Feb. 7 2019
Last month, we partnered with Bumble, the revolutionary app that lets users connect with confidence, to highlight four women including Payal Kadakia of ClassPass, mega influencer Brittany Xavier, Daily Harvest’s Rachel Driori, and Tatcha founder Vicky Tsai in our “She Made the First Move” series. To wrap up this female-empowering partnership, we gave our readers the chance to apply to win their very own spotlight–and today, we’re excited to share this special interview. We’re proud to feature Newsette reader Juliette Rojas, who is revolutionizing the fitness world with her app FlexIt. FlexIt is a game-changing platform that allows users to pay for gym time by the minute, making it more convenient and affordable to break a sweat. As a co-founder and Primary Brand Strategist, Juliette provides creative leadership to the team and helps craft the brand aesthetic. Below, she breaks down what a typical workday looks like, why business relationships are so important as a leader of a startup, and her tips on standing out on Bumble Bizz.
How do you feel that you “Made the First Move” in your life or career?
I noticed in the increasingly growing fitness space, there wasn’t a platform that met the on-demand needs of millennials and the modern gym consumer! I wanted to create an app that allows users to work out whenever and wherever – and only pay for the time by minute they use in the gym. No subscriptions, no surprise fees. I just want to make fitness accessible to anyone in the most convenient way possible. So I met with a venture capitalist and we started an app called FlexIt that is launching now. We’re live in multiple cities and about 400 facilities with national chains and have been featured in TechCrunch, CNN, Cnet, and more. We also have monthly events with WeWork.
Bumble was created to help women make the first move, whether it be to find a romantic relationship, meet new friends, or expand your professional network. Can you tell us about some of the relationships that have helped you in your professional journey?
As women, we’re often working harder to prove ourselves than our male counterparts. Fitness and tech are male-dominated realms and I have to not only make my work ethic seen and heard, but it needs to be amplified. My business partner and CEO for FlexIt, Austin Cohen, trusts my strategy, my perspective, and my decisions without questioning who I am. He has been an asset in getting our platform off the ground in ways I couldn’t have dreamed!
Who is one woman you admire in the business world and would want to learn from?
Jessica Alba! She started an entire empire with the best intentions at heart. She was doubted and mocked in boardrooms and behind the scenes but emerged with an amazing and ethical company. That is the dream.
What is your role at FlexIt? Can you describe a typical workday?
I provide creative leadership for the app, lending my voice and perspective to the look, feel and personality of that app and platform. Essentially I help craft the brand aesthetic. I’m also heavily involved in club partner onboarding and general market analysis. I love and greatly appreciate the opportunity to stretch my creative legs in ways I’ve never been able to do before. It’s very challenging and beyond exciting!
A typical workday for me with FlexIt is varied, depending on what projects we have on the horizon. I work remotely from Las Vegas where I live, while our home base is in NYC. Much of my day consists of refining the brand and our digital aesthetic, as our platform is constantly evolving. This includes refining the look and feel of our website, marketing and promotional materials, and the interface of the app. A lot of visual and tech testing goes into this process, and requires a lot of back and forth between the back-end team and myself. I also am in charge of analyzing markets for club partner opportunities, and collaborate on all new facility onboarding, as well as servicing our existing gym partners. Travel is of course a key part of this responsibility, as is market and partner visits and partner strategizing. Furthermore, I attend networking and industry events and conferences, both in the general HALO space and specifically in the club and tech space. We’re also working on planning local community activations in the markets in which we’re rolling out FlexIt, and I’m very excited to meet our users face to face! As you can see, a typical day at a startup is never the same.
After you came up with the idea for your business, what were the next steps? How did you bring the business to life?
Millennials are more focused on health, fitness, and wellness than any other previous generation, yet experiencing and sampling clubs was full of friction in the initial process and intimidation (especially as a woman). It felt natural to me, as a consistent gym-goer, to want access to more facility options in a way that is much more convenient and frictionless. Paying for your time in a gym by the minute was such a simple and natural concept. And the simplest innovations are often the best. But no matter how simple the innovation, it’s still a big leap from conception to execution, and getting together with a smart team was critical. As a young woman and first time entrepreneur, I was lucky enough to have an idea people believed in, and lucky enough to find the right team to work with to bring this vision to life.
What has been the hardest part about starting a business? And the most rewarding part?
We live in an increasingly digital world with more choices than our brains can process or even conceptualize. And while this modern mindset may make innovation and creation easy to grasp, it also creates a a crowded scenario of options. It’s easy to move quickly and that’s what your instinct may tell you to do, But even though FlexIt is a digital innovation and can scale quickly, it still requires a methodical and analytical approach, and these steps require a lot of work on the ground. You educate yourself intensely, go to conventions and industry events, and walk up to strangers and pitch them. You recruit family and friends to test the seventh version of your app. You go back and forth and back and forth between differing voices and perspectives to get one seemingly small detail perfected. But all of this effort can provide the most rewarding result – which is to see your work come to life, see it in use, and see it impact people. Finding that so many outlets like CNN, CNET and Medium are truly interested in your hard work makes it all so worthwhile!
What tips can you give our readers on how to stand out to potential employers, co-founders, or startups on a platform like Bumble Bizz?
You are a reflection of your personal brand, your career, and your story. This includes putting your best and brightest features on display… whether it’s your portfolio, or a well-crafted tagline that gets eyes drawn to your profile. Sometimes you only have a few seconds to make an impression, whether it’s online or in person. You have to make that first impression (or swipe) count.