Half English, half Mexican (with an American accent), Mariel, founder of Kuula TV, grew up as a world citizen – having lived in 7 different countries and three US states.
For 11 years, Mariel worked in entertainment, representing models at FORD NY and then LA and launching Casting Newtorks, Inc. across Europe and South Africa. Leaving behind her high-powered and high-stress corporate job that left her unfulfilled and unhappy, she achieved her longtime dream of becoming a yoga teacher.
She hopes of sharing with others the countless ways it has positively impacted her life.
“You got to have grit – Guts, Resilience, Initiative and Tenacity to get to where you want to go.”
Mariel shares a passion for life coaching and nutrition that, together with yoga, became the pillars for her business Mindful Sonder – a holistic approach to wellbeing.
All too aware of the high burnout rates and low pay amongst yoga teachers, Mariel set out to find ways to turn her passion into a business, which resulted in the birth of Kuula TV.
“I have always believed that, in all aspects of life, we are better and stronger together. Being quarantined in Mexico for six months, you would think that I felt disconnected from my community, but the opposite happened. Online, I was finding I now had direct access to my community and felt inspired to find ways to better engage with them and create a safe space for us to come together.”
Other teachers had similar experiences but struggling with the technical aspects and trying to do it all alone, especially newer teachers. “Kuula has become a home for teachers to come together, to nurture their communities, and to have a wider community and support team they can rely on.”
Growing a community from an idea
“Nothing worthwhile comes easy, but fulfillment is worth the cost.”
Before creating Kuula, Mariel was looking for a platform to stream and monetise her content, explicitly catered to the yoga and wellness industry. Interestingly, she couldn’t find one.
“Once we launched Kuula TV, we were fortunate enough to have teachers using the platform almost since its inception. They have helped to guide and validate both our ideas and roadmap.”
Furthermore, by launching weekly gatherings for the teachers’ community, it has confirmed the need for a more robust support system.
Plus, social media has played an integral role in generating industry awareness of what Kuula does. Social media feeds the organic sales loop and has kept the cost of acquisition almost non-existent.
“When teachers share their schedules, they often tag Kuula, which means both students and teachers hear it. It’s been fantastic to see that most of our teachers now even add our company on their bio, meaning they genuinely feel like they belong to our community.”
The origin story
She learned that drive and passion for the community would set her apart from the early stages. When she first presented the company as CEO, she tried to do so in a conventional sense regarding its mechanical aspects (financials, etc.).
“I overlooked the company’s key driver (especially as an early-stage business), which was my passion and what took us into business in the first place. Investors invest in people as much as they do in ideas, and so I’ve had to keep reminding myself that passion is a critical element in this.”
Now that they have built the foundation of offering as an end-to-end digital solution, they can focus on more innovative things that continue to enhance and engage the community.
“Out of it all, the ability to create a community experience online is here to last, and our ability to bring more diverse and meaningful benefits to the community is the opportunity we intend to develop and exploit.”
“You have to be all in – starting a business is incredibly hard and requires real gumption. If it were that easy, everyone would be doing it.”
When it comes to growing a business, she struggles to embrace the phrase ‘Fake it ’till you make it.’
“I believe that ‘Face it ’till you make it is a piece of more practical advice. Our limits are self-imposed and are part of what creates our individuation. You have to keep showing up and facing your fears, even if it means falling repeatedly. It’s not what you have on paper that makes you successful in life. It’s about passion, grit, and determination. You can’t fake those.”
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My name is Fab Giovanetti and I am a writer, author, marketing consultant, founder of the Creative Impact Group and professional troublemaker. I help people grow their online audience and monetise their content and unleash their potentials as creatives.