We had the good fortune of connecting with Mahri Relin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mahri, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I was a dancer for a long time in NYC before becoming introduced to the ways that fitness and dance could come together in my first fitness job. It was a revelation! I was asked to work with pregnant women in this job, and I quickly realized how little fitness studios and other wellness professionals understood pregnancy at that time. I had lots of ideas about how to develop my own method, and I was especially passionate about supporting women through pregnancy as well as other important transitions in life like fertility, postnatal recovery, perimenopause, and beyond. Our NYC and Denver work is focused on in-home and virtual private training with a range of folks (including men, too!) — but I’m particularly proud of our work in these specialized areas.
What should our readers know about your business?
I know I alluded to this a bit already, but I’m incredibly excited about helping women at times in their lives that feel intense and scary but that also lack support and information. Before I started my own business, I met so many pregnant women in fitness classes who felt scared and uncertain about how to approach movement and how to stay safe. It has become an obsession of mine to understand the process of fertility, pregnancy, and postnatal healing as deeply as possible. Not only do we study the fitness research, but we also work with specialized physical therapists, nutritionists, body workers, and a host of eastern and western practitioners who can help us understand our work better and also provide expert resources for our clients. A huge part of where I am today comes from the trainers and advisors who work with me. I have been tremendously lucky to find and hire some of the most caring, conscientious, motivated, and team-oriented people who work very hard and really care about being the best they can be. These people are the backbone of the business and the reason why our clients choose us. Finding people like this might also be one of the hardest parts of the business since it matters so much to me. I take a long time looking, the audition and vetting process takes several weeks, and I definitely don’t settle. In terms of our biggest challenge — COVID takes the cake! Wow, it put a huge damper on our in-home training program (especially in NYC), and so many of our mom clients were too overwhelmed with the suddenness of Stay at Home and home-schooling that they couldn’t think about training for a while. Luckily, we made a huge shift online and spent weeks as a company honing in on the best ways to transition to high-quality virtual training. Even though some clients were skeptical, it was amazing how many transitioned to virtual training and loved it. I had to learn again and again in this process to be flexible and as open to feedback as possible. It almost felt like I was starting a new business when everything shifted, so I had to listen and put pride aside more than ever before. That was the only way to make the change successfully — and we’re still working on it! Coming out of all this, I want the world to know how passionate, knowledgeable, supportive, and fun we are as a company. I’ve been pretty serious so far, but our method is actually really joyful. It’s based on dance principle – but you don’t have to be a dancer to do it! – and it’s fast-paced and music-driven. You really get to move and express yourself while also challenging your body beyond what you think is possible (even when pregnant!), and that combination can be so cathartic and exciting. We are determined to continue understanding the most current and important research on fitness and women’s health,and we will continue to bring our knowledge, experience, and FUN to as many women as possible. Thanks to the explosion of virtual training, that’s more possible than ever before!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would love to take them to some of my favorite towns that aren’t too far from Denver, including Boulder, Golden, Evergreen, and even Steamboat if we had the time, and I would show them some of my favorite hikes in those areas. If COVID wasn’t an issue, I would insist on going to a Red Rocks show as well. In the Denver area, I would spend a day with them in RiNo looking at the murals and checking out the great cuisine at Denver Central Market, Acorn, Los Chigones, and Osaka Ramen (my faves!). We would also pop over to Union Station for some shopping and a drink at The Cooper Lounge. I would be remiss to forget places closer to my house in south Denver. I live next to the Highline Canal, where I love to bike and take long walks through some of my favorite neighborhoods. We would also spend time walking around Cherry Creek and ducking into wonderful restaurants like Hillstone, True Food Kitchen, Narrative, Le Bilboquet – and don’t forget Syrup. (Clearly, I love to eat!) I would also make sure we had time to walk around Cheeseman Park and visit the Botanic Gardens. I love outdoor life in Denver and appreciate how sunny it is nearly every day. I would spend as much time in the sun during this visit and try to convince my best friend to move here 🙂
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Oh my gosh, I received so much help early on that it’s hard to know where to start. My boyfriend at the time was incredibly excited and supportive of me and gave me some great books that helped me think about how to set up the business – especially “Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell and “The E-Myth” by Michael Gerber. I also need to give a huge shoutout to my friend and earliest business advisor, Deborah Kessler. Deborah was so smart and insightful and helped me set the foundation for everything in the first years of the business. She is an incredible friend to this day, and I credit her with so much of our early success.
Corey Rives Chelsea Chorpenning Kathleen O’Neill