Motherhood Interview: Grace McGinnis founder of Nourish talks to ParentFolk
Grace McGinnis was finding her way as a new mum to her now two-year-old daughter Eden, when she took the leap to start a business. Nourish, a female-only lifestyle boutique, complete with gym, spa, yoga studio and spa, was born just a few months after her daughter turned one and since its launch, has become the city’s most secretive hideaway for women. Here she tells us about keeping centred whilst doing the juggling act.
How did Nourish come to life?
I have a background in construction and property, specifically in building private mental health facilities across the country. I learned here about the importance of your environment and what colours, shapes and textures can do to your mood and wellbeing. But it wasn’t until I decided to get myself healthy after losing four and half stone in fat and gained three stone in muscle that really changed the way I looked at life. I became a lot more positive and focused particularly on my own mental health and I saw the importance of personal wellbeing and wanted to tell others about how I felt when I changed my lifestyle for the better.
I believed it was important to deliver the change I felt to others, so this is when I became a health coach. I did this for a couple of years and then progressed to becoming a personal trainer, which I did for around two years before I had my daughter in 2014.
After the birth of my daughter I then trained clients either from their home or mine, and that’s when I found myself in the position where I had all these women, particularly Arabic women who didn’t have a place in the city centre to train, get their hair done or just a place for themselves to be wrapped up in wellbeing and a sense of self.
After doing some research it highlighted a gap in the market for female only gyms in the city centre. My initial plan was to create a nursery drop-off zone as there isn’t anything more valuable to me then knowing my daughter is safe and close by, but that wasn’t quite possible (at the time). in Nourish we have still created a sanctuary of self-love for women; a place where they can relax, truly be themselves in whatever aspect of spirituality, health and wellbeing that they feel appropriate whilst also delivering a very luxurious and relaxing place to be.
As a mother with a growing and dynamic business, how long did it take you to find a way to manage your lifestyle in order to successfully balance your work and family life?
The spinning of the plates and learning how to balance life never stops. It has been a challenge that my partner and I weren’t necessarily in the position to start our venture right now, but when is the right time? So it was ‘suck up and get on with it’ approach with has certainly paid off. It’s a matter of getting on with the job, I don’t believe I’ve quite got the work/life balance sorted quite yet but it’s a journey and with Nourish being at the pivot I want it and I do believe I will find my balance. Starting my business from scratch with support from my business partner has meant that I’ve had to learn all the systems and everything from building a team to people managing; so there are steep learning curves and expectations, and this is only just the beginning.
What has having your own business taught you about yourself?
I reflect on things, take my time to make decisions. I’m constantly reviewing and looking back at the business; did something work or not and why, in order for the business to move forward. I love the challenge.
We’re interested to find out what challenges you most about being a working mother?
To make sure there’s food and shopping in the house! My daughter loves nursery and her father helps in the evenings so it helps with the balance more. As Nourish is female only I feel that the clients are more accepting of bringing my daughter to work with me. It gives them a different perceptive of a business and shows that it is an independent business and not just another gym chain. Obviously, my daughter isn’t there when people are having a massage, but I don’t feel afraid to bring her into work with me. Some days it was all hands on deck, If I wasn’t able bring Eden, I don’t feel Nourish would be where it is now.
What would you like your daughter to learn most from you as a business woman?
That when someone tells says you can’t that you can. It’s just a matter of getting it done more than thinking about it. Nourish feels like an overnight thing but it wasn’t it was a nine-month thing before we even opened the doors. We’ve made this happen piece by piece, the key thing is patience and realising the finished product isn’t the product you begin with. It’s a matter of keeping going and turning your passion into a reality. I wanted to see my passion for helping people and changing their lives in health for the better by becoming an integral part of their lives.
Back in the 90s my mum was always going to fitness classes but I don’t believe as much a health-conscious thing, as it is now it’s a commitment to get involved in the fitness revolution. Before there wasn’t that ethos about health, and culturally we didn’t think about our nutrition. I believe the next generation are going to be fantastic at that, it will deliver a totally different future for us all. We see the change happening now with being vegan; what was the norm of drinking dairy milk now isn’t and that’s what I want my daughter to be conscious of helping others, becoming confident in herself and her choices, and having that mental attitude that nothing can stop me.
..and as a mother?
It’s painful being a mother in the way it’s something I realised with all the terrible things that happen in the news, you suddenly realise what you’re bringing your daughter up in to all of this (terror, war etc). But that relationship I have will her will always be the strongest relationship that I’ll ever have. It’s so overpowering yet is the most beautiful experience that I’ve ever had.
Tell us, where do you draw your daily motivation from?
Every time I see my daughter I’m motivated by her, but also, I want to be successful. There was one thing that stood out to me from school, my reports said, ‘has potential’. I don’t want to be potential anymore I want to have success and show that I’ve made something from nothing.
If you could go back to the day left school, what advice would you give to your 16-old self now that you didn’t know back then?
Get healthy, don’t drink alcohol, boys aren’t everything, but most importantly you have everything within yourself and to give myself that self-esteem I didn’t have. I didn’t have any direction and I listened to too many people that wasn’t my own voice. This is something I wish I could change, like go and be an architect that you dreamt of instead of listening to key people in my life say its boring. So, to stop being guided by somebody else and to get into fitness, as I had zero interest in exercise, it was always a struggle with my asthma. It isn’t always about running a marathon, there are different types of fitness, I love weight lifting for instance. Do what’s best for you.
How do you think we as a society today can best support girls to become the female entrepreneurs of tomorrow?
Encouraging self-empowerment, make a plan and take action within that plan to make it happen, having peers that are of similar mind-set too. Once that’s in place, the world is your oyster
My favourite quote is “ You are the average of the five people you are closest too”
Finally, tell us when the working week is done and the weekend comes around where is your happy place?
Sitting in a park with my daughter eating an ice cream, being somewhere and doing something outside amongst trees is generally my happiest point to be.
Quick fire Q’s..
Your go to kid’s brand?
Kirsty Doyle’s Mini Collection is to die for! Oh Me Oh Mama for new baby gifts and self care though too.
Favourite day out?
Anything that includes my mum and my daughter.
High Street or luxury?
Your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate or cake
Your place for ‘me time’?
The weight room or yoga studio.
Anything about self-empowerment, anything with from Hay house. Or about business, like Gary Vaynerchuk or Grant Cardone. I can’t stand fiction!
Love Thy Neighbour, Bold Street