The Day The Collective Was Born

I remember sitting on my couch last April, wondering what I was going to do with my life.

I had become certified in barre in January of 2018 after a studio owner in town told me she was going to need a sub for her maternity leave. I decided to do it off of a gut instinct, only having taken 4 classes in my life. All I knew was that something was drawing me to the practice. So I took a leap of faith and traveled up to San Francisco to complete my training.

I had no idea how much I would fall in love with every part of the practice, from putting together custom playlists to writing my routines. Plus, I had never pictured myself pursuing a career in the fitness field and teaching others. But suddenly, those years of standing in line at grocery stores doing leg lifts or doing relevés while waiting for tickets at the movie theatre finally made sense… it was built into my DNA to be doing this!

Then when I taught for the first time, I was filled with such happy energy that I was beaming from ear to ear.

I found myself wanting more…

I soon realized that it wasn’t just the teaching that left me with a perm-a-grin on my face, it was the explosion of ideas that came to mind for the studio I was working for. The creative juices were on fire… I couldn’t stop coming up with new ways to market the space, finding synergies between other businesses we could collaborate with, exciting events we could create.

Before I became a mom, I owned a creative marketing and promotional staffing firm in Los Angeles. My every day was filled with these creative juices, and I missed it. My job had been to brainstorm new ways to market my clients’ products and services and I was great at it. I hadn’t realized how important (and crucial) this creativity was to my mental health until I gave my business up and took time away to be a mother to my amazing boys.

Looking back, I saw the threads so clearly…

I started my first business in fifth grade making custom stationery…

I played ‘office’ all the time instead of playing house…

I had four jobs at sixteen…

I competed in national marketing competitions in high school…

So, it shouldn’t have been a shock to me that in order to feel alive, I need to be doing what I was destined to do… helping market and grow businesses.

Learning to channel my happiness

Lets circle back to April of last year.

I realized that my energy was not matching that of the studio owner anymore… we weren’t ‘vibrating’ at the same level as we once were. I realized it wasn’t the right place for me to continue on my journey of personal growth. I had been feeling so much joy and happiness, feelings that I hadn’t had in years. I knew that I couldn’t slow down the momentum I had of building my life back up. The homework my therapist assigned was to keep channeling that happiness in every way possible, and I didn’t want to get a bad grade! (We’ll talk about my depression and alcohol abuse in another blog soon 😉)

So I sat on my couch wondering what I could do that would feed my soul in this way. I didn’t want to open up my own studio, that was certain. I wanted to do something that wouldn’t just help me, but help others as well. I realized that I likely wasn’t the only one feeling this way. I thought, maybe there are others that are just as passionate about their practice but aren’t in the right environment to thrive.

I’ve always loved helping people and I love seeing others succeed. I knew that if I could use my creative ideas to help them grow, then that would be my happy place.

I had accomplished so much personal growth over the prior 9 months, physically, mentally and spiritually and I wanted to keep channeling that same energy.  During that time, I had met so many incredible wellness professionals in the industry that I had no idea even existed (I was so closed-minded!), let alone how much they could help me continue to grow. There were also so many more people I hadn’t had a chance yet to experience, but I was dying to get to know them.

What I Want to Create

As I started pulling this all together, I thought to myself…

What if I could create a way to bring all of these incredible people together to help shape an entire community? To all collectively work together to reach more people, expand their horizons of thinking, and provide them with tools for self-care?

Wellness retreats aren’t a new thing after all; there are thousands of businesses doing this already. But they usually take a serious amount of time, cost a fortune, and frankly are designed for the person who has already been awakened, and who want to dig into their practice(s) more.

What I want to create is something that would be accessible to everyone. Something that wasn’t intimidating, didn’t require vacation days, or a massive withdrawal from savings. I wanted a way for everyone to be able to try out new practices, experience new people, and have fun!! How easy would it be for everyone to take a few hours out of their day once or twice a month to recharge their body, mind, and spirit?

And right there on my couch, on the evening of April 27th, the idea for the Valley Wellness Collective was born.

There were no grand plans for this in my head beforehand, no desire for me to start a business. This all truly came from another incredible gut instinct, an instinct that has served me well all my life. I knew I couldn’t just sit on this idea. And I truly feel as though all of my accomplishments in life –  both my failures and my successes – have brought me to this point for this purpose.

There have been so many other visions for the Valley Wellness Collective that have come to light since the creation of the idea, including ways on how we can work together to make wellness accessible for everyone, and not just those who can afford to attend these retreats. I can’t wait to share those with you!  I truly feel that if we all work together (these collective members and our entire community!) that we can all live happier and healthier lives, and that the world actually stands a chance of being a kinder place.

I hope you’ll take a seat next to me at these retreats… I would be honored to have you by my side and watch your journey of self-discovery begin!



Kelly Fiore

Kelly is the Founder of Valley Wellness Collective. She is also a barre teacher and lover of all things wellness and Santa Ynez Valley.