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Conversations with the Inspiring Melly Jean Heinz

Today we’d like to introduce you to Melly Jean Heinz.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Melly Jean. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
When I tell people, I’m a hula hoop instructor they typically laugh or snicker, “You’re joking right?” they say. Although “hooping” as we call it, is somewhat new in the modern sense, hula hooping has been around since ancient times. Ancient greeks used to make hula hoops with dried grapevines and use them to exercise! We think of it as a children’s toy, but really the infinite circle is so much more.

I’m a former Special Education teacher now entering the wild world of entrepreneurship with a business that is a little wacky and out of the norm, some might even call it crazy, but hey, isn’t it the crazy people that end up making a difference and changing the world?

I’m on a mission to make the world a kinder and happier place – through the use of an ancient old object – the hula hoop!

As a former Special Education teacher, I experienced a severe burnout. Many educators and leaders in the education field had warned me of the extremely high Special Ed. Burnout rate while I was in graduate school and I researched countless articles on the topic. Of course, I thought that would never happen to me because I am so positive and love helping children reach their fullest potential. Well, it did.

I am a lifelong learner and I loved working as an educator. I thoroughly enjoyed teaching academic subjects, getting creative with learning methods, promoting independence, fighting for equality and inclusion. My role as a Special Educator mostly consisted of providing students with the tools necessary to help improve their executive functioning skills, concentration and how to better deal with anxiety, stress, and life!

I was teaching the kids to be mindful, take relaxation breaks, and how to be less stressed, but I wasn’t doing it for myself and I forgot to take care of my greatest asset, me. So naturally, I burnt out.

I deeply admire all educators that are making a difference for our youth, it is the most important job in my eyes and they should be treated like kings and queens! It just wasn’t the right fit for me and I knew I wasn’t living to my fullest potential. I felt a burning desire to do something else. I knew I had to find a way to use my strengths, along with my experience, education, skills, and talents to create a business that I loved and that would allow me to express myself, connect with people, and help others.

I reached a low point where both my mental and physical health were rapidly declining and I drove myself to sickness. I knew it was time to leave the classroom. So, I moved from cold Burlington, Vermont to sunny California to discover my purpose and create my hula hooping business, Melly Jean Hoops.

When I was a Special Educator, I worked with various types of students, kids with autism, learning disabilities, and ADHD. Because of their unique needs, we took many “movement and brain breaks” these were built into their schedules and also used in our reward systems. During these “brain breaks”, I used the hula hoop and incorporated stretching, yoga for classrooms, meditations, and mindfulness activities. These times allowed students to take deep breaths, reset their brains, and mix up the long and demanding day. It was a great success. As an advocate for health and wellness, I truly believe in the power and importance of exercise for the brain. And I am especially interested in using the hoop to switch up people’s routines and get their creative juices flowing.

I started this business to promote happiness, health, wellness for everybody because it helped me so much. Regular exercise and stretching are beneficial to all children and adults, especially those with ADHD. I experienced so many physical and mental changes once I made a commitment to sticking with a daily hoop practice, I knew I had to share this “hoop love.”

The molecular changes in my brain that came from consistent hooping, yoga, hiking, and meditation, gave me the moxie I needed to start this very niche business.

Hooping is a fabulous way to get in all that little dose of goodness – peace, calm, endorphins, smile, laugh, whatever it may be for you. Moving your body and grooving to your favorite jams, being outdoors, getting in your “flow” can even help you enter a meditative state. No matter what, getting into a hoop flow will relax your mind and help you let things go!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Balance. Working a full-time job while growing business has been the most challenging. Building a business is hard work but there is nothing else I’d rather be doing! My advice, do what you wanna do and don’t listen to anybody. LISTEN TO YOUR GUT!!!

what should we know about Melly Jean Hoops? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My mission is to get people moving and to get their creative juices flowing. My brand is about having fun and feeling good. With my background as a Special Educator, I am always individualizing and differentiating instruction. Throughout my lessons, classes, and events I like to focus on the brain. The growth mindset, neuroplasticity, resilience, and the meditative benefits that come from hooping. I recently started including mini-meditations throughout my sessions and private lessons. Hooping alone is a movement meditation, you find your flow state, get in the hoop groove and see how you feel. I provide lots of reminders to smile and “let out your sillies/silly side” you’re guaranteed to have a good time hooping! The circle reminds me of the community and how we all are equal in the circle. MJHooping is for anyone that wants to work on their mind and body, I emphasize being mindful, sprinkle in a few uplifting quotes about business and life, or share some helpful hints and tips on how to make hooping a daily priority to help calm the mind.

I specialize in private events and birthday parties. Corporate team building events are always a blast! We make our own hoops, play hoop games designed to help the team bond and learn a little about the history of hooping. From small get-togethers with a few friends and some hooping to big corporate events, there is hooping to every occasion! Private lessons for kids and adults are a good way to start your hooping journey. I love connecting with people and helping them get into the present moment for true, authentic connections, hula hooping helps us relax and remember it’s all good!

Who do you look up to? How have they inspired you?
My mother has always been all about positivity and happiness. She taught me that its okay to be silly and let loose! My aunt Julie is a businesswoman that taught me I could make anything happen if I truly believe in it. My friend Sami Udell, inspired me when I was starting the hoop business, she is the most hardworking entrepreneur I’ve ever met, her wisdom and support were invaluable when I was in the early stages of creating my brand.

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Image Credit:

Tiffany Easton

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