These days, working out at home has become the norm. But, Ashley Mills, CEO and co-founder of obé saw the need for quality at-home workouts before quarantine ensued.
We sat down with this powerhouse mom of 2 about her how her own busy schedule as a mother inspired her to create a brand that allows parents and generally everyone to remain healthy and fit with fun, community-oriented live and on-demand fitness classes.
Tell us about obé and what motivated you to start it?
My business partner, Mark Mullett, and I wanted to bring the excitement and levity of a great 80s workout, as well as the sense of community fostered in brick and mortar settings, and pair that with incredible talent and class types to create result driven wellness solutions perfect for almost anyone. From there, obé was born!
Over the past decade, we have both been very involved in the boutique fitness industry in NYC and LA, with a voracious appetite to try new classes and experience the latest and greatest in all things wellness. We noticed two trends which were occurring simultaneously — 1) technology was rapidly changing the media landscape— we were consuming more content than ever before, just from different places than linear television, and 2) the boutique fitness industry was taking off like never before. We saw a massive opportunity to disrupt the at-home fitness category with a new philosophy, centering around the concept of “Entertainment” with an impenetrable focus on community.
Can you tell us more about the obé consumer and why it has resonated so well especially with parents and moms?
In today’s world, most everyone is busy — whether that means working, taking care of children, or both! As you grow older and start a family, it’s extremely difficult to carve out “me time.” obé allows parents and moms to do just that. If you have 10 minutes, we have a 10 minute workout for you. If you have your kids with you, we offer kid-friendly workouts. Our goal is to make it easy and inspiring for people to include some sort of movement and exercise in their life every day. We work with the best talent, and put a lot of effort into programming to ensure that our live and on-demand fitness videos are the best on the market.
Can you tell us about obé’s prenatal and postnatal track and how it has been a tool for moms (and yourself)?
While there has been so much growth in the fitness space, it’s still difficult to navigate the prenatal and postnatal workout landscape. While you can often still take class at your favorite fitness studios, the schedule and options of what’s available to you is very limited. We built obé’s pre and postnatal program with that in mind. We offer a plethora of pre and post natal programming, and you can take the classes anytime and anywhere that’s convenient for you. As a working mother, I found that obé’s pre and post natal programming was a game changer for me during my most recent pregnancy.
Talk to me a little about your journey becoming a CEO/Entrepreneur—what do you feel has been unique to being a woman and what’s been unique to you?
I have been responsible for building businesses and creative strategy throughout my career. When my co-founder, Mark, and I had the idea for obé, we knew that we would have many transferable skills that we could apply to this new business concept.Being an entrepreneur and builder is second nature to me. The hardest part of all of it, and this goes for anyone working mom, is figuring out how to do it all while still remaining present at work and at home.
Women often are plagued by the concept of “enough.” “I’m not working hard enough. I don’t see my kids enough. I don’t work out enough. I’m not enough…” How do you think about “enough-ness” in your own life?
I’m very lucky to work in the fitness industry, which I find to be a very positive, supportive environment that encourages work-life balance and an overall healthy mindset around all topics. I work my hardest in all areas of my life — believing that statement is “enough” for me. I’m lucky to have a support system at home and at work that allows me to dedicate myself fully in both areas. And, the convenience of obé allows me to easily squeeze in some time to workout every day. We’re all doing the best that we can, and I hope that obé makes it easier for women to find balance.
How do you describe your personal motherhood style?
I try my best to be loving and calm and when making decisions or telling my little guys why they can’t do something, I dig deep into the why so there are meaningful learnings. I always make sure to offer my oldest choice so that he starts to have confidence in his own decision making.
How has being a mother the second time been different from when you had your firstborn?
I was smarter and more experienced the second time around which made it easier to manage. My four year old loves to play with the baby which is a huge help!
What is your strongest memory of childbirth?
The support of my community- OBGYN, nurses and my husband- are what I remember most fondly about childbirth; and then moments, hours and days after that were spent snuggling with my newborn.
What did you name your children and why?
Donovan isa family name and we chose Rowen out of a baby book. We named both boys before they were born and it turns out that Rowen means “red berry.” Coincidentally, he was born with a small red birthmark on his eyelid. It was clearly meant to be!
What are your family’s most important core values?
I always tell my husband that “love is patient, love is kind” jokingly when he’s not behaving in one of those ways but it’s absolutely true. Patience and kindness are virtues that are often tested when living in a small NYC apartment with two little ones and the values we have to lean into the most.
What does Eden mean to you?
Paradise! Sunshine, laughter, endorphins and calm.
Do you have a favorite Evereden product?
I love the Evereden Multi-Purpose Healing Balm. I use it on my babies, as a lip balm, on dry skin– you name it!