Samira Mustafayev: how to turn your favorite business into a successful business

Samira Mustafaeva, master of sports in rhythmic gymnastics, world championship medalist and founder of the network of stretching studios SM Stretching told us how her childhood sports tempered her character and how she helped in opening her own business.

- I got into rhythmic gymnastics at 4 years old, and quite by accident. Mom’s friend recorded her daughter in the gymnastics section, and my parents also sent me there for company. I myself didn’t dream of any sport then, I just wanted to walk in the yard with friends. For the first year and a half, each training session began approximately the same way: I burst into tears in front of the hall door and didn’t want to go into any of them.

They pushed me forcibly, begged me, promised some gifts. Why did parents do this? They saw that a result began to appear, the coach began to talk about it, and in this situation, of course, I want to keep the child in sports. Yes, and in general I liked doing things, it was only a stretch that frightened us, we were constantly stretched, it was very painful, and this caused tears.

At 11, I moved from St. Petersburg to Novogorsk to train with Irina Aleksandrovna Wiener.

Every day at 9 am it was already necessary to be in training, it lasted up to an hour or two, then a couple of hours, a break - and the second lesson. In the evening, you’re already exhausting going to dinner and sleeping, well, or for some kind of restoration procedures. This is such a peculiar childhood, you see your parents twice a year, you grow up early, you understand that when you are alone, you must be able to fend for yourself.

They talk a lot about the rigidity of rhythmic gymnastics trainers. Yes, they are tough, but fair.

You perceive criticism more than adequately, you understand that this is done for your own good and without this result there will be no result. The fact that Irina Alexandrovna accepted me into her family was already a great honor.

Irina Wiener taught me both professionalism, and attitude towards people, and determination. An athlete should never cry and be upset, it was in sports, and now it is in life. If something in our studios goes wrong, we try to improve it and move only forward.

In 20 years I completed a professional career, but she didn’t come to create her own business right away. About four years passed between these events. Looking back, I can say that I would remove this period from my life, well, or leave four months instead of four years. These were really wasted years, I didn’t do anything serious, didn’t think about the future, I just hung out and did everything that was forbidden to me during professional sports. At that time, I recovered by 10 kg, but at the same time I didn’t have any problems at all, already now, looking at the photographs, I think: “Lord, how could you launch yourself like that”.

She returned to her former weight slowly, went to the gym, normalized her nutrition, her husband helped.

The appearance of a future husband in my life also prompted me to create a streamer studio: we began to inspire each other, discussed the possibility of creating my own business, one where I could use my experience and your knowledge. At first they just found a room with an hourly pay, I taught there alone for two months, but we understood that we had to open something of our own, even if it was small, so that it would be comfortable for our clients to study. So we found a small room (about 40 square meters) on the Kuznetsk bridge, in the beginning there were also few conditions, the girls changed clothes behind the screen. And so began the path of SM Stretching.

No advertising we didn’t lead the company, customers learned about us through word of mouth. And famous including. First, Lena Perminova appeared, we personally didn’t know each other, we just wrote off on Instagram, she posted a post, then someone from her friends and so on. It was such a coincidence, it seems to me that the universe gave a chance, and I used it.

Now we have four studios, one is located on the Kuznetsk bridge - this is the very first hall, later the locker room appeared there, then the second hall.

Three months later, we already opened a studio on Chekhovskaya, another five months later a studio appeared at Culture Park, and another five - at Prospekt Mira.

In the studio we have three areas: actually stretching, a little added TRX later and recently we opened Barre. This is such a symbiosis of yoga, Pilates, dance and ballet. During training Barre we use light dumbbells, balls, elastic bands. So along with the fact that fat is effectively burned, grace is also developing.

This direction is not found in any studio stretching Russia, I myself studied in America, and then taught the direction to my trainers. Many are now asking me to train them, but I’m not ready to do this in large quantities.

With my husband, we initially divided the areas of responsibility, he is engaged in all business processes, and I am responsible for the selection of trainers, for the quality of training, PR studio and feedback from all guests. There are serious requirements for coaches. All the girls in the past are gymnasts or ballerinas with higher sports education, they undergo training for a month, after that they pass me a training, we conduct several more classes together, in which I can correct some nuances.

And only after that they go on shift. For a year and a half of work, not a single coach left the studio, and this, it seems to me, says a lot.

Before the studios opened, I worked as a head coach at a sports school for about six months, I was invited to train children there. But relations with the leadership were not simple, then of course I was very upset. But now I understand that this served me as a good lesson.

When I myself became a leader, I never, for no reason, made comments to my subordinates and did not scold them. If the guests have poor feedback (rarely, but it happens), I sit down and look at the cameras, only after that I talk with the coach. Because it happens that guests come in order to leave a negative comment on Instagram on purpose. So I can call myself a fair leader.

I am currently teaching classes a little less time, because a lot of other tasks were added, but still I love to train.

After all, all the client girls are so responsive, each beautiful in their own way, and they are always so passionate about classes.

To train and see how grateful you are, how he achieves some result - these are incomparable emotions.

Stretching is not a trend, not a fashion , just before nothing was known about this, and we and a few other studios were able to tell a lot about stretching. Now the girls have the opportunity to engage in stretching and feel more feminine and sexy.

Of course, I want to further develop and expand.

The schedule in all our studios is completely packed, and so that everyone can sign up, we want to open another studio in Moscow, we even choose a room. In the future, we are considering St. Petersburg. If everything works out, in two months you will see SM Srtetching on another continent.

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