RYP Interviews Nicole Kazimer, Founder & CEO of HikYoga

Many people have passions, but few are able to truly do what they love as a full-time career. For most young professionals, passions take a backseat to real-world responsibilities. Nicole Kazimer, owner of Hikyoga and Instagram account @helloyogagirl can relate.

A Webster, New York native, Nicole received her Bachelor degree in Finance and Economics from University of Buffalo, and later received her MBA from University of Rochester’s Simon Graduate School of Business.  After finding herself stuck in the eight-to-five routine in corporate America, she moved to Sydney, Australia and discovered her love of teaching yoga.

In August of 2015, after identifying how popular outdoor yoga was, she decided to take a chance and start her own business. Nicole calls herself a “Passion Consultant,” and she lives by those words, giving others the opportunity to do what they love through the Hikyoga Training Program.

Hikyoga has been featured by Democrat & Chronicle, Post magazine, Roc Girl Gang, and she even co-hosted an Outdoor Rec event with RYP last year!

Incredibly optimistic and compassionate, Nicole is someone that you should definitely get to know. Check out the upcoming events here, and see what the hype about HikYoga is all about!

Can you tell us about yourself?

I was born and raised in Webster, NY! I started my own business, Hikyoga, in August 2015 and every day I am so grateful to be able to align my passions with my “job.”  Before running my own business, I worked the 8-5pm corporate life while looking for that fulfillment. After graduating from the Simon School of Business in 2013, I left my corporate job to move to Sydney, Australia. While I was there I decided to become a certified yoga instructor. Once I moved back to Rochester a year later, I started teaching my friends yoga in a local park. Classes gained popularity, as everyone seemed to love combining the outdoors and yoga. From there, a passion coupled with a growing social media presence, @helloyogagirl – Hikyoga began!

What’s your favorite part about living and working in Rochester?

What I love about Rochester is the close-knit and supportive community. We are also extremely lucky to live in a city that’s driving distance to so many gorgeous areas of the country!

Are you originally from Rochester? How did you find yourself in the ROC at this period of your life?

Yes! I am originally from Rochester, and grew up in Webster! Growing up I always wanted to move away… and I did, to Australia, one of the farthest places from Rochester. I moved back to Rochester (Webster to be exact – I love the suburbs!) about 2 years ago. Right now, at this point in my life Rochester is a wonderful place to live. It has a great community and gives me the opportunity to take a ton of day trips (Ithaca is one of my favorite day trip locations)!

Why did you choose to start your business in Rochester?

Starting my business in Rochester happened pretty organically. I utilized my surroundings to help grow my business. Using what I had helped keep start-up costs down, which was very important to me. I always knew I wanted to run my own business but didn’t want to take on all the start-up costs, especially with student loans acquired from earning my MBA at the Simon School of Business. Rochester has wonderful parks and the people here are always looking to get outside. Since our warmer weather season is so limited in Rochester, people tend to be more excited to try something new when they actually have the chance to get outside.

What is your favorite local company/organization? Do you have any Rochester gems you’d like to share?

Eagledream Technologies! Cody, my boyfriend and huge influencer for Hikyoga works there and they are incredible.  They have SERIOUS Talent for building websites and have worked with large businesses such as MIT and Seneca Park Zoo. Definitely check them out, they are awesome!

As far as Gems go…

Non hidden Gem: Dorado on Park Ave. Margaritas and Tacos is all we need!

Kinda hidden Gem: Makers Gallery and Studio on the 3rd Floor at 34 Elton Street.

Hidden Gem (but less hidden now because of Instagram): Chimney Bluffs State Park!

What accomplishments are you most proud of thus far in your life?

Good question, I think more people should have to answer this!

On my hikes I often lead a group activity discussing what people are proud of. It makes a huge difference vocalizing what we are proud of rather than keeping it to ourselves. I find it challenging to answer questions like this but also important.

I’m proud that after building my business and juggling a few part-time gigs here and there to make ends meet, and that after 16 months from starting Hikyoga I work solely for Hikyoga with no other odd jobs! When I started my business in August 2015 I NEVER thought Hikyoga would be my full-time “job”. I am also proud of all the lives I have touched. I have met so many amazing people on this journey. There are some people who say I have changed their lives, and that there reminds me every day that I am on the right path!

How did you discover your passion?

I looked at what I liked to do and how I could share that with others. I loved Yoga and LOVED being outside. Your passion is what you turn to in your free time (wise words of Erica Denman, owner of Balance Fitness Webster). When I worked in corporate, I would crave being outside- finding any reason to go sit at the picnic table in the parking lot. 🙂 I felt comfortable outside. So I figured, “hey if I feel better outside, then how can I share that with others?”

What’s your long-term goal for your company?  

I want everyone to have fun outside! To spread Hikyoga throughout the country, and how about the world?! Dream big right?! Hey, people hike and do yoga all over the world, so why not! To achieve this long-term goal, we are starting to certify yoga teachers to lead Hikyogas! We currently have 9 certified Hikyoga Instructors. 

Who inspires you? 

My boyfriend, Cody. I have never met someone so happy all the time. He shines positivity on everything, I want to share that with others.

Hikyogis! People starting Hikyoga are sometimes tense, caught up in the crazy schedules of life. Watching them let go as they enjoy nature and see the positivity in the present is the best part of my “job!”

My amazing friends. The term rise together is no joke. Surrounding yourself with uplifting people will change your life.

What advice do you have for local young professionals?

Make a vision board!! Brain dump everything you want in life for yourself, business, home life, etc. and don’t lose it. Look back on it one year later, and you will be shocked at how much you have brought to life! Secondly, don’t be afraid to say “no.” I turned down great job offers because my heart wasn’t in it. Your heart/passion is that push that will keep you going when you want to give up, so make sure it there!

What other Rochester young professionals should we be on the lookout for?

Mackenzie Piccarreto! Sarah Potter! Linh Phillips! Breanna Banford!