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Name: Oreet Jehassi Schwartz
Location: Philadephia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Industry: Healthcare, Wellness & Fitness
Reason for starting? I started my business because I was tired of teaching the high-impact workouts in the 90’s. In NYC it is very demanding, and I didn’t feel satisfied. When Latin Aerobics started to hit the in the mid-90’s in the fitness industry, I noticed that top NYC gyms were hiring salsa dancers who did not have fitness training to teach. As a result these teachers did not know how to even structure a fitness class, and patrons never came because they did not get a workout. I immediately saw this as my in! Since I was feeling so tired teaching the trendy workouts, I wanted to do something different. I am of Israeli/Yemeni descent and remembered how beautiful bellydance was and how it felt. So I dug deep into my roots, took every class I could in bellydance and figured how to marry both bellydance and fitness in a way that kept people moving and dancing right from the start. I created a system that help breakdown movement so that a non-dancer can do it. In 2000, SharQui was born!
Related: Read about another Fitness entrepreneur here.
How do you define success? Success is being able to wake up in the morning and love what you do. Success is inspiring others who in turn inspire you. Success is being able to have both family and work.
Biggest Success: My biggest success date was in 2002. The SharQui format was recognized as an accredited fitness format. That was the best day of my life. It was hard enough for dance to be considered as a legitimate workout, but BELLYDANCE?? I really felt I broke boundaries.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? My top challenge was being the person that did everything. It was hard to get anything done. Though I couldn’t hire a team member to help, as I did not have the funding for it, I had to hire help. And when I did my business actually made more money. Currently I have a project manager and my own tech engineer. I am thrilled!
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Who is your most important role model? Marie Forleo. She is the epitome of professionalism, attention grabbing and able to find lucrative ways to satisfy her multi passions. I love her style, the way she talks, the way she presents and her brain. It was a process for her, and I really resonate with her approach to business and her audience.
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Edited by The Story Exchange