You know that moment when someone tells you about a project they're working on and you gasp a little at how awesome and brave it is? It's one of my favourite moments. I get all giddy and excited for whoever it is and want to know every little detail...which is kind of how this post came about.
When I first heard about Bella Kinesis that was the exact feeling I got. The brain child of Roshni Assomull and Shaleena Chanrai, Bella Kinesis is a brand new (as in it launched today!) workout brand with a conscience. It's all about strong women and giving back. Plus with two awesome women at the helm making things happen, there's no way I couldn't share the story of this amazing brand! Oh, and there's a little life advice thrown in for good measure!
What prompted you to start Bella Kinesis, what's your story?
We’ve been best friends since we were kids. When we went shopping together, we felt that most of the workout clothing out there was designed for women who were already fit. As both of us have such different body types, it was frustrating not being able to find something that suited us. We kept discussing the problem and eventually realised we had a business idea!
Where do you even start to develop a business idea like Bella Kinesis, how did you make it happen?
We had some initial ideas for the business and then we started doing our market research and putting together a business plan. Between the two of us we had the basic skills to do it – Shaleena knows design and photography and I have a finance background. We then both started taking courses in marketing and graphic design to improve ourselves further. We’ve also been learning from eachother and since neither of us has had experience in manufacturing, we’ve had to learn a lot through trial and error.
We had also both been spending a lot of time in India and we both felt affected by the way woman are treated on a daily basis there. We decided we needed to address the situation. We found an amazing foundation called Mann Deshi, which helps women start their own businesses and become financially independent. This kind of work has a lifelong benefit for these women and we’re working to contribute to the cause in anyway we can.
What is your dream for Bella Kinesis?
Our dream is to promote a healthy body image for girls of all shapes and sizes. We began Bella Kinesis as a way of motivating ourselves and to hopefully show others that they shouldn’t be intimidated by fitness. When we first began to reach out to people they we’re so encouraging. We have found that many of them identify with our story that this has helped us get through all the rough patches and hiccups we have experienced.
Our brand is not just about fitness; it’s about being strong women. We want to create a community of women that support and encourage each other to improve themselves in many different fields.
What makes workout gear from Bella Kinesis different from other workout brands? why is it special?
Being designed by women of different sizes, our line is meant to flatter women of all body shapes. We spent months finding the right performance fabrics and have personally tried and tested all the garments. We also wanted to create something for women of our own age. Our clothes are meant to be fashionable and accessibly priced.
Lots of women will identify with your stories of school sports, what prompted you to give it another go?
We think the issue is that most of the sport you do in school is competitive. You have to be the best to be on the team, otherwise you’re deemed as not sporty. It’s awkward enough being a teenage girl, so when you have to try new things in front of an audience, it’s even more off-putting. The sports at school change on a seasonal basis, so you’re never really given the opportunity to practice and improve.
We both went to all girls schools and had to wear a uniform for PE. These were never flattering and didn’t always suit the weather or the activity. We also weren’t educated about wearing the proper sports bra so often girls who were bigger, didn’t run to their full potential because they didn’t feel comfortable or supported.
After university, you start to take your health more seriously. Both of us had weight issues to address and we supported each other through the journey. It’s scary learning as an adult too, but you have much more freedom to find something you enjoy doing and there’s no longer the pressure of competition. You’re only working to better yourself.
What exercise do you love and why? is there anything you've not tried that you would love to?
Shaleena: I really enjoy a vigorous work out and I also love cardio. I have just started getting into weights and have started to attend Body Pump at my gym. I just like coming out of a class really sweaty, it makes me feel like I’ve really worked for it.
Roshni: I love my regular Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga classes. It’s not just about the workout, but the whole experience. Startup life gets quite stressful and setbacks leave you frustrated so yoga helps me keep a calm head. For added strengthening, I also really enjoy barre and Pilates classes.
We have long list of classes we’re dying to go to – next on our list are TRX and aerial yoga.
What advice would you give to other women looking to take the plunge and do something brave like start a business?
Just start! In whatever way you can. Making that initial step is the hardest but once things start moving, you’ll never look back. If it’s something you’re passionate about, you’ll want to do it all the time. There will always be roadblocks but you need to see past them and envision your eventual goal.
What words do you live by?
Everything is achievable if you take it in small steps.
Are you awesome? Do you have an awesome story to share? I'd love to hear it!