Thinking about the incredible evolution of Sekond Skin Society (SSS) often leaves founder Lee-Anne Reuber feeling emotional. SSS started as a brick-and-mortar yoga studio in Waterloo. The one-year anniversary was celebrated at THEMUSEUM in Downtown Kitchener and featured a live class with a DJ, local food and drinks, and a maker’s market of local businesses. The popularity of the anniversary event brought Reuber many requests to teach at other yoga studios. When her lease was up in December 2019, she decided not to renew it and spent the next couple of months teaching across Southwestern Ontario. This was time of personal and professional growth for her and it set her up to pivot when COVID-19 hit. It sounds funny, but Reuber is grateful for the gift that COVID-19 gave to her and her business. Because of the pandemic, her 10-year plan to start a virtual movement membership started about nine years ahead of schedule. She had to learn how to do a lot of things on her own, like filming video, website creation, memberships, etc. She took a lot of online classes to see what she liked and did not like about the videos, angles, etc. She put her body through a lot, filming classes for five to six hours a day, six to seven days a week. Working with a videographer, video content was edited and uploaded to her site. The Connektion (a blend of yoga, athleticism, affirmations, and visualization) was launched in July 2020 and things started to snowball from there.
SSS believes that movement is for everybody and every body. They continue to seek out instructors and bring on classes to serve those who may not currently have access to movement. Through the lens of inclusivity and body positivity, SSS offers coaching for movement and mindset. They represent every race, gender, sexuality, age, and body type; marketing is done in a way to highlight that representation and is geared towards moving your body because it feels good and is healthy to do so, NOT to lose weight, drop a size, tone up or to make people feel like they need to look a certain way. With these core values, along with a membership that includes the widest range of movement styles and workshops that currently exists, they are carving out their niche with a goal to take over as the largest virtual movement membership in the world.
Reuber initially started approaching businesses individually to offer her services as part of employee health and wellness programs. She later decided it would be much easier to approach group insurance brokerages to work with their hundreds of clients. Today, she works with several businesses across various industries and she expects membership numbers to climb to the millions in the next few months. She says that the success of the business is much bigger than her. The successes include movement being valued in workplace wellness in a way it has not been before, and underrepresented fitness professionals being given a platform.
Reuber cannot speak highly enough about the Women Entrepreneurship Centre and all the support she received. The program helped her to address things in her business she had not thought of or had not started to work on yet. The leaders in the program worked with her and gave her a lot of flexibility when she could not make all the classes due to meetings with some of the businesses she was negotiating with. The program leaders allowed her to set up other meetings and kept her on track. Because of the WEC program she incorporated SSS, put together an advisory board, and a strategy for legal and financial plans. The program helped create a full picture of where she was and what her next steps should be. She felt confident and organized as she worked through the program because she had a plan and people to go to for help if needed.
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Glodeane Brown is the Founder and Editor of the Culture Fancier blog where she regularly writes about arts and culture events, and interviews creative professionals. She is an arts management professional living and working in Kitchener, Ontario.
The Women Entrepreneurship Centre (WEC), as part of the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University, is dedicated to empowering women entrepreneurs of every age, stage and culture to achieve their business dreams. We believe in fostering leadership. We believe that everyone deserves an equal shot at success. We believe in connecting you with the right people, skills and support to make it happen.
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