A KIVA Success Story: Wings of Fire Consulting
Since February 2016, Hatch Tribe has pledged to invest a portion of all profits into other women-owned businesses via Kiva, a non-profit dedicated to connecting people through lending to alleviate poverty. And we’re proud to say that Wings of Fire Consulting is one of the businesses that reached its funding goal and has gone on to grow even more.
This month we're checking in with Kristina Watanabe, the founder of Wings of Fire Consulting, to reflect on how she got to where she is and the trajectory from here.
Founder: Kristina Watanabe
Year founded - 2017
Company mission - Our mission is to create fantastic Wellness experiences in your space!
What made you decide to use Kiva to help fund your business?
WWBIC had an information session about Kiva loans about a year ago. I did not know much about Kiva, so I decided to attend. When I learned how Kiva worked—no interest, crowdfunded, matching for hub zone businesses—I was hooked. At the time, Wings of Fire had some seed money, but if the company was to grow we needed more capital.
What ignited the spark in you to start your business?
Back in 2014, I began working in an employee wellness program at a local community college as a personal trainer and health and wellness coach. I was so inspired by the changes people were making. Creating new opportunities for growth became an exciting new challenge each iteration. However, I found that I had more ideas than I could possibly execute in this one location. I wanted to create a way to take these services and expand it to offer to a wider audience. Wings of Fire Consulting was born.
Tell us about one big hurdle you've faced.
Being an entrepreneur is a daily challenge. Wings of Fire is a service business. It can be a challenge to get people to understand what we do. We take all the great wellness services that you may use such as massage, coaching, personal training, Reiki, etc. and bring it to you. It seems simple, but not everyone can visualize how that will work. It has forced me to further develop our story, so we may show our value.
What is your favorite part of being an entrepreneur?
I absolutely love the creativity. Ideas may not succeed, and money may be tight, but to be able to wake up in the morning and be in control of my destiny is amazing! I am constantly thinking of new ways to deliver great service. It’s what fuels my fire!
What is one resource you couldn't manage your business without?
My tribe. This is by far the most valuable resource I have. Entrepreneurship can be isolating. There are days filled with doubt. It’s not unusual to question why you jumped on this roller coaster in the first place. When you are surrounded by people who share a passion, you can make it through the darkest days. This month I have begun a Firestarter’s group. Once a month, fellow female entrepreneurs will be coming together at different locations to support each other. I’m offering group coaching to empower the group to continue their awesome journey. If it takes a village, then we will make a village.
When you're not working, what do you like to do?
I love spending time with my family and friends. My son likes to go to Metal concerts, so we try to get in a concert every few months. My friends and I go to trivia nights. I enjoy sewing, specifically making t-shirt quilts. Right now, I’m finishing my master’s degree as well. There is always something going on.
Where do you most want to travel and why?
I would love to go to Japan. My son is part Japanese, and I think it would be a wonderful experience to share his history. A close second is Nashville. The music history there is amazing. It is on our list for this year!
About Kristina Watanabe:
Kristina is Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach, a Certified Wellness Practitioner, an ACSM certified in personal training, and a Master Instructor for the Consumer Wellness Advocate and the Professional Coaches Advocate. She has her A.A.S. In Health and Wellness Promotion from the College of Lake County, and is pursuing her Masters in Exercise Science and Health Promotion with a focus in Wellness Coaching. Through her own personal journey, Kristina has gained an understanding of what is needed to achieve personal and professional Wellness by creating fun ways to crush her goals. Her focus is to empower others through empathy and education, sprinkled with humor to become their best self!
Connect with kristina and wings of fire consulting:
Paying it Forward
Hatch Tribe currently invests in interest-free loans for entrepreneurs through Kiva, a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.
Since February 2016, we have issued over 155 loans to women-owned businesses in 66 countries across 6 continents. The list of businesses we’ve supported keeps growing and we couldn’t do it without you!
We invite you to join the Hatch Tribe Lending Team to pay it forward for women entrepreneurs everywhere!