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Meet Madison Page of Core to Coeur

Today we’d like to introduce you to Madison Page.

Hi Madison, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I started Core to Coeur to solve my own problem – I am a Pilates and movement instructor by trade, and back in 2016 I was burnt out and was in only my first year of teaching. I wasn’t exhausted from classes, that was the best part of the job, I was exhausted from the industry. A fragmented and inconsistent schedule, running from studio to studio, gym to gym, having no centralized place where I could build my teaching business. My students felt insecure working out in public, often coming to Pilates by way of being in a vulnerable time in their lives – chronic pain, aging, or illness. The fatigue of fighting against the dominant fitness industry– such a poor understanding of human beings and what innately motivates or de-motivates people. No amount of equipment or bikes or treadmills will ever make up for the deep insecurities many of us face when we want to have a better relationship to exercise or our bodies.

At the same time, many “body-preneurs” were starting their own sites and teaching over Skype, and together with my very first online student (who is still moving on C2C to this day), I began teaching online too. The effects were immediate- the convenience it added to my life and my students. I was able to meet them at home without the added stressors of studio rentals and traffic, working around outdated studio operations. I also saw an opportunity – if we didn’t have to meet in person, who else could I connect with? What other people could I teach if it meant they could meet me wherever they were in the world? That was the “a-ha!”- this new way of virtual teaching met my need to make movement accessible across socioeconomic and regional realities. So in 2018, with zero business or technical experience, I started the beginnings of Core to Coeur with a Squarespace site, video conferencing link and scheduling platform during an accelerator program in Eugene, Oregon.

In 2020, we launched our platform with our 15 founding teachers after 18 arduous months of research, planning, and infrastructure buildout. Then COVID happened, the overdue racial reckoning happened, and our game plan was thrown out the window and spent all of last year trying to keep up with demand. The software and technology are far from perfect given our limited funding, but our students and teachers continue to shape this company in the most miraculous of ways and are so willing to ride the waves of growth with us. They are dedicated to the vision of what we know Core to Coeur will be: access to self-care wherever students are, to traditionally overlooked students in the dominant wellness industry. We’re at the point now where we’re fueled by part vision, part reality, and part brute force willing it into existence. We have a long way to go, but we believe in this thing so damn much that we know we’ll get there.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Nearly every aspect of our journey has been bumpy. I’d call it turbulence. And like serious oh sh** turbulence going over Denver during a storm. Software is expensive and time-consuming to implement. Every dollar we make goes directly back into improvements and creative ways to authentically market the platform. When you are a woman-identified first-time founder, the odds are already stacked against you. Statistically, men just have to have an idea, and if it sounds plausible, there is funding somewhere to make it real. For women, and this is statistically speaking, I’ll send you the sources, we need much more proof of concept. We need customers validating that the product is important enough and solves a big enough problem for a big percentage of the population where funds or angel investors deem it a worthy investment. There are many more roadblocks than there are wins on the day to day in order to get to the next milestone.

I just got off a team meeting where we’re mulling over a specific icon to use and how the teacher should click on it and have their class attendance pop up. If that’s not there, we’ll get emails asking how to access their class attendance. It’s literally one click. This morning, we’re onboarding 20 new instructors and have to create Zoom links for each one because that portion of C2C is not automated. We have teachers that are close friends and colleagues and it feels so bad letting them down because we’re not at the stage of business that we can whip up software features quickly. We have teachers who have difficult home lives, experience houseless-ness, debt, mental illness, and look to Core to Coeur as a vehicle to unlock new ways to earn a living. As a sensitive person, it can feel so rough because I feel it all. We’re starting this business because the calling is more important than the day to day struggles. People need to feel good, and we want to make it accessible to them. And remembering that C2C and I alone cannot solve every single problem.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Core to Coeur?
Core to Coeur is the inclusive fitness and wellness platform for the peer-to-peer fitness and wellness economy. We offer a curated, thoughtful live class experience where everybody and every – body has a safe space to practice movement and fitness. Our inclusive and exceptional teachers offer weekly virtual group classes and privates in Pilates, yoga, self-massage, dance and more. From 30-minute stretch breaks for remote teams to yoga classes for BIPOC caretakers to social justice and gender bias workshops, we’re building the future of what it means for folks to feel whole in their bodies and communities. I am most proud that we simply exist. And we are good people making meaningful experiences for people to feel good.

If you had to, what characteristic of yours would you give the most credit to?
I am a dog with a bone. When channeled correctly, I will figure out anything and have very high threshold for discomfort. Being a dancer will do that to you! I’ll cry and wail and get so mad that things don’t work as well as I’d like, but I won’t quit. As an entrepreneur, I listen to advice and take feedback to make Core to Coeur better, no matter who it comes from. It might make me wince, but it is my job to make this business better and build our community. I may not necessarily implement it, but it helps frame my thinking of how the company is being experienced. In order to do that, I have to get out of my own way. Something I also understand that is sort of rare is that I know myself really well. Knowing myself helps identify when I may be projecting my b.s. onto others unfairly, when I know I am out of line, or when someone else is. It helps me speak with kindness, it helps me navigate tough relationships and issues. So that’s cool!

Pricing:

  • Pay as you go and memberships available.
  • 1 Core to Coeur credit = $5 on the platform
  • Students can purchase credits and spend them in any virtual class or event on C2C

Contact Info:


Image Credits:

Kelli Radwanski

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