Katherine Mason – 20 Under 40

32 | Education: University of Georgia

Katherine Mason merged her love of fashion and fitness with the creation of SculptHouse, a fitness studio and boutique with shoes, athleisure wear, and accessories that opened its Dallas location in 2019.

The North Carolina native previously worked at luxury fitness studios in New York City and with Wilhelmina Models Fitness Division.

“I learned the operations of these fitness studios, was a fitness instructor, worked with some of the world’s most well-known fitness brands – including Nike, Under Armour, and Adidas,” Mason said. “During my work in NYC, I conceptualized the idea of combining the Megaformer with a Woodway Curve treadmill to create a low-impact but high-intensity workout that combines strength training and cardio intervals in a way that had never been done before.”

The combination became integral to creating SculptHouse’s signature regimen. SculptHouse opened its first studio in Atlanta in 2016 when Mason was 25.         

Since 2019, Mason has become immersed in the Dallas community, including the Junior League of Dallas, The Family Place, Community Partners of Dallas, and Gracelyn’s Hope. Nationally, SculptHouse has supported the Alzheimer’s Association, and for the past three years, SculptHouse Dallas has raised money for The Trevor Project.

“As the owner there are nonprofits that pull at my personal heartstrings (anything that has to do with children, animals and helping mothers in need) but I also see the importance of SculptHouse supporting lots of local charities throughout the year(s) with silent auction donations, give back events, fundraisers, etc.,” Mason said.

What was your first job, and what did you learn from it?

My first job was when I was 16, and I worked for a women’s store called Sloan in Charlotte, NC. . . . I really enjoyed working with women, styling them, and helping them find confidence through understanding their unique styles, what shapes and cuts flattered their bodies and understanding what colors, prints, etc. made them feel great and empowered. It was this job that showed me the positive power that clothing and fashion can have to give women confidence.

Which leadership skills were the most challenging for you to develop and why?

Being only 25 when I started my business, having very little management and ownership experience (if any!), and being younger than most of my employees, I had to learn some hard lessons on boundaries and friendship vs. working relationships. I have always felt like I was a fair and fairly fun leader, but sometimes when you become close with your employees outside of work, it can cause some confusion on these boundaries.

Fun fact that someone wouldn’t know about you?

I grew up playing the flute – ha! My mom made my brother and me join the band so that we would learn to play an instrument. She came from a very musical family, and my dad came from a very athletic family, so somehow, we had to do both. It was honestly probably more torture for her having to listen to us practice at home.

Where do you see yourself and/or your career 10 years from now?

That is such a hard question because it is crazy how much I have grown, changed, and accomplished in the past 10 years. I hope that I continue to grow this brand and industry and have fun in the process. Getting your career started in your 20s and growing into the first six years of a brand is so much hard work, a lot of sweat and tears, and although I have enjoyed every day of it, I hope that over the next 10 I can learn from all of those moments, have some fun with it and keep learning in the process. I would also love to use my experience to consult with other small businesses, especially in the fitness and fashion industries!

What is your favorite local store?

Supporting local businesses has always been really important to me! Being on the ownership side of it too, I just know how much work goes into every day your business is open and the overhead that is required just to keep it going! A few places I love in Dallas are Elizabeth W, Scout Design Center, Market, House on Lovers, Royal Blue (ready for it to come back!) and so many more!

Toughest business/personal challenge?

Balance! It always has been and probably always will be! I really love working, and it makes me feel so fulfilled every day, but I have a hard time turning it off. I think when you are really passionate about your business, want the best for your customers, your employees and for the success of your business, it can be hard to relax and put it “away.” I am learning balance but always think there is room for improvement.

 How I motivate others

Words of affirmation and a gameplan. I am a huge planner and communicator so my business very much runs off of everyone working together, supporting each other and working as a team towards our goal.

What would you tell an 18-year-old you?

Trust your gut! It is almost always right!

Biggest business/career success in the past 12 months?

Surviving as a small business during this pandemic and coming out the other side stronger than before. We had to dig really deep and get even more clear on our brand vision and goals but things are clearer than ever, and we are excited to move forward and accomplish big things!

What’s on your bucket list?

I love traveling and experiencing different cultures. I have always wanted to go to Australia and New Zealand – they fascinate me!

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at [email protected]

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