Kindred Spirits

Genevieve Douglass of Uptown PR has a new business venture and it’s challenging her to spread her wings, while embracing her love of being a new mom.

In 2014, PR professional Genevieve Douglass was trying to adjust to her new life as a parent and young professional, while also trying to continue her pre-baby routine as much as possible. She wanted to get back to her former lifestyle, but also incorporate her new daughter into it.

An active lifestyle and yoga had been a big part of her life before becoming a mom, and she wanted to attend mommy and baby yoga classes with her daughter.

“I knew it would be a great opportunity for me to get out of the house with an infant, and get back on my mat and try to rejuvenate my yoga practice,” says Douglass. “In addition, it helped me meet other young moms and babies in the community, as well as stretch my tired and achy body, restore my energy levels and spend some fun, interactive time bonding with my baby.”

Through mother and baby yoga classes, Douglass saw a demand for other interactive activities or options that would work for working parents who wanted to spend time with their children.  And when she couldn’t find a place that suited all her needs, she decided to spearhead it herself.

“I thought, ‘Why isn’t there a common space that is modern and appealing that caters to both working parents and those with a more flexible schedule?’” she says. “Also, as a working parent, any free time I had, I wanted to spend with my daughter. I would feel guilty spending time working out when I could spend that time with her.”

The answer to all these quandaries evolved into KINDRED; a lifestyle studio where parents can get fit, shop, play with their little ones and even enjoy healthy beverages, guilt-free. Parents can also come for a support group or just to meet other parents.

“KINDRED clients can expect an all-encompassing space for modern parents, guilt-free and judgment-free,” she says. “We want our families to come to us for a fitness class and then stay for a connect group. We also want them to be able to grab a fresh juice and shop ZukaBaby’s offerings while their baby plays. And this can all happen in the middle of their hectic day.”

KINDRED’s GET FIT classes include: Yoga, Barre, Ballet, Pilates, Indoor Cycling and even Kids’ Yoga.

“We also now have one-on-one personal training (45 minute sessions) available three days a week and we host Hip Hop evening classes for parents only on occasion,” she says. 

KINDRED’s CONNECT programming includes: Story Time, Spanish & French sessions once a month,  Music Together classes, Sing Along with Nurture Nannies, WeeHands, Breastfeeding Support with La Leche League, Babywearing & Cloth Diapers 101, Free Play, natural birth classes and they’re always aiming to expand.

Douglass’ past experience was strictly business, entrepreneurship and public relations. She felt well qualified to start this new endeavor but lacked any fitness or retail experience.

“There was a large learning curve for me, even just with having a brick and mortar storefront concept,” she says. “It’s very different from my PR service background.”

In spite of the learning curve, KINDRED is doing very well. They are in their ninth month and Douglass says they have about 550 people in their system.

“We currently have about 20-30 members and I hope to double that by our one-year mark on May 1st,” she says.

When choosing the location, Douglass says she scouted more than 20 locations throughout Uptown, the Riverbend, Lower Garden District, the Warehouse District and Mid-City before she found the current Magazine Street location.

“We have a 1,200 square-foot storefront at 5228 Magazine Street, just three blocks from the Jefferson Ave,” she says. “I thought it was going to be too small, as I had been looking at 2,000+ square-foot spaces, but when I saw it, I thought, I have to make this work! It is smaller than I’d like, but for that location, the layout and timing, I was sold.”  

Douglass says that the biggest challenge has been getting new people through their doors, but once in, people are sold pretty quickly.

“It’s definitely been challenging to introduce a new concept to the market,” she says. “And to convey what KINDRED is and get people to commit to the lifestyle. My experience, though, is that once they come, they see how truly wonderful the KINDRED community is.” 

As for getting the word out, KINDRED is relying on social media and business relationships within the community.

“We do a lot of e-marketing online through social media and e-blasts,” Douglass says. “We also partner with a lot of similarly minded local brands that cater to the same demographic.”

ZukaBaby, Sprout & Press, Hunt Collective, Nurture Nannies, Love Swimming, First Look Ultrasound, Touro Infirmary, the Greater New Orleans Breastfeeding Awareness Coalition and Vamonos NOLA are a few of their current partners.

“We are constantly adding new classes, times and programming to our offerings and meeting new professionals within the community to ensure we are best serving our families,” Douglass says. “We are seeing what works and what doesn’t and trying to fine-tune the concept so we can truly be a one-stop-shop for modern parents.

“We have a lot of young parents who have one or two children and live in Orleans Parish. We also have a lot of transplants, which I love — young families that have moved here recently, usually from a larger city, and are looking for an outlet, parenting resources and a place to meet other parents. I love that we can be the answer to those needs.”




Categories: Start up Successes