Rachel Katzman: Co-founder of Pvolve

Episode 432

We are joined by Rachel Katzman, Co-Founder of Pvolve, the innovative fitness brand that pairs functional movement with resistance-based equipment to sculpt, tone, strengthen and restore the body while also enhancing mobility, and stability. Rachel shares all about her journey in co-founding Pvolve to deliver a signature Method through on-demand classes and studios, plus their unique relationship with none other than actress Jennifer Aniston. Rachel’s experience as a serial entrepreneur, including successfully selling her previous brand Cuvee Beauty in 2019, is incredible with so many lessons. You are going to enjoy this episode a ton! On this episode of #TheKaraGoldinShow.

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Kara Goldin 0:00
I am unwilling to give up that I will start over from scratch as many times as it takes to get where I want to be I want to be, you just want to make sure you will get knocked down but just make sure you don’t get knocked down knocked out. So your only choice should be go focus on what you can control control control. Hi, everyone and welcome to the Kara Goldin show. Join me each week for inspiring conversations with some of the world’s greatest leaders. We’ll talk with founders, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and really some of the most interesting people of our time. Can’t wait to get started. Let’s go. Let’s go. Hi, everyone. It’s Kara Goldin from the Kara Goldin show. And I’m so excited to have my next guest here. I’m in awe of everything that she is doing. We have Rachel Katzman, who is the co founder of Pvolve. And if you have not heard about Pvolve, if you have not tried P evolve, you absolutely need to get on it. It is an innovative fitness company that pairs functional movement with resistance based equipment to sculpt and tone and strengthen and restore, not only to make your body look good, but feel great. And it’s absolutely amazing and enhances mobility and stability and rooted in the expertise and guided by its clinical advisory board. Pvolve uses low impact movement and patented equipment to deliver a signature method that helps you break a sweat, but doesn’t break your body. I got that straight from the website. I loved it so much that I wanted to bring it on over here. So online classes for the most part, but if you’re living in a few major cities, we’ll get Rachel to talk a little bit more about that. You can also go directly to the studio, they also have a super unique relationship with the none other than Jennifer Aniston, which Rachel will share a lot more about that. She’s a serial entrepreneur who also successfully sold just before the pandemic and 2019 Great timing, beauty company called coupe. And I’m really excited to hear about Rachel’s journey, and being a founder and also this incredible brand that she co founded and is killing it in really changing the fitness community and doing online the way that I believe it should be done. So welcome, Rachel.

Rachel Katzman 2:37
Thanks, Kara. I mean, wow, what an intro.

Kara Goldin 2:40
There you go. Amazing. Fun. I get all excited about the founders, especially female founders, I love watching, and seeing lady bosses kill it out there, like you’re doing it. So very, very proud of you. In case, nobody has told you that today.

Rachel Katzman 2:59
Thank you very excited to be here and talk to you.

Kara Goldin 3:02
Very cool. So I read a great article where you talk about the importance of trial and error. And I loved what you said about it. Can you share a little bit more about that, if you recall?

Rachel Katzman 3:16
Oh, my God. I mean, I think that’s really what business is, right? You’re constantly trying new things. And you know, I think even early on a lot of great lessons I learned weren’t trial and error. I think at the beginning, when starting a company, you know, a lot of it is based off of your ideas, and you never want to lose that. But at the end of the day, as you grow and grow your community, it’s really based off what your members want, right? And you’re constantly trying new messaging, arcades, trying new content or new class categories. And I might think it’s a great idea for a new program. But if our members aren’t responding to it, then it’s out, you know, especially as you grow and you acquire new members, you got to constantly be listening to them and testing and trying new things. And there’s a time and place for gut but then you also have to look at the data and kind of make decisions based off that as well.

Kara Goldin 4:11
Absolutely. So P evolve Can you share what the brand is?

Rachel Katzman 4:17
Yeah, so P vos stands for personal evolution. And like you so beautifully said in your intro, it really is, you know, an omni channel fitness method. And we combine functional movement with resistance based equipment that is gonna strengthen and sculpt and restore your body. And you know, we really, I wanted to create this company because I was in my early 20s. And I was not seeing results from all my fitness classes that I was doing. I felt like I was putting in the time, the effort, the money and I wasn’t physically seeing what I wanted. On top of that. I was in a lot of back pain. I went to the doctor I found out I had scoliosis and was kind of like what am I going to do? I continue to push through the pain, my high intensity workouts were aggravating that pain. And then I went into a studio that was training more in this functional fitness world. And I’ve never heard of functional fitness before. And very quickly, I started to physically see what I wanted to see in the mirror and my back pain went away, I felt open, I felt strengthened. And I felt like I finally figured out this answer of I can look good, but I can feel even better. And when I started doing my own research on what functional fitness actually is, I started to learn that, you know, from the time that you wake up in the morning to the time you go to sleep, right, you’re moving at all planes of motion, you’re bending down to grab something, you’re reaching, you’re rotating, you’re constantly moving in 3d and functional fitness, we’re moving your body the same way that you move in everyday life. And then by adding that resistance equipment with it, you’re turning on inactive muscles, you’re sculpting, you’re lengthening, you’re toning, but we’re really focused on improving mobility, stability, flexibility, kind of opening everything up. And I just really found that so many of my friends, even my age, my mom’s friends, it was always, oh, I stopped working out because I got injured, or I stopped going to that class because I, you know, don’t see results anymore. And I just was like, Guys, I got it. Like I got it, I figured it out. Like I looked amazing. I feel amazing. Like, come Come try this. And I just knew I kind of had a I had to share it with the world.

Kara Goldin 6:37
So when you touched on this, but scoliosis, and you had your own kind of health issues, I think it’s so interesting, the majority of entrepreneurs, it starts with them, right for any type of product. And it also there’s this glimpse that I’m seeing and in your description, as well, that it you wanted to help other people. Right, you were excited that you were bringing this to other people? Yeah. Why do you think that it’s been so successful?

Rachel Katzman 7:12
Number one, it works. You know, I think the product actually works. I think secondly, there’s so many other a column like and benefits. You know, I think when you traditionally think of fitness, or working out, it’s very vanity focused. And of course, there’s always going to be an aspect of that, like, if I’m putting in the time and the effort into working out, I want to see, for me, I like to work my booty, you know, I want some lift and tone and scarves. But it’s always the end. And I can move you know more freely, and I don’t have that pain in my back. And my flexibility is better. And I can pick up my kid without my lower back hurting. There’s so many, you know, women to theirs. And I can jump on the trampoline with my kids and I don’t pee my pants, there’s always these like little uns I like to call them that are so profound that I don’t believe has been out there in the fitness world, specifically the women’s fitness world. And I think it was needed. And I think even after COVID more, so I think people are really taking their house into their own hands. And I think people are starting to understand and realize that I don’t have to walk around with this pain in my body and I don’t have to walk around, not feeling good. You really can kind of have your cake and eat it too. You can look great, and you can feel 10 times better. And you shouldn’t be walking around with those sensitivities in your body. And you should be free and open and mobile. And I think you know that conversation. It we were maybe a little bit ahead of our time when we launched in 2017. But it feels very relevant right now and where you know, the fitness market is going.

Kara Goldin 9:02
So COVID that C word that nobody wants to talk about. Right? It’s, it feels like there was definitely a shift in the fitness industry. Although I feel like to the average consumer who’s not in the fitness industry, things just open back up again. Do you think like the industry overall changed?

Rachel Katzman 9:23
Yeah, yeah, for sure. I think a few things happen. I think number one, pre COVID You were a prime from a business perspective. You were either a studio business, you know, you went in person you were studio or you were digital. I think COVID You know, the studio businesses tried to go digital. And I think some of the digital companies realize that as COVID started to you know, dwindle down and things open back up that the member they really wanted this flexible model. So many people who only worked out in person, realize, wow, I can get a great workout at home, you are forced to work out at home. And now, you know even though I love going to person, I love the community I love, there’s nothing like an in studio class, but maybe I’m traveling, maybe I have a crazy schedule, and I only have 20 minutes in the morning, I can work out at home and still get a great sweat in, I want that flexibility to be able to go in person, or do it at home. And I don’t want to have to choose. So I think a lot of businesses, you know, fitness companies had a try to create that model. And I think from a just overall conversation aspect, this idea of longevity and sustainability and kind of really being your own health advocate and putting you know, your health in your hands. And I think the member wants to be educated. And I think a lot of conversations that weren’t happening prior are really happening right now.

Kara Goldin 10:59
So what’s been the hardest thing about building this brand at you, this is not just a class, you also have physical products that you’re selling to that go along and really help people to have the most benefit from the exercise, I guess that’s the best way to say it. But I, I’d love to hear like what’s been the hardest thing for you as an entrepreneur and kind of building this company that maybe surprised you,

Rachel Katzman 11:29
you know, definitely the education and really getting people to understand that fitness can be so much more, you know, there still is, oh, my fitness method can’t do that my fitness method can, you know, help me strengthen my pelvic floor or helped me you know, during my cycle, or helped me through menopause and all these, you know, pieces of content that we’ve created, or just that it can help alleviate the sensitivities in my body. I think that’s one thing. And I think the other thing is, you know, our business model is very unique. I think I had a big vision of the equip, like you said, our equipment does go hand in hand with this method. So we have new, unique equipment that nobody’s seen, but this new unique method that nobody’s seen. And then you have to put that together and explain and sell that. Plus for Digital Plus, we have studios, and it’s kind of like we have three business models within one business. And a lot of people are like, You need to focus, you need to focus, stop trying to do all these things. You’re crazy. But I’m very happy that we stayed the course of you know, continuing with that business model and kind of not letting anything go.

Kara Goldin 12:46
So you originally co founded the company with your ex husband, and you now have are now ex husband with your husband then I should say yeah, and now you have a another co founder. And one of the things that you and I were talking about before we jumped on was this model of franchising which i It’s like my new obsession, hearing more and more about it is so fascinating. Yeah, no, definitely I’ve had a number of people in the restaurant area as well as skincare as well as fitness. So it’s it’s really, really interesting. And it’s something that I didn’t know a lot about, I still don’t know a ton, but I’m, I’m really fascinated by it. So can you explain how you decided to do this?

Rachel Katzman 13:33
Yeah, so like I was mentioning prior, you know, we launched with that omni channel approach studio digital. And we have since opened up three of our own studios in New York, Chicago, LA, community feel has always been so important to us, especially with this method, it is so important to get in to be able to work with the trainer in person and really be able to, like have the method come to life. And, you know, I think if we were only a studio business and didn’t have the digital component, maybe we would have pushed forward and continuing opening up our owned and operated studios. But because we are trying to build this very seamless omni channel, you know, hybrid model, digital and studio. For scalability, wise, we really felt that franchising was the right way to go for us. And it really, you know, has been so amazing to meet incredible women who have been streamers, you know, for a couple of years who want to come in and they love this method as much as I do. And our team does and our trainers do and they’ve had these profound experiences with the method and results and they want to bring this to their communities and they you know, want to invest and have skin in the game and really open it up and run it and help share the message, you know, with with their communities all over the country. So it’s been I’m learning every single day as well and it’s just It’s been very exciting to see. And I think for us, you know, for the scalability component, like I was saying that this was really the right decision for us to go. And

Kara Goldin 15:09
that’s awesome. And so you have 20 franchises sold, you said,

Rachel Katzman 15:15
we’ve sold 20. Yep, we have our first one in San Diego opened, we have two more opening by September, and then we should have about another four opening the rest of this year. And then we’ll have like, 20 more open next year, and then it kind of starts out slow, you know, and then it starts to bam, bam, bam, go, go, go. So it’s definitely like that train has left the station, that side of the business is off and going. And it’s it’s very exciting to watch.

Kara Goldin 15:45
I think most of the entrepreneurs that I talk to, certainly this is my story that I never thought I was going to be an entrepreneur, I call myself an accidental entrepreneur, I work for incredible entrepreneurs and had no idea that I would eventually become one. But it’s hard, right? It’s hard to be an entrepreneur, you sacrifice a lot, you put a ton in most entrepreneurs I know are working a lot, sometimes seven days a week on at least a couple hours a day just to try and get something done as my favorite story was Steve Jobs saying like, you know, he had to go and make sure that they had the right coffee, you know, in the kitchen, I mean, all these things that you got to make sure there in order to be, you know, an incredible founder, a great boss, all of those things happen, you get through like the highs and lows.

Rachel Katzman 16:43
While you’re definitely right, I think you have to, you know, before you take that jump, you have to make sure you’re passionate and you have to be willing to give up everything, I always say I started a wellness company, and I was never so unwell in my life at the beginning of that, you know, but I love this method. I only do this method. This method has kind of been there through me through so many different chapters and highs and lows of my life. For me movement is medicine. You know, that’s my meditation, when I can blast my music and just move my body being able to move your body is such a gift. And when I hear from our members, and how transformational this method has been for them in their lives and gotten them through, you name it, you know, that’s what better feeling is that the fact that somebody wants to take their own money and invest in open up people’s studio and their hometown. I mean, it’s, it’s like goosebumps, I’m like what you want. And even when somebody’s like, oh, key fob, I know it, you know, did this for me. I’m like, really, it’s just, it’s so unbelievable. And I think, even for me, you know, I back in 2020, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease. And there was a period where I couldn’t move my body the way that I used to, but I mentally needed to move my body. And just being able to work with our trainers and doctors and come up with, you know, more recovery content that I could do for me during that time and connecting with other members that were going through similar things and being able to provide solutions for them. It’s just a kind of doesn’t get any better than that to be able to help people especially, you know, when it has continued and still continues to help me through things as well.

Kara Goldin 18:32
That’s such a great answer. So, so funding a company as always a little challenging, especially for female entrepreneurs or diverse entrepreneurs. How have you funded the company? And can you share any advice?

Rachel Katzman 18:49
Yeah, you know, we have one sole investor who has been there with us from day one. And at the beginning, you know, we really bootstrapped we didn’t take a lot of investment, we really wanted to prove out our concept. And I think, you know, whether you want to go friends and family at the beginning, and I think sometimes today, people want something to be so perfect for free, you get it out the door. And when we launched when I tell you, our website was so bad, it worked. You could buy something, but it wasn’t pretty. And it was, you know, for us, we really wanted to spend the investment on the actual physical products. And we had no lights, we had no microphones, I taught myself how to edit videos, and it was just so down and dirty to get something out the door to see if it worked. And you can always go back later and get the fancy packaging and get the fancy brand in it. But even when you do that, you’re gonna want to change it six months later, and you’re probably going to change it and other like, at that beginning stage. You’re constantly evolving and you’re listening to the members feedback and you’re pivoting you’re changing. So I think you You don’t you know, I always say, Guys, we’re not building the Taj Mahal, you know, it doesn’t have to be perfect, like MVP, let’s get it out the door and has to work and has to function, but we got to test and learn. So I think you can start small and Bootstrap just to get an initial read and get a temperature check from, you know, the audience out there.

Kara Goldin 20:21
So you recently announced an amazing partnership with DOD, none other than Jennifer Aniston. So can you share a little bit about how that all came about? And what it means?

Rachel Katzman 20:34
Yeah, so Jen joined our company, earlier this year. And last year, you know, she reached out after learning about P ball through her friends, and met up with her friend and was like, Oh, my God, you look amazing. What are you doing, and then her friend introduced her to P evolve. And at the time, she was kind of, you know, going through some sensitivities from an old injury and her body and really loved how P vols kind of met her where her body was at that day, and just really couldn’t understand how nobody, you know, how’s nobody heard about people have Oh, my God, and just really wanted to get involved with the brand. And I think what’s so amazing is, you know, her story and my story, there’s so many similarities of, you know, having some sensitivities in our body, but still wanting to get a good workout in doing the method and really starting to understand that you can look great, I can feel 10 times better, why isn’t my fitness kind of giving me all these and benefits and really, you know, building my body up instead of breaking it down. So she joined, and she’s really, you know, helping with everything from programming, to marketing, to hopefully assume product development, and just really helping us push into this next phase of our growth.

Kara Goldin 21:52
That’s amazing. Is that the first kind of celebrity that you work with?

Rachel Katzman 21:57
Oh, my God. I mean, I was saying this to you. Before we got on, I didn’t believe it. When we got an email from her team. I’m like, this is a joke. Like, I’m getting punched, there’s no way like, she’s a secret streamer. What are you talking about? And then it was real, like, this is real, like, I don’t believe you. You know, we’ve we’ve definitely had some other you know, names. But, you know, nobody, obviously, like her nobody who’s really wanted to come on and be such a champion, and really use their megaphone and kind of Scream our name from the rooftops. And it’s just been, it’s beyond, you know, my wildest dreams.

Kara Goldin 22:36
So when you were getting the name, or the brand out P evolve, what were some of the key things that you were focusing on doing just to get people to know what you were doing? You know, obviously, your your brand is online, it initially didn’t start that way. So your models changed significantly. But how do you get people to know what you’re doing? Especially when you’re just starting out? You have a great idea? You know, it works? How do you think you can do it in a way that actually makes financial sense, too?

Rachel Katzman 23:13
Yeah, I mean, I would say early days, a lot of it was social, you know, putting a lot of things on social media, and just for us, because we did have that physical location, you know, it was a lot of just inviting people in and just kind of also giving things away for free and you want to train in session, and you want to class and you want this and just really trying to grassroots build that community, I think, when you do have something that works, people will refer, you know, tell their friends, and you gotta talk about this. And but I think you have to just be scrappy, and say yes to any opportunity that comes your way. And you figure it out as you go. And can you be in LA next week? And I’m sure I don’t know how we’re going to do it, but yet, we’re going to do it, and you kind of just figure it out. And I think for us, I’m trying to align with like minded brands for different partnerships, whether that is digitally or even just in your local neighborhood, you know, just aligning with their audience. So I think there’s, you know, social media, I think that’s one of the biggest strengths that it has, you know, definitely to be able to reach so many millions of people that you wouldn’t maybe you know, back decades ago, but again, I think it all comes down to you kind of can’t market your way if your product actually doesn’t deliver on the results that you say it’s going to deliver.

Kara Goldin 24:40
Yeah, no, I think that’s absolutely, absolutely true. So, what is the best advice that you’ve ever received? Or maybe advice that you would give to your younger self thinking about? Okay, you’re gonna go start this company. And here’s what I need to tell you, Rachel.

Rachel Katzman 25:00
Well, any advice I would give that young Rachel, she would have not listened. You know, it was like, nobody could tell me anything. And which I think you have to make some mistakes to learn, you know, those lessons, but I think the best advice I ever got is to be curious. And especially if you are going to be starting your own company, I think there’s definitely been times whether it’s with technology or different sides of the business as we’ve grown, that it scares me. I don’t really know much about it. But you need to be curious. Yes, you’re gonna hire experts, and you’re gonna bring on people and lean on their expertise. But you have to ask the questions. Because at the end of the day, nobody knows your business like you do. And you need to inform yourself and learn everything that you can, so that you feel confident in making the final decision.

Kara Goldin 25:51
No, I think that’s incredible advice. So Rachel, thank you so much for coming on and sharing all about P evolve. Like I said, before everyone needs to get on and try a class or, or more and now they’re going to leave the purchasing all of the products that come along with it that are really they you know, they just help you do the workout overall. So it’s they’re incredible. And I’m dying to actually come into a physical location. Yeah, Riot to it’s great. And hopefully, we’ll get to see Jennifer Aniston doing a lot more with you, as well. So that’s so fun. And so great. I’m so happy for you guys.

Rachel Katzman 26:35
Thank you so much. Lots of exciting things to come.

Kara Goldin 26:39
Thanks again for listening to the Kara Goldin show. If you would, please give us a review. And feel free to share this podcast with others who would benefit and of course, feel free to subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode of our podcast. Just a reminder that I can be found on all platforms at Kara Goldin. And if you want to hear more about my journey, I hope you will have a listen or pick up a copy of my book undaunted, which I share my journey, including founding and building hint. We are here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And thanks everyone for listening. Have a great rest of the week, and 2023 and goodbye for now. Before we sign off, I want to talk to you about fear. People like to talk about fearless leaders. But achieving big goals isn’t about fearlessness. Successful leaders recognize their fears and decide to deal with them head on in order to move forward. This is where my new book undaunted comes in. This book is designed for anyone who wants to succeed in the face of fear, overcome doubts and live a little undaunted. Order your copy today at undaunted, the book.com and learn how to look your doubts and doubters in the eye and achieve your dreams. For a limited time. You’ll also receive a free case of hint water. Do you have a question for me or want to nominate an innovator to spotlight send me a tweet at Kara Goldin and let me know. And if you liked what you heard, please leave me a review on Apple podcasts. You can also follow along with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn at Kara Goldin. Thanks for listening