This month, we continue our series on women entrepreneurs with a look at three local businesses that are focused on the health and wellbeing of those they serve. All three help others on the journey to a life that is healthy, full and ready for the future.
Bethany Arrington brings years of experience and a depth of care to her work. Arrington, owner of Genesis Birth and Wellness, is a Certified Nurse Midwife who provides care for women that encompasses the whole person.
“Once the COVID pandemic started, it became apparent to me that women need a safe option outside of the hospital,” she says. “I saw a need for my specific services – having worked in a hospital and knowing how that works, I can help clients that need to navigate that system, but also provide them with the birth options of being out of the hospital but knowing we have a safety net and a plan in place in case things don’t go according to plan.”
Arrington has an office in Greenville for appointments, but births take place in the woman’s home or if needed, in the hospital. She says her philosophy about birth is different than what has traditionally been available from a healthcare provider.
“We are trained to approach pregnancy as a normal life event to be celebrated and welcomed,” she says. “We focus on pregnancy wellness full circle – a holistic approach – mentally, emotionally, physically keeping you well.”
With a small group of patients, Arrington says she develops relationships with the women she cares for, giving her practice a personal feel. But with that approach and her years of midwifery, she also brings 12 years of experience as a labor and delivery nurse.
“Over the course of my career, I’ve seen the value of developing collegial and positive relationships with other practitioners, be it other midwives or with physicians,” she says. “I can do a lot, but no man is an island. Everybody needs people.”
Arrington’s scope of practice is wide and includes care outside of pregnancy. She can write prescriptions, order lab tests, do wellness exams and more.
For other would-be entrepreneurs, Arrington says there is no need to reinvent the wheel.“
One of my biggest pieces of advice is to find a mentor,” she says. “Find someone who is doing what you want to do or something close to that.”
The best piece of advice she received is simple and clear: do it scared.
“If you’re waiting for the fear and anxiety to go away, you will forever be waiting,” she says. “Obviously, do the research, do the legwork, but do it scared. Imposter syndrome sets in but do it anyway. You need to have the skill to backup what you’re doing. Doing the research and having a good team around you is key.”
Learn more at genesisbirthandwellness.com
Emilie Blanchard didn’t expect a pile of food containers by her door to lead to a business, but with the opening of her second location of Tasty as Fit – the first is in Columbia – she is putting food on the table for families across Greenville and making it both good and healthy.
Blanchard moved to New York to pursue a career in broadcast journalism following her graduation from the University of Georgia. To supplement her income, she worked as a fitness trainer.
“I grew up an athlete,” she says. “I grew up eating incredibly fresh foods. As a trainer, I really started to dive into a plant-based diet. It was on the rise in New York. It was so easy for me because it made me feel so good.”
Blanchard started testing plant-based recipes in her small apartment, just for fun. After moving back to Columbia and getting married, she planned to open her own fitness studio. But again, just for fun, her sister encouraged her to start a food Instagram, where she could share recipes with friends and family who always asked for tips. After a few months, she made the account public.
“I had a mom reach out who used to babysit me in Columbia,” she said.
This friend wanted to know if, while she was making her own tasty meals, she might make a little extra to help her with the “healthy food vs. time crunch” all busy families face. From there, it was inevitable.
“I started doing that and about the second week, she posted a picture on Instagram,” Blanchard said. “I woke up the next morning with emails from probably five of her friends. Before I knew it, I was operating in my kitchen for 15 or 16 families.”
The families would drop off empty containers and then retrieve their meals on a specified day.
“It was just me for the longest time,” Blanchard says. “My husband came in on the day of pickup and there was marinara sauce on the wall. I had spilled sauce on the floor.”
The business was underway and Blanchard had to catch up. That started by finding a spot where she could operate her meal prep service. In just a few months, Tasty as Fit was born. But Blanchard thought it would always be meal prep. She would never do a “grab and go” business. Less than a year later, she was operating with the help of interns from the University of South Carolina’s hospitality program – two of those former interns still work for her.
Customers wanted grab and go availability, so Blanchard decided to make it happen.
“Why not?” she says. “If I have an idea, I’m like, well, we’ll just do it. Two days later, I had a fridge show up. By 10 every single day, we were selling out of everything extra we had.”
Soon, the entire business model changed to grab and go, and Blanchard added smoothies because customers wanted those, too.
“There were baby steps and big leaps and then setbacks,” she says. “And then baby steps and big leaps and setbacks.”
For those with a dream, Blanchard says you can’t be afraidto pivot.
“We get in our own way so much,” she says. “One of the biggest takeaways from our company is that we didn’t start out to be what we are today. A lot of the failures – and I wouldn’t call them failures, just reroutes – is how we’ve gotten to where we are today. My whole business model shifted. I wouldn’t call that a failure. I call that reading the market and trying to grow with what works.”
Learn more a tastyasfit.com.
Currie Gossett had a vision for the welcoming community she wanted to create in Greenville, and with the opening of a new facility, she is seeing that work come to fruition.
Gossett started C.O.R.E. grow strong, an athletic boutique, on Greenville’s Washington Street with the “core” principles of confidence, optimism, resilience and energy.
“That’s what I’m trying to build – a positive communal space where people feel like they can be themselves and they are welcome,” she says. “They can find community, find their heart and the best version of themselves.”
Gossett loved boutique fitness in Charlotte, where she and her husband lived before moving back to Greenville several years ago.
“I’ve been so passionate about what I wanted to deliver that I’ve kept at it and kept at it,” she says.
And it has been no small feat – Gossett stays busy running her business and she is the mother of two young children. But she is seeing the reward in the form of her new mindful movement and meditation studio, a 4,000-plus square foot space in the Overbrook Village redevelopment. It brings quite a change from the retail space where she also hosted workshops and classes.
“That did not translate, and rightfully so,” she says. “A retail space is never going to be a studio. I’ve probably looked for locations for 5 years until this location in Overbrook became available. My husband actually met the landlord at the playground.”
The new studio has the physical space C.O.R.E. needs to offer Pilates Reformer, yoga, Sculpt, mat Pilates, functional training and more, plus retail space for athleticwear and a plant-based market.
“My goal has been to create a place where, no matter what you do in our space, you are doing something good for yourself, and you walk out feeling just a little bit better than when you walked in,” Gossett says.
While the space is important, the team Gossett has assembled is an asset she prizes perhaps the most. She wants people to feel valued and welcomed each time they enter, no matter who they are, what they do and what they need from a class or program.
“When we as women empower each other, we lift everybody up by doing that,” she says.
Gossett says she has something for everybody and she categorically rejects the notion that you have to look a certain way or be able to workout at a specific level to feel a part of the community she is creating.
“That is not our vibe at all,” she says. “I don’t want anyone to be intimidated. I want everyone to feel included. Anybody who would say, ‘I’m not good enough to come there,’ that makes my heart hurt. You’re the person I want to encourage and help and show you that you have the strength inside of you to do what you want. And guess what? We all have some kind of mess going on inside of us.”
Learn more at coregrowstrong.com.