Business in a spin


SHE gave up a secure, well› paying corporate job to run her own hula hoop company — and business is booming.
‘‘I have never looked back… I do something I love and the money looks after itself,’’ ‘Hoop Lady’ Bernadette Smith said.
Mrs Smith (57) and husband Grant, of Christchurch, were in Invercargill this week to run hula hooping workshops and pro› mote their business ‘In2Hula hoop for fitness’ as part of a year›long nationwide promotio› nal tour.
‘‘We have had an amazing reception so far… we had over 50 people in Dunedin and 30 people in Gore [attending clas› ses],’’ she said.
Mrs Smith, a qualified exer› cise professional, runs hula hooping classes and Mr Smith, a plumber by trade, produces and sells hula hoops online.
The pair started In2Hula eight years ago and within months the business was growing. They now employ five instructors in Christ› church and are looking for more to meet the demand, and have sold thousands of hula hoops.
Having never hula hooped as a child, it was her daughter who introduced her to the exercise form, Mrs Smith said.
Her daughter had asked her father to make her a hula hoop to help tone up her stomach muscles after losing 25kg weight through Weight Watchers, and within three weeks of hula hooping, her daughter had lost half acentimetre around her waist, she said.
It was then, being an ‘‘entrep› reneurial type’’, Mrs Smith decided to research the benefits of hula hooping and start the business part›time, she said.
Eighteen months ago, after a year of consideration including six months working with a men› tor, Mrs Smith resigned from her job as a regional manager for a publishing company to focus on the business full›time.
‘‘I was attracted to the life› style. Ihad a passion for what I was doing… teaching people how to get fit and have fun doing it.’’
Hula hooping burns 10 calor› ies per minute, strengthens and tones calf and stomach muscles, improves flexibility, balance and co›ordination and increases blood circulation, she said.
‘‘The best thing about hula hooping was the element of fun it brings into exercise.’’
The goal of the pair’s year› long tour was to demonstrate the benefits of hula hooping and encourage others to become licensees and run classes in their region, she said.
The role would suit a young mother looking for part›time work and a fitness regime, who had a passion to help other people and an ability to encour› age and inspire others, Mrs Smith said.
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