ANGIE BEST is the founder of the Metaphysical gym, which is in the grounds of Henley Business School, and Best Life, a heavy equipment gym, which is adjacent. Her latest venture, which she set up with her partner Mark Miller, is called Chill Out Fred and markets CBD oil products designed to promote a variety of health benefits. Angie lived in America for many years before returning to England where she set up her first fitness studio in Bix. She now lives in Medmenham with Mark and their two German shepherd dogs and her horse. Angie plays tennis and enjoys knitting, needlepoint and making jewellery from crystal.
Describe your business
My new business, Chill Out Fred, provides natural health products for both mind and body, including face and skin creams, hand and body lotions and therapy oils and gels which are derived from CBD oil and other natural ingredients. CBD is known to boost the functioning of the endocannabinoid system, which may play an important role in regulating sleep, appetite, memory and metabolism.
How many people does it employ?
The business is run by Mark and me while my son Calum (pictured with me, above) is our ambassador.
What did you do before you started this business?
I was born in Southend so I’m an Essex girl. At age 17, I went to London to be a model at the Lucy Clayton School of Modelling. Then, at 19, I went to New York, where I worked as a model for three years before going to California because I wanted to live somewhere with palm trees. I went to a health food restaurant which had a big room at the back so I asked the owner if I could use it to teach classes. In no time I had all the starlets in my class. Eventually I was training all the rich and famous in their homes and in a beautiful gym I had in Malibu. For 15 years I worked with Cher and travelled with her when she was on tour. In 2008 I came back to the UK to be with my son, who I felt needed me as he was on his own after losing his father George. After a year I went to live with a girlfriend in Bix. I hadn’t been here for 30 years. I thought I had to do something so I put an advert in the Henley Standard for a boot camp. I had 12 ladies come to a cold village hall. It was all I knew how to do. From there I had a small warm studio before putting in a tender for the space at Henley Business School.
When did you start your business?
What was your objective?
I wanted to help ladies get in shape and have a “Hollywood body”. Some of them succeeded!
Who or what influenced you?
I imagine Cher was the person who influenced me the most. Living in California taught me that if you want something you just go for it.
What would you do differently if you could start again?
Absolutely nothing. I’ve loved my life and would not change a thing. I’ve been blessed and privileged and I appreciate it on a daily basis.
What impact is the coronavirus pandemic having on your business?
Well, the gyms have been closed for most of the time but we started Chill Out Fred. When I learned about CBD I just knew I had to tell people about it. And now I’ve become an evangelist. I would have started this business even if the pandemic had not happened.
How is your business doing?
Really well. I’m very happy.
What’s the best thing about running your own business?
Nobody controls me. I am influenced only by my own moral values and my bank account.
What’s the most challenging aspect?
Finding people who are like-minded and have the same vision as me.
Where is your business headed?
So many directions. We’ve now started CBD skincare and we have other products in the pipeline.
How important are online sales?
At the moment, everything we sell is from our website but when the gyms re-open people will be able to come to the gym to buy CBD.
What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned since you started your business?
To do due diligence and lots of research.
What would you advise someone starting a business?
Make sure what you do is the right thing for you and your business and get ready to work hard.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made?
I don’t consider anything as mistakes. They are part of a learning curve and journey and can be enriching. If I’m given lemons I make lemonade.
How organised are you?
Very. When I worked for an entertainer I had to be. I’m not a procrastinator and I get things done.
What’s the secret of your success?
I don’t see it as success. I’m just going through life and making choices. I’m told that I’m personable and straightforward and I have enthusiasm and passion.
What three qualities are most important to success?
You have to have a good heart and good intentions. You can’t be greedy.
How do you dress for work each day?
I’m in leggings or sweats every day and I’m in heaven.
What can’t you do without every day?
My food supplements, Mark and my dogs. I wish I could get sunshine every day.
Lunch at your desk or going out?
I make lunch and bring it to the gym.
Do you continue to study?
Yes. It’s the only way to move forward in life.
How are you planning for retirement?
I’m going to learn how to make my jewellery using gold and silver. It sounds as if I’ll be starting another business!