Manya Klempner gave up the daily punch-up that is the trading floors of some of the world’s most recognisable banking institutions including Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan and Citigroup to start her own chain of boxing rings.
She is the founder of The Boxing House, the umbrella company for two of London’s most renowned boxing gyms: Camden Boxing Club and Rathbone Boxing Club.
Bermondsey Boxing Club, the third in the company’s collection, opened to the public last year.
Any similarities between banking and boxing?
So many. I worked on the trading floor – it was intense. It was all about multi-tasking, essentially juggling too many balls at once, plus I was always customer-facing.
It’s exactly the same in a boxing club, it’s just a very different environment and a very different offering. Clients are clients at the end of the day.
Are you always up for a good punch-up in the business world? What’s the biggest hit you’ve taken since you launched?
Lockdown. We had just hit our stride at eight months of trading at our first club, Rathbone Boxing Club. Having the rug pulled out from underneath us was heartbreaking. However, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade and that’s exactly what I did. I found new opportunities in the situation and secured two new boxing sites: Camden Boxing Club, which opened in 2021 and Bermondsey Boxing Club, which launche at the end of last year.
Are you a spender or saver by nature?
Definitely a saver. Even a hoarder at heart, to be honest. I reuse wrapping paper.I can’t bear to throw away boxes that might be useful one day. Waste not, want not – it drives the team nuts.
How has your attitude to money and finances changed since you went from banking to running your own business?
I’m a whole lot poorer, that’s for sure.
I tend to wear gym kit, so my spend on new clothes and dry cleaning has completely dried up. I also have zero time to shop, so I don’t really spend money on that sort of thing. Grooming, make-up, shoes… I used to love my Louboutins. They’re all forgotten luxuries. It’s all been worth it, though. I have no complaints.
Speaking of luxury, what’s the most extravagant thing you’ve ever bought?
That’s a tough one. My pooch Lucy, a chocolate miniature dachshund, was a pretty penny. She’s my first-born, though. I’ve loved her from the very instant she was mine until today and will continue to do so.
I also treated myself to a Cartier Panthère watch at some point along my journey as a treat for a new promotion. It was stolen from my wrist in Buenos Aires while I was on holiday. As soon as I got back, I replaced it – I was determined not to be a victim.
What has been your biggest financial mistake?
I have made some financial mistakes along the way but nothing off the scale. But mistakes are how you learn and grow as an entrepreneur.
Where does money rank in your life?
Being able to afford a certain lifestyle, private healthcare and a private education for my child are all important to me.
I don’t wish to count pennies. I don’t need crazy amounts of money. I’m down to earth and a realist but I just don’t want to worry about paying bills. Time is much more of a luxury to me to create a meaningful life, rather than striving for more money.
Do you put your own money in safe Isas, wilder places such as Bitcoin, or somewhere in between?
My money is mostly in the business, to be honest – that’s risky from a traditional point of view, but with me at the helm, a safe bet in my opinion. Otherwise, I’m a passive investor in ETFs [exchange-traded funds]. I have investment in crypto, just in case it turns out to be a lottery ticket.
How much money is too much money?
Um, I don’t know. I guess when you’re so wealthy that you end up spending your life managing a magnitude of tangible assets instead of living a life.
What’s the best advice you have been given about money?
Beware the Faustian bargain.
Favourite film about money?
That’s a toughie. I’m inclined to say Wall Street. It’s a maligned reflection of greed in society at the time, but if parts of the story show that if you’re smart and ‘work your ass off to achieve something’ well, I’m on board. What can I say? I’m an ’80s kid.
Private jet or a house by the sea?
House by the sea.
What would you buy if money was no object?
Health? Happiness? Do you know a vendor?
Where would you love to get to with your career and business?
I would love for my business to ultimately become the lifestyle sport it’s hankering to become. And, if I could achieve that sort of success while still having real time to spend with my little boy, my pooch – hopefully a second imminently – and perhaps a bit of time to myself, that’s what dreams are made of.
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