TOP 50 STL Person of the Week: Kevin McCulloch
Brian: Today we welcome Kevin McCulloch, who is a Cofounder of F.L.O.A.T. STL and also a longtime friend of mine. Kevin, thank you for joining me today!
Kevin: Thanks for having me on the show, Brian.
Brian: For those who may not know, F.L.O.A.T. is a healing float tank sanctuary located in Midtown St. Louis’ Locust Business District. Kevin, I’m so excited about your success with F.L.O.A.T. Can you tell our audience a little more about your business and maybe where the idea came from?
Kevin: F.L.O.A.T. offers relaxing meditation tanks that help to free you from your sometimes overloaded sensory experience. For everyone who’s looking to rise above life’s daily demands, we provide a way to relax and improve mental and physical health by helping create that space for you to rest, recharge and reenergize.
Brian: Can you tell us a little bit about where the idea came from?
Kevin: Floating has been around since the 50s. Scientists working at the National Institute of Mental Health and NASA we’re trying to understand what would happen when astronauts were placed in a sensory free environment, and what they found was that there were a lot of positive benefits indirectly that the astronauts were reporting which led them to begin to create these environments and floating has grown from that over the years and evolved into these modern day flotation devices and the modern day float centers. We came across it, Marcio, Jake and myself. We were all working at the same place operating within a mental health capacity and we each had found floating individually, fell in love with it and one day shared about it with each other, realized that we had this shared interest, this shared passion and through discussions and meetings, the dream was kind of realized and created and that’s kind of how we find ourselves where we are today.
Brian: That’s fantastic and I have to say to everybody out there that the experience really is awesome. I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing a F.L.O.A.T. and it really is an experience because when you go into the space everyone there creates a real welcoming vibe. Everybody is there to help you relax and feel good and it’s kind of a vulnerable position you put yourself in because essentially you’re going into this tank and take all your clothes off and take a shower and jump into this body of water and float for an hour and a half and it’s really, it’s a special experience because you get to cut off all your senses other than really your mind and just focus on being present in the moment. It’s a long period, ya know, an hour and a half. It really is just something so unique and I loved doing it and I encourage everybody else out there to do it as well. So, one of the things I wanted to ask you about is I’ve heard Steph Curry, the wildly successful NBA player, is a huge fan of floating and often publicizes the benefits he receives. I think you told me that a few blues players have paid you a visit and that maybe you’d love to have a few of the Cardinals players come by and give it a try as well.
Kevin: Oh definitely. That’s one of the amazing things about floating is that it offers benefits across so many different platforms and one of those elements of benefit is people who are athletic performers so people who are using their body and F.L.O.A.T. helps them kind of rise above to give it their best. So, we have people like Steph Curry, people like Tom Brady and other athletes, the Seattle Seahawks use it and I saw just recently that the Chicago Cubs had a device installed in their training facilities. So, we really are working to strengthen those relationships with professional athletes in St. Louis. We love the Blues. We love the Cardinals. We love St. Louis FC. So, we want to help support all of them in being their best, being the most successful, mostmost healthy, top performers that they can be. And that translates into all types of athletes that aren’t professional athletes so people out there who are just running marathons, running half-marathons, maybe you’re running a 5k. It’s about how do you get to your personal best and what’s going to help you feel the best in going through that process and that’s what floating does; it helps you visualize; it helps your body recover; it gives you energy; and brings you clarity.
Brian: It just seems that there’s so many useful things and great benefits to using it as a part of your process for letting your body heal or just letting your body de-stress, a lot of different elements that make it a popular activity. So, one of the primary things we focus on the show is positive things that are going on in St. Louis. I did want to ask you, because a lot of people are looking at St. Louis to open up their businesses, what has it been like starting and operating your business in the city of St. Louis and what can you say to others that may have reservations about locating their business in the city?
Kevin: For us, being in the city of St Louis was very important. We live in the city of St Louis and we are every day exposed to the change that’s taking place in the city of St. Louis and it’s very exciting and it’s very inspiring. So, for us that was definitely the starting point. We wanted to be anchored here. For people who are interested, there’s a great business community in the city of St. Louis. There’s a lot of support; there’s a lot of resources; a lot of relationships; a lot of opportunities to connect; and those resources are available. So, there is this surge of energy and inspiration and optimism taking place and it gives us a great feeling of confidence and creativity going forward. Like, there’s opportunities, things are possible. Maybe that wasn’t the case so many years ago, but right now things are growing and it’s very inspiring to be here. I would encourage people to come down and visit different co-working spaces, visit different networking groups and just make connections with people and see what’s happening because the relationships are there, the resources are there and the opportunity is there. I think it’s also important just to begin, right. Maybe you don’t know all the answers, maybe you don’t have all the resources, but just begin that move forward with what you do know and as you encounter the next question, then you can work on that next question. But, just start with where you are, start moving forward. That’s the best advice I think I could share with anyone.
Brian: I think that’s a great perspective on being in St. Louis and I wanted to expand on that a little bit because you know I know like me you grew up in St. Louis County, but obviously you’re operating your business in the city and you live in the city. I also know that we share a love for traveling around the world. First, can you tell us a little bit about some of your travels and also, given your perspective of living in and traveling to other places, what is it that makes St. Louis a special place?
Kevin: I’ve had the opportunity to live abroad in places like Spain, the Czech Republic, spent some time in Azerbaijan. So I was able to really be exposed to different types of culture, different ideas around business, different ideas about lifestyle. One of the things that I really enjoyed in coming back to the St. Louis area is seeing how people, through relationships, support each other, seeing how people create networks, seeing how people exist within community and how there can be this shared vision of optimism, this shared vision of growth and shared vision of creativity. It’s really inspiring and energizing to see. One of the things I really love about St. Louis as well is the size. So, it is large enough that there are a number of interesting and engaging things to participate in, but not so large that it can feel anonymous, right. So, that you are able to exist within this community and create a network and what I’ve been experiencing lately is that there continues to be more and more of an influx of people outside of the St. Louis region who are relocating here and bringing new energy and new ideas into St. Louis and that’s a lot of fun. It’s fun to meet people who are choosing St. Louis, for St. Louis to be their home. I like seeing that.
Brian: I agree. I love seeing that more people are taking a deeper look at our city and finding it to be a great place to call home. So, I wanted to thank you for coming in today. It’s been great having you on the show and for any of you who are curious about F.L.O.A.T. I encourage you to reach out to the great group at F.L.O.A.T. STL and try it out. It’s an awesome experience and I’m so happy we have something so unique right here in St. Louis. Please check out their website at www.floatingstl.com and also on Instagram and Facebook @FloatingSTL. They also have a second location that will be located out in the Maryland Heights area coming very soon.