Small Business Saturday – The Little Gym Katy
In January 2019, Angela purchased The Little Gym Katy. This was a moment that she dreamed about for a very long time, after being an employee of the Little Gym since 2006. Angela is a local mama herself and is so passionate about The Little Gym and building a bond and relationship with each parent and child that walks into her gym. We sat down with the inspiring single mom and business owner to learn more about The Little Gym and how she juggles owning a business and being the best mom she can be to her 8 year old daughter.
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in the Katy area?
I grew up in Magnolia, Texas, lived in various parts of Houston in my early adult years, then moved to Katy in January 2006 when I began working for The Little Gym.
Are you a mom, too? How old are your kid(s)?
Yes, I am a single mom and have an 8 year-old daughter, Georgia who attends school in Katy ISD and has been attending classes at The Little Gym since she was 4 months old.
What did you do before becoming a business owner?
Prior to purchasing The Little Gym of Katy (in January 2019), I was Regional Director for The Little Gym (2010 – 2018) where I managed four The Little Gym locations in West Houston/Katy. Prior to that, from 2006 – 2010, I was an instructor and gym director at The Little Gym of Katy. I taught my very first class the day that The Little Gym of Katy opened in January 2006.
When did you become the owner of The Little Gym Katy and what was the inspiration behind this endeavor?
I acquired the Katy location in January 2019, after working for the former owner for 13 years. Within the first three months of my The Little Gym career in 2006, I knew that I one day I wanted to own my own The Little Gym franchise. I never dreamed it would be the same location that I started at all those years ago. There were many times that I doubted that my dream would ever come to fruition, but I believed in my heart that somehow the opportunity would arise, and it finally did. I am so blessed to do what I do. The Little Gym has been more than just my career; it’s part of who I am as a person. It has made me a better coach, teacher, friend, mentor, boss, and mother.
What makes The Little Gym unique in comparison to similar businesses out there?
There are so many wonderful options for the children and families of the Katy community. What I believe makes The Little Gym unique is our focus on building bonds and relationships with our members. We strive to know the name of every child and parent that walks through our door. Our curriculum is designed by experts in the field of child development, and the philosophy behind the way we instructor our classes is one that creates an environment of inclusion and acceptance of all children. We do more than teach cartwheels and somersaults; we develop the whole child. Physical, social, cognitive, and emotional development are all part of each lesson plan, which gives children an opportunity to develop life skills that will benefit them throughout their lives, not just in the gym. The Little Gym is not just where children go for gymnastics, dance, karate, or have their birthday party; it’s a place where confidence is built, long lasting memories made, and friendships are fostered.
How has the Katy community impacted your business?
I am humbled by the support we have received from members of the community since the purchase of the business in January. We had a grand re-opening event in February, and we were blown away by the number of community members that came out to support us. I remember looking into the gym, which was at maximum capacity, and I couldn’t help but feel humbled by the support from so many people. We look forward to continuing to develop partnerships within the community so that we may continue to provide our outstanding programs in Katy.
Tell us about the different classes and events you offer and for what age range?
We offer a variety of programs for children 4 months – 12 years old. We offer parent/child gymnastics classes for children 4 months – 3 years old, and then at 3 years old, we offer gymnastics, ballet/tap/hip hop, tumbling, karate, and sports skills programs. All of our classes are taught in a non-competitive, fun, encouraging environment where children grow not only physically, but emotionally, socially, and cognitively. We also host private birthday parties (ages 1 – 12 years), summer and school holiday camps, parent’s night out, and a variety of other family events throughout the year.
Any summer camps and events for parents to be on the lookout for?
Our summer session begins on June 3rd. We will offer all of our classes for ages 4 months – 12 years, and we also offer summer camps that are designed for children 3 – 8 years old. Each camp is a magical experience that combines physical activities, games, and challenges. We offer a different theme each week, and the scheduling is super flexible. You can purchase one day at a time or buy a camp pass at a discounted rate. We also will hold some member events for those enrolled in our program, including a Popsicle party, and pajama movie night, and other fun family events!
Best advice for someone wanting to take the leap of faith into entrepreneurship or wanting to open their own business?
If it’s on your heart, take the leap. It will be challenging and stressful at times, but it’s worth it in the end to own a business that you are passionate about.
Who inspires you most in business and who inspires you most in motherhood?
My mother, who passed away of cancer in 2001, is a big inspiration to me in both areas. She had a 7th grade education and struggled throughout her life to support herself and her children. Even so, she had the greatest work ethic of anyone I’ve ever known. I admire her for how hard she worked to make ends meet for us. She would always tell me, “Angela, you really can do anything you want to do, but you’re going to have to work hard for it.” I think about those words all the time, especially during the challenging times. Another inspiration is my daughter, Georgia. She thinks I’m the best mom ever, so I must work hard to live up to that!
When things get hard, what’s one thing you tell yourself to keep going when running this business?
I remind myself to take things one day at a time. There’s always a swarm of ideas running through my head, and as much as I’d like to accomplish all of them, it just isn’t possible. I remind myself to just keep putting one front in front of the other and keep pressing forward.
How do you balance being a business owner and mama?
Finding balance is something I struggle with greatly. I plan my day so that I get the majority of my work done while my daughter is at school, and then anything left to be done that day is completed after she is in bed for the night. As a business owner, you are always on call, so we sometimes have to change plans at the last minute, and sometimes the work day or work week is longer than expected, but you make it work. My daughter is a trooper, and is my biggest supporter. She rarely complains about my workload, but after all, there are worse places for your mom to work! Haha! Now that summer is here, I plan to dedicate more of my time to spending it one on one with her, and be fully present in those moments – no cell phone, no email, no thinking about what didn’t get done that day – just enjoy that time with her. She deserves it after this hectic, but exciting year we’ve had so far.
Do you experience the dreaded ‘mom guilt’ and if so, how do you deal?
Absolutely, I do. All the time. I always worry that I’ve spent too much time focused on being a business owner, and not enough time on being a mom. Some mornings, I forget to pack her snack or sign her school folder, and then feel horrible about it all day. With taking ownership of the business this year, I have had less time to attend her events or volunteer at the school. I’ve dealt with it by keeping my communication open with her (as far as whether I’ll be attending a school event) and creating a bit more structure within our routine so that I don’t forget to do things like send in her field trip money. Luckily, she is easy going and doesn’t give me a hard time about things when I forget to the do them. It’s so much easier for me to tell a mom to give herself a break, than it is to tell myself those same words. But, mamas – give yourself a break! You’re doing great!
Future plans for your business?
I have very specific goals for the business and have plans in place to achieve them. I always wanted to be a multiple gym owner, as I worked many years directing multiple The Little Gym locations, so that may be something I’ll look into down the road. I don’t have any solid plans in place for that, but you never know what the future holds. Otherwise, I just want to stay focused on providing the best possible service to our members and to the community.
Any special deals or events our Katy Moms can look out for?
We will have several events going on this summer for both members of our program and members of the community. Right now, we are enrolling for summer classes and camps, and registration is also open for the fall session which begins on August 19th. Our biggest community event each year is our Back to School Bash which will be held on Friday, August 9th. The best way to keep updated on our events is through Facebook or by subscribing to our mailing list.