We caught up with power couple Kiera and Aimie, the creators of Feel Good Club. Feel Good Club is a coffee shop and bar in Manchester where people can make connections with others and reconnect with things that bring them joy. We also learned about a job title we didn’t know existed but now feel like every company should have one! Read on to find out what it takes to set up a business with your significant other.
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So, tell us a bit about yourself, how did Feel Good Club come about?
The very early form of Feel Good club came in 2016, I (Kiera) was struggling with an eating disorder and my own mental health, in order to start my recovery, I knew I needed to change the way I was speaking to myself and focus on something positive.
I came up with the name feel good club and started an Instagram page documenting bits of my recovery and similarly to how we do now on our Instagram, was posting messages I needed to hear myself in the hope that it could help somebody else.
I also started making candles from our studio apartment under the name Feel Good Club, however, not having any money to invest into it meant I was using the same pots and pans and singular hob ring we cooked with and Aimie got sick of finding bits of wax in her food (haha).
After a couple of months, it became apparent the time just wasn’t right, I still wasn’t ready to jump head first into recovery and decided to get a job which I ended up absolutely adoring – I was the head of happiness at a marketing agency and I was there, able to explore my passion for talking about mental health and creating a happy environment for people to work from.
How did you find setting up a business as a couple?
After we got married in 2018, we’d sort of done all of the things that society says will make you ‘happy.’
We’d got married, bought a house, and lived a semi-comfortable life – however once we returned from our honeymoon, Aimie still didn’t feel fulfilled, we’d both always spoken about Feel Good Club and how special we thought it could be one day.
One morning, Aimie woke up and said she’d love to pick it back up. I was in such a better place than I was when I initially came up with the idea and was far more comfortable with talking about my experiences if nothing else, it was honestly just a fun project for us both to work on together whilst hopefully helping other people, who may have been in a similar position to me, back when I was struggling most, know that they can talk about how they feel.
The only problem was that we still didn’t have anything to invest into it and as if by magic, we received a refund from Airbnb that neither of us had applied for, it felt like a sign.
Fast forward a couple of months and we’d used the money to buy a screen printer and sewing machine and the Instagram had started gaining a following of other people all focused on feeling good about themselves Aimie decided to take the risk and quit her job to try and continue to grow it.
Alongside the brand and clothing, we’d always had a dream that we could bring our online community into the physical world, creating a space for events and people to make connections with others and importantly, reconnect with things that bring them joy.
We managed to secure investment to do this and opened our physical space in Oct 2020, two weeks before the second lockdown. Starting a business, especially through this time that nobody was prepared for was the biggest test of our relationship, however, being together for 14 years means we know each other inside out and was able to support each other through it and keep each other going. We’re honestly blessed to be on this journey together and wouldn’t have it any other way.
What does it take to run a business as wives? How do you switch between work and your relationship and do you have any advice for our readers who are looking to do the same?
Honest answer, this is a constant work in progress, however, we are lucky enough to be doing something that we absolutely love and we’re creating a life where the things we enjoy most about our business are ingrained into our daily life because it’s something we live and breathe.
It’s not always like this though, running a business can be extremely stressful at times and this does mean the stress comes home with you but what we’re learning is that open, clear and constant communication helps us deal with this and to build fun and things we enjoy into each day.
How did you both meet?
We met at university. Aimie was promoting for a local night club and burst into my bedroom during freshers week trying to tempt me to go out into the courtyard because the club had a bouncy castle there – after ALOT of convincing she managed to get me out there in my PJ’s and get my number for free entry later that night – the rest is history.
What’s the biggest challenge in setting up a business?
There are so many challenges when starting a business, the most important though, that we’ve found is staying clear and true to your vision – ours has always been to make at least one person feel good about themselves each day and we take that into everything we do. This keeps us aligned and on the days that feel tough, helps us get through it.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Back when we first started, my old boss Steven Bartlett, who’s now on dragons den, mentored Aimie – he told her that the things you see as the biggest goals never feel as good as you think they will – there’s nobody waiting with fireworks or party poppers and so the most important thing to do is focus on the things you love every day.
This rang true when we published our first book in August 2022 (a guide to feeling good and being okay with it when you’re not) on publication day, Aimie had a stomach bug and we were sat in the car eating a cooked chicken out of the bag from Sainsbury’s before we went to our Waterstones Q&A – we’d built this day up for so long and it definitely didn’t turn out how we expected it to but that memory of us sat in the car, eating chicken out the bag makes me so happy every time I think about it.
Talk us through your daily routine as business owners.
It’s important to note that this routine is quite new to us, in the early days and especially during COVID when we were working 7 days a week in the physical space for takeaway and trying to build the brand and run the rest of the business at the same time we had zero routine.
It was a lot of early starts, late finishes, no time for friends or family or practically anything that wasn’t work – it was hard and we definitely burnt ourselves out, we recently realised that this isn’t sustainable but I think it’s something that a lot of business owners will probably go through until they realize that rest is productive and in order to be happy and continue to grow the thing that you love, you need balance.
Our routine now is:
6am – wake up and get straight out the house for a walk with our dog, during this walk we ask each other ‘how do you feel right now’, we talk about this and base our day around it.
6:45 – home for coffee and a homemade smoothie – depending on how we feel we’ll listen to a podcast or some music and start hitting simple things like e-mails off our to-do list. We’re both more productive in the morning so getting a head start on the day means we can finish earlier and have a relaxing evening.
8am – write and post one of our daily reminders, get ready.
9:45 / 10am – get to the club which is right next door to our office, we say hi to the team, catch up with them all on how they’re doing and get started on whatever is on the rest of our to-do list, we do a lot of brand partnerships and talks so we’re usually taking client calls, creating content or working on our latest workshops. Juno our dog comes to work with us every day so she potters around the club and the team make her her favourite treat (puppuchino)
11:30 – Meet with the general manager of the club for a catch-up, we discuss new ideas and what’s going well right now – our GM looks after the club day to day and we all share the same vision of creating a space where people feel welcome, comfortable as well as providing an exciting menu of drinks and food with our incredible head chef.
12:30pm – Meet with our events manager, they run and programme all of the incredible things that happen at the club, from cabaret to queer open mic as well as everything we do outside of the club, we’re launching a huge queer party soon in one of Manchester’s most exciting venues, we discuss everything that’s coming up and the promotion schedule for it. These are some of our favorite meetings, events were one of the main reasons we wanted to open a physical space and our events manager is totally aligned with this.
2pm – We also create small runs of clothing and stationary, the idea behind the clothing was that each time you wear it, it reminds of you everything Feel Good Club stands for, that whether it’s a good or a bad day, you can get through it!
We design and print these in house and pack and send the orders ourselves too, so we have an hour on products to discuss anything new. We print to order as to reduce waste so whilst Aimie packs up, I get printing.
3pm – A few of our friends come to hang out at the office, some of them also run their own business or are working from home so we always welcome them into the office and the club to have a relaxed spot to work in when they need to.
4:30pm – we have a talk tomorrow so we grab everything we need and head home, we have another walk, talk about how we feel the day went.
Aimie goes swimming while I read a book and run a bath and we practice our talk once more before watching a film and an early night.
Other evenings in the week are usually filled with playing football – we play for a team in the AF league which is an inclusive queer league so we do training on Mondays and matches on Wednesdays – this is another way that we create balance for ourselves, running around on a pitch for an hour with our mates is such an amazing way to switch off and takes us back to doing something we used to love when we were younger.
What was your first milestone for Feel Good Club?
Honestly, it was just starting – it took so much courage to just put ourselves out there and start. We spent ages overthinking it, worrying about what people would think. Feel Good Club was also so personal to my own journey that I felt so nervous to talk about it but a good friend of ours who we’d told the idea to literally forced us to do our first post – we’re so thankful to him for making us just step out of our comfort zone.
What do you think of the queer scene in Manchester? Do you hold any queer events at Feel Good Club?
To be honest as a queer-owned business, everything we do is inherently queer, we’re here for everybody and anybody but queerness is at the heart of everything we do. Manchester has such a gorgeous queer community and we’re so lucky. We have lots of events running each week, Mischief Cabaret, Queer as F*ck open mic, Trans social by Transcreative + Not a phase, Heard Storytelling, Club Quiz, Inspire sessions where Aimie and I talk to people who inspire us, Comedy, Live music and queer co-working and so much more!
What’s next for Feel Good Club?
We have so much to look forward to at the moment, the first half of this year has been all about expanding and growth – when we first took the space, we felt it was too big so we put up a wall, however, we definitely needed that extra space so we’ve now moved into it where we have built our office.
We focus on everything brand and expanded our kitchen which is now huge, allowing us to later this year grow our menu which is super exciting. We’re also going to be focusing on developing our online content and video. We have so much exciting stuff planned for this as well as festival talks, more workshops, brand partnerships and on the ground activations. It’s a really exciting time for us at the moment as we finally feel like we’ve settled down after starting our business in such a turbulent time and we can’t wait to bring the brand to life even more and most importantly, have some fun.
If you want to keep up to date with the events or just want to feel good, then follow them on @wearefeelgoodclub.
If you were inspired or would like to read about other queer interviews, check out our interview section.
Love Team Nonchalant xx
Last Updated on 6th June 2023 by Nonchalant Magazine