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A Broadway dancer and fitness enthusiast, Ashley Verma decided she wanted something more. Define London has been providing an empowering community and fitness experience across the UK since 2016, and we just had to hear all about it. We asked Ashley all about her inspiration, the success of her studio, and her personal wellness. Here's what she had to say.
My Broadway dance career came first, and I found myself working in the fitness industry along the way. My Broadway career and fitness went hand in hand. I fell in love teaching barre at Physique 57 in New York City. I met and became inspired by some of the most powerful ladies in all of NYC. My classes were filled with a melting pot of personalities and strong women. At the time, I had a platform to inspire, but I wanted more. I wanted a real supportive platform to create. Discussions with my partner began. I wanted to build my own business my way, with inspired barre class concepts. We moved over to London in Jan. 2016, I hit the ground running, looking to partner with brands to do pop-ups and simply meet people. Through a lot of hustle and determination, I got the green light to find a space and open my very own studio. Define London is celebrating its 2nd Birthday this month, and I couldn't be more proud of the brand and the team I have created.
A first-time client will find a warm welcome to the Define studio, followed by a killer session. I want the Define client to feel confident in the room even though they are new. The classes are capped at 14 clients per session so the instructor can safely get to each and every client, give corrections, and help motivate them to give their best. Music drives the room, and our attention to form is like no other. We will get your "Best 10" your "Best Push" within that workout, even if your day hasn't been great, we "Aspire to Inspire" your best.
I love taking classes at my Define London studio, and I also love heading out to other boutique studios for class. I find huge inspiration and motivation by taking classes around London. Firstly, it's a great opportunity to support other fitness brands, and secondly, it keeps my mind open to other types of workouts. It drives me bananas when I see folks preaching about one workout and making fun of folks that don't work out the way that they do. Fitness is about empowering the mind and body for EveryBody.
February is Black History Month—a celebration of the achievements and contributions of African Americans in society. As the beauty and wellness industry becomes a more welcoming and inclusive space for all, we are taking this opportunity to continue to shine a light on the gap of inclusivity and diversity in our industry, and take action to promote, empower, and honor the Black community that shapes and grows wellness.
While the beauty industry is making improvements—it's important to showcase and support Black businesses and the creatives in this space every day. To honor them, we're shouting out some of our favorite Black-owned beauty and wellness businesses to support.
Beauty Bin is a full-service day spa and dry bar located in Asheville, NC. With a focus on inclusivity for people of all backgrounds, genders, and races, their MO is to match the outer beauty of every client to their inner beauty. From eyelash extensions and hydrafacials to waxing and massage, Beauty Bin is a one-stop-shop for all the spa services.
The KIKA Method® is a gentle assisted stretching process that loosens up tight muscles freeing your body from pain and stress. By practicing this method, clients can experience decreased muscle tension, increased energy, enhanced flexibility, a substantial reduction in stress, improved posture and relaxation, and increased mental clarity. While its headquarters is located in Las Vegas, NV, they have multiple locations sprinkled throughout the US, including Atlanta, New York City, and Dallas—just to name a few.
At Kimberly Coleman Salon, their philosophy begins with promoting healthy tresses, elegant sets, unique accouterments, perfect pampering of hands and feet, and precision cuts. Known for working with models and celebrities, they fully appreciate and celebrate the diversity of their clientele which also includes super moms and warrior dads.
Pressed Roots was developed with the simple concept in mind—that everyone deserves access to easy, and quality hair care. What started as a single pop-up shop in Boston, grew to a multi-city pop-up tour, and is now slated to be the largest national hair salon franchise specializing in the care and styling of highly textured hair, they launched their first flagship location in Dallas, TX.
Jersey City resident, Alyza Brevard-Rodriguez started SW3AT. The company began as a fitness apparel line in 2015 but evolved into a sanctuary catered to health and wellness now known as SW3AT Sauna Studio—the first infrared sauna studio in Jersey City. The healing power of infrared heat therapy is a phenomenal option for holistic health proven to strengthen the immune system and provide relief from joint stiffness and muscle pain. It is also supportive of any fitness program as it aids in weight loss (you can torch up to 900 calories in a 45-minute session) while also detoxifying your body from some of the most harmful toxins.
Kelli Coleman and Anika Jackson opened The TEN Nail Bar in Detroit to address a void in their city. They saw a need for a quality, modern nail bar that could also serve as a fun social space for Detroit’s residents and professionals. They designed the TEN to provide their clients with a #Perfect10 experience—where you can relax, enjoy music, a drink, your friends, a clean and precise manicure, and a much-needed break from all your hectic days.
Located in the beautiful downtown Hyde Park Chicago area, Bettye O Day Spa specializes in first-class treatments. They aim to nurture and relax each of their clients with individualized and innovative therapeutic techniques. From body wraps and massages to facials and hydrotherapy, this day spa promises to be a safe place for healing to occur.
Looking for more businesses to support? ClassPass has also created a list of Black-owned business to check out all year-round. While both of these lists are a great start to get you familiar with many of the Black-owned businesses either in your neighborhood or around the globe, we have only scratched the surface. We'd love to keep these lists growing.If you have any businesses you'd like to see on this list, click here to submit a Black-owned business we should be highlighting as well!