After 14 years in banking, Kenneth Low quit, took a leap of faith and seized opportunities that came his way. Today, he invests in Called To The Barre.
“There are already so many regular gyms out there. Some make money, some don’t. To me, if there is an interesting concept where it is also asset light, it merits consideration.”
Barre is a stationary handrail that provides support in ballet training and warm up exercises. But the perception that only stationary movements are done with the barre needs to be debunked.
“More men should be called to the barre. It is a great place to meet girls. And Ryan Gosling does it to stay in shape!” the former banker jokes. He is now investor at barre studio Called To The Barre.
Having worked in Hong Kong, New York and Singapore for the last 14 years, Kenneth wanted a change after doing the same thing. “Banking is also a very different field now, compared to when I first started. I actually saw myself in finance pretty much my entire career. But an opportunity came, so I took a leap of faith and seized it,” he says.
Doyenne: As an investor, what do you look for in a business related to fitness?
Kenneth: Passion is number one. You have to love and breathe it. Believe and engage in it yourself. As an investor, I don’t really take an active operations role. I sit on the board and run through things on a monthly basis.
I give inputs across all aspects, from marketing, user acquisition, expansion strategy, finance and such. My operating partners have done a great job. I trust them and don’t want to interfere, just more of providing input and different perspectives.
D: Why put your money in barre?
K: It is new and interesting. There are already so many regular gyms out there. Some make money, some don’t. To me, if there is an interesting concept where it is also asset-light, it merits consideration. I don’t have to spend a lot on expensive equipment.
D: How are barre classes like?
K: A class entails power, flexibility and recuperation. Barre involves isometric training, it takes strength to hold and balance yourself in positions.
There are stretching exercises too! You’ll be surprised how flexible you become after a few classes. I can now touch my toes with my legs straight. Restorative barre classes also involve muscle lengthening, which is good for injury rehab. It is kind on the joints and focuses on building muscle strength.
D: Are men into barre?
K: Sure, why not? Barre works certain muscles that guys don’t usually focus on. It is a good overall body workout and can be pretty difficult. Combining ballet, yoga, pilates and HIIT, barre offers something new to challenge the body, which is important to push us to newer levels and see quicker results.
D: What is one myth about fitness you hope to dispel?
K: That it is hard to do! Anything is hard at first. But over time, you get used to it, then it becomes a routine. Everyone needs some sort of routine to stay productive. For me, it starts with exercise. It is also a social avenue to distress, be productive and stay healthy. I actually use workout sessions as a great way to catch up with friends.
D: If your 25-year-old self could see you now, what would he think?
K: He would give me an old pat on the back for the journey so far. He would also caution me to not become complacent. He’d say, “You still have so much to achieve. You’re not even halfway. Continue to work hard and smart. Stay focused and true to yourself. But don’t neglect family along the way.”
D: Where is your happy place in life?
K: I am actually pretty satisfied with life (laughs). But coming home and hanging out with my wife keeps me going. Knowing that there is something in the distant to look forward to brings me motivation.
Images by Esther Yeo
Called To The Barre is a boutique barre and yoga studio located along East Coast, Singapore. The studio offers fun, energetic and flow based fitness workouts inspired by ballet, yoga, Pilates and functional training.