Getting the party started with Amy Whoa!

A few months ago when we at Ziel were taking our first steps to develop our retail-as-a-service concept I met Amy through a mutual friend in the arena of custom clothing Sarah Krasley who is developing customized bathing suits for women at XSwimwear.

Amy was very generous with her time, to tell us about her business Amy Whoa Disco Wellness. We had lots of questions about doing active wear retail as an owner of a boutique Health & Wellness business and wanted to learn what is important to her and her clients. Among all the things she shared she explained to us she had ventured out into selling her own leggings before, but as she could only sell them online, and did not really like the quality of the fabrication she never really pursued it any further.

Time has passed, we at Ziel have developed our business around the advice of Amy and many of the other clubs we spoke to, and now Amy is launching her new line of tanks in conjunction with our own studio. She's starting small with tanks only first, but as her business grows, she'll add more to her offering.

When we first met Amy, we were so impressed by her person, her resilience and energy. So we asked her to introduce herself on our blog. Below are a few questions we posed and here are her answers.

Tell us a bit about yourself? At age 13 I weighed over 200 pounds. I was confined to a wheelchair with no direction from my doctors or parents as to how I would heal. I had childhood arthritis in both knees, and a bone complication in my left foot, causing me to depend on crutches for over a year, and then a wheelchair. I decided to take matters into my own hands. I wanted to feel my body again, I wanted to run and play like other young teenagers. I threw down my crutches and realized anything would be less painful than a life like that. Through the power of Richard Simmons’ Sweatin’ to the Oldies, and Deal-A-Meal, I miraculously healed myself and began a new life. These survival skills came back to help me through three life-threatening bicycle accidents as an adult where I was faced with injuries head to toe. I also use these tools to heal from painful break-ups. Whether it’s a broken leg, or a broken heart I will show you how using fun, fitness and healthy eating can cure whatever ails you. I bring this blend of New Jersey tough ass, and Bay Area sparkle to my workouts and my designs.

Why did you start your business? I’ve been a professional graphic designer and art director for over fifteen years, working with clients in the non-profit arts and health/wellness worlds. Over those years, I’ve spent most of my time at a computer while my body yearns to be moving. I want to help others find fun in fitness by using my history of traumatic physical survival, and impact a desk job can have on the body. Since I’ve started to share my recipes, photos, tips, and professional fitness knowledge as a certified Spinning and TRX instructor, I’ve seen the magic that gets sparked in others when I share my Whoa. I believe that everyone has their own Whoa, an inner spark that sometimes gets dulled from physical and/or emotional pain. I want to help others ignite their Whoa, or keep it burning if it’s already “on”. I’m currently cultivating this magic into tangible/serviceable ways to teach and encourage women (and men! I do not discriminate!) to have fun getting fit, no matter what their circumstances happen to be. In contrast to the dramatic experiences in my past, my approach to life has always been one of levity and disco balls. I’m on a mission to feel good and have fun and I want others to join the party with me!

What is your teaching philosophy? You’ve gotta love your workout. It has to be fun, fueled by a playlist that you want to hear again and again. I’ve spent almost 20 years as a dance party-goer, party-thrower, and music producer. I bring that love of music and movement to each workout. My deep connection to DJ culture and the dancefloor are translated into my playlist and workout design. On the ying to the that yang, I am deeply spiritual and balance out my intense cardio practices with yoga and mediataion. This organic, intuitive fun is accented by real physical understanding of the body, both from personal experience and personal training/ fitness nutrition studies.

What kind of people enjoy your mentoring? People that need motivation and want a fun, positive, spicy coach. Music lovers LOVE my classes and mentoring. I bring positive realness to all my work and workouts. I know the realness of how it feels to be broken and how it feels to shine! I want my Disco Wellness tribe to strive in that disco shine.

Why do you sell active wear to your clients? I want people to feel surrounded by the energy of Disco Wellness: through music, movement, and the most comfy tank top ever : ) You do better in your workout when you feel good in what you’re wearing. My designs are like the dance party they were originally designed to promote: fun, energetic and colorful! Pairing that energy with Ziel’s amazing designs and business model is a natural and loving marriage.

You made your graphics yourself, tell us more about your inspiration? As a graphic designer of almost two decades, I’ve always focused my creative energy on things I love: music, fashion and fitness. My first collection of designs are adaptations of graphics I created for a disco party I threw with my friends in San Francisco over the course of three years. It was a monthly jam, so I have a huge reservoir of these music-infused designs. I thought they would be perfect to bring to life on fitness gear!

Why did you choose to work with Ziel? From the get-go I loved the concept of Ziel. As a designer and Art Director of an independent record label, Aerobic International, I’ve always been interested in all-over printing and producing merch in small quantities. For me, this was the perfect solution! Here I am, starting a new business, getting my personal trainer certification and wanting to make that connection of music, fashion and fitness through my Disco Wellness brand. Ziel was the answer to all of this! Even better, these are quality pieces, made in the USA AND I was given the opportunity to give a portion of my profits to charity. The deal just keeps getting better. The, the icing on top of this disco cake, Ziel offers amazing assistance and back-end magic to the individual/club using their service. I love that you are managing the sales and orders online AND that I get to have some stock on hand for my in-person sales. I don’t have a studio/shop (yet!) and it’s still important to me to have some on hand for local fitness fairs, workshops, and speaking engagements.

What is a fun fact about your business or you? I used to wake up at 5:30am and sneak downstairs in workout gear to watch an aerobics program on public access TV. I would do the workout, then sneak back upstairs and “go back to bed” before my mom came in to wake me up. She would kill me if she knew I was missing that important School Sleep to get my dance aerobics on. I was always a workout rebel : ) And I’ve always loved early morning workouts, it’s no surprise my favorite classes to teach are 6am Monday and Tuesday!

Anything you want to get out there? I cannot stop watching the new Missy Elliot video and will be producing my own Disco Wellness 5 Minute Exercise Video Jams shortly, so stay tuned for that fun!

Last but not least, where can people buy your gear? Right now I'm offering three tanktops but more will be added soon. You can buy my gear on my website and of course tap me on the shoulder before or after any of my classes and I'll get you sorted!