The Heart Behind Square1
We have Tasneem Bhaiji, the Heart behind Square1. let’s jump right into it. Tell me about yourself and how Square1 came about?
Hi! My name is Tasneem Bhaiji and I am the founder and owner of Square1 Fitness, in Calgary AB. In 2013, I launched my first company, Be Strong Fitness which was a women’s only in-home personal training and small group training business. Prior to that, I started off as a trainer at a private gym in Calgary. Till today, I remain very grateful for the opportunity, as I acquired the skills needed to carry on to becoming a better trainer.
Soon after, Be Strong Fitness was created. I rented out space at a small community center, I used Kijiji as an advertising platform, social media (Facebook and Instagram). I am happy and blessed to have had a ton of support from family, friends, and clients that I eventually formed close relationships with through my time in the industry. Be Strong Fitness was a huge stepping stone because it taught me so much about myself, my potential and it really did help me grow as a trainer into developing my own style. Be Strong Fitness was a Women’s Only training, and that was what initially started my Women’s Only Platform for Square1 …
I wanted to do something that had impact. Something that made a difference in some peoples lives. I wanted to create a space, but not just any space. I wanted to create a space to help people grow, become better, stronger, and better versions of themselves. I wanted to change peoples lives.
My older brother, Moortaza, and I were talking and with his support and encouragement in wanting to see me succeed, we started looking and eventually we came across 822 11th Avenue SW Calgary, AB. AKA Square1 Fitness Fundamentals.
How did you come up with the name Square1?
My brother (who played a key role in this great idea) and I were just talking one day about the gym and what type of facility it would be. A boxing ring had always been part of the plan because of my kickboxing background, and it had to be represented in the name. A ring is a box shape and a box is a square. So initially it was just “The Square”. Then I started to see the connection of a square throughout my life and see several boxes that I was put in by others, society and myself.
So can you talk more about your family aspect concerning your entrepreneur pursuits? What kind of impact did that have on you?
My family has been the best! I couldn’t ask for any better family or support system. They are the most supportive people in the world but the support didn’t just happened overnight, don’t get me wrong. Especially when it came to Kickboxing. Nobody in my family did or had done kickboxing before. It is just so incredible to see how things have flipped around now. Everyone in my family has now tried kickboxing from my mom, my dad, my brother, my sister-in-law and even my nephew. Everybody likes it.
That’s awesome. So you have the Calgary Women’s Show coming up this weekend, right? I heard you partnered with the PowHerhouse organization, so would you like to tell me what it means for you to collaborate with these groups, being appraised, considered a leader, an example and a young female entrepreneur?
Yeah, totally! I have always been one of the biggest advocates for women. Coming from Indian and Muslim household, and considered to be a minority woman in a very Western society. I stand up for women.
I believe that women needed to be highlighted and celebrated. Being part of the Women’s Show and connecting with PowHerHouse and promoting a Women’s Only training sessions was a wonderful opportunity to help empower women and let them know anything is possible.
If you met me 10 years ago before I started Kickboxing, I was an endurance athlete, I ran a lot. Then I started kickboxing, and I started to become my own, a stronger, faster and more uplifted self. I found confidence, stepping out of my comfort zone and taking on any task with ease. I want women to feel that confidence. I want woment to feel that they are strong enough to do whatever they want; that they are worthy.
I never did group presentations, I never talked to people, I was shy and timid and now I teach over ten classes a week. I’m meeting new people and talking to absolute strangers, connecting with some amazing humans. I don’t know If I would have started this business if I hadn’t taken up kickboxing. Who knows? Maybe it would have been a different path. At the end of the day, I did it my own way, I am still doing it my own way, and carving my own path because this is what I want to do.
Great! That’s awesome! This is really good stuff. I have two more questions here. What you do to recharge you’re feeling drained and on scale of 1-10 how weird are you?
To recharge, I spend time with family. They are the only people in my life that are constant. I have two nephews and a niece and I love them to death. My youngest, baby nephew, is probably the one human I make a lot of time for and is the only thing that takes my mind away from work. My family is my recharge button. They are very important to me. On a scale of 1 to 10 of weirdness… I think I’m a 15!! I’m super weird… I’m quirky and I say some weird sh*t. I really love dad jokes (*laughs*). Most of the time nobody gets a kick out of it, but I laugh so hard.
(*Laughs*) I think that to be an entrepreneur, to be creative and to creating something, you got to have a certain level of weirdness. Do you agree?
Yeah! Absolutely! To be more creative, step out of the box, that requires doing something that is not always normal.
Thank you so much, Tas for your time. Its been such a pleasure.
Thank you for having me!
If you would rather watch the video version, click here.