Kimberly Fowler’s business started with a fall down a mountain and a trip to the hospital. Kimberly fell while climbing Mount Charleston in 2000 when she slipped on a patch of ice and fell thirty feet, breaking her ribs on a stump when she landed. She was able to walk down the mountain to the hospital, but that fall changed everything for her.
“I was in and out of the hospital for six months,” Fowler said. “I had to decide what to do with my life after I lost my job.”
Prior to her fall, Kimberly had been a lawyer and a COO of a $200 million dollar company, but knew that there was something else that she was meant to do. While recovering, she began to question why her two loves, indoor cycling and yoga, were not housed in the same gym anywhere.
“I was going to from a Spinning® class then running across town to a Yoga class and couldn’t figure out why no one put this under one roof. So I thought, why don’t you just do that?”
And she did. She started YAS in 2001, despite her friends thinking she was crazy.
“I was 42 at the time. That’s not the time you start a fitness business. Everyone thought I should go back into the legal world and everyone thought I was too old. I love a challenge, I love it when someone says I can’t do something.”
Since she first opened in 2001, Kimberly has expanded YAS into four locations and is currently franchising. It wasn’t always easy, as Kimberly herself will tell you.
“It was definitely tough in the beginning. It took a lot to educate people. They didn’t understand the yoga-hybrids. Now it’s supposedly the hottest trend in 2014. For me, it always made sense.”
There is no doubt that Kimberly is a trailblazer, both in the outdoors and in her studio. Beyond her courage to start a business when many were against her, she also took a risk and decided to use a fledgling company to help her schedule her studio—Kimberly was MINDBODY’s 53rd client.
“When I first opened in 2001, there were a few small yoga studios and hardly any spin studios. To look back and see the growth of the studio sector, it was perfect time for me and for MINDBODY, too. We both started at the same time and watching you guys grow has been amazing.”