Get ‘er Done
Recipes for Entrepreneurial Success
Michele Hyland took her passion for fitness and turned it into VieStrong, a personal training business.
Photo by Cameron & Kelly Studio / Alix Martinez
Have you ever pictured yourself as a budding entrepreneur? Or thought about turning your passion into profit? Three Wilton women at different stages of their life paths, used their respective skill sets to launch new careers.
Michelle Hyland is new to the game but off to a great start as a fitness and wellness coach. She grew up in the world of competitive riding. Her father was a three-time Olympic medalist in the sport. Hyland has been teaching for most of her life and loves it. “My first job was teaching English as a second language. I also teach horseback riding and French to children.” Her other passion is fitness. She’s self-taught and has worked out in the gym, on horseback, and outdoors for as long as she can remember. She began helping her friends with their fitness routines and they all told her she should charge for her sessions. So VieStrong was born.
“I love to get outside and customize my sessions to meet the goals of my clients. I have a studio at my home or I can go to a client’s place,” says Hyland, who will create a personalized fitness program that includes both diet and exercise. If someone loves the outdoors, she’ll take them on a hike, on dog walks, or to the park, while incorporating a work-out along the way. Hyland loves the flexibility of being an entrepreneur and hopes to grow her client base. “I’m so lucky that I’ve been able to combine my love of teaching with my love of fitness.”
Ashley Krauss left the world of finance to stay home with her kids. She had always loved weddings and couldn’t stop thinking about opening a business in the bridal industry. “I wanted to do something I was passionate about, and I wanted to have flexibility, so I could be present in my children’s lives.” That desire gave Ashley the confidence to take the leap. She researched bridal salons in the area, and felt that Fairfield County could benefit from a bridal shop that offered a great selection of gowns, personalized service, and a memorable experience for the bride-to-be, her family, and her friends.
Her brides have not been disappointed. A Little Something White has won numerous awards from local and national magazines, and has been named one of the Top 50 Bridal Salons in the US by Brides Magazine. Ashley is now looking for ways to expand beyond Fairfield County through nation-wide speaking engagements at bridal industry conferences. alittlesomethingwhite.com
The phrase, “Necessity is the mother of invention” applies in spades to Maria Farinas. After her divorce ten years ago, she was searching for a way to make a living while still being able to care for her young children. “I grew up in a family of great cooks and I’ve always been interested in having a career that involved food in some way,” says Farinas. It was a natural step to combine her passion for cooking fresh, healthy food with her love of teaching.
And so Fork, Knife, Spoon Cooking was born. This catering company also offers personal chef services and culinary classes for both adults and children. Farinas teaches in people’s homes and through courses at Wilton Continuing Education. She strives to instill in her students the importance of using nutritious ingredients to create delicious meals. Classes often focus on seasonal fare and occasions like Thanksgiving, St. Patrick’s Day, and Easter.
In her adult classes, Maria suggests that students gather a group of friends and she’ll cover easy, weeknight meals, special occasion dishes, or food for finicky families. Clients can also work with Maria to design a cooking class event specific to their needs. Fork, Knife, Spoon Cooking will come to you and create a fun event centered around your bridal party, a birthday, a graduation, or just a fun evening.
Farinas’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs? “Just do it. Stick to it. And really pay attention to what people want. You need to be flexible and open to change. I thought my business would grow one way and it took off in a million different directions.”
In the current climate of women finding empowerment, becoming an entrepreneur is a way towards both economic freedom and creative self-expression. Whatever your passion, there is a business just waiting for you to help it bloom.