We are all works in progress; even the successful women you see owning it on Instagram faced stumbling blocks along the way and continue to work hard to stay at the top of their game. In this series, we're sitting down with the people who inspire us to find out: How'd they do it? And what is success really like? This is "Getting There."
Juliana Spicoluk is a yoga teacher and the co-founder of Boho Beautiful, a lifestyle company she runs with her husband from their new home in Costa Rica, where the self-described "digital yoga nomads" moved during the pandemic. (Sounds like a dream, right?) Spicoluk, who was born in Russia but grew up in Canada, is a former gymnast who turned to yoga after getting injured in the sport. She's also a new mom to a 2-month-old baby boy.
Spicoluk took some time out from her busy life to Zoom with TMRW about how she's coping with so many life changes during the pandemic — and what goes into running a successful wellness brand.
TMRW: How did you get into yoga?
Juliana Spicoluk: When I was a teenager, from about the age of 12 until 17, I was a professional rhythmic gymnast. I competed internationally, representing Canada all over in worldwide competitions. Because of the demand of the sport, I injured my back pretty badly. That's how I discovered yoga and Pilates; they really helped me get my health back in place. And through that, I developed a deeper love for yoga and delved deeper into the spiritual side as well.
Why did you decide to launch a wellness brand?
Mark, and I have always had a dream of creating content and being able to share videos online, so more people could take value from my classes. We bought our first camera and kind of just learned as we went.
You moved to Costa Rica during the pandemic. What prompted the move?
When I got pregnant in May, I just had this feeling that I wanted to be in Costa Rica. It's always kind of been our second home. So when we knew the baby was coming, it was just like an intuition.
We started seeing everything getting more and more locked down in Canada, and things were getting a little bit more uncertain. We just knew we had to get out. Honestly, it was probably the best decision that we've made this whole year, because it's just created such a beautiful environment for us to continue to do what we do. Just to have the space and freedom that we feel in Costa Rica has been a huge blessing.
You and Mark often talk about how important it is to love what you're doing and enjoy life. How do you balance success with making a living?
You have to love what you do. That is the first thing. This is our life, our passion — it was even before there was Boho Beautiful. My practice on the mat is something that I take off the mat as well. I truly believe that if we focus on continuing to work on what we love and not taking the challenges or obstacles that come our way as blockages, then everyone is able to define a path for themselves and make money from it — especially nowadays, with everything moving digitally.
I feel like we're workaholics because Boho Beautiful is everything that we do. But we love it. It's our passion. And I think that helps us continue to create a successful business out of it.
What has been the hardest part of creating a successful company?
We started on YouTube. The first difficult part was not obsessing over the amount of views or the reaction we got from other people. It's so easy to get sucked into that world and then get really discouraged, especially when you're like, "Oh, I put all these hours into a video and only 100 people saw it or took the class — is it really worth it?" That was the biggest challenge, to really control our egos.
Wellness brands are ubiquitous these days, and there are so many yoga videos out there from which to choose. How do you manage to stand out?
We're always very picky about quality control. We really obsess over (our videos) looking beautiful, the lighting being perfect, so that the quality of the video itself is at the very top. Secondly, it's really just pouring my heart into the classes. Any time I step to teach, I want to make sure that my intention is to serve and bring value to people. They connect with the energy, and they take that energy and allow it to affect their lives in a positive way.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to start their own wellness brand?
Begin now. So many people have ideas, but we get blocked by fear. Once you dive into it, just go. You go with the flow. My other advice is to not listen to other people. Because when you begin any sort of project or business or a brand and people outside haven't seen it succeed, they're going to doubt you and they're going to pass their own judgments, or they're going to discourage you from following your dream. But this is your path. Just follow your heart and work hard.
What is your favorite part of being your own boss?
Being able to create my own schedule, live my life the way I want to and find the balance that I need. Especially with the baby right now, it really gives me the opportunity to structure the day however I need. I spent so many years teaching for different studios and clients; you always feel like you're answering to other people because you're committed to their job or to their project.
Recently there's been a lot of focus on the struggles working moms are facing during the pandemic. How are you coping?
Having some help has been important. My mom is here right now. People tell you about the importance of having a support system and you're like, 'Oh, it'll be fine, I'll juggle things around.' But, no, you really do need another set of hands to help you. So that has been a huge lesson.
(With work), I just try to do what I can but also have acceptance of the fact that my life is slightly shifting. I'm not able to do as much as I used to before the baby, and that's OK.
There's more to yoga than the physical component, but that's still a big draw for people. What do you think the future of fitness looks like?
I definitely see it becoming more and more saturated, because now everybody's getting into the digital space. And everyone can do it, right? If you have a camera, you can press record. People will have a lot more options to explore and to find a teacher that they really connect with. But also, I see there being a lot more content and classes that are not necessarily the highest quality, because everyone can just put that out there. But at the end of the day, I think the option component is great because it will give people less of an excuse not to commit to their health and well-being because they don't need to travel anywhere — they just have to turn on their phone or their computer or their TV and roll out a mat. So that's great.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.