#HerImpact: An Interview With Endeavor Entrepreneur Ale Llosa
KO Co-founder Ale Llosa on creating a community around wellness the challenges of scaling up
Endeavor’s #HerImpact series is part of our ongoing commitment to increase gender diversity within the Endeavor network. #HerImpact is devoted to elevating the voices, sharing the perspectives, and showcasing the professional expertise of women in Endeavor’s global network. Learn more about how you can get involved with Women in High Impact Entrepreneurship at Endeavor here: endeavor.org/whie
Ale Llosa co-founded KO Urban Detox Center, a chain of boutique gyms, in 2008, with the aim of creating a holistic community around well-being. Today, KO offers boxing, martial arts, military training and yoga, and has scaled up to 12 locations across Peru, Chile, and Colombia, with 4,500 clients. But, Ale maintains, “we train for happiness, not for fitness.”
In an interview with Endeavor Peru (abridged below), Ale reflected on the challenges that she and her partners, Camila Carlessi and Álvaro De Rivero, faced during the first years of the company, what has inspired them along the way, and the community they are creating through the philosophy of KO.
Endeavor Peru: Describe a challenge or setback you have faced in your entrepreneurial journey. What have you learned along the way?
Ale Llosa: We have faced many many challenges. One of the most difficult moments came at the beginning of our project, when we we had been in operation just one year and were struggling with all the difficulties that come with being an entrepreneur. We had a studio — very little, very cozy in a little garage. We thought the owners papers where all in order but then one day the Municipality came and closed the place, and told me “you have no license to function.” I almost fainted. At the time, we already had 50 clients (now we have 4,500) and my first thought was, what am I going to do with them? This is their space, their classes, their training, their money, their intention and trust in my service.
That night I called a creative friend, and we decided: we will go out there send them a communication saying: ‘’Nothing will stop us! No studio, no nothing needed but you. So tomorrow, bring yourself to the park and new evolution training starts. Oh yes! Outdoors, challenging, different, adjusted but always together. KO will never be stopped!’’
They all came the very next morning, supportive and strong minded, reminding me that the service I gave them was what they loved. KO was about the philosophy, the feeling, the result, the community, the WHY, the HOW, the WHAT. No matter the space KO was about its essence.
What is one problem you are solving as an entrepreneur?
We are connecting people with themselves. KO Urban Detox Center is a center in the middle of the city and chaos for detoxifying body and mind. It’s a place to find your soul. There is so much stress nowadays, and we as people need to find our balance; to find ourselves in our best mode and mood to be able to deal with daily obstacles and do it happily, remain focused and grateful, and enjoy every moment.
We help people liberate themselves and cleanse body and mind so that they can go and be the lightest happiest version of themselves. We aim to become their happy place, their second home. It is about the space, the system and the philosophy all created for an integrative wellness approach, feeling and revolution.
What is an accomplishment, event or realization that sparked a period of growth or a new understanding of yourself as an entrepreneur?
Going to Bali for the International Selection Panel (ISP) where we joined the Endeavor network just turned it UP! Finding out about Endeavor was incredible, and the process of preparing for ISP was amazing. We received so much advice, mentorship and direction. The ISP panelists challenged us to put ideas together, and the numbers and plans in order to start to think global. They not only gave us the inspiration for our next steps, but they also helped us believe in ourselves way beyond what we thought we could do. Going to Bali was a great investment, and helped us feel important, and get exposure to many important mentors who saw us with big eyes — way beyond what we thought of ourselves. That trip elevated us so much. We gained confidence, we felt hugged and empowered, and we came back ready to GO FOR IT filled with self confidence and plans.