I interviewed Zoe Kennedy, Founder of The Refinery E9, my favourite wellbeing and fitness hub in Hackney. The Refinery houses the quirkiest fitness team I’ve discovered and Zoe is the ringleader and curator as well as a passionate yoga teacher. She talks to RUDE about her lifestyle and passions.
Where are you and what are you going to be doing today?
I’m juggling today – half a days work at The Refinery followed by dog walking and then shopping with my daughters…all topped off with a glass or two of red wine 😉
Tell us about The Refinery philosophy/goal?
Our primary aim is to be as inclusive as possible – people take themselves far too seriously in the gym environment and it’s not a competition – we really want to encourage an attitude of looking after yourself and investing in your health but in a fun way. You don’t just come to work out; we hope you make friends too!
What inspired your unique branding?
We wanted our branding to get across the message that yoga and exercise is for every body not just lithe young things in Lycra and black and white photos. As we are 70s kids we wanted that reflected in our image and we were lucky enough to work with Nadia Lee Cohen, an amazing photographer who we always loved for her quirky 70s feel shots.
Have you always worked in wellbeing/fitness?
No I used to be a Sales Director for a Promotional Merchandise company, designing and sourcing merchandise for clients such as Coca-Cola, Mars and Orange. I have always been passionate about health and fitness so it was a dream come true when we opened!
What’s the best workout you’ve ever had?
I’m a sucker for 80s aerobics and grape vines, but the best workout for me is Vinyasa Flow yoga – it never fails to lift my spirits and sort my head out whatever else I’m feeling.
What’s your favourite hangout in London/Worldwide?
I absolutely love where I live in Hackney – there’s so much going on in and around Victoria Park it makes it very hard to choose just one place, although I can often be found in The Gun on Well Street – great boozer with fab DJs. Outside of London I’d have to say Kerala in India.
One word to describe yourself?
What’s in store for the next year?
Finding new fitness concepts and adding more classes for our loyal Refinery Crew. We also are looking to ramp up the holistic therapies on offer at the studios along with a few surprises along the way – watch this space!
Your favourite thing to do on a Sunday?
Eating great food, drinking G&T surrounded by family and friends.
What do you do to get away from everything?
If we have the time it’s great to get out of London and visit new places, but if time is against us then I also love just plugging in my headphones and discovering new music.
What was the last thing that really made you stop and stare?
My husband playing tennis at a wedding in the middle of rural France in his boxer shorts and nothing else!