We live in such a beautiful area, and now that we have the freedom to go wherever we want, it’s important that we continue to support and shop locally.
“In July we’re visiting Dunnottar Castle, it’s always been one of my favorite places in the North East to visit. There are some great cafes and restaurants nearby, I’m hoping that people make a day of it and go out for a nice brunch after our class.”
Why did you start these classes?
“There is a real sense of privilege around wellness, and quite often it's not accessible to everyone. It shouldn’t cost a fortune to look after your mind and body, I believe that it should be accessible to everyone. Unfortunately, it’s those who don’t have access to it that need it the most.”
What’s been the scariest part of starting your business?
“For me, it was the fear that nobody would want to do it. You do feel initially anxious that you won't get the turn out or that it is going to fail.
“I think that the fear of failure was my biggest issue but really it doesn’t matter how many people turn up. Even if only one or two people turn up on the day, the energy that they bring to the group and the feeling that you achieve afterwards makes all of the work worth it.”
What does success look like to you?
“You become comfortable with being uncomfortable - the more you put yourself out there and come up with ideas, the less scary things become. There is always that fear when you start something that you might not have the following or that sales won’t be high. But actually, if you can change one person's day and you're the highlight of one person's week then that's job done, to me that's success.”
What’s your advice for someone thinking about starting a business in Aberdeen?
“Do it! Don’t wait. I wish I had started it earlier. You’d be surprised at how supportive everyone is. It is unbelievable how much people get behind you.
“Don’t wait until your concept is perfect. It’s never going to be perfect, it’s always going to change. Just start and say yes to every opportunity you have and then just figure it all out after. You just have to go for it, if you over think it that’s when you allow the fear to come in, so just choose faith over fear and you’ll be fine. If you have faith everything will be ok.”
What are your favourite local businesses right now and why?
“That’s easy, Solasta Skin. I have two massive tubs of bath scrubs, and use the face oil every day. All of my family all use it and love it!
“I also buy all of my flowers from Flowers by Lilybet. Her work is beautiful, full of greenery and so natural.
“And Steph M Artistry, she’s insanely talented. I’ve booked her for my wedding makeup - I can’t wait.”
“It’s so difficult to pick a favourite as there are so many, but the ones that I’ve shopped in recently include, Bonobo Cafe - the rooftop garden is great and it has such a nice chilled vibe.
“I love going to the Vegan Bay Baker. As a vegan it's really nice to get vegan treats like yum yums, donuts etc as most stores are quite limited but the Vegan Bay Baker always delivers.
“Another great one to visit is the Rosemount Market - it’s the sister branch of Nature's Larder and it has so much variety - I love it!”
At abz.life we are committed to supporting local lifestyle businesses. These companies, no matter how big or small, make our city and our community so special, so it’s important that we shout about them. If you have a local business that you would like to promote, please sign up to our directory or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.