August 7, 2017
Last week, we shared our Amber Grant Finalists for the month of July.
As always, the WomensNet community made it tough on us.
Today, though, we’re happy to put July grant winner Rebecca Tongsinoon, Co-Founder of Hey Paddle, in the spotlight.
Continue on to read about her journey with a truly unique business…
How did Hey Paddle come to be?
It was April 2016, and I was in the middle of yet another grueling 100+ hour week trying to launch my software startup off the ground. My close friend, Chris, who happened to be a personal trainer, wouldn’t take no for an answer and would get me out on stand up paddle boards with her. We began doing strength and core workouts while on the board. One workout turned into daily workouts and soon enough, we had our healthy routine at our pop up outdoor gym on the lake. Being on Lake Austin in the sunshine, hearing the calming water surround us while we were working out was the incredible experience we knew we had to bring to Austin and beyond. And that’s how Hey Paddle came to be.
Beyond earning a living, what is it that motivates you to be an entrepreneur?
The opportunity to create a product and service, that impacts the world in an innovative and positive way, continues to be our #1 motivator and reward. Knowing that we have helped even 1 more person create a healthy and happy lifestyle and hearing our community’s success stories motivates us during the most challenging times.
Which advertising channel(s) have you found to be most effective for you?
Instagram has given us the most reach within our demographic for brand awareness over Facebook or SEO, but nothing can beat “feet on the street”, and participating in local community events, and hosting pop-up classes on land in stores, coffees shops, and other popular locations around town.
What type of feedback have you received from your customers?
We are fortunate to receive both positive and constructive feedback from our customers through ratings on our partner sites. We strive to improve upon the constructive feedback, such as when we were fortunate enough to receive the following regarding class programming:
“This class moved extremely fast. It would have been nice to slow down to accommodate the board, and use the paddle as a prop when needed (tree).” (3 out of 5 stars)
We made a few adjustments to the class format, and since then, have seen those class ratings shoot up.
Our most positive and rewarding feedback comes from our members referring us, and the celebration of meeting their individual fitness goals. One of our members who had a milestone goal of toning up before being a bridesmaid in a wedding, took before photos and sent them to us with progress photos after 8 weeks, and was so excited she had exceeded her expectations.
What goals do you have for Hey Paddle — short-term and long-term?
Short-term, our goals are to expand the Hey Paddle community in Austin by increasing attendance in classes, offering additional classes in other lakes in town, and training more instructors to provide those classes.
Long-term, we envision bringing fitness on paddle boards to every lake, pond, body of water in American and beyond, and developing an on demand mobile option for our community who may prefer or need to work out at home, or while traveling. Hey Paddle is evolving into a healthy lifestyle community, and we want to extend our reach globally.