In this special column called the “TLC x Fempreneurs Series”, we will be featuring inspiring Female Entrepreneurs (Fempreneurs) in short. You will be able to have a sneak peek at their mindsets and their daily habits.
Believe in the power of community. On some days when you feel big goals are impossible, or when you feel like giving up, you need to lean on your like-minded community. You can even “borrow” motivation, and in turn “return” with your own inspiring stories to pay it forward.
Meet Anna Milani (Sparkd)
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Anna Milani and I am the Founder at Sparkd | The Brain & Fitness Hub. Sparkd is a new concept fitness facility/gym that focuses on Brain and Body workouts, physical and cognitive workouts simultaneously. Sparkd is Brain Fitness for everyone, from young kids, to adults to sportspeople to seniors and people with neurological conditions. Sparkd is about training your brain and body in a fun, engaging, and gamified way. Sparkd’s mission is to improve Brain and Body performance at every age and every stage.
What got you started on your business?
I have been in the movement and fitness industry for 20 years and I was doing some research studies I came across neuroscience and exercise and how exercise impacts the brain. My grandad died of Alzheimer’s 8 years ago and I saw the impact it had on himself, my grandma, and the rest of the family and when I realized there was something I could do from an exercise perspective to improve brain performance and impact the life of other family members as well as the wider public I got very excited about the opportunity.
Before you started on your business, what did you do on a full-time basis?
I have been working in movement and fitness for 20 years as a dancer first, then Personal Trainer, then Pilates instructor. I have managed several boutique studios both in London and Singapore. I took a break to have my three children and worked from home during that time. I then decided to go full in by opening Sparkd at the end of March 2021.
What were some difficulties you faced in your life and how did you overcome them?
One of the difficulties was finding my career path after graduating in Contemporary Dance in London. I had danced for so long and that’s all I knew but after finishing my studies I realized that it was not what I wanted to do. It was hard to adjust at the time and discover a new path but it was really fulfilling to find something so satisfying.
Becoming a mum was another interesting time, the struggle of putting on hold some of your work life and the identity around that and readjusting to a new role both in Social itty and within yourself. The struggle of balancing work-life family balance is not an easy one for any mother. Opening a business during a pandemic was another very challenging time when things are just out of your control and you are constantly having to adjust to changing circumstances. Launching a totally new concept business when nobody knows anything about it and therefore spending a lot of time educating customers about it.
Who inspires you?
My grandma and my mum have always inspired me. My grandma has kept herself fit and moving throughout her life until late in life, she has always have had hobbies, has travelled, and has surrounded herself by friends. My mum has always been an example of resilience both physical and mental. She moved to a country from Finland to Italy to marry my dad in the early ’80s and has brought my sister and me up with a lot of hard work. She has shown me that is ok to start a career mode 30’s-40’s when she enrolled in University and changed her career late 30’s. She is now in her early 60’s and keeps fit and active and has recently taken up drawing as a hobby, which is great for brain health. I truly admire them both.
What excites you most about your industry?
The future and the opportunities that lie ahead in an ever-changing industry. The fact that the industry has to adapt and evolve because of a constantly changing society and demands. The opportunity one has to find to constantly evolve.
What is your vision / personal motto?
My motto is to try and live a life as full as possible, as full of emotions, as full of successes, as full of failures, as full of mistakes and recoveries, and as full of achievements. Life goes by too fast, live it to the fullest and try to enjoy each day as much (harder said than done “heheh”)
Do you have any word of advice for other ladies who are starting their business/ starting to pursue their dream?
If you have a passion or dream go fo for it, it’s never too late, and make the most of the process. There will be good days and bad days but never forget why you started it. Enjoy the process and surround yourself with people that support you and inspire you!
How do you think you can help ladies to feel confident and empowered?
By telling them is ok not to be perfect or try to be all the time and just going for things and saying yes to opportunities. Things will start happening when you take the leap into the unknown. Training physically and cognitively is definitely empowering so I would recommend it for any woman that needs a confidence boost.
What have you learned recently that you hope the other ladies can take back?
Have an open mind and do not be threatened by what you do not know. Be excited about that and face new challenges every day with a positive mindset. Every challenge is an opportunity.
What is one thing you are grateful for?
I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to live in different countries and experience different cultures. I am grateful for my husband’s support throughout this journey and I am grateful for my 3 crazy and healthy children.
What do you do in your free time as self-care? How do you unwind?
I have very little time for myself these days but I train in the gym “hehehe”, I go for a massage once in a while, I walk the dogs in the evenings and I dance and sing very bad karaoke at home during the weekend.
Let us know more about what you do!
Sparkd is Brain Fitness for all, for kids, teenagers, sports people, adults, corporates and seniors. Sparkd is inclusive, fun, gamified, interactive ands scientifically based. Sparkd is the future of fitness.
You may find use featured on Lianhe Zaobao, Honeykids, Sassymama, MoneyFM, The Sensitive Man Podcast, Time Out, Run Magazine, ICON, UWeekly.
Connect with Sparkd!
2 winners can stand a chance to win an Online Brain Health Cognitive Assessment + 1 Group Session, 1 Personal Training Session valued at $270 each. Head over to The Ladies Cue Instagram to participate!
Are you a Fempreneur too?
Connect with us – we’d love to feature you! Say hi to us at [email protected] or reach out to us via our social media.
Read TLC x Fempreneur Series:
- Margaret Wu, For Beloved One
- Nerissa Low, Liht Organics
- Pearline Foo, Spring Breeze Marketing
- Maiko Makito, Pearl FALCO
- Maddy Barber, Madly Gems
- Ezza Yusof, 2morrow Official (Malaysia)
- Julie Yim, Lilin+Co (Malaysia)
- Nadia, HelloBello (Malaysia)
- Zairin Azman, UMMA (Malaysia)
The rest of the Fempreneur interviews can be found here.