We had the good fortune of connecting with Genevieve Harris and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Genevieve, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I live in the West Suburbs of Atlanta, within an hour of the Alabama state line. I did not locate an exclusive yoga studio close to home when I began my practice. There were definitely yoga instructors and practitioners in the area, but we didn’t have a place to gather comparable to the establishments in the city limits. My training and classes in earlier years were taken in a neighboring county. I also sought out community that shared similar experiences as an Asian American, a person of color to practice with. Establishing KIMYB studios in 2017 allowed us to encourage and welcome a diverse client base to experience this ancient practice.
What should our readers know about your business?
I love people. I have a desire to educate people on how they lack nothing and are living their best life in the present moment. My sentiment derives from me raising a child that is “behind” according to tests, stats, etc. Special Needs has a sadness attached to it. Daily, I am influenced by my child’s joy, happiness, and excitement to wake up every morning, eager to live. And with this spirit in my life, I am assured that this joy exists in all people. Nothing can dim the light once we know how to turn it on; and sometimes, we become “lit” in the practice of yoga. Yoga teaches many things about contentment and most notably, be present. Being present requires us to not dwell in the past or worry for the future. I am proud that our studios are a safe place to not only practice yoga, but to fellowship, make friends, professional connections, operate a non-profit outreach and provide monetary assistance to person or groups in need. We are very active in the local school system and law enforcement. KIMYB has truly set out to be a supporter for community connection. I obtained my Business Degree at Maryland University. My early career in corporate organizations prepared me for the operations of running a studio. Our personal lives give us plenty to reflect on when we step on our yoga mats. In hindsight, the studio process was smooth, but fear at some moments took a toll on my husband and I. Entrepreneurship takes a toll on your finances, health, family life and social life. We weren’t sure how we were going to afford the “surprise” expenses. We accepted a setback or time delays but we never entertained the thought of quitting. One major lesson I learned about business as a visionary, never stop sharing what you know is good and valuable. Yoga is a valuable tool for life. Open-mindedness and flexibility, mentally and intellectually is key to success. I want my community to know that you can be a Special Needs parent, have your own goals, manifest your dreams, be an outstanding caregiver, a productive citizen in your community and still share your talents with the world.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love to take my friends to Lake areas in nearby Alabama or northern Georgia. I am most drawn to the water element in nature. Throughout the week, we would sleep in and watch the sunrise from the lake house, eat brunch, and relax amongst the peace of nature. There would be long conversations to be had, songs to sing and dance blasts on the lawn! We would eat and drink local food. Visits to farmers, breweries and crop picking will occur. Hanging out on a boat, canoe or dockside would be daily, sunrise and sunset. The most exciting things to experience are Georgia’s beautiful state parks, waterfalls and serene lakes.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to give a Shoutout to my first Yoga Instructor, Kasi Reilly. She is an accomplished artist as well. Kasi’s enthusiasm and willingness to take her time to share BUTI Yoga with me back in 2016 influenced my personal and professional life. Another individual that I must include is my husband, Darnell Harris. He watched me evolve throughout my journey in self-reflection, self-love, and I found yoga during a difficult period when our youngest son was diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome, suffered a brain injury and our world had become foreign to us. We were grieving and didn’t know it. That time was about survival, we didn’t make time to see our lives for what it was becoming. Yoga helped to ground me in the circumstances that God blessed us with. Darnell allowed me to grow, become independent from the sadness and stress with becoming a special needs parent, and ultimately, invested all of our savings to establish KIMYB studios. He is just as much a pioneer for our studios as myself, and the team members that work with us.