Develop a killer team — I couldn’t do what I do and Studio Bloom wouldn’t have achieved the success it has without my team. From my coaches, to my photographer, and of course my behind the scenes ninjas, these women are the glue that holds our app together, the continued passion that helps drive our overall vision and continue to slay’s time and time again.
Brooke Cates, Founder & CEO of The Bloom Method, is a Pre & Postnatal Fitness & Health Expert, as well as a Diastasis Recti & Core Rehabilitation Specialist. Brooke created The Bloom Method with a desire to empower women through movement before, during and after their pregnancies. Recognizing gaps in both the mainstream and pregnancy fitness world, she created a method that consists of diastasis recti rehabilitation and prevention exercises, labor training, functional exercise movements and innovative core techniques that are designed to keep women strong and thriving through pregnancy and into motherhood. The Bloom Method is the recommended fitness method trusted by Doctors, Chiropractors, and Pelvic Floor PTs. In 2018 Brooke took The Bloom Method online with Studio Bloom, making it the first ever Pre and Postnatal virtual fitness studio. Since then thousands of women have experienced empowered pregnancies, birth and now experience a deeper connection to their body, movement and exercise than ever before.
Thank you so much for joining us Brooke! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Myvision with The Bloom Method began with a simple desire 7+ years ago to help shift the way that women experienced their bodies during and post pregnancy. I had witnessed many women move through pregnancy in discomfort and fear around potential pregnancy related injuries, speaking openly about their discomfort towards their changing bodies and struggling to regain a sense of themselves postpartum.
I wanted to help other women feel empowered in their bodies as they stepped into motherhood. I left my job and embarked on the path, that led me to shifting the pre + postnatal fitness culture. Over the first 4 years, I worked solely with pre + postnatal women in a one on one setting, this is where and how The Bloom Method was born.
After about 4 years I decided to take another plunge and opened up a brick and mortar studio in Boulder, Colorado. This is where we would introduce The Bloom Method in a group fitness setting. I ran the studio for almost 2 years before deciding to take the concept into a virtual setting, pre + postnatal women needed easier access to The Bloom Method and I wanted to give it to them. In May of 2018, we launched the first ever pre + postnatal fitness studio concept, Studio Bloom.
What was the “Aha Moment” that led you to think of the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?
My clients and the feedback that I was constantly receiving around the 1:1 training I offered early in my career. The education was severely lacking and I wanted to fill the void, to give the power back to these women through smart, intentional, and functional movements. Most women are terrified of pregnancy based injuries, usually in the form of Diastasis Recti (severe abdominal separation), and pelvic floor related injuries. This is why everything we do at The Bloom Method stems from the inner core unit. I wanted women to have the confidence necessary to prevent and heal injuries that are often believed to be symptoms of pregnancy that are unavoidable. The feedback is still overwhelming… and constantly fills me with the confidence that I’m on the right path and helping women achieve feats they once thought were impossible.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
A few years ago, a video of one of the core techniques we use went viral, sending the Internet into a frenzy. Due to the natural movement that takes place in the abdomen when doing this technique it causes the belly to get smaller (because of the exhale and muscle activation) and expand back out on the inhale. It can be quite visually startling when you first witness it and the internet loved the uproar it was creating.
While OBGYN’s across the country echoed what I was saying about this technique and were happy to see someone teaching this to expecting women, many people on the Internet had a different voice. I was called more names than I care to recall. There were days when I would let myself read the horrible comments and in those moments I wondered what I had gotten myself into — why was I doing this if it was seen in such a negative light by so many? Then one day I found myself, yet again, lost in the stream of hateful comments. The passion that I carry lit up within me and said “NO! I’m not letting ignorance win!”, things aren’t always easy especially when you’re challenging the status-quo. I embarked on this path for a reason and will stay the course because I know that this is my truth, this is the work I was meant to do in the world. At the end of the day, I’m constantly reinforced in my overall vision through the women who are ever changed by this method. Sure, there are tough days (what entrepreneur doesn’t experience them) but my work rarely feels like work and is far more rewarding than anything I thought I would spend my life doing.
So, how are things going today? How did your grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?
Things are incredible and we’re constantly evolving! Studio Bloom is thriving and growing every day and has made The Bloom Method accessible to women all over the world. Our HQ’s focuses solely on Studio Bloom, constantly evolving the platform with new content and new concepts. We currently have 8 licensee’s (a mixture of fitness professionals and health care providers) with 10 more joining our team in 2020. The licensee venture has allowed us to bring on other professionals who want to teach and practice the method with their patients and clients in their local markets. I’m constantly in awe of how The Bloom Method has grown and impacted other people’s lives, from women who use the method to empower their movement + fitness journeys to the professionals who are sharing it with the world. We have a few new projects that we’re launching in early 2020 and I don’t think we’ll be stopping any time soon!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
I often call myself an accidental CEO, a woman with a desire to create change through an unstoppable passion. The reason I mention this is because my funny story involves a simple business mistake turned into a lot of confusion for a new client. It all started with a Google listing where instead of listing the gym that I was seeing clients at, I listed my home address. It had probably been this way for several months but until this incident with my client, I hadn’t paid too much attention to it.
I had a new client on my schedule, my general rule was that I gave clients a 15 min grace period before texting or calling to check in. At the 15 min mark, I called my client to make sure things were okay. When my client answered, she was just as confused as I was. She had googled me vs following the directions on my intake forms and found her way 20 mins outside of town at my house in the mountains.
I immediately updated my Google listing to reflect the gym’s address and learned a great lesson on first impressions and personal privacy!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I believe it’s our approach and our collective voices around pre + postnatal fitness/movement. A lot of expecting and postpartum women are used to a one size fits all program when it comes to their fitness during and post pregnancy, while also commonly being told to avoid many various movement based activities and/or treated as if they are weaker than they were before getting pregnant. Our approach is different — we want to empower women with the tools to keep them doing what they love, safely, while preventing common injuries, preparing for birth, and healing + restrengthening postpartum. We strive to be a method and online platform for all women, one that gives them choices around their movement, modifications, diversity with multiple coaches from all walks of life, and education that guides them no matter how they choose to exercise or move. We don’t believe in a one size fits all model simply because women are not one size fits all. Pregnancy, birth, and motherhood cannot be labeled one size fits all and our fitness and approach to movement shouldn’t be either.
With Bloom, we push traditional boundaries and seek to help women see that they themselves are limitless, that pregnancy + motherhood don’t make us fragile but call on us to be transformed into the unstoppable women we were destined to be. Whether it’s our approach, our voices, the way we educate and empower, or simply the way we are re-inventing the wheel with our online studio concept, The Bloom Method stands out through the collective passions that make it what it is. I’ve heard women refer to Bloom as a movement and not just a fitness method and that’s always been in alignment with my overall vision.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
To love what you do. To make sure that you aren’t doing this work, or any work because you have to or because you’re settling. When you ‘work’ from your passion and choose a career path that lights you up, one that feels like it’s destined to be your gift to the world, I don’t know that burn out is possible. Meditation, lot’s of H20 and of course diaphragmatic breathing won’t hurt either!
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?
This is an easy one, my husband hands down. From the moment I craved this work, he has been behind me 100%. Most recently, he closed his business to come on full time as our CPO (Chief Production Officer) and has so much of his heart in what we create within Bloom. Whether it’s supporting me and my coaches on set, supporting me at home and fully helping in all areas of our life together, my husband takes the whole life partner / work partner concept to the next level. The Bloom Method would not be what it is today without him, his drive, and his heart walking this path with me.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. Approximately how many users or subscribers does your app or software currently have? Can you share with our readers three of the main steps you’ve taken to build such a large community?
We currently have 7k subscribers and, like most subscription based apps, see a constant churn as well as new subscriber growth.
In terms of our community, my team and I provide education and authentic perspectives around motherhood to all of our moms. Whether on social media, within Studio Bloom, collaborations with other experts, and in constantly supporting our subscribers outside of our virtual walls.
We do the best we can in providing support and on-going conversations/education in our private FB group as well as encouraging our moms to reach out and support one another. It’s been amazing to witness the women in our community support one another and cheer each other on — It’s a beautiful thing….
Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a very successful app or a SAAS? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Be innovative — be willing to push the status quo and create something new
- Listen to your subscribers — your clients and subscribers will help you build the app of your dreams. Of course you are the chief creator but listening to the needs of your subscribers is vital to the longevity of your success.
- Develop a killer team — I couldn’t do what I do and Studio Bloom wouldn’t have achieved the success it has without my team. From my coaches, to my photographer, and of course my behind the scenes ninjas, these women are the glue that holds our app together, the continued passion that helps drive our overall vision and continue to slay’s time and time again.
- Accessibility — When we decided to take The Bloom Method digital, accessibility was really important to me. After-all, part of the creation of our virtual studio was around making it easy for busy moms to give themselves and their bodies what they needed. For us, accessibility meant more than just an app, we wanted women from all over the world to be able to take classes with us and what’s accessible for some isn’t for others. Studio Bloom can be accessed via IOS, Android, on smart TV’s, apple TV, Google Play, Firestick, Roku, and your desktop. We wanted moms to be able to squeeze in a workout no matter where they were because accessibility is everything to a modern mom.
- Community — Previously owning a brick + mortar studio, the continuance of community was extremely important to me. It can be easy for women to feel secluded doing online workouts so we draw in community where we can through meet ups, our Studio Bloom Facebook group, and on social media like Instagram. We try to allow our subscribers to get to know us (myself and my coaches) beyond the classes they take with us on Studio Bloom. It’s important that these women know that we are here supporting them and cheering them on as they move through their motherhood journey with us.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Better postpartum care HANDS DOWN! We do our best through various aspects of our method, like our 6 week CoREHAB series that helps women rehab, reconnect, and restrengthen their core + pelvic floor as early as the first week postpartum but this is just a sliver of postpartum care. We have got to create better care for new mothers across the board, from support, to lactation care, to mental + physical health. Women are often sent home from the hospital (whether post vaginal or cesarean birth) with very little resources and new mothers deserve more! I hope to be a part of the uprising around postpartum care and helping it to shift in BIG ways!
If I could add in a second ‘movement’ I’d love to see women LOVE the skin + body they are in while also loving and respecting the skin + bodies of all fellow women. I see a lot of women creating body shame across all body types, trying to shift the perspective to normalizing a certain body type while in turn shaming others. When we can see ALL bodies, ALL curves, and ALL sizes as beautiful instead of being triggered by others being empowered in their bodies, we can change the way the next generation of little girls / women sees and respects their bodies as well as others!
How can our readers follow you on social media?
You can check us out on Instagram @thebloommethod where we post tons of education based posts + workouts
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!