Vern Hill the founder & CEO of CARiFiT Babywearing workouts tells us what inspired him to start the company and help with postnatal fitness.
What do you currently do at CARiFiT?
I am the founder and CEO of CARiFiT babywearing workouts and am still heavily involved in teaching classes as well as running both the online membership platform and managing the teaching team who run the studio-based classes. CARiFiT also has a dedicated PR and Partnerships director so I also oversee this part of the business and the social media content.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
Before launching CARiFiT, I spent more than a decade as a specialist pre and postnatal PT, helping postnatal women get back into exercise! It came to the point that I was demonstrating exercises whilst wearing clients babies during our sessions (earning myself the nickname ‘The babyman’ along the way) – the movement benefits combined with the powerful bonding and developmental benefits of babywearing sparked a lightbulb.
I understood first-hand the separation anxiety and barriers to exercise experienced as a new parent. So after working closely with experts within the field of babywearing, physiotherapy and healthcare, I put together the first CARiFiT workout and we launched in a small gym in Fulham 4 years ago.
Who do you admire?
We have worked with him and his team as expert advisors to some postnatal CARiFiT content on his YouTube channel so it is hard to look far beyond Joe Wicks AKA The Body Coach. His whole operation is totally ‘Joe’ and authentic but with massive effort, quality, research and amazing content creation behind him from his brother and team. The whole community and how you can really create meaningful connections online is very inspiring.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
I would have trusted my gut instincts a little sooner. The first ever proper photo shoot and promo work we did I was replaced with a younger, fitter trainer on the advice of the people we hired to help grow awareness. Totally the wrong call. Similarly it took quite a while for me to have a strong and consistent visual presence in our social media.
Once I made that change the business started to grow at a pace we hadn’t seen previously. I think that as a Founder/Creator nobody can ever convey your method and message as well as you can – ultimately that is what your potential clients and customers will respond to.
What defines your way of doing business?
2 key things for me.
We care more than anyone else – and I truly believe that. Every single person that comes into contact with CARiFiT will always get our best effort in every department of what we do. Whether it is responding promptly to oddly timed messages and questions from members of just taking the time to explain things in more detail to a tired and emotional new mum – they have enough going on – they deserve our very best support at all times.
Secondly I have always been happy to get other experts involved and have what we do checked, evaluated and recently even studied. This comes from being a new methodology and needing to provide people with a deeper understanding of why CARiFiT is so game changing and also from never wanting to be asked a questions by a participant that we don’t have the very best, researched based answer for.
This hard work and attention to detail is massively rewarding when it leads to things like being in the Royal College of GPs clinical lifestyle toolkit and having Doctors talking to patients about CARiFiT and recommending what we do.
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
The 5 P’s. Patience. Precision. Practicality. Plan. Pragmatism. Things always take longer than you think – there is no such thing as an overnight success, simply we often don’t see the first 5 years of hard work and effort that’s gone in. Be precise with every little detail of your business it will safe you a huge amount of time and money in the long run, from who you hire to do work for you to how you interact with each and every client.
Be practical, you cannot do everything all at once so choose so short term wins, longer terms goals and be at peace with that process. Plan – have one but be flexible in how you might achieve it, you will learn and grow as you go, ideas you were fixed on may change and the landscape you operate in can shift under your feet so be passionate about your destination but flexible to the best way to journey there.
Be pragmatic, not everyone will think your great idea is great and that’s fine, nobody likes everything, but a great idea will always find an audience that values it.