What do you do? 

Freedom At The Mat is an online and offline wellness platform offering free meditation, yoga and mindfulness content, all under 30 minutes, to make wellness accessible to women who need it, globally. Our mission is to serve women with content they may not know where or how to find and to give it to them at no cost. We started by offering classes once a week in Harlem in 2018 and expanded to YouTube after moving to New Orleans and during the pandemic in 2020. To offset the production costs, and to offer something for people to buy who wish to, in 2021, with the help of SCORE, we launched our product business.

What inspired you to start your business? 

I found great relief through yoga and meditation after my divorce, and career burnout. I wanted to share my practice with other women who may be reticent to try yoga or meditation for religious reasons. I wanted more women to find peace within and connect with their inner voices.

What's special about your business? 

We are mission-centered, dedicated to women's wellness, and donate 15% of our class & product profits to non-profit organizations that serve underserved women. We acknowledge that we will connect with some women, but that some women may not have the resources or mental capacity to seek wellness resources, so wish to partner with organizations who serve them in various communities in the U.S. presently. Our yoga is infused with jazz & inspirational music to appeal to a broader and non-traditional audience. We are dedicated to serving all women spanning ages, dress size, ethnicity and urban vs rural areas.

What have been the high and low points of being a business owner? 

Lows - Moving from NYC in Jan 2020, and having to start all over.

Highs - Finding that there is an international, and true need for wellness by all women and that creating a YouTube channel was a possibility and could take me even further than my location-based classes. Writing my guided journal, which we released with our product collection in 2021.

What have you learned from your experiences as a business owner? 

To start small. That you can negotiate your terms, and should establish relationships with multiple suppliers. That you really should begin your business with the minimal viable product, set the marketing wheels in motion, and see if you can build a demand before a large initial order quantity.

What is your relationship with SCORE? 
SCORE client
What influenced you to seek help from SCORE? 

I am a creative entrepreneur. I am a trained journalist and marketer, I knew NOTHING about product manufacturing, and was very nervous about COGS and calculating profits, identifying suppliers and setting up a product-based business.

How SCORE helped. 

Dean counseled me on how to negotiate with my suppliers, including terms and conditions and pricing. He was very critical in helping me set realistic goals and expectations to launch smartly with my limited resources. Dean's counsel on the initial order quantity was invaluable and saved me thousands of dollars. He also pushed me to create a business plan and helped me stay on top of creating and executing my own marketing plan.

What's great about my mentor? 

Dean made himself available to me freely, and was very accessible, encouraging and supportive. He has a wealth of knowledge about product-based businesses which he was happy to share with me in plain terms easily understandable to me.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting a small business? 

Take your time to find a market that is not being served, or being underserved, and offer them something that is ownable and authentic from your brand. Launch with minimal quantities, establish relationships with multiple vendors, and take your time with your launch. You're not in competition with anyone else but you. And lastly, don't compete on price. Price is a slippery slope that you don't want to race to the bottom with competitors not knowing their negotiations or resources. Instead, build your brand, create a valuable product proposition that won't force you to discount your value with price wars.

Expanding A Service-Oriented Business With Product Collection Launch

My Mentors