Breaking into any industry is hard. We spoke with Edyta Kurowska and Rachel Katzman, two highly driven women who run businesses in competitive fields -beauty and fitness. Rachel, the CEO of P.volve, a fitness method that Victoria Secret models swear by, is predominately New York-based, while Edyta – better-known as Edy – manages her beauty and eyelash business from London. Beginning as a makeup artist on editorial shoots, film sets and commercials, Edy came to understand the geometrics of a face. Today, her loyal client-base includes Trinny Woodall (a beauty authority in her own right), Sadie Frost, Lisa Snowdon and influencer Niomi Smart – among many others. When you book to see Edy, during a 90-minute appointment, she might painstakingly place as many as 100 lashes. The result is an outrageously natural flutter. Across the Atlantic, Rachel is managing, building and growing P.volve, the fitness business she created with her husband. A blend of physical therapy and functional science, the workouts are designed to target and sculpt hard-to-access areas. Built around micro-movements and stepping patterns, with no burpees, crunches or squats, the aim is to work with your body not against it. Beyond an ever-growing list of studios, P.volve offers and online streaming platform, which includes over 75 workout videos (that can be filtered by body type, duration and available equipment). It’s genius for realties of the modern jet-set woman.
1.How did you get into what you do? I was working as a make-up artist for big brands, commercials and using false strip lashes. It was hard to find eyelashes suitable to particular eye shapes. So after tons of research, I realised that individual eyelash extensions would be the best option for photoshoots, especially for close-up shots, as they blend into the natural eyelash. My work has been recognised as one of the most natural applications to the point that people can’t detect the extensions at all. In my case, word of mouth amongst my models and clients has helped me to grow my business rapidly. I ultimately stepped away from doing makeup to solely focus on eyelash extensions.
2. What might surprise people to learn about working in the beauty industry? It can be very social, and I have become close friends with many of my clients. I’ve gone on holiday with clients, even been a bridesmaid in a client’s wedding,
3. Why are lash extensions particularly good for people who travel a lot? For starters, they are timesaving. You never have to worry about panda eyes or running mascara in humid, muggy weather. You can ski without running a risk of smudged makeup or jump into the ocean without apprehension. And I love that it is one less thing to put in my makeup bag, which is always helpful when packing, especially with all the strict liquid laws and weight allowances.
4. What makes your method of applying lashes different? Through years of practise and my experience as a make-up artist, I now thoroughly understand different eye shapes, as well as brow and facial shapes. Now, I take all of this into consideration when choosing the length, thickness and curl of the lashes. I always make sure the lashes are applied correctly. I always use a ration of one synthetic lash to every real lash, ensuring the extensions aren’t too heavy and won’t cause any damage.
5. What is your favourite destination on earth to travel to and why? Definitely Japan. When I am there I really feel as if I am in another world. From the delicious food, often in understated and clandestine locations to the incredible bullet train that takes you from Tokyo to Hiroshima in no time! It’s a such a prisitine country, and it’s the safest country I have travelled to. I love their work ethic, and it seems to me like everybody is doing something all of the time. People are shy in a sweet way and very polite and well educated. And I love the world’s largest Shiseido shop, where I can get lost for hours and hours looking at beauty products.
1. How did P.volve begin and what did it offer that wasn’t already on the market at that time? My husband and founder of P.volve, Stephen Pasterino, has been immersed in the fitness world for 15 years and studied at The Gray Institute, which is where he learned the importance of functional science and how authentic, natural movements strengthen the body to create a proportionate, toned physique. He moved to NY several years ago to become a trainer and women kept coming to him confused by how their body was reacting to high-intensity workouts; they were bulking up instead of getting leaner and often suffering from back and knee injuries. After observing different workouts and personal training sessions, he realized that many of these women were being trained like men – how he used to train for football, and he became obsessed with defining a methodology that worked with your body, not against it. Hence, P.volve was born, which is rooted in functional science.
At P.volve, our aim is to educate you on how the body and all its muscles and joints work together. You don’t need to hurt yourself to transform your body; what you need are safe, sustainable movements. I used to hate working out and developed scoliosis at a young age, so when I saw my body healing and changing because of P.volve, I knew I needed to take this concept and make it bigger than just a New York fitness class.
2. How has the brand and offering developed since launching? We launched in November 2017, and it’s incredible to watch how the brand has grown. When P.volve started, it was just my husband and I who worked on the brand, and we had two instructors teaching in our little Chinatown studio. Now in 2019, P.volve has exploded. We’re building state-of-the-art studios in NYC’s Soho, Chicago and LA, we’ve launched an app and a streaming platform that has over 200 videos and that serves up new content weekly, and we’ve created and patented two pieces of fitness equipment (with a third launching this year) that are incorporated into our workouts.
3. It is quite an unusual name – what is behind it? What does it mean?P.volve is all about precision and purposeful movements, which is where the “P” comes from, and we combined with the word “evolve”. It’s about an evolution in fitness – not just the outer physical appearance, but the overall health from the inside out. Stephen and I are always coming up with new moves and exercises to continuously take the body to places you didn’t think it could go. Everything in society evolves — technology, culture, art — and now we feel it is a time for women’s fitness to evolve. P.volve is an evolution in fitness.
4. What’s changing in the fitness and wellness industry that is exciting you? More and more, people want a fitness program that fits their lifestyle. There has been a massive shift away from big gyms – and a focus on meeting people where they are. We developed P.volve with that in mind – P.volve created a state-of-the-art streaming program that allows our users to workout in their home (only a small space is needed), while traveling or if they are craving a studio-experience, they will be able to come to one of our three studios in NYC, LA and Chicago. We also do pop-ups across the country to bring our methodology and our instructors to as many towns as possible.
5. What do you know now that you wish you had known starting out? I come from a family of entrepreneurs, so I am lucky that I didn’t have the fear that I know most women in the startup world have. However, I do wish every once in a while someone would have reminded me to slow down and breathe.
6. What is the best thing someone has told you after a P.volve class? I’ve had a few women tell me that they didn’t think they would be able to work out again –whether it was from a serious injury or other workouts causing too much wear and tear on their bodies – and P.volve has been a lifesaver for them. Not only did the workout not cause stress on their bodies, but it actually made them feel stronger, more powerful, confident, and ultimately made them feel like themselves again. As a business owner, it really can’t get better than that.
7. What does success for P.volve look like? There are so many ways my team and I can look at success, but overall, I want P.volve to be a household name. But most importantly, we’ll be revolutionizing the way people think and feel about fitness.