Jacksonville Women’s Small Biz recently got the opportunity to interview local entrepreneur, Sonya Mattey, owner of both Belly Charms and Peace Love Boot Camp, as well as Fitness Instructor at Every Body Fitness and independent consultant for It Works!
JWSB: You are a very busy lady with several different businesses. Tell us about Belly Charms and how you got started.
Sonya: Belly Charms is an online business with a very unique product – long flexible pregnancy belly button rings. I have had my belly button pierced since I was 26. When I was pregnant with my first son 7 years ago, I had to take my belly ring out around the 5th month. It got too short. The hole closed up just enough that I could not get a belly button ring in. I got it re-pierced and got pregnant again just a few months later. A nurse saw my belly button ring and told me that there were pregnancy belly button rings out there. I googled it and it took a few days to find one. I wore it all through my pregnancy, loved it and when my son was about 6 months old I decided there was a real need for them. I had zero website experience but managed to design my own website and get a business started. This was the end of 2007. Since then, I have had my belly button rings featured in Fit Pregnancy and other pregnancy and newborn related magazines. Within the last two years, the “big body jewelry” companies have also started selling pregnancy belly button rings, so needless to say, business has dropped significantly.
JWSB: What different products do you sell at Belly Charms?
Sonya: Pregnancy belly button rings are my top selling items with Belly Charms. I have introduced other products over the years, as well. Custom Mother’s Bracelets are popular during the holidays as gifts. By the end of this year I am hoping to scale down my online shop to just the Belly Button Rings and Custom Bracelets. I currently have fun things like Parking Pal Magnets, Baby On Board Key Chains, Maternity T-shirts and Vital ID Child ID Wristbands – and lots of those items are on sale too and I get back to the basics. I have an office that is overflowing!
JWSB: Talk to us about Peace Love Boot Camp and your work at EveryBody Fitness.
Sonya: I have been a personal trainer and group fitness instructor for 20 years. I got certified and began teaching in 1992 when I was in college at the University of Alabama. Little did I know that my fun job would turn into a career! After college I spent about 9 years managing fitness centers, running group fitness programs and, of course, I still taught classes because that is what I loved to do. Most of my career was in South Florida where there was a large gym on every corner. When my family moved to St. Johns three years ago, I was shocked to find out that at that time there was not a fitness center with group fitness classes anywhere near me! I started Peace Love Boot Camp for the women in my neighborhood at St. Johns Forest. I do outdoor workouts and small group personal training – boot camp style. They are hard workouts that accommodate all fitness levels. My students have seen amazing results.
Last month I was hired on at Every Body Fitness on CR210 to teach some of their Fit Camp Classes. They are just awesome!! I teach at 5:15am on MWF and 6:00am on Tues and Thursday. All of my early morning students came with me when I made the move and, needless to say, we are very happy to have an indoor location with lots of great equipment to work with. Right now I am only teaching three “Peace Love Boot Camp” classes a week in the neighborhood. I have a great group of ladies who attend them, but with them being outdoors, the extreme heat of summer and the cold of winter can really mess up our workouts. I love to help people get in shape!
JWSB: And then there’s It Works! I can tell you’re very passionate about their products. What makes It Works! so exciting to you?
Sonya: It Works! is amazing. Needless to say, I was not looking for another business, but after I tried one of their Ultimate Body Applicators (aka Body Wraps) I knew I had to use these products and sell them to my clients. I knew if I got results like this, my students would too! Our signature product is the Ultimate Body Applicator which will tone, tighten and firm the area you apply it to in as little as 45 minutes. And YES, it works! I was a huge skeptic; it took me months to even try one. As a Fitness professional, I can’t recommend the It Works! products enough. For already fit people, the body wraps can totally define their abs. For new moms with baby pooches, these can totally help them get their sexy back! My husband is now using them, too, after seeing my stomach and so many incredible before and after pictures. The body wraps are not dehydrating! You must drink tons of water to flush out the toxins, though. I could go on and on! Visit www.BodyWrapsFL.net and you can see a video on exactly how they work and how to wrap. It Works! is a great business and I am having a great time building this up and watching my friends and customers change their bodies and get healthy with our nutritional supplements. The timing was perfect on this, too, with the declining Belly Charms income. I have no doubt that by the end of 2014, I will have replaced that income with It Works!
JWSB: You’re an entrepreneur with several different businesses. Can you tell us about your family and how you balance business and family life?
Sonya: Balancing family and running three businesses is a challenge, for sure. It has gotten much easier this year now that my boys are in Kindergarten and 1st grade. I have the hours they are at school to work. I can make belly button rings at 7am when I get home from Fit Camp. Thanks to technology, I can email It Works! customers and follow up with my clients on my iPhone or iPad while sitting in the pick-up line at school. The one area I totally slack on is cooking…just ask my husband! I normally teach a few nights a week or do It Works! Wrap Parties. He has to take over dinner duty quite often and does a great job at it. My boys also play soccer, which means practice and games; plus, for the second year in a row, I am Kindergarten room mom. All of the work I do is ultimately for my family, so I have really made an effort to not get too consumed with work. Right now my boys are still in bed sleeping while I’m typing this interview. Being an early riser and starting to work before the sun comes up helps. I am not good at sitting still, so this crazy lifestyle totally works for me.
JWSB: How long have you lived in Jacksonville and what are your favorite things about North Florida?
Sonya: We moved here in January of 2010. My husband and I met in South Florida and were living in Palm Beach County prior to moving north. We moved here because of the schools and we just thought it looked like a good place to raise our family. We are in St. Johns, away from the city and south of Jacksonville. I grew up in a small town in Alabama and I love being away from everything. There are horses and cows on the road where my children’s school is. I love that! I have only been into downtown Jacksonville a handful of times. Most of those have been this year with events I am doing with It Works! The beach is close, the weather is great and so are the people. We have met so many great friends since we moved here.
JWSB: What are your favorite hobbies and activities?
Sonya: My hobby is fitness / working out, which is also my job, so that works out great! In the spring and summer I enjoy relaxing by the pool and hanging out in our backyard with my family. I am a big animal lover – 2 dogs, 2 cats, 1 hamster and now an aquarium. I don’t really have “hobby” time.
For more information about Fit Camp at Every Body Fitness, Boot Camp or to set up your own It Works! wrap party email Sonya at email@example.com. She would love to help you reach your fitness goals and get your body back. Her class schedule is available HERE. You can also find her on Facebook HERE.
If you are interested in being featured in a blog post like this on the Jacksonville Women’s Small Biz website, please contact Carrie at firstname.lastname@example.org.