Fitness instructor. Business owner. Mom. Lawyer. Traveler. Tiffany McKenzie wears many hats, donning one of them right here in Virginia Highland.
Tiffany not only runs her own law practice, but she’s the owner of Perspire, a sauna studio that recently opened in the neighborhood. Her business portfolio has grown over the years, driven by her persistent and never-give-up attitude. “My husband calls me a force of nature,” she said, laughing.
California-based Perspire wasn’t meant to expand beyond the Golden State, but Tiffany had other plans. After seeing the studio in Orange County where she formerly worked (post-sweating it out in a Soul Cycle class, of course), she returned to Atlanta looking for a similar studio, without luck. Perspire’s infrared technology set it apart from any other sauna she had experienced, and their individual sauna rooms with TVs were the cherry on top for a relaxing ambiance that ignited her wellness within.
Read more: Perspire Heats Up Virginia Highland
Tiffany approached the California owners about expanding to Georgia, and they said ‘no’ several times. But Tiffany was never shy about the idea of franchising Perspire. She told the owners about her success co-owning, cycle instructing, and franchising Vibe Ride, a cycle studio in Midtown and Grant Park. Eventually, they came around after a meeting together, giving her — and a group of her friends — the option to start a Perspire presence in Georgia. The first one opened in Buckhead three years before the location in VaHi opened.
Tiffany’s business partner Jan Zalud lives in the neighborhood, and his wife owns a chiropractor practice below Perspire. That was part of the decision to open in VaHi, but it was mostly for the love of the neighborhood. “It’s such a close-knit community,” Tiffany says.
A Day in the Life of Tiffany
To-do lists are her very best friend. She wakes up, grabs her coffee and works out. Then, she gets back to the lists. She lives by her calendar and is a “big proponent of blocking off time for dedicated tasks.” She dedicates two hours to Perspire in the morning before diving into her legal work, then goes back to Perspire at the end of the day.
At the beginning, becoming a franchisee was mostly personal: she loved sauna therapy at the end of workouts and how it melted away the stress. But then, it became so much more.
“As we really delved into it, it was really interesting to see the health benefits of infrared sauna therapy. Now we’ve been able to see the journey of our clientele. Just the other day, someone who was going through chemotherapy emailed me about how expelling the toxins in the sauna made them feel so much better. It also helps people with skin diseases like eczema. It’s amazing. We are changing people’s lives,” she said, genuinely.
Infrared heats your core for a deep detox that increases your heart rate — making it an accessible way to burn calories. Learn more. In addition, red light therapy, only offered at the VaHi location in Atlanta, increases collagen, among many other skin benefits.
When Tiffany isn’t working, she’s traveling the world, spending time with family, and catching up on her zzzs. Africa and New York City are some of the latest places on her roving repertoire.
Navigating business ownership
Navigating a business is like a roller coaster: there’s always unexpected twists and turns along the way, she said. The top of the winding road was COVID-19, but Perspire’s naturally socially-distanced rooms and infrared technology that kills germs were helpful in keeping their business alive during the pandemic, so it was a perfect time to lean into the health, wellness, and sauna therapy. “You have to keep changing and growing with the industry, especially as new competitors enter the market,” she said.
Perspire has plans to keep innovating to set them apart from the rest. That includes having unparalleled customer service, and a “tech-like zen place” with an app, eventually.
Although Tiffany makes it look easy, owning a business — or businesses in her case — takes a lot of work. But that shouldn’t scare you away from taking on the endeavor.
“Just do it,” she said about starting your own business, not trying to sound cliche. “Women especially get this fear of failure, and you’re going to fail. But the sooner you fail, the sooner you move on. There’s going to be bumps along the road, but you will find your way.”
Also keep in mind that “Every job is a sales job. Successful selling is never about you; it’s always about understanding how you can make someone’s life better,” she added.
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