Kayla Rathbone & Scott Verhaeghe: Function First

Tell us about yourself.

Kayla Rathbone: Born and raised in London, I grew up playing competitive sports, so physiotherapy was something I was introduced to as a teen thanks to sports related injuries. It took me a couple of years of university to figure out that physiotherapy was something I wanted to do for a career. I graduated from Western University with an HBSc Kinesiology from Western University in 2010, and an MSc in Physical Therapy from the University of Toronto in 2012. I have been working in private practice in London since graduation.  

Scott Verhaeghe: I grew up in Wallaceburg, also playing competitive sports my whole life. I graduated with an HB Kinesiology from McMaster University in 2005, and then decided to pursue massage therapy at D’Arcy Lane Institute in London. I worked for a variety of companies in London focusing on both sports-specific as well as general therapeutic massage before pursuing my dream of starting my own clinic. Work-life balance is so important for me as I have two young boys at home.  

Tell us about your business

Our clinic, Function First, is focused on physical rehabilitation and wellness, helping our clients to recover from both injury, as well as keeps themselves healthy and pain-free. Our doors opened 1 year ago this month, and we are looking forward to celebrating our one-year anniversary all November long.  It is currently just the two of us, offering registered massage therapy and physiotherapy services. We pride ourselves on the community feel of our clinic, getting to know our clients and often their families throughout their care. Education is a big component of our care plans, making sure the client is actively involved in their care, and helping them to better understand their body and their injuries or pain. We love working with a variety of clients, and we are happy to be able to work with motor vehicle accident and work related injury claims, as well as our private/extended health clients.

What led you to start this business?

In 2016 we spent a lot of time researching the feasibility of starting up a clinic on our own, as our personal values and ideas about client care no longer aligned with the large corporation we were working for at the time.  

What were some of the challenges you faced getting started and how did you overcome them?

One of our biggest challenges was location. We were originally looking at a different area of town, hoping to be in an area less saturated with clinics already. Unfortunately with our start-up budget and the timelines we were looking it, we had a couple of locations fall through. Just as we were getting a bit discouraged, we came across our current location, a space perfectly suited for our start-up needs. Persistence is key, and surrounding yourself with a great team of knowledgeable people. We are both lucky to have such great support systems outside of work as well. 

As a busy entrepreneur, what do you like to do when you take a break?

Both of us have very similar ideals when it comes to work-life balance. It is important for both of us to remain active, and we both continue to be involved in sport (although on a much less competitive level!). Spending lots of time with our family and friends is our number one priority, and what has kept us grounded and motivated through this whole process.

What in the future for your business? 

As we proceed into our second year with some experience under our belts, we are looking at bringing in some additional practitioners (both PT and RMT, and likely a chiropractor) over the next few months. We also look forward to continuing to make connections in the community, working with family doctors and other health professionals, and collaborating with other small businesses in the area with similar business values.

To learn more about Function First, visit www.functionfirstlondon.com  

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