After years of being a personal trainer, Gwadue Bossuah introduced Grand Rapids’ first dedicated indoor cycling and kettlebell studio,
, in April 2014. A mixture of upbeat music, motivational coaching, and a truly inspirational atmosphere, this boutique-style studio is sure to make your daily workouts far less of a chore.
RapidChat: Prior to opening your own workout studio, what did you do for a living?
Gwadue Bossuah: Since I grew up as an athlete, fitness has always been a huge passion of mine. Before opening Fzique
I was a personal trainer for MVP Corporation
at the Sportsplex location on Burton, as well as the MVP Fieldhouse on 28th
Street. I have always loved helping others reach their goals physically and mentally, in addition to helping them achieve a goal.
To me, fitness has never been just about how you look – it’s about living a healthy and successful life. I want to give my clients a better life. I want them to be healthy, to live longer, and to ultimately take better care of themselves.
RC: What inspired you to open Fzique?
GB: What originally inspired me to open my fitness studio was a trip I took to NY a couple of years ago. There, after so many years of wondering if there were other avenues of fitness, I found out about Soul Cycle
, which is boutique studio that is built around music, energy, and most importantly, the community. Personally, I have a huge love for music, community and the camaraderie between people, so the style of this type of workout definitely caught my eye.
Seeing this, and knowing that Grand Rapids had a huge lack in boutique-style gyms that are unique and elegant, I quickly recognized that there was a niche market that I could help create in the area.
As far as the financial side goes, you aren’t locked into a contract or membership, which is another thing I really loved about this style of working out. I didn’t want to create another gym that lacked inclusion and customer service. I knew the angle I wanted to approach this market from and wanted to bring the community together.
RC: What are some struggles you faced opening your own business alone?
GB: One of the biggest struggles I face with my business is being the sole provider and all the hours I put in managing my business. It’s also been difficult hiring and managing staff that doesn’t have the same vision or experience that I do. Marketing and getting the word out about Fzique has been another challenge.
RC: Do you have any mentors that have helped you along this journey?
GB: I have several mentors that have helped me out along this journey and continue to do so to this day. I have a financial advisor, a personal mentor, and a small board of six various individuals for Fzique that come from different backgrounds - from coaches to investors.
RC: What are some of your long-term goals for Fzique?
GB: Right now we are hyper focused on our one-year plan, in which we are looking to have 300 members within the next 12 months. Beyond that, we look to have 700 members, be fully staffed with a representative for each department, and have another location in downtown Grand Rapids in five years from now. Currently we have 80 members, so we have a few strides to make in the upcoming months.
RC: How did you decide on the location for your business (at 1100 East Paris SE)?
GB: The biggest selling point on the location was that it is centrally located and has access to multiple communities. It is right off the highway and a 10-minute drive for members coming from Comstock Park, Forest Hills, East Grand Rapids, and many other areas. Ever since the East Hills Athletic Club closed there has been a gap in fitness clubs in the area as well, and Fzique is located less than a half of a mile away from that. Much of their clientele came to us due to that alone. Furthermore, this is my hometown and people in this area know me pretty well.
RC: How did you go about obtaining your very first members?
GB: The initial word was spread through my family and friends who knew me as a fitness expert in the community. I also did lots of social media marketing and various types of guerrilla marketing. Recently I was featured on Eight West
– about two months ago.
RC: Is social media your primary means of marketing?
GB: As of right now, yes. But we do have plans to expand beyond that in the future. We are working on budgets right now, but we are reaching out via different avenues as well. Word of mouth has been the biggest success, but our biggest marketing weapon will be time time. Each Fzique brings 1-2 new people here per month. Social media is driving us, but time will keep driving us.
RC: How did you come up with the name and logo for your business?
GB: The logo is a gold ring with a ‘F’ inside of it. The ‘F’ represents ‘Fzique’, but the gold ring represents marriage within oneself. The ‘F’ is also tilted to represent a mountain peak within the circle and to inspire people live the highest peak possible. It’s the circle of life. Fzique is very holistic.
For branding purposes, I also chose to spell the word ‘physique’ in a funky way. Like Nike
, and other fitness brands, I want the name to be uniquely and universally recognized. You don’t know what the names of these brands mean, but you know what they represent.
RC: Do you have any advice to give to individuals trying to start their own business?
GB: Determine your business. The wheel doesn’t have to be reinvented. The best idea for an individual may be tried and true – all it requires is a personal twist. Search and seek the need for your expertise in your community. Put a spin on the category by focusing on women, men or children, and create your business towards that targeted niche. Take a look around and you’ll see no shortage of repeatable ideas. People buy cupcakes, we all get haircuts, everyone likes some kind of jewelry, and at some point plenty of homes need plumbers. Competitors can co-exist quite successfully; you just have to execute your version really well.
Jenna Morton is the RapidChat correspondent for Rapid Growth Media