Keep your inner circle small. It’s very important to keep people close to you who are positive and uplifting. Once I removed toxic people from my life, I was able to truly blossom.
As part of my series about health and wellness leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Hakika Wise. Wise is founder and CEO of the Kika Stretch Studio franchise. Kika Stretch Studios is home for The Kika Method, which a form of passive stretching in which an external force exerts upon the limb to move it into the new position. Wise began ballet lessons at the age of 12, and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science and Arts degree in dance from Montclair State University. After performing as a professional dancer, Wise transitioned into a furniture sales career before jumping into entrepreneurship. From that point, she created “The Kika Method. In 2011, Hakika DuBose used her $500 tax return to start a business unlike any other: stretching. For $350, she rented a shared space in a gym to take clients, and for $150, she printed up marketing materials to get the word out. Without the funds to hire help, she stood solo on the main street in Montclair handing out fliers and offering one free stretching session to everyone she spoke with. To date, she has locations in: Short Hills, Westfield, Montclair, Morristown, New York City, Englewood, Summit, Dallas, Atlanta, and more. “The benefits of The Kika Method are mental clarity, improved posture, decreased stress, enhanced performance, improved flexibility, and much more,” says Wise. At Kika Stretch Studios, their stretch coaches are thoroughly trained in their own original techniques of unlocking flexibility. Their clients are measured and receive “stretch age” that tells them how old they are in Kika’s stretch years. This is, then, tracked over time as you achieve more flexibility. Wise is the youngest female entrepreneur to become a franchisor in the U.S. and the millennial business owner was also named one of the top female entrepreneurs of 2018 by Huffington Post. KIKA brings a new and exciting experience to a customer and franchise buyer, with a boutique stretching facility that was created for people who are looking to achieve mental clarity, move with ease, reduce stress, improve flexibility, or release tension. KIKA established policies and procedures that implemented best practices, while expanding to more locations. Through franchising, the company plans to expand regionally and then nationally.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I started my business in 2011, with only $500. I rented a room and shared it with a real estate agent. I hired college kids to wear Gumby costumes and pass out flyers while stretching. I’ve always been a fan of guerrilla marketing.
Can you share the interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Since I’ve started my franchise one year ago, I’ve attained 11 franchisees.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I first got a check for a package sale, I saw the address on the check and assumed it was the customer’s bank address. I desperately needed the money, so I was excited to cash the check. I drove to the address that was on the check and realized it wasn’t the bank, it was the client’s home address. From this experience, I learned better ways to budget money, so I wouldn’t be so desperate.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?
We are currently working with an NFL team and stretching their key players.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My mother has always been the one to tell me to go after my dreams, even when I felt hesitant to go after them. She is a serial entrepreneur who has always gone against the grain and created her own work. I have followed in her footsteps and have become a serial entrepreneur.
Can you share your top three “lifestyle tweaks” that will help people feel great?
1. Before you get out of bed, meditate and spend some time getting your mind right. Do this before you pick up your phone. We must always remember to put ourselves first. This will help aid in our mental health.
2. Drink a lot of water. Water helps purify our system from toxins and impurities. Drinking a lot of water will ensure optimal health.
3. Go to bed totally relaxed. Before you go to bed, make sure your entire body is free of tension and anxiety free. You’ll get better sleep and will be able to enjoy your rest better. Take deep breaths until you feel totally relaxed.
Is there a particular book that made an impact on you? Can you share a story?
The Emyth Revisited. It teaches you how to slowly fire yourself from tasks that you don’t like doing, so your business can start to run without you. I’ve fired myself from the daily operations of my business, so now I can work creatively on it.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I would create wellness centers in impoverished cities, so that people who normally couldn’t afford these services, could, at a discounted rate.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I am starting a non profit that will be a support system for single mothers. This will include childcare, clothing donations, job skills, health and wellness, and much more.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
1. Don't be afraid. Fear is false evidence appearing real. Fear is what stops people from accomplishing their dreams. I used to be afraid to be an entrepreneur. Look at me know.
2. Study your craft. Before I opened my business, I spent one year reading books on marketing and how to open a successful business.
3. Keep your inner circle small. It’s very important to keep people close to you who are positive and uplifting. Once I removed toxic people from my life, I was able to truly blossom.
4. Find a way to be different. You must find a way to be different than your competition. Market yourself off what makes you different. The Kika Method is a proprietary system of stretching that we use in our studios. I created it and its only found in our establishments.
5. Start Now! Don’t put off your goals any longer. Work each day to reach them. I’ve always been the type to have an idea and jump on it. When you do this, you’re able to reach success faster.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?
“You were born an original, don’t die a copy.”
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)
I would love to have a private breakfast with Richard Bronson. He has such a playful outlook on life and has created a brand that truly makes people feel amazing.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Follow me on Instagram : @kikaiam
Thank you for all of these great insights!