Local entrepreneur Petar Savic talks to some of the start-ups and small businesses in Primrose Hill. This month he meets Helen Griffiths.
Tell us about yourself, Helen.
I was born in Hong Kong and spent my formative years there before moving to London to go to Chelsea College of Art and Design. I returned to Hong Kong after graduating and ended up starting and running several businesses including a creative agency, a comic book series, a cafe, a publishing business and several lifestyle websites.
My husband and I moved to London a few years ago, when I was six months pregnant. It’s been an eventful couple of years: becoming a mum, getting used to living in a new place and working on setting up my practice as a kinesiologist here.
What is kinesiology?
Kinesiology is a holistic therapy that integrates Western knowledge of anatomy and physiology with Eastern medical systems, and identifies unresolved stresses in the nervous system and the conscious and subconscious mind. I use muscle response testing to find information on past stressful experiences and help release their emotional intensity. This means that the effects of these past experiences and stresses no longer need be reflected in present-day life, where they may have manifested as anything from anxiety, depression, digestive, immune or reproductive system issues, to physical pain. The idea is to let the body self-heal and return to optimal health and well-being.
What led you to quit your job and start your own venture?
I felt that being an employee was too restrictive and slow. I was frustrated by the lack of autonomy and the idea of having to ‘work my way up the ladder’ by doing work that felt unchallenging and meaningless. Almost nine years ago I decided to study kinesiology, as it had had such a profoundly positive impact on my stress levels, belief systems and mental health. This is such a different business and approach to work, that I’m truly passionate about it and love what I do.
Any advice for anyone thinking about becoming an entrepreneur?
Make sure that the business you are going into is something you are truly passionate about, has a purpose that is important to you, and choose your partners and investors carefully. It’s easy to get on when you’re starting something new and exciting, but a few years down the road or when things aren’t going so well can be when issues often come to the surface and you might realise that you have very different ideas about business. If you’re in a relationship, it’s also vital to get your partner on board with what you’re doing, as it definitely will not be like a 9‒5 job, where you can leave your work at the office.
What does it take mentally and emotionally to run your own business? And how do you find the balance between a busy job and childcare?
For me, it’s a constant struggle and I only work part-time, so I’m in awe of those mamas who are juggling a full-time job with kids. The most important thing is having boundaries. It’s important to carve out time for yourself, as well as time with your partner.
What do you most enjoy about living in Primrose Hill?
Coming from Hong Kong and having only lived in central London before, I love the proximity, the sense of community. Most places are really accommodating if you have a pram, a child and dogs. I love the fact that you can easily get to central London on foot via some beautiful parks, and being super-close to London Zoo. I’m also a big fan of the farmers’ market on a Saturday!