Kim Vopni is a pilot’s wife and a passionate entrepreneur working in the field of women’s pelvic health while doing her best to raise two boys who are comfortable with the word vagina.
Where did your idea for your business originate?
Like many entrepreneurs, I saw a void and decided to try and fill it. I used a product in my pregnancies called the EPI-NO. It is a biofeedback device that helps women prepare their pelvic floor for birth. I had a great experience and wondered why all birthing people didn’t know about this product, so I contacted the company and asked if I could be a distributor in Canada. I actually had no intention of it becoming a full-fledged business. I was thinking it would just be a side hustle for some extra cash here and there. Little did I know it would set the trajectory for building two businesses and a successful women’s pelvic health brand.
How did you get started in building your brand?
When I first started my business, Twitter was the only social media that was being used for business, so I went there. I also joined as many networking events as I could where I knew I would meet other women who could be potential customers and where I would meet other entrepreneurs, so I could learn from them. Social media, in addition to speaking at conferences and events, has always played a big role in building my brand.
What was your number one challenge in starting your business?
Cash flow. I did not take out any bank loans, so I relied solely on my husband’s income initially, and then slowly, as sales started to come in, I invested more and more into the business. When I started my second business, I had two other partners so we could divide expenses between us which helped, and we also had a couple of family members loan us some money for our initial production runs. We designed and manufactured a product, so there was a lot of overhead to get covered before we were generating revenue.
What is your favourite part of being an entrepreneur?
Freedom and flexibility. I loved working in my corporate roles, and l loved being part of a team, but I always felt confined by rules and the “higher-ups.” Starting my own business was the scariest thing I have ever done… and I had high stress for several years mainly due to cash flow, but I also had less stress regarding my family and home life. We had the freedom to travel whenever (my husband is a pilot, so we have the luxury of pass travel). I was always able to attend school assemblies and field trips, I was home and present with my kids, and my husband and I could have “us time” in the day when the kids were at school. I feel the stress of working in a 9-5 job while raising kids and sustaining a marriage would have been harder! I am so grateful that I became an entrepreneur!
How did you formulate your business plan – name, products, etc.?
Honestly, I didn’t have much of a formal business plan. I had a product that I bought wholesale and had a decent markup. My plan was to start a website and sell the product to as many people as I could! I then added another product and then another, and it slowly grew. When I started my second business, we did have a formal business plan, and I wouldn’t say it helped all that much to be honest. Entrepreneurship is ever-changing and evolving, especially in this day and age. I think it is a good idea to have a rough plan, but a formal business plan just seemed too rigid to me. One thing I did do was keep a notebook wherever I went, and I wrote down advice and lessons and thoughts. The names for many of my products and programs came from sitting in networking meetings or listening to speakers at conferences. Surrounding myself with other creative, inspiring people was key in helping me establish my business and help me decide on next steps to grow.
How has your business evolved over the years? How do you envision it changing in the future?
When I first started my business, my customers were pregnant women. I then saw the need for better postpartum recovery care so new parents were added to my customer list and I formed the second business targeting that market. As the businesses grew, I transitioned from new motherhood to a more seasoned mom to perimenopause and now menopause. I eventually bought my partners out and then ended up selling the second business. Running two businesses, even with overlapping markets was tough and not serving me – or my customers – fully. My own transitions helped me see that while my initial vision was to help pregnant women prepare their pelvic floors for birth, the topic of pelvic health really spans through all life stages. I now serve women in pregnancy through to midlife. I also offer certification courses for fitness and allied health professionals who work with women in all life stages. I will always evolve and change and grow with my business until it is time to hand over the reins!
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