Katherine Mason was born an athlete. That became clear at a very young age. A strong team mentality and love of movement were cultivated in Katherine from early on. What she may not have known throughout her years of varsity field hockey and traveling on state-champ soccer teams, though, was that she has another obvious and distinct talent: an entrepreneurial passion for business and retail. Katherine bobbed and weaved through every facet of the fitness industry in New York City, and eventually landed back down South to open the Atlanta flagship SculptHouse studio: a fitness, retail and lifestyle one-stop-shop that’s the first of its kind. Now, Katherine manages a growing team of 100 people, runs a seriously obsessed-over athleisure boutique and operates five fitness studios — all with grace, positivity and enviable energy. We can’t wait for you to get to know our newest FACE of the South, Katherine Mason.
Tell us how your trajectory (sports, fitness, and modeling) led you to where you are now.
Growing up, I played sports on travel and school teams, and most of my identity surrounded athletics. When I decided not to play sports in college, I struggled to find my new normal. During this period, I discovered a real love for group fitness classes. The sense of comradery and challenge by the instructor brought back a lot of the feelings I loved from sports, and it made me want to further explore what a career in the fitness industry could look like.
After working in New York as an instructor, fitness model and Megaformer instructor, I conceptualized the idea of SculptHouse. I tried every class in New York, and I always came back to the Lagree Megaformer and Woodway treadmill (at different studios) to be in the best shape mentally and physically. During my time as a Lagree Fitness instructor, clients kept mentioning that they felt they needed to incorporate a cardio program into their Megaformer workouts. Eventually, it hit me that the perfect workout would be to combine these two machines in a split format where you can “get it all in” in just 50 minutes, which was exactly what I was doing myself, just at different studios!
What excites and fulfills you most about the fitness world?
The fitness world is all about empowerment, and I find the ability to change people’s lives and help them become the best versions of themselves to be extremely fulfilling. The industry itself is obviously fun and exciting by nature, but it’s really all about the people — that’s what gets me out of bed every morning.
On top of the thriving studios, you also run a pretty serious retail operation. Tell us about starting SculptHouse Boutique and why it’s exploded.
When I was in New York City, I was working for some big, well-known names in fitness fashion, but also was at the forefront of the newer athleisure lines. I had the opportunity to get to know the designers and brands that were emerging before most people knew anything about them. I have always loved athletic fashion and being ahead of the curve, so I saw this exposure as a serious competitive advantage.
I think a big reason why our boutique has seen such growth is because of our curation of lines and the education we provide behind the items we sell. Every line has a story and its own unique features. When we go on buying trips, we prepare in advance by studying upcoming trends so we can go into our buying appointments with forecasts in mind. There is also a ton of planning around the deliveries for the five boutiques, which we tailor to reflect each location’s market and client base.
How do you pick your team members and manage a team this large?
The most important thing off the bat for me is someone who believes in me as their leader, this brand and the vision for the company moving forward. If that is clear, we look for someone who is going to thrive in a start-up environment. Because we are still such a young company, it is essential to have self-starters who have a positive attitude, are willing to wear many hats and want to grow in the company. We aim to find those types of leaders for each location and in our corporate office.
Your age next to your accolades is very impressive. Can you tell us some benefits and setbacks that have come with being a younger business owner?
The last five years have been a wild ride. Lots of ups and downs, but that’s your 20s, and that’s entrepreneurship, right? I started the business when I was 25, and I turned 30 in August. I think one of the hardest things for me has been finding a balance with family, friends, my own personal time and my business. Moving into my 30s, I have become more comfortable with saying “no.” In order to keep that balance in my life, I can’t do everything, and that’s okay.
What’s something that people are surprised to learn about you?
Although I am a very serious person when it comes to my career and conducting business, when I am not working, I am a very silly person. I also am a total foodie. People often expect me to be super strict on food, but I am all about balance and exercising so that I can enjoy myself!
What’s on the horizon for SculptHouse?
In 2020 we will have five locations open and will focus on making them the strongest they can be. We also have a large focus on continued education with our trainers and professional development on the management/corporate team. We are also planning for significant growth on the retail side of the business through our e-commerce channel.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
What makes SculptHouse different from all the other workouts out there?
I think it is very rare to find a class where you can get everything that your body needs (and in a very effective and low-impact way) in 50 minutes. Time is such a valuable resource. Most of us don’t have schedules that allow us to work out for hours a day and go from studio to studio to get what we need to achieve our goals. Because our method is so low-impact, we are able to cater to a very wide audience. The Megaformer is used very slowly and with control, and form is of the utmost importance. Because of these slow movements — and the ability to customize weight through spring settings — we can really customize each workout. In a similar way, the Woodway Curve is easy on your joints, and your speed is based on exertion, meaning that actual speeds differ from person to person, so you’ll never feel like you “aren’t keeping up” with the person next to you. We like to think of SculptHouse as a personal training session in a group fitness setting.
If you had the chance to train one person, who would it be?
Lindsey Vonn. I have always admired her strength and dedication to her goals. The girl has been through a lot, and she has handled it with absolute grace! I would love to see her in a SculptHouse environment since she tends to focus on more gym-type workouts.
Besides friends, family and faith, name three things you absolutely cannot live without.
Exercise, food and travel
Thank you for chatting with us, Katherine, and thanks to Catrina Maxwell of CatMax Photography for the fabulous photos.
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