An Interview with Mara Kimowitz, Founder of StretchSource
The Entrepreneurs Series explores the minds of business owners and their journey to make a difference in their industry. We interview these business founders to understand the life lessons that mold them into who they are today. We had the pleasure of interviewing Mara Kimowitz.
Mompreneuer of the year in the category of fitness and wellness by NJ Family, Mara Kimowitz is the proud momma to 3 amazing humans age 11, 9 and 7. She is the creator and founder of the StretchSource System of Assisted Stretching and StretchSource System Certification Course, and owns the StretchSource Studio in Boonton, New Jersey. The studio provides 1:1 stretch session, group stretch classes and continuing education for industry professionals.
The StretchSource System Certification Course is nationally recognized for continuing education for personal trainer through NASM, for massage therapist through NCBTMB and for exercise instructors through AFAA. Kimowitz is dedicated to helping people with their flexibility and mobility so they can continue participating in the activities in life that make them happy without physical limitation or discomfort.
Great to meet you. Thank you for doing the interview. We want to know more about your journey, early struggles, success, and some wisdom that we can pass on to others who are interested in walking your footsteps toward becoming an entrepreneur. We know that being an entrepreneur is not all glory and fame, but there are hard times too. We believe that others who are interested in being a business owner can gain insight from other business founders like yourself. Again, we want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule. Let’s get this interview started! Let us start off with some basic questions to learn more about who you are as a person.
Tell us about your education?
At age 15, I landed my first professional dance gig with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Group in their world-renowned ballet, MEMORIA. I graduated High School in the top 10% of my class. At age 19, I began working with the Mark Morris Dance Group and later with the Metropolitan Opera of NYC.
Can you give an example of an early lesson in life that shaped who you are today?
My parents both lost their jobs simultaneously when I was very young and struggled financially for most of my upbringing. Most of my school clothes were bought at thrift stores. I developed an entrepreneur spirit early on as a way to survive, have control over my professional and personal life and be able to afford the things that I needed and wanted for my future. My first business was a MC entertainment business I created when I was 15 years old. I was hired to entertain the guests at girls’ Bat Mitvah parties. This job afforded me the ability to shop for new clothes rather then used and have pride in my appearance. To this day, my husband has to go shopping with me otherwise I don’t by anything out of guilt of spending money on myself and appearance. It’s the one aspect of shopping that I need his approval, which is always, get what you want, you deserve to feel great in what you wear.
Who would you consider to be a significant influence on you professionally and can you explain why?
Twyla Tharp. Do you know who she is? Twyla Tharp is an incredible choreographer, dance innovator and icon. When I was 18-years-old I auditioned for a role in her show, Moving Out!, on Broadway. I made it very far in the auditions, almost to the end. Unfortunately, as Twyla told me herself, I was just too young for the cast. What I loved about Twyla was her ability to reinvent herself and keep moving. She went from being a dancer, to owning her own company, to sought out choreographer and finally to most recently being awarded an honorary Doctor of Arts degree by Harvard University in 2018. She created a ballet, Deuce Coupe, for the Joffrey Ballet which is considered the first “crossover ballet”. (You can look that up!) She is a true visionary, artist and female entrepreneur.
What problem is your business trying to solve?
Helping people attain the mobility and flexibility they need so that they can continue participating in the activities in life that make them happy without limitation or pain for longevity.
How is your business unique against your competitors?
I am the sole developer, creator, founder, and owner of StretchSource. We pride ourselves on providing customized stretch programs based on an individual’s unique Flex IQ. Flex IQ is a StretchSource trademarked measurement of a person’s physical flexibility, joint range of motion, muscle disfunction, and anatomical composition. We determine a person’s Flex IQ through a through 75 minute assessment and evaluation. Once we determine a person’s Flex IQ, we are then able to recommend a stretch program customized to the individual.
How did the idea for your business come to fruition?
I was working for a top physical therapy office in New York City. Many of the patients were compliant with their care and would finish treatment. However, within a short time of being dismissed from physical therapy, many patients would return re-injured. Something didn’t seem right to me. I discovered that patients post rehabilitation had fully recovered from their prescribed focus of care, but had left with muscles imbalances and lack of flexibility due to compensation. These additional issues were not part of the treatment script and therefore were neglected resulting in issues upon dismissal from physical therapy. Furthermore, the issues made patients lack confidence in returning to normal activity and set them up for further injuries to develop. What people needed was a place for continued stretch and flexibility training. There are plenty of resources for cardio and strength training. However, yoga was the only option and yoga isn’t stretch training. Yoga originated in India as a form of meditation and mental focus. I set out to create a method of training that was stretch focused and suitable for all fitness and flexibility levels.
Where can people go on the web to learn more about your business?
We want to thank you for the interview.
We have one last question to ask about imparting some wisdom to future entrepreneurs. What three tips would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out on their journey?
1. Don’t let anyone or anything hold you back from pursing your dreams.
2. For every problem there is a solution.
3. When something doesn’t work out it’s not a negative, just a message that you should be moving in another direction.
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