Sometimes, there are people that just walk into your life and inspire you.
Marcela Almond is one such person. Owner of the thriving Seagrass Fitness Studio, which plays a pivotal role in the health of many of us folk here in Braunton, Marcela is a successful wellness entrepreneur, business woman and Mum.
When she arrived in my photographic studio to have some personal branding shots taken, I decided to grab the opportunity to find out a little bit more about what makes her and her business tick. Here’s what I discovered….
CJS: So, why did you decide to start up Seagrass in the first place?
Marcela: I wanted to create a fitness space that was welcoming, non-judgmental and accessible. My intention was to provide an environment where every woman would feel like she could walk through the door and access a class or workshop that would help her on her journey to better health, no matter her age, size or fitness level. I had spent time working in gyms and had grown increasingly frustrated at how your average women over 30 was being treated. If you weren’t stick thin and lycra clad, you weren’t really welcome. There seemed to be limited classes for women who needed a gentler approach – a stepping stone to being fitter and stronger.
There were also no classes dealing with mental wellbeing. It was as if the mind and the body were not connected and we all know that this isn’t true. Absolute wellbeing comes from within. I spend my days teaching my ladies that in order to move well you need to be able to think well and reconnect with yourself and your body. We need to be kinder to ourselves and learn how to talk to our bodies in a positive way.
CJS: What services and solutions do you provide for your customers?
Marcela: Seagrass is a place were no matter what your stage in life, you can feel confident in engaging in a class or workshop that will help you to re-connect with your body and learn how to move well. Work stress, poor posture, having children or injuries can lead to pain or a feeling of disconnection with your body. We can help you take back control. We are not a quick fix/weight loss gym. We believe in building strength, mobility, and confidence. Taking time to really explore how to move well and incorporate good movement into your day to day life for long term wellness.
Attend any class or workshop and you will hear us talk about the mind body connection. Thinking well is extremely important. Did you know that stress and depression make you feel physical pain? Did you also know that you can reduce and even heal pain by the power of your mind? I know it sounds a little out there but I am living proof. I have a condition that means that I live every day in constant pain, and yet, I choose not to feel that pain. I have developed techniques over the years to ‘quieten’ it. I use these same techniques to help women overcome self-confidence issues and ‘quieten’ the self-doubt voice that we all have. We can help you to find the right tools to deal with all your anxiety and stress.
I’d like to think that Seagrass has changed the lives of many of our ladies by reducing their suffering, improving strength and mobility, and giving them a supportive environment in which to grow and become confident, happy, fulfilled women.
CJS: Tell me a little about your new premises at The Old School Rooms in Church Street, Braunton? Are you excited by the move?
Marcela: Moving to the new venue has been a fantastic decision. I think that we’re all guilty sometimes of making do because we’re scared of change. But there comes a point when you just know it’s time to make that leap and “feel the fear and do it anyway.”
The new studio feels much more like home. Moving has given me the opportunity to really assess my business needs, and get rid of all the things that weren’t working or were continuing to hold my business back. Streamlining our services has helped us to focus on what we really want to do, which is helping women to better health. The new space is light and inspiring during the day and cosy and relaxing at night. I can’t decide which time I like best. I love every moment in it.
CJS: How do you see your business growing in the future?
Marcela: I have limited time in the day/week for classes and courses, and limited space for people to attend. So, I would like to be able to make our content easily accessible to everyone by creating a programme of online courses. Each member of the Seagrass team has their own unique talents and knowledge and I feel it would be a shame if we didn’t allow everyone who could benefit from Seagrass, the opportunity to do so. I just have to get over my fear of cameras first!
CJS: If you had one piece of advice for any new business woman, what would it be?
Marcela: Your business must have a purpose other than making money. Gone are the days when it’s all about status and power, now there is a real shift towards companies that do good. Think about your mission statement and find a way to use your business to help others. This can be anything from donating your time by talking in schools and inspiring the next generation, to giving your services to those in need or donating a percentage of your profits to a cause that is aligned to your business.
I have used the large network that I have created through my business to start a charity called The Kind Mamma Movement. It was set up to help children living in poverty. So far, we have sponsored schools in war zones and refugee camps. We are currently setting up a baby bank supporting families in the local community who are struggling financially.
Running this charity doesn’t directly impact on my business but through it I am meeting new people, networking and learning all the time. I have a much better understanding of my local community and its needs and a greater understanding of how my business can address these needs.
And that ladies and gentleman is what makes this lady, SO beautiful. Yep, the camera never lies.
Seagrass Fitness Studios, First Floor, The Old School Rooms, Church Street, Braunton, EX33 2EL .