Celebrated on March 8 every year, International Women’s Day is a day dedicated to honoring the achievements of women throughout history and across the globe. So in honor of International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating women all over Indianapolis by highlighting a few bada** female fitness entrepreneurs who are impacting, shaping and shaking up the wellness industry all the city.
We put together a shortlist of incredibly inspiring women—all Indianapolis wellness and fitness studio owners. These women have created safe, empowering, and motivating spaces for us to let loose, tone up, strengthen our bodies and souls so we can become better versions of ourselves.
Here’s a list of women-owned studios you should visit in Indianapolis, and some share their secrets to success.
1. Mary K. Herrera, Owner of Era Pilates
“In developing my small business, I wanted to create an environment that catered to women through all phases of their lives. I have found that women go to gyms or studios just to ‘fit in’ to the workout instead of the workout being tailored to them. For me, the key to success has been to focus on women’s needs, especially through pregnancy and postpartum, and create a safe environment to work specifically on their issues and needs.”
2. Monica Hilton, Owner of Together We Rise (TWR) Fitness
“One of my favorite business quotes is, ‘Being an entrepreneur is like jumping off a cliff and building a plane on the way down.’ That’s true whether you’re male or female, but I believe there’s something very strong about a woman who stares down the odds and thinks, ‘Challenge accepted.’ For me, the secret to success has come from three things: My faith, support network, and perseverance, even when the odds seem insurmountable.
There are a lot of parallels to the business world in fitness, and that’s why I love watching people lift, sweat, and do life together. Together We Rise Fitness was founded on the idea that everyone fits in here, no matter where they’re at on their fitness journey.
I would encourage women everywhere to be strong, take calculated risks, and have unshakable faith. We are all capable of amazing things, so focus on what you can control, then go out there and show the world why you’re uniquely you.”
3. Charlie Redd, Owner & Creative Director Haven Yoga
Haven Yoga’s mission is to increase access for everyBODY to practice, including Black Bodies, POC Bodies, Queer, Trans, Non-Binary Bodies, Fat bodies, Older bodies, bodies of different abilities, etc. The studio opened last year and is a dedicated space for marginalized groups to explore holistic health practices.
4. Hye Jin Kalgaonkar, Owner of The Hot Room Indianapolis
“I encourage everyone to find that thing that makes you jump out of bed every morning. Dream BIG and be on a mission every day to work toward that vision. Always remember – what you do makes a difference. The difference you want to make is up to you. Choose the way you want to show up…. for you, for others, and ultimately the world.”
5. Amanda Moor, Owner of CycleBar Fishers
“I am proud of the unique assets and strengths I bring as a female business owner, along with being aware of the challenges and responsibilities as I grow my business and the Cyclebar brand in the Indianapolis area. I strive to build a strong, supportive community based on health and wellness for the women and men on my team and the members who come back to work out with us every week. As a mom of two young girls, leading by example for them of what women can accomplish is my ultimate ‘why.”
6. Andrea Poppe, Owner of Fountain Square Yoga
“Focus 95% on the solution and 5% on the problem. There are many things I could say that I have learned about being a female business owner and often remind myself of. Remembering that this is YOUR vision is huge! Trust in your intuition and manifest your future. Be sure to work harder than you want and remember that it’s ok to get emotional at times, the business is a reflection of you, and you are human. Allow time to self-care because your energy is the most important. Push past ‘no’ and always find another solution. Quit doubting your capability and just do what needs to be done.”
7. Kim Carlson, Owner of Roots & Wings Yoga
“Love more. Fearless. This is my current mantra. Whether we are talking about women supporting women, running a business, being a mom, a friend, a mentor, or just a human, fear stifles, and love creates. I have learned to observe my emotions as they arise and ask myself, ‘Is that fear or love speaking?’ Being able to sit in the uncomfortable, let go of fear, and lead with a compassionate heart, opens doors, and I am able to flow more freely & more in harmony with my dharma.”
8. Cassandra Kay Daye, Owner of Yoga Fire Studios
“I believe the key to a successful yet happy life is to invest in your dreams, be kind to people, and laugh in the face of adversity.”
9. Jennifer Chow, Owner of The Barre Code Downtown Indy & Carmel
“There is a great saying that says, ‘Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.’ It is such a powerful quote that resonates with me every time I read it. It not only embodies my success but the success of all the strong women that fill the halls of The Barre Code Downtown Indy & Carmel. We work hard every day to realize our potential as women and discover what we are capable of. Women are relentless. Women are extraordinary. Women are the secret to success.”
10. Shannon Brasovan, Owner of Practice Indie Yoga
“The word business originally comes from an Old English word (bisignes) which meant ‘care, anxiety, and occupation.’ Who better to lead in business than women? My secret to success lies in my identity as a woman as I am an incredible caregiver, highly anxious about other’s well being (and able to juggle it while doing a million other things), and continuously occupied. I see myself as an asset to the business community because women are known for our ability to multi-task while navigating anxiety and care for others.”
11. Tammy Weisweaver, Owner of B Present Studio
“People matter more than productivity.”
12. Shayna Sangster, Owner of Just Ride Indy
“Being a business owner is hard, and being a minority, female doesn’t make it any easier. It’s scary, and the work is more than you can imagine. However, when I see women like Charlie from Haven Yoga, Erica from Erica Ballard Health, and Alysse with OvaBrands pushing and succeeding, I’m all the more inspired to do the same.”
13. Kerry Kapaku, Owner of Danceworks Indy
“What I love most about being a female business owner in the wellness industry is the chance to inspire other women to believe in themselves, and being inspired by them in return daily.”
14. Amy Peddycord, Owner of Invoke Studio
Amy celebrated 15th years of providing a space for women to find their zen in Indianapolis. The studio is located in the heart of downtown Indianapolis and is consistently ranked as one of the city’s top yoga and Pilates studios. The studio offers more than 100 yoga, Pilates, and fitness classes as well as monthly workshops and accredited teacher training as well as yoga teacher training scholarships.
15. Renee Pillow, Owner of FIT with Renee
Renee is one of the most sought-after certified personal trainers in Indianapolis. As the owner of FIT With Renee, she helps women get focused on their fitness goals, inspiring them to live a healthier lifestyle while transforming their bodies. She is also a former bodybuilding competitor and the author of FIT With Renee Fitness and Nutrition Manual. Renee offers group classes or one-on-one designed to get you the best results. She has helped hundreds of women all over Indianapolis change their bodies and take control of their health.