FITTY is a new fitness brand launched in December 2015 by Jolie Wilkinson – a qualified personal trainer from East Sussex. Jolie has trained clients in the mining, infrastructure, motorsport and education industries. Her career has taken her to Australia and India, where she learnt about the importance of motivation in physical training.
What exactly is your business and how does it help people?
FITTY is new kind of fitness brand that supplies customers with great quality, fun fitness products to promote good mental health. We carry a range of motivational gym bottles, protein shakers, running bottles, sweat towels, golf towels, rucksacks, sports bags and fitness t-shirts. The vibrant colour range makes FITTY fanatics feel great. The company motto is: Be Inspired to Train.
What was your inspiration and motivation to get started in business?
I had wanted to start my own fitness brand for several years, but it took me some time to figure out exactly what shape it would take.
After qualifying as a personal trainer, I worked as a ‘Fly In Fly Out’ Health & Lifestyle Coordinator on the mines in Western Australia. The central idea behind FITTY came to me when I realised that motivation is key for training success and everyone lacks motivation from time to time, especially when working long shifts away from home.
My time spent in an ashram in India cemented my idea as I learnt about the power of the mind. As the planning progressed I knew that FITTY would provide customers with an exquisite brand and a choice of motivational, colourful products so that they feel great when exercising.
How did your friends and family react to you starting a business?
I am extremely lucky to have such amazing friends and family. I think deep down they initially thought I was mad to put my savings into the unknown, but they always supported me and only a few months in FITTY is really taking off. Before I launched FITTY I was accepted onto The Swift Project which is a business course for female entrepreneurs. The Swift Project opened up a network of amazing entrepreneurial friends, mentors and business contacts.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?
I have faced several challenges, first and foremost being a lack of finance. I have put all my savings into FITTY and I completely underestimated how much money I would need. As the months have progressed sales are increasing, but cash flow is still an issue because I have been steadily adding to the product line. I monitor the cash flow carefully and I am now applying for a business start-up loan to help take FITTY to the next level.
Another challenge is finding time in the day to do everything that I need to achieve. I attend a lot of meetings with stockists, make sales calls, manage the accounts, prepare orders, manage the stock, market the business and write my blog etc. I sought advice about this from my Swift mentors. Now I plan my week in advance but I am flexible and I try not to give myself too much of a hard time because I work hard and love my job.
I found for the first few months was a feeling of doubt that your mind feeds you. Some mornings I would wake up and think, perhaps I should just go back to a “normal” job. From the amazing feedback I have had since I started FITTY I know that the products are making a real difference in motivating customers and this in turn motivates me.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start their own business?
If someone told me that they wanted to start their own business I would say go for it, but be prepared to work hard. You have to fulfil your dreams or you will only have regrets. Be aware that some people will be negative – listen to them, but don’t let them dictate what you will do.
When I got on the plane to go to Australia I had quit my job, sold my flat, sold my car and left all my friends and family in the UK. I thought to myself – I hope that this works out!!
When the path is right things you will see signs that you are on track. You will be learning and growing daily. It’s such an exciting journey, listen to advice from everyone as the business idea develops, be flexible and take on board what you believe is best.
How do you expect your business to develop in the future?
FITTY sales have grown rapidly each month and everyday new and exciting things are happening in the business. The FITTY vision is to become a leading global brand. Check out all the amazing FITTY products at www.fittyuk.com and Be Inspired to Train.