Lisa Minett is owner and director of inner West yoga, pilates and barre studio My Mama Said. We heard that she found out she was pregnant just as she was launching her business and we just had to find out more!
First and foremost you’re a mum, tell us a little bit about your family
My husband and I met whilst I was working in Sydney. We moved back to my hometown of Williamstown when our first child, Evie was three months old. She is now four and we have also had a boy, Tommy who is now two.
Starting a company and becoming a mother isn’t easy. How do you balance work and children?
I started the company when Evie was 12 months old and knew it would be a bit of a struggle. What I didn’t realise was that I was eight weeks pregnant the day I opened and was scheduled to teach 20 classes per week. It was too late to pull out so I had to make it work. I really couldn’t have done it without the support of my husband who reduced the amount of work he took, and I quickly learnt that I had to delegate my classes to others. Hiring staff that you trust and respect is the only way to make it work. You simply can’t do it on your own, and finding a balance is almost impossible. You just have to come up with a plan that appears balanced, and then be ready to change it.
What’s your favourite thing about being a mum?
Oh my goodness, those cuddles and kisses. I could live on them. I also love watching them play, learn, explore. Allowing them to feel free is very important to me.
Your background is in theatre and dance. What inspired you to open up a barre, pilates and yoga studio?
I was 7 when I started dance training and 25 when I got an acting scholarship to The University of Florida in Miami. I then started working in the USA as a stage actor and theatre lecturer. I returned to Australia as my mother was terminally ill and I wanted to be near her. After my mother passed, I took up the position of Head of Movement and Dance at NIDA in Sydney for three years. It was a wonderful position but the amount of hours and stress I experienced was not viable if I wanted to have a family. I had always wanted my own studio and I had seen the benefits that actors were getting from training the body in many different ways. It helps rid the body and mind of habitual habits. I thought that everyone needed access to the techniques that I had learnt.
What do you like most about what you do?
I love seeing clients who have struggled with injuries or commitment to other exercises have light bulb moments. The barre classes are really wonderful for the female body, especially prenatal and postnatal clients. If there are no complications, women can practice right through their third trimester. But the most wonderful thing is that we’ve noticed an unprecedented amount of clients falling pregnant even when they have had unbearable struggles. Our practices are not high impact, and are taught in a wonderfully nurturing environment. We have lots of ‘Ying’ type practices that are great for helping women calm their nervous system and release some of the stress.
Any advice you can give to mums wanting to branch out and change careers or start up a business?
Be brave and go for it. Don’t think you can’t do it, and if you can, do it on your own. You don’t need a business partner to hold your hand. It’s much easier and quicker to make a decision without having to wait for someone to call you back with an answer before you go ahead. If you’re a mum, you don’t have time for that. Trust yourself. Don’t wait till you’re ready. You’re ready now.
What is the hardest part about your job and what is the most rewarding?
The hardest part is balancing staff availability with product demand. The most rewarding is hearing about clients’ personal achievements that they know have come because they have been coming to regular classes. Physical confidence is so important to personal success.
What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve been given?
If a client has a request that you can meet, just do it and move on. As long as it’s reasonable, don’t get stuck on principles. Make your client’s and your life easier.
What’s the meaning behind the name “My Mama Said”?
It’s a mantra that is unique to everyone because it allows you to express your own beliefs and philosophies. I wanted to approach yoga and pilates from a perspective outside the norm. My mum passed away in 2007 and she left a massive impact on my life. She was a beautiful, warm loving and generous person, but she was a bit naughty. You don’t have to eat mung beans and drink chai to be a yogi!
What’s next for My Mama Said?
We’re starting up online classes so you can do them from anywhere. These will be free to our members. Plus, we have just added a third prenatal class and a NEW Mums and Bubs on Thursdays at 10.30am.
And where can we find you?