The seven entrepreneurial women, most of whom met through surfing, and their new careers are: Janis Sandlin, Surf’s Pup Doggie Lounge; Kim Kuznitz, Surfilates; Hillary Pratt of Feel Good Lifestyle; Nikki Rae Bose of Reunify Yoga; Jenny Bohan of Cultural Detour; Mandi Ribb of Dainty Diva Dog Boutique; and Connie Karsh of Estate Sales of San Diego.
Four of the seven surf sisters discussed the pros and cons of self-employment and how they got to be there.
Kuznitz, a certified Pilates instructor, had a small business in New York City for 12 years. “Before I closed it, I was living in my massage room one week out of each month because I was renting my nice New York apartment out on Airbnb so I could pay myself,” she said.
To cope, Kuznitz created Surfilates. “I developed an actual technique that is trademarked,” she said. “A fitness surfboard is in the works and a manual written to train other trainers and to help beginner surfers become safer in the water by being more aware of their body.”
Janis Sandlin, a Yale Med School grad, who was a physician assistant for a decade, is coordinating the Surf’s Pup and Friends event. Confessing “severe burnout,” she resigned from her medical career to create Surf’s Pup Dogie Lounge “blending my love for my pups, passion for surfing and the ocean, and my experiences as a working professional to bring a service to help humans take care of their pets while they simultaneously take care of themselves. My goal is offer short-term pet care for owners to utilize while they are out enjoying themselves in the ocean, at events or in traveling.”
Nikki Rae Bose, owner of reUnify yoga, was a molecular biologist for five years by day, and a yoga instructor by night. “While teaching yoga filled me up, my day job wore me out,” Bose said. Eventually, Bose swapped her lab coat and goggles for a yoga mat and started her own OB studio that includes memberships that give contributions to different charitable foundations.
Hilary Pratt has endometriosis, a painful autoimmune disease. She was in office operations and management. She and friend Jessica, who also has an autoimmune disease, opted to go a different career route.
“We wanted to create products that help women ‘feel good,’ and build a community that does the same,” Pratt said. “Because dealing with a chronic illness can be stressful and a serious business in and of itself, we wanted to create a brand that is lighthearted where we don't take ourselves too seriously. That is how our brand, The Feel Good Lifestyle, came about.”
Jenny Bohan of Cultural Detour creates soulful, sustainable, stylish products for the surf lifestyle. Mandi Ribb of Dainty Diva Dog Boutique makes custom dog collars and leashes. Connie Karsh of Estate Sales of San Diego, is fully licensed and insured to promote and produce estate sales for Southern Californians.
The entrepreneurial group’s objective is to inspire other women to turn their personal passions into fulfilling careers.
What are the advantages/disadvantages to being self-employed?
“I definitely dig it that I can surf in the middle of the day,” said Bose. “I also love that reUnify started as a thought, and that I've slowly created a community and beautiful space.”
“Being my own boss sounds so much more glamorous than it is,” noted Pratt. “I have to do everything myself. Collaborating with other female entrepreneurs is a great advantage because we are all on the journey together.”
“I am my own boss,” concluded Sandlin. “I am 100 percent responsible for my decisions and actions and I own my life. The disadvantage is the uncertainty, not knowing if I’ll be successful … and adjusting the finances accordingly. I am also doing something I have never done before, so there is a huge learning curve, but this is also an exciting part of the journey!”