How long have you been in business and why did you start?
Urban Poling was founded in 2005. The company was started by Mandy Shintani, rooted on the passion to promote active living and wellness by inspiring people of all ages and in all stages to adopt a healthy, fun lifestyle. As an occupational therapist and gerontologist, Mandy realized that there was a significant opportunity [to] bring Nordic Walking to North America. Driven by the many positive health benefits, Mandy brought Nordic Walking to Canada. As a result of her therapist background, she was also able to quickly bring innovation to the market by serving both fitness and rehab.
Driven by similar passions, Diana Oliver joined the company in 2014. Diana had personally experienced the benefit of Urban Poling, having used the poles to recover and improve her cardiovascular health following two strenuous pregnancies. Today, Urban Poling is still driven by the commitment to helping people change their lives for the better and become healthier versions of themselves, no matter what their age or stage of life. It starts with a single step.
What’s your go-to Elevator Pitch?
Informally my pitch is “If you love walking, adding Urban Poles to your walk only boosts the benefits, at minimum 20% more calories burned, 1800 abdominal contractions per mile; it’s a full body workout! Why walk without them?”
We are focused on increasing mobility and function for every age, ability and fitness level. Through our educational programs and uniquely designed poles, our mission is to help people realize that their full potential is not only achievable but also sustainable, by doing exactly what their body was designed to do – move. We envision a healthy future founded on prevention. We envision achieving physical and mental well-being by being active. We envision a future of feeling good, from the inside out. We have a passion to provide superior education and the highest performance poles to help you “Walk Your Way to Better Health.”
Which geographical areas do you service?
Urban poling has distribution in Canada, USA, Australia, England and Ireland. We continue to expand into new countries as our product has a unique offering, even in mature Nordic Walking markets.
How long has your organization been certified with WEConnect International?
Our organization has been with WEConnect International for a little over 1 year now.
What are the benefits of this network and of certification?
Being part of the certified Woman-Owned organization has helped to us to connect with distributors and like-minded partners who recognize the value of partnering with certified women-owned companies. Additionally, it has opened up a new network of fantastic women who have gone before us. There is so much that we can learn from each other as we are often facing similar challenges both business and non-business related.
What 3 tips do you have for women entrepreneurs?
• Believe in yourself, your mission and your strategy
• Never compromise on the quality of your product
• Invest in educating others in the benefits of your product or service; it will pay back in spades.
Any big plans or announcements you’d like to share?
We’re excited as we continue to expand throughout the States and in other countries throughout the world. There is so much potential out there and there are so many that can benefit from our product, that we are truly just motivated on reaching as many people as we can and changing lives for the better along the way!