Welcome to the Pretty Powerful Podcast with Angela Gennari
May 24, 2022

Episode 12: Katherine Mason

How do you define success? For Katherine Mason, founder and CEO of SculptHouse, success is defined by the incredible obstacles she has had to overcome in launching and growing her business. SculptHouse brings an award-winning, unique concept to the South in blending fashion and fitness, something Katherine discovered during her time in NYC as a Wilhelmina Fitness Model and Master Trainer. Kathrine's passion for fitness began at an early age as an athlete and she has transformed that passion into a successful and thriving business.

How do you define success? For Katherine Mason, founder and CEO of SculptHouse, success is defined by the incredible obstacles she has had to overcome in launching and growing her business. SculptHouse brings an award-winning, unique concept to the South in blending fashion and fitness, something Katherine discovered during her time in NYC as a Wilhelmina Fitness Model and Master Trainer. Kathrine's passion for fitness began at an early age as an athlete and she has transformed that passion into a successful and thriving business.


Pretty Powerful Podcast with Angela Gennari, Episode 12: Katherine Mason

Intro: Welcome to the Pretty Powerful Podcast where powerful women are interviewed every week to share real inspiring stories and incredible insight to help women or anyone break the barriers, be a part of innovation, shatter the glass ceiling and dominate the top of their sport industry or life's mission. Join us as we celebrate exceptional women and step into our power, and now here's your host. Angela Gennari.

Angela Gennari: Thank you so much for joining us. This is the Pretty Powerful Podcast and my name is Angela Gennari. I am sitting here with Katherine Mason, thank you so much for joining me today, Katherine.

Katherine Mason: Thanks for having me.

Angela Gennari: So, Katherine Mason is the founder and CEO of Sculpt House, a fitness studio and Ath leisure boutique in Atlanta, Dallas, and online. With over nine years of experience in the fitness and fashion industries, Katherine started Sculpt House after working in New York City as a Willamina fitness model and trainer. Sculpt House is the world's first fitness studio to combine two pieces of specialized low-impact equipment, the mega former, and the Woodway curve treadmill. A Southern girl with lots of inspiration from her New York City experience, Katherine opened Sculpt House in Atlanta in 2016, to introduce the south to the very best in fitness and fashion. How amazing? Thank you so much. So, I am super impressed with your bio because I have also followed your journey a bit and I think I was telling you before that I've heard Sculpt House everywhere as it has a cult following, and congratulations on your incredible success.

Katherine Mason: Thank you, that is so good to hear because when you're in the weeds, sometimes you don't hear all of that, so it's so refreshing.

Angela Gennari: And you don't take a moment to step back and appreciate your success you know. You are grinding, grinding, grinding, and its work, work, work, and then all of a sudden, you're like, wow, I did that. I really did something amazing. And you are being recognized, not just by me but by lots of people. You launched your business since 2016, but have since won UGA Bulldog 100. Fantastic. You've been on the Atlanta Business Chronicle pace setters list, and you were nominated as an emerging entrepreneur with Atlanta Business Chronicle. And we've kind of lived parallel lives on those last two because I've been in the same boat, so I know how hard it is and how hard you have to work to get there, so congratulations on that.

Katherine Mason: Thank you so much.

Angela Gennari: And then you were also on another list, is it the 20 under 40?

Katherine Mason: Yeah, so I was just named in Dallas, which was such an honor because I'm not from there.

Angela Gennari: Sure.

Katherine Mason: I do split my time, quite a bit between Atlanta and Dallas.

Angela Gennari: Okay.

Katherine Mason: But to win the 20 under 40 for Dallas was just such an honor.

Angela Gennari: Yeah, absolutely, fantastic. So, tell me how you got your start because fitness trainer in New York City, I mean all these are huge things. And then you work for Wilhelmina, which is like one of the most prestigious modeling agencies in the world, and you're gorgeous, I mean, it's not surprising so absolutely. What led you on this journey?

Katherine Mason: Honestly, it was sort of crazy that I even stepped off of this cliff almost to pursue a career in fitness. I do have a background in PR and marketing and went to Georgia for PR. I had my first job out of college which was in a small PR and marketing agency. I have known I wanted to be an entrepreneur since I was about, I would say 14 years old.

Angela Gennari: Awesome.

Katherine Mason: I didn't know exactly what that was, I did work in retail growing up at a women's boutique and thought maybe there was something along that line. But it was really when I started seeing things like flywheel and Barry's Bootcamp and these emerging fitness studios coming online. And I learned more about sort of the modeling industry and specifically fitness modeling, which is very different from a normal model that you think of.

Angela Gennari: Okay.

Katherine Mason: Fitness models are really sort of like professional athletes, and they are sort of acting in these roles as these athletes performing various skills in sports, and growing up playing all different kinds of sports it seemed like such a fun and amazing way to sort of continue my passion and my skills in athletics to do that. And then also to sport these amazing fitness fashion lines. So, it was a combination of my love of fitness, my love of fashion, and the fact that New York is such a leader in the world for those industries. And I wanted to go to New York and figure out what the heck I was going to do to create this business one day and maybe I wouldn't meet the right company or person to ultimately come up with what that idea was and luckily, I did.

Angela Gennari: Awesome it's fantastic I mean, I love it and you didn't play like easy sports either I mean, you played the badass sports field hockey, varsity field hockey state champion soccer team. I mean, how amazing I love your athletic background because I've always been a big fan of fitness and sports myself and so I love that you're playing these badass sports, so fantastic.

Katherine Mason: I remember one time in school, they made me write an essay about like the two sides of you and I think in a lot of ways I'm very feminine and love fashion and love skin, hair, and beauty in these things. But then when it comes to fitness and sports, I'm such a tomboy and really was growing up. So, it is kind of a contrast, but yeah, I like to get down and dirty for sure [inaudible06:12].

Angela Gennari: Yes, that's fantastic, so where did you get your inspiration for being an entrepreneur, you said you've been, wanted to be an entrepreneur since you were 14. Did your family, were they entrepreneurs, like where did you see that as a teenager and say, that's what I want?

Katherine Mason: Yeah, that's a great question so my dad's side of my family has had a family-owned business for, I think it was around 75 years when they actually sold it. So, I grew up watching my dad in a very entrepreneurial type of setting my grandfather owned the business before that my grand great grandfather before that, and of course, it had to evolve over time it's an engineering business. So, technology changes a lot. and there were a lot of things that my dad did after two generations prior to him. And so, I think that that was an amazing example to me and also my family is very supportive of locally owned businesses.

Angela Gennari: Awesome

Katherine Mason: I think that was from a very young age, something that we talked about my grandfather was very supportive of my, my dad kind of taking the reins of that business and then growing up when I started talking to him about owning a business my grandfather and my dad, of course, were both really encouraging; so, I think that helps.

Angela Gennari: That's really huge I love that, I love that you get to see it when you were younger and kind of see it in action in a successful way, yeah that's fantastic. So, and then as you're going through, you started your business so young, I mean, you were 25 when you started the Sculpt House and I mean, it's not an easy thing to start; I mean, a fitness studio you've survived the pandemic. How did you get through that at such a young age and limited experience at 25 and now you're hit with this massive worldwide pandemic. How do you get through it?

Katherine Mason: Well, I think starting a business at 25 ignorance really was bliss in some ways.

Angela Gennari: Yes absolutely.

Katherine Mason: I had such a fire for starting this business, I think partially because it was an idea that I really, obviously when you're an entrepreneur you believe in it, but I took two concepts that were very successful in New York. And if they're successful in New York, they probably are going to be successful a lot of other places too and I combine those two concepts into one not only on the machine side, the machines that we combined had never been combined before, but also the fact that the fashion was so integral to the brand a lot of fitness studios have the actor wear as part of their lobby and it's branded. Right. But we really approach that in a different way. And it is really about 50/50 in terms of revenue, if not maybe more now on the clothing side. But all of that was something that I saw was successful in New York. I really believed in it and I think being young and honestly, I didn't like working for someone else I don't like being told what to do.

Angela Gennari: I can relate

Katherine Mason: And I just, I really wanted to do it, so I think there's, there's that, you know, getting started and when you really get to an unhappy point in your first job or jobs or five years in business or whatever it is, you kind of get to a point where in some ways you have nothing to lose because you're already just wanting something so badly to work. In terms of the pandemic though, I mean that rocked not only my business but me personally so much and I think that I really have had to recover mentally, and emotionally from all of that. I'm a much better person today because of it. But I think that I had no other choice and really at the time it was a decision of, do I want to fight this uphill battle? Almost like a war it really sorts of way and put everything I can into making this as successful as I possibly can to keep it going. Or was it a great first five years and maybe that's it and I'm not the kind of person that's going to take no for an answer. I grew up with a very strong, powerful grandmother who told me at a very young age can't doesn't live here.

Angela Gennari: Oh, I love that yeah.

Katherine Mason: And I think that that's where I really dug down deep to a place that I didn't even know that I had and we were able to come out alive and of course, that's the very short version of it.

Angela Gennari: That's awesome, that's awesome well, good for you because you know, like with my business as well, my businesses like yours rely on being in person like I need people in a building in order to do security for them.

Katherine Mason: Exactly.

Angela Gennari: And I need sports to be happening and I need concerts to be happening and all of these things in order for my business to survive. So, I can relate to that did the online version of your business, did really come out of the pandemic or was that happening before, and did that help to save you in terms of your ability to recover?

Katherine Mason: So, in 2019, obviously at that point none of us knew.

Angela Gennari: Right.

Katherine Mason: That any of this was going to go on right, o no foresight into that. I decided in 2019 that I really wanted to grow the retail side of the business. It was something that I saw increasing sales significantly, naturally both in-person and online; but also, not only that, I really felt the desire to make our online presence more significant. And we started working with a web company to put the infrastructure around our website in a way so that we could have an online presence and not just one for our current customers to go on and maybe pre-order something that we were selling. But to also have a more national audience and we didn't have a lot of that yet. So that was a big goal that I had; so, in September 2019 our new website launched and then, we had a few months in 2019 to kind of work through the kinks we had during the holidays, and things went pretty well.

And then 2020 rolls around and we've kind of gotten a few months under our belt with the new website online ordering and then the pandemic actually happened. So, luckily, we did have these, these things kind of already set up, was it sophisticated yet? Absolutely not, but at least it was there, and then when we had to shut everything down and our company up at that time, a hundred people became a business of one, which was me and then maybe some other people working part-time. But sometimes it just kind of depended just putting everything online and we actually grew by 230% from 2019 to 2020 online alone.

Angela Gennari: Wow that's amazing.

Katherine Mason: So, it was a huge blessing, I'm not sure how we would've paid a lot of our bills without that.

Angela Gennari: For sure.

Katherine Mason: Of course, we also had to really invest a lot of money into leaning in and pivoting during that time; so, I think when you hear those numbers, you hear dollar signs, but important to also realize that when you have something new, there is infrastructure there's an investment that goes behind all of that. And so, in 2021, we were able to maintain a lot of those same numbers as 2020; a lot of online companies in 2021 did see pretty significant dips after the pandemic. So, I was really proud that we were able to maintain that and then this year we're up by about 15% companywide on the retail side from last year so just really working hard to continue that growth.

Angela Gennari: Awesome that is so amazing, I love that story and I love that you are just set up when all of this happened and I mean, what a blessing is that I mean, that's just, it's incredible I love it. So, tell me about some of the obstacles that you've overcome through your journey. I mean, I know that when we were talking about starting our businesses and not having a lot of female mentors in our lives to kind of guide us and so you, you make a lot of mistakes. So, tell me about some of the obstacles and challenges that you've overcome through your journey and what you would maybe kind of do differently.

Katherine Mason: Well, I think that a lot of times people see success or you talk about our cult following. But I think so much about my story is actually the obstacles that I have overcome and I love that you are asking that because I think that's more what my story is and what I want to focus on in the next 10 years of my life is sharing how to get over those obstacles for other small business owners, for other females and being that mentor, I would love to be a consultant one day because I have lived through a lot and worked through a lot on my own. And I think when you do it yourself, that's how you really learn. So, some examples of that being 25, owning a business at 25, convincing some older men, that your concept is the right thing for their real estate space, that was a huge hurdle. It took me a very long time to find a space and find a real estate company that believed in putting me in a five-year lease in a space.

Angela Gennari: Wow yeah.

Katherine Mason: So, that was one of the first, really large hurdles; of course, the build-out, I didn't know what I was doing and I had never done managed a construction project. Unfortunately, the company that we went with was also the construction company that the shopping center was using to do renovations and so it was less expensive and supposed to be faster to use them than to use another company since they were already on site. Well, what should have been maybe a 90-day build-out that's even being nice; became like a six-month build-out.

Angela Gennari: Wow

Katherine Mason: It was just an absolute nightmare and I had never done it before.

Angela Gennari: Yeah.

Katherine Mason: I didn't know how much construction was supposed to cost, we ran into a lot of issues with the building cost it was very old and the lifts goes on. So, I think that's another one, once we were open operations, I had never run a business before I had never managed people on a level where I was the owner at 25 and I had 30 to 35 years old's working for me. And they also knew that I didn't know what I was doing, but I was capable and I think they believed in me. But that was really hard and then you have the customer aspect and I love our customers, but it's not easy and a lot of our customers are of all ages of all backgrounds and I had to sort of navigating that in a new way and not take things personally when it was very personal. And then that moves into, after a few years of operations, we grew and we grew fast and we had growing pains. we grew from Buckhead to other locations. We had to close some of those locations during the pandemic; but we grew from one to four locations pretty quickly and there were a lot of things with that that I could talk for hours about, but that I now know when helping other people start their business, I've done everything wrong for them already and so hire me so I can save you a lot of money. And then the pandemic happened and that was after four years in business and thank goodness in Atlanta, we had that customer base to fall back on, but there were a lot of obstacles in Dallas, which was the location, the other location we decided to keep open, that location was only about eight months old.

Angela Gennari: Wow.

Katherine Mason: So, there were huge obstacles with that and the list goes on; we had to rebuild, we had to pivot and we have limited budgets and limited people and even today we're seven years in six years actually forward-facing a business, but it's been about seven years of me actually having the business and creating it. And so, at every year at every turn, there's a new obstacle from lawsuits, to pandemics, to everything else and I think it's just important for people to see that that really is the case.

Angela Gennari: Yeah, I know it, everybody says you know, the American dream and this entrepreneurialism, and everybody wants to, oh that's so amazing that you own a business I've always wanted to do that and I'm like think long and hard, think long and hard before you go down this path. You love what you do, that love will get you through it because you're going to hate what you do a lot.

Katherine Mason: Yes, and you're going to probably lose a lot of money.

Angela Gennari: You're going to lose a lot of money, you're a lot of time.

Katherine Mason: Here and there, through stupid things that happen that are sometimes not your fault.

Angela Gennari: Yes, I mean, I love being an entrepreneur like you, I don't think I'm unemployable right now; I would hate it if I had to hire me. But I love being an entrepreneur, but it's an act of love.

Katherine Mason: It really is.

Angela Gennari: To get up every day and knowing the hurdles that you have to overcome every single day; you don't really have a whole lot of easy days unless you're closed for the day.

Katherine Mason: No, it's so true and we're open 363 days a year from about 5:30 in the morning to eight o'clock at night, almost all of those days.

Angela Gennari: Oh yeah, sure.

Katherine Mason: So, it doesn't sleep, and a lot of times you have to swallow your pride and realize also that even your employees, a lot of times don't know all that you have going on or all that you do behind the scenes.

Angela Gennari: So, true.

Katherine Mason: I work much behind a computer and I think that they think I'm like at home, like eating bon, bon's or something. which is very much not the case; I think they know that's not actually what I do.

Angela Gennari: Right.

Katherine Mason: But you know, I think that there's a lot of, and they shouldn't, they don't have to know that's not their job to know. But yes, I think there's just a lot that you do and you just have to be proud of yourself even when no one knows.

Angela Gennari: Yes, you pat yourself on the back, pour yourself a glass of wine; you're like, I did it take a 10-minute break before I go to invoices.

Katherine Mason: Exactly, you're so right about that.

Angela Gennari: Yep, so who inspires you?

Katherine Mason: Well, I really, I think that our employees and our clients really inspire us, I wouldn't be doing this if it wasn't for the experience that I had as a customer. And some of just the mental struggles that I was going through both before New York, during my time there, and even after, and you know every day and what fitness can do to really make you stronger it's like a therapy session in so many ways.

Angela Gennari: Yes, agree.

Katherine Mason: So, I think we support our customers in that way, but I think our customers also give that back to us and it's so fulfilling. And I think we're also inspired by just our everyday lives and when we think of new product launches that we're going to do on the boutique side or challenges that we do, we really try to be authentic and think about what are we personally going through? What occasions are coming up? You know, whether it's the 4th of July or Mother's Day or whatever. Or I'm pregnant right now and we just rolled out a maternity collection.

Angela Gennari: Oh, how cool.

Katherine Mason: And so, everything that we do, was inspired by the world around us, our customers, and also our employees. I'm so inspired by them every single day too.

Angela Gennari: Oh, that's super cool yeah, I agree with you my employees inspire me too well and the fact that you know, I love what I do and I love it when I can see that passion in them too. That makes me so happy because I want to give them something that's fulfilling to them, you know and so it makes me happy when they love their job, so.

Katherine Mason: It's so true because we've probably both been there before we don't.

Angela Gennari: Yes, we need them to get us through it sometimes.

Katherine Mason: Yeah, which is so fulfilling, I think one of the most fulfilling things about owning a business is the fact that we do provide jobs. And we have about 50 employees right now, a lot of them are part-time because we're in fitness that's how it works. But I mean, I applied to so many jobs and didn't get so many jobs and I like to think that I'm a pretty capable person you know, with good education and work really hard. And it's hard to get a job and it's hard to get a job that you love and you want to keep and so it's so fulfilling and rewarding to me to be able to provide careers for people and grow them.

Angela Gennari: Awesome I agree, I agree, I love seeing people thrive, I love seeing people grow in their positions, I love to see people want to take the next step with you because they trust you with their future.

Katherine Mason: That's the best feeling.

Angela Gennari: And that is a great feeling and I love there was an article I was reading about you and it said something about how they're there for their fitness for their body. But you all also work with them mentally you know; you want to make sure mentally that because I agree with fitness for me is stress relief; I love it. Like I've been working out pretty regularly since I was 16 years old and I find it to be just an essential part of my day. It's not an option because I need it for my mental stability. To go in there and just focus on doing something for an hour, clear my head whatever it is, and just have that time to myself. And that's when I get all my thinking done for the day, it's like, there are fewer interruptions; I can just get focused on what I'm doing and then I can leave with a clear head and I start my day in a better way.

Katherine Mason: Yeah, I think it's so important that fitness studios not only focus on the physical, that's such actually a small part.

Angela Gennari: Yes.

Katherine Mason: Of what it is, it's also the mental and so we want to empower our clients to live healthier, happier, more empowered lives through fitness, through fashion.

Angela Gennari: That's amazing.

Katherine Mason: And the whole mind-body connection, it seems cheesy, but it really is true and our method is different in that you really have to kind of connect with your body to be able to use the mega former or the curve, which are human-powered machines. They're very unusual, they're very different and they are challenging because they're not things that people are used to using and so it really does require you to think a little bit more while you're actually working out too.

Angela Gennari: Yes. yes, it is good for you, yeah because you have to be in the moment, you can't be on your phone.

Katherine Mason: Yeah, exactly.

Angela Gennari: Doing other things you have to be in the moment, which we don't do enough in our society, in our daily lives.

Katherine Mason: Yes, and we actually have a phone policy for that.

Angela Gennari: Nice.

Katherine Mason: Where you cannot be on your phone, not only for your safety of course. But also, we really want people to take that 50 minute to speak from all the stuff that's going on outside of those four walls and take that time for themselves.

Angela Gennari: Yes, and it's necessary and you know, you can disconnect for just a little bit of time, focus on you, focus on your health and I think that's, you'll feel better afterward absolutely. So, I have a question, so as women, I know we give our power away a lot, and like we were actually talking before this, and I had congratulated you on your success. And you're like, gosh it's so, like when we were talking at the beginning of this, you know, it's so weird to hear that because we do get, we get into the weeds on things, but also you want to give your power away to everybody else so it's because my employees do this because my clients did this because my grandmother did this and all of those influences in your life are amazing and they help shape you into who you are. But we then give our power away to our spouse, we don't take credit for the things that we've done or we give our power away so that somebody else can move up and we just stay where we're at. So, tell me about a time when you've given your power away to someone where you should have stepped into your power. And then tell me about a time that you did step into your power and what the difference was. Why did you choose that time? This is my time; I need to own this moment.

Katherine Mason: Yeah well, I do think that when you are younger and you don't have a lot of experience, people can take advantage of you and I would say that I am not someone that really lets people take power away from me unless I'm maybe not aware. And so, I mean I'm a very confident person that can also make people annoyed; it's not that I think that I'm amazing and this or that, but it's just, maybe it's from the inner athlete or the inner entrepreneur, you have to have the confidence or yes. People are just going to run all over you so I would say that I haven't meant to ever give up power.

Angela Gennari: Good.

Katherine Mason: I really try to speak my mind and stand up for myself, but I do think that when you're a young entrepreneur or even if you're older and you're starting a new business, you don't know a lot of things and so people will take advantage of you. I've had business consultants that I've worked with and employed that later down the road I kind of see that. Or I've been in a lawsuit before that I should have never been in and it was someone literally taking advantage. I actually did nothing wrong; but it was very expensive, it was very frustrating, it was very hurtful because I was being accused of things that I didn't do. And in retrospect, I would've handled those things a little bit differently, but that's also just coming with experience and I really feel like sort of the, like the hard knock's mentality of just like sometimes you have to learn the hard way and you have to learn things on your own to get that experience. And I started at 25, I'm 32 now by the time I'm 40, I think I'm really going to know a lot; so yeah, I would say I haven't really meant to ever give my power away, but you have to really be careful, especially as a female that is feminine. They think that maybe in Southern, yes, I'm polite. I try to be humble, but also if you cross a certain line, I'm really not afraid to tell a man, a woman, whoever, exactly where I stand and I think people have to make sure and do that for themselves.

Angela Gennari: I love that I agree with you a hundred percent; I agree because you know, in my position as well with owning a security company, you know, people will challenge me quite a bit and it really is just about stepping into your power and saying, listen I'm not going to back down. I know that you think I am, but I promise you I'm here to stay, I'm here to stay.

Katherine Mason: And a few choice words sometimes also work.

Angela Gennari: Exactly, so what advice would you give to 18-year-old you?

Katherine Mason: I would just say to keep going, can't doesn't live here; I really have gone by that mantra in my life and listen to your gut.

Angela Gennari: Yes.

Katherine Mason: My gut has been so accurate so many times sometimes I've listened, sometimes I have not listened, but it was always right.

Angela Gennari: I know in those moments, don't you hate yourself when you were like, I knew better, I knew better.

Katherine Mason: I was trying to be...

Angela Gennari: Yeah, trying to be nice.

Katherine Mason: A little rusty or I was trying to grow, or I was trying to this or that, and then yeah it bites you in the butt and you're like, I knew better than that. And so, I think that is one thing as, as you're getting going in a business. It's just like, you have to sometimes throw spaghetti on the wall and see what works, but at the same time yeah sometimes

Angela Gennari: Yeah, I get it, yeah, my intuition is almost always right and I rarely listen to it sometimes. and then I'm like, I knew better, I knew better than that, but I'm learning. So, what's next for Sculpt House? Where do you envision this going?

Katherine Mason: Yeah well, if you would ask me this in 2019, I've had a very different answer than today.

Angela Gennari: Really? Okay.

Katherine Mason: We have really pivoted a lot as a company, we were in this growth mode of physical locations, and in some ways, I would love an investor to come in and get us back to where we were with that. But I realistically do know that I would have to have a pretty large capital investment. I would want to have the infrastructure and all of that from an investor because I have done it on my own; I'm really proud that I could do it again, but to really be successful again I know what I need this time if we're going to grow that geographic footprint to other states and other physical locations, which that would be great. But I also think I'm really happy with where we are now in terms of, I'm really happy personally.

The fact that like I'm even having a baby is a really big deal; because I'm so career-driven, I take care of myself last and so that's a really big step for me. And I really just want to take care of the employees that have been loyal to me; I want to grow them in their careers. I want to grow the online store. I mean, I would love to have like a 10 million online business one day and I think it's possible, it's out there. There's a lot to do to get to that point and then in terms of the workout, just continuing with our education, I recently went to California and got my master's certification for a degree which is the method that we use. And so that was a really big step and just continuing to invest in education on the fitness side and making sure that our customers are also getting all of that knowledge too. So that's, we're in this rebuilding phase still and I want to be careful to make sure that we're putting one step in front of the other I had to learn that very much, the hard way during the pandemic.

Angela Gennari: Yes, I know well, and we were in the same like I've mentioned a few times now we were living parallel lives because we were set to triple revenue in 2019, after 2019, we were just like, we were on a trajectory that was just going to catapult us into another atmosphere.

Katherine Mason: It's so true.

Angela Gennari: But 2020 was like no, you need to sit down and pause a little bit and it really made me rethink everything about my business and you know, it was a paradigm shift. It wasn't just a pandemic it was a time for me to sit back and say, okay, I feel like I'm running so fast I'm going to follow my face.

Katherine Mason: You are so right.

Angela Gennari: And so, it gives you that time to pause and reflect and say, what do I want out of this? Like what is my real goal? Is it to you know, have bazillions and 11 billion locations, or is it to love my life and provide the quality that I know my brand deserves?

Katherine Mason: Gosh, that is so good and there was a quote that I'm not even going to attempt to say right now but I saw the other day on Instagram, but basically, it's how we saw success maybe prior to the pandemic and how we see it now. And now it's really about happiness and choosing every day to do things that make you happy.

Angela Gennari: Yes.

Katherine Mason: And if you're able to do that, that is also success. It doesn't have to be a dollar figure every year that you're reaching for, I mean, that's great too, but that's not just it.

Angela Gennari: Yeah, so true, yeah, I mean, I want to make sure that we're providing what we set out to provide, which is a quality experience for our guests, for the people who believe in us, we want to give them back that's, you know, that reason to believe and you know, if we're only in Georgia, that's okay with me. If we grow a little bit, that's okay with me. But I just want to make sure that we're not losing ourselves in the process.

Katherine Mason: And that's why you're still around today after the pandemic.

Angela Gennari: Correct? Likewise, yes.

Katherine Mason: Because people have to really humbly sit down and live and think through some of those things.

Angela Gennari: They do and I think that it was a blessing of time. It was a blessing of time and reflection and entrepreneurs like us who were going a hundred miles a minute; we were forced to sit back for a minute and say, okay, what do I want now? You know what now? So well, this is awesome, so tell me one last question. What do you want people to know? What do you wish people knew?

Katherine Mason: Well, I think we've talked a lot today about just all the things that go on behind the scenes. I think that you see our Instagram, or even my personal Instagram, or website and you see pretty pictures. You see very thought-through marketing or at least I hope people think that, I'm very involved with all of that in the business too, of course, it should look like that right. That's a successful business really invest in those things, but I think that it's important that we realize all the things that go on behind the scenes with entrepreneurs and have grace with small businesses. Especially now after the pandemic, we're still all rebuilding, numbers are not the same; stop comparing us to Nordstrom or Barry's Bootcamp because it's just, that they're very different things.

Angela Gennari: Sure absolutely.

Katherine Mason: I take customer feedback regularly it's so important that we do you're ignorant if you don't. But at the same time, sometimes I see all these survey things and I'm just like, I wish that they understood more. And so of course it's not the customer's job or the employee's job to know all of those things, but I think just as we all go into the world, things are finally feeling really good again. I think as of maybe like January, February, March of this year, it's like, we're feeling good. Just have grace, support those local businesses, shop small and do everything that you can to just shift your mentality around them. They're doing the very best they can with limited resources, and limited budgets and that's just so important to me.

Angela Gennari: I could not agree with you more, I mean, as a fellow small business owner, I can tell you that we had to fight tooth and nail to survive the pandemic. We weren't Walmart and Home Depot and Lowe's who were like eight times revenue because they were the only places that were open. Like where we were fighting tooth and nail to keep food on our table; so, supporting small businesses is just really, truly something I believe so deeply in. So, thank you so much for being here today. I really enjoy talking with you and I think this is going to really resonate with a lot of people so thank you.

Katherine Mason: Yes, thank you.

Thank you for joining our guests on the pretty powerful podcast and we hope you've gained new insight and learned from exceptional women. Remember to subscribe or check out this and all episodes on prettypowerfulpodcast.com visit us next time and until then step into your own power.

Katherine MasonProfile Photo

Katherine Mason

Founder & CEO of SculptHouse

Katherine is Founder & CEO of SculptHouse, the world’s first studio to combine the Megaformer – a full-body strength and conditioning machine – and treadmill, offering the most sophisticated human-powered machines alongside a curated collection of luxury activewear. As a lifelong athlete, Lagree Fitness Master Trainer and former Wilhelmina fitness model, Katherine has the passion and expertise to empower people to face the world confidently through fitness and fashion. She has worked at some of New York City’s most prominent luxury fitness studios, represented many global fashion brands – including Nike, Under Armour and Adidas – and has been featured in many fashion and fitness publications, such as Fitness, Women’s Health, Runner’s World and Vogue USA. Katherine has appeared on the cover of SHAPE, was named a top trainer in 2014 and SculptHouse was featured in the magazine in 2018.

After working in the fitness industry in New York City for several years, Katherine decided to fuse her diverse background in retail, marketing, public relations and fitness, and use the knowledge and experience she had gained, to create a fitness studio and boutique that focuses on individuals being the best and most powerful version of themselves by sculpting their bodies, strengthening their minds and outfitting themselves to face the world. She conceptualized the idea of combining the Megaformer with a Woodway Curve treadmill to create a low-impact, but high-intensity workout that combines strength training and cardio intervals in a way that had never been done before. Being a proud graduate of The University of Georgia, Katherine decided to return to her roots in Atlanta to bring the fitness studio and boutique to life.

Today SculptHouse has two brick & mortar locations: it’s flagship in Buckhead, and a second location in Dallas, TX. Katherine aims to make SculptHouse a place where all ages, fitness levels and genders can escape to a positive and encouraging environment for 50-minutes. SculptHouse’s boutique allows men and women to have access to the latest in fitness fashion – selling the latest established and up-and-coming brands that add a layer of confidence when going to their workout or just in everyday life.

Katherine has been a thought leader in the Southeast for fitness and retail, speaking on the Retail Design Institute’s panel "Retail Experience In The Age of Ecommerce." SculptHouse and Katherine have won a number of local and national awards including over twelve “Best of Atlanta” awards, Atlanta Business Chronicle Pacesetter Awards and Emerging Entrepreneur award, Dallas’ People Newspapers’ 20 Under 40, as well as a feature in “The Coolest New Studios in Boutique Fitness in America Right Now” by Well+Good.