Justine Woodall, is an award-winning entrepreneur and founder of Kids Moves. Justine is our 2020 AusMumpreneur QLD-NT Making A Difference (Education) Silver Award winner.
Kids Moves is an Interactive Fitness business for 2- 6 years that is taught primarily in Early Education centres on the Gold Coast. We cover many different styles of fitness under the one umbrella including: Dance & Cultural Movement, Kindy Zumba, Character Yoga, Interactive Sports and Exercise Games. We cater for all children’s interests and keep our costs low to ensure affordability for all families. We are 100% Interactive & sensory with props and equipment and Cultural Diverse, as we take the children on worldwide fitness adventures, visiting a different country each class. Our modules are themed and educational ensuring long life learning. Our Fitness Mascot, Kiki Koala implements skills/techniques reinforcing our philosophy of “Where fitness is FUN” Our Covid-19 Expansion Programs include: KM Worldwide Ballet, Fitness Adventures with KIKI & The KM Survival Program, catered for children with additional needs. These additional programs are taught at our studio space on weekends. We also provide themed Birthday Parties, Events & Functions.
When did you start your business?
I started Kids Moves in Cairns back in 2016.
What was the inspiration behind starting this business?
My inspiration behind starting my business was my daughter and our tough situation and the possibility of being able to help other families.
I have been a single mother for 14 years and throughout this time have always supported my daughter in her chosen paths. This for her, has always been her craft of dance. I have spent 14 years of paying excessive weekly amounts in dance fee’s without any financial support. I have had no help whatsoever and have no family. She’s actually at a pre professional level now, and have completed qualifications, including her teachers and so all the financial hardship is now starting to pay off. My daughter also showed an interest in other fitness related extra curriculars and would of loved to have participated in it all but with our situation, she was forced to choose just one. Before starting up in business, I worked 3 jobs just to be able to pay for her dancing, bills and food. I missed out on a lot of precious time with her because of this and this is hard for me to say, as it upsets me, but it’s the reality of what inspired me to make a difference!
I thought to myself …. What if I created a program that covered ALL fitness styles under the one umbrella? So, not just dance but Yoga, Kindy Zumba, sports, Exercise Games, Gymnastics, Music, and more. What if I could reduce the obesity rate in children and make fitness FUN? What could make me a standout from the rest? I made my program educational as well as cultural and sensory. I never imagined it would expand the way it has, especially through a pandemic, I mean who would of thought? All around the world businesses were forced to close their doors but my business was expanding … I am forever grarteful! I did have to endure a loss of income but through sheer determination I kept thinking outside of the box and coming up with ways that I could save Kids Moves.
I knew I needed to make this program affordable for single mums out there and hard working families. This ensures that as many children as possible can participate in an educational fitness program, without any financial hardship in our communities. No matter what the child’s interests are, we actually cover and offer it all, at a low cost! My daughter is
now helping me run the business and is teaching our KM Ballet program on a Sunday morning and she often says “I only wish there was a program out there when I was this age”
What are you most excited about in your business?
I am most excited about how far we are still yet to go, about what we can still achieve and about the expansion of my business that is just booming right now. I am excited that I am soon able to employ staff, meaning that I can take on even more centres and welcome even more students and financial growth. I am excited that my dream of owning my own studio could become a reality, with these steps in place. At the moment we rent studio space for our weekend classes but the goal for me, is to own my own premises so that I could offer the families out there more times and days for classes and be more flexible and less restricted. I am excited that at the end of this year, I am fulfilling my life long dream of having my very own KM concert. This gives me the opportunity to showcase all of my amazing students to their families, who do not ever get the chance to see their kids in action, due to our classes being taught at their schools. The concert is locked in and 100% happening – I have called it “On The Rise” as that’s how I see us this year! I have dreamt of this my whole life! There is still SO much I want to achieve.
What has been the most challenging thing about starting your business?
The most difficult time, without a shadow of doubt, COVID-19.
Being forced away from my centres and students with no clear answers or direction, was something that I never ever thought I would experience. Everyday living in limbo with so much uncertainty really took it’s toll on my mental health. Loosing 8 months of income really took it’s toll on the business too and it was during the darkest of times, as I was laying in a hospital bed myself that I brainstormed how I could overcome this challenging time.
After overcoming all the personal obstacles that arose as a result of Covid – Health issues, having to move house due to not being able to afford the rent, no financial support, receiving food vouchers from charity and sleeping in my car with a teenage girl and a dog for a few nights, amongst the transition of moving house …. Having no family for support and dealing with the debt of bills accumulating week after week with no idea how I was going to pay anything from one day to the next …. I knew then that I had to think outside of the box and save my business.
Along with the rest of the world we went online for a while. I drove door to door and delivered packages with props and equipment inside so that my program could stay true to our values of being 100% interactive and that the children could continue to feel familiar and secure that all could be the same, despite everything around them being so different. Whilst online was a saviour for so many businesses, it was not for us. My program was suddenly turning into a standard online class and was going against everything that I had created my program to be … 100% Interactive.
If I couldn’t get to my students, I had to find a way where my students could get to me. I was lying in hospital and realised that as long as I was obeying the Governments Roadmap, I could take my class to the park, in a Covid Safe environment. One week it was allowed, whilst the next it wasn’t … and then it would rain!! It was a rollercoaster of a ride but Class In The Park is what truly saved us. It was there that I launched my life long dream of having a Fitness Character Mascot and launched KIKI KOALA. From there, all external families playing in the park would come on over to watch and more children would join in, taking our enrolments sky high! We held a FUN DAY in that same park, gaining more exposure and interest and even more brand new enrolments.
As soon as dance schools re opened, I decided to rent space and take my classes there. From there, I created brand new programs – KM Interactive Ballet which is a Ballet program like no other in the world. Our Ballet program is culturally diverse and is set within a framework of self expression and creative imagination, where actually our students lead the way with their explosive ideas. Visiting a different country each week they learn so much more than the fundamentals in ballet technique.
I also created a KM Survival Program to accommodate children with additional needs and from this program have saved a child’s life, who was on the verge of suicide from being a victim of severe bullying, due to his Trisomy 9, Autism and ADHD condition.
I am now back at full capacity at all my Early Education Centres through the week and have my new Covid Adaption Programs that I teach at my rented space, on weekends. So, I not only saved my business but I expanded my business, I grew my business and added on additional programs. It took strength, resilience and bucket loads of positivity. It was about saying “YES” NOT “NO” and rising to every challenge. When things got hard and I saw no light, I created light to be seen.
What advice would you give to other women thinking about starting a business?
My main advice for anyone out there thinking of starting their own business is to not think … not too much anyway … if your heart is calling it then follow that and everything else will follow. As long as you have a dream, passion and high work ethic, anyone can actually achieve anything in life. A support network is great but honestly, I didn’t have that and I have expanded and made it to this point. I have used the awards to connect and network with people in my industry and in turn have developed beautiful friendships that have aided in that growth, through their uplifting support. So, I wouldn’t want anyone out there with no support to hold back on following their dreams. If I can do this, so can you … You just have to want it and be prepared to put in the work. I have no family, no financial support and am a single mother. For these reasons I was unable to secure a bank loan. I worked my main job plus up to 3 different side jobs to work towards launching my business, I cleaned toilets!! That’s how much you have to want it! I did miss out on precious time with my daughter but now I get to spend any given time that I want with her and she is old enough now to understand. Being my own boss gives me the luxury of a flexible lifestyle and one where I will never miss out on those moments again. You may experience challenges and setbacks but please just use that to make you stronger as a person, which in turn will build your business .. GO FOR IT!! DON’T HOLD BACK … DREAM, BELIEVE AND ACHIEVE. Don’t go into it expecting for it to be smooth sailing as there WILL be challenges but you have to rise to each and every one. If someone offers help, take it with both hands and don’t be afraid to ask for help either. Say, “Thank You” and give back when you can. ALWAYS, support your competition and uplift everyone that crosses your path with kindness … You will be rewarded, I promise you.
Why did you enter the AusMumpreneur Awards?
I entered the AusMumpreneur Awards honestly to connect with likeminded women … I thought by networking with busy mums in business, it would bring a sense of clarity and sanity to my mental health. I struggle at times trying to do so much in just one body and with no family and really not that many friends, I thought it would be a great platform to change that. I have made the most beautiful friendships through the awards, ones that I know will now last a lifetime. Because we have so much in common, not just business owners like other award platforms but mums in business … I have realised that we are all real life superhero’s!!
What did you enjoy the most about being part of the awards?
I never ever anticipated to win … I am still so grateful, overwhelmed with emotion, and appreciative for the opportunity to be recognised in my industry. Couldn’t had done it without the incredible support of other AusMum’s through this inspirational platform. Friends for life!
What surprised you most about the awards?
I was surprised mostly at how seamlessly the awards ran from a technical point of view. To be dependant 100% on technology would be scary for anyone and both Katy and Peace seemed so relaxed right the way through … we all had a ball! Everything was super organised and professionally presented. It had clearly been well planned and thought out, with lots of prep and work gone into it. The transition from one category to the next was so smooth and the whole night was paced at a steady speed. Upon receiving my trophy in the mail, I was surprised firstly at how fast it took to get to me, since we were in the height of a global pandemic. Then, when opening the package I was surprised to find it so well presented, with confetti popping out. I was made to feel special on the award night itself, and all over again when receiving my trophy. Finally, I was surprised at how stunning the trophy itself was .. Just beautiful.
How did the awards help you in your business?
The awards helped me by giving me the exposure that I really needed at this stage of my business growth. With me only being on the Gold Coast for 2 years, it is what I very much needed in order to sell my business to potential centres. I re located to the Gold Coast from Cairns, to expand my business in a big city as I was restricted as to how far I could grow it in a small city. It was the exposure that helped me a great deal. Actually wining was an even more successful selling point of course, but just the nomination in itself sells a business to potential clients. As soon as potential clients see this advertising on your flyers/posters etc … it is a great conversation starter. Whilst I was on my 2021 Promo Tour, I spoke about the awards at every centre that I visited on that tour. It gains an interest and once the word is out that you are a part of an awards, you stand such a better chance of securing contracts and future work. Having this as advertising on my socials and on my website is a huge stand out for me, for potential enrolments. Families want their children to be in enrolled in a high standard program and so seeing this gives them reassurance that this is the case.
What advice would you give to others mums thinking about entering the awards?
My advice to others thinking about entering the awards is to try not to overthink things such as “Am I worthy?” – YES, YOU ARE WORTHY!! Go into the awards with an open mind and an open heart with your only expectation focused on networking and connecting with other mums in business, just like you! There are only positive outcomes here, to come out of entering. When we build on relationships we open ourselves up to new learning curves and endless opportunities for self growth. When we are surrounded in an environment of supportive, encouraging and uplifting women in business, we can truly conquer the world! That’s what this is all about … never go into it with the expectation on winning a trophy … but DO go into it with the expectation on winning much more … Winning recognition for your business, winning future work and winning the best life long friends. You are a winner regardless so really, it’s a no brainer! Nominations are open NOW so remember, don’t overthink it … jump online and register today … You ARE worth it!
What’s happening next in your business? Any big plans for the future?
What’s happening next? My first ever concert, showcasing my SUPERSTAR students to their families and friends. I have chosen to name our concert “On The Rise” as that’s where I see us at the moment, in business. As our classes are primarily taught at Early Education Centres, parents do not get the chance to see their kids in action so this is their chance to see why we are the leading Extra Curricula on the Gold Coast, why their children love our program so much and a chance to see their children shine, doing what they love. This is also their chance to see their child receive their much deserved end of year medals and trophies, as this is also our End Of Year Award Ceremony. To see them receive these on stage in front
of a vibrant, fun and supportive audience, is going to be such a highlight and very memorable. We have Face Painting, Balloon Twisters etc … to entertain the children backstage, while they are waiting for their turn to perform on the “big stage” We have Character Mascots floating though the audience, interacting with the children watching as well as performing on stage with our students … It’s going to be huge!!
My goal is to expand my business even further, to work towards buying my own studio …That’s the dream as then I can accommodate more classes, to accommodate more weekend students.
All images featured here are from Justine Woodall.
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