Small Businessperson of the Year finalist: 5 questions with Marissa West and Heidi Schmidt of West Kept Secret

Small Businessperson of the Year finalist: 5 questions with Marissa West and Heidi Schmidt of West Kept Secret
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After leading cheers as a Top Cat for the Carolina Panthers, Marissa West launched West Kept Secret in 2011 to let other people in on her special blend of cardio, strength and pilates in a high-intensity interval training workout.

Last year, Heidi Schmidt joined the company as a business partner and growth simply took off. Revenue is up more than 100% year over year as West Kept Secret has been able to add partnerships, grow their personal training list, increase group class offerings and expand the team overall.

That’s led to the West Kept Secret team’s selection as a finalist for the Axios Charlotte Small Businessperson of the Year award in the fitness category.

Get to know Marissa and Heidi and learn from their success through these five questions.

What’s the first hour of your day look like?

Marissa: I get up at 4:30am sharp every morning (except the weekends!) to give myself an hour to wake up before working with clients. I eat breakfast every morning and it’s my favorite meal of the day (typically 2 eggs, topped with tomatoes and avocado). I don’t drink coffee (I know, who am I?), but I drink a water with lemon to flush out toxins and start hydrating for a packed day of clients!

Heidi: Two or three days a week, I get up at 4:30 a.m. to teach class and work with clients. I’m not a morning person, so on those days, my cuss rap playlist is turned all the way up in my car ride to the studio! On the other work days and weekends, I’m up when my black lab, Mella, tells me it’s her breakfast time. I must have my morning coffee (homemade cold brew) within 1 hour of opening my eyes, no exceptions. From there, I am all about checking off the to-do list I make nightly before bed to clear my head!

What’s the most valuable business lesson you’ve learned?

Know your worth and don’t question the value of your time. Always take care of the people who work hard for you, they’re the future of your business!

What’s a recent purchase of less than $100 that you love?

Marissa: Lord Jones CBD Gummies from Fit Atelier. We both take them religiously before bed to decompress.

Heidi: Biokiss (lip serum) from Toska European Spa®; it’s perfect for everyday lip care and looks great over any lip color, especially for our fitness photoshoots!

What’s the best book you’ve read in the past year?

Marissa: “Million Dollar Women,” and “Miracle Morning.”

Heidi: “Becoming,” by Michelle Obama — and I re-read the whole Harry Potter series (seriously.. so good!)

What other small businessperson do you admire?

Easy answer: Brit Turner and Melanie Morton from Fit Atelier. We launched a partnership with them at the beginning of 2018 and we all love working together daily. We think what West Kept Secret and Fit Atelier are doing is the future of fitness, not just in Charlotte, but everywhere! We also admire Lauren Kunijo and Kenna Ehman of Kenna Kunijo Salon. While we are in totally different industries, we feel our missions align in helping women feel great about themselves, inside and out.

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