Marlene Havgaard Hansen from LAVA Studio
September 28, 2023
BY Camilla Kønig
Founder of LAVA Studio, a startup offering Power Reformer Pilates through regular group workouts, bootcamps, events and personal workouts
Bachelor graduate of Sports Science
Founded LAVA Studio in 2023
LAVA focuses on both the mind and the body during exercise, which is why the slogan reads: “reform your body & mind”
How did the idea of becoming an entrepreneur arise?
I’ve always loved physical activity and dreamt of making it my career after my studies. But to do so I would have to make a lot of compromises.
During an elective course in entrepreneurship, one of my teachers in Sports Science said: “if you don’t want to be a high school sports teacher or a sports consultant, you’ll have to kick in doors and create your own jobs.”
That really made me think. I didn’t see myself fitting in to either of those first two boxes. I decided to create an account on Instagram to share my approach to exercise. It quickly gained a lot of interest, and the term “enjoyment-based exercise” came up. I began to use it in my teaching, especially during group workouts, and it was a huge success.
How did you get started with your entrepreneurial journey?
In fall 2022, I needed a change and quit my job as a reformer instructor. However, I missed the type of exercise, and I missed teaching.
As of January 2023, I started my own courses in a rented room with four reformer machines. I hoped to have 10-12 participants, but the demand turned out to be much higher. By May 2023, I had a waitlist of 80+ people wanting to exercise with me.
From there, things quickly gained traction. In August 2023, LAVA Studio was open for business and for enjoyment-based exercise through Power Reformer Pilates.
What has been the biggest challenge in the process?
The balancing act between being self-employed and my life as a student. I struggled to find time for my studies, which led to a re-exam. But I don’t regret having prioritized my reformer adventure over my studies. The rapid development was unexpected, but it has led more investors to show an interest in LAVA.
It has also made for a new kind of challenge: Learning to make the right call and to trust my gut.
What does a typical workweek look like in relation to combining your startup with your studies?
When I was still a student, my days would usually look like this:
Teaching Power Reformer Pilates classes
Studying for my degree, developing the LAVA concept and brand, contacting commercial agents and potential business partners, visiting and negotiating potential workout rooms, making ads and content for SoMe and answering emails.
Teaching more Power Reformer Pilates classes
On weekends, I’d often study or work on my business some more.
Your best advice for other students who are considering becoming entrepreneurs?
Seek advice and guidance. No one is going to steal your idea; they don’t have your thoughts and your drive for said idea. Sharing your successes and failures with others is vulnerable but awesome! If you’re open and welcoming, other people will likely be the same. This helps to create a growth environment which benefits everyone, including yourself.
You’ll learn that not everyone is going to understand your priorities. But they don’t have to. The most important thing is for you to understand your own choices.