We Should All Be Fit Chix!

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Fit ChixI mentioned that when I was in Phoenix, I came across a great boutique store, Fit Chix, focused on women’s fitness.  With the amazing help of the salespeople, I bought a great 2 piece triathlon training suit.  I wanted to learn more about this great company and its inspiration so I went straight to the founders, Dan and Mike.  I was going to edit their answers to my questions, but just think that they worded it so well that it is best left alone.  You can really see their passion and excitement from their response.  I look forward to talking with them in the future as we work to make fitness a must for all people but especially women!  Check out their locations and also their site at www.FitChix.com.

1. What inspired you to start the store? “Mike and I both come from the fitness equipment side of the fitness industry. We’ve spent the last 13 years each working with specialty fitness stores (me, mostly on the manufacturing side and Mike, mostly on the retail side). Mike worked as the sales and marketing director for a 17 store chain based out of the Northeast. I worked in sales and marketing for one of the top fitness equipment manufacturers. The company that Mike worked for became a customer of mine and we quickly became friends. Mike and I would spend countless hours during business trips debating the “flaws” in the specialty fitness model. We both believed that the manufacturer’s weren’t doing enough to build products that inspire people to actually use the equipment and that the retailers weren’t evolving their stores to create a unique “fitness experience” for the customer. We both watched as specialty store after specialty store opened up in low-traffic, less desirable “strip-mall/plazas” settings with the typical white walls, vinyl banners on the walls, barely clean carpet and a sea of steel (the equipment) that is often intimidating and overwhelming to the first time fitness shopper. Then there is the staff and in-store environment: frequently you’d find a person with no fitness knowledge whose business attire consisted of cargo shorts, a wrinkled shirt and a store “ambiance” with AC/DC blaring in the background…ugh! Mike and I noticed that little to no focus has ever been placed on truly being the total fitness resource for the shopper. When we created the FitChix model it was simply because we observed that there was very little focus on the female shopper at the specialty and big box levels, even though the female shopper is typically the one who initiates the search for health/wellness product and make the majority of the buying decisions in a family situation where fitness equipment is being considered. We thought it had to be frustrating and somewhat insulting that women’s fitness seemed to be an after-thought. FitChix was created to provide a complete fitness experience for women seeking to look better, feel better and life a more active lifestyle. Our stores are staffed by fitness professionals (personal trainers, yoga instructors, Pilates instructors, exercise science graduates, etc. that vary in age and expertise in the hopes of providing a wide range of experience and knowledge-base for our customers. Our stores have everything from sports bras (we do custom fitting) to baby joggers to yoga mats to treadmills. We carry accessories, apparel, equipment and information products so that, regardless of where you are in your fitness journey (or age), we have something that will help you get to the “next level”. Our goal from day one has been to provide a safe, fun and encouraging environment for women of all ages to explore their fitness goals and a more active lifestyle. We believe we are achieving that today.”

2. What is the plan of expansion for the store and site? “For the big-picture (over the next 10 years), we believe that FitChix can be successful in every major city/shopping mall in the U.S, although we may not add any additional stores in 2009, depending on the retail environment, we are actively looking for the right partners to help us achieve this goal. 2009 will see us focus more on the launch and growth of our catalogue division, FitChix Parties division and continued growth of our website initiatives. We will focus heavily on adding more products to our offering and a greater “experience with the products” to our customers. Our website is being updated this week with many improvements we’ve worked on for the last 2-3 months which include fitness blog, FitChix Parties section, Bra Finder (to help women find the perfect sports bra for their size and activity) as well as a simplified search process. We’re also adding a great deal of content and fitness facts for women. Again, big-picture: We believe FitChix can my synonymous with women’s fitness. Right now, if you ask a woman where she’d go for: 1.) getting started on their fitness plan 2.) to find a sports bra or fitness apparel, 3.) to learn about how to choose and use the right fitness products/equipment for their goals 4.) to get sound advice on nutrition and balance in their fitness routine, you’d probably get a terrible range of some big-box stores, internet and or a health club. Our goal is to offer advice, products and services wherever women feel most comfortable looking for it and talking about their own fitness goals/challenges, whether that be online, in a comfortable party setting or in a friendly store environment. We believe we can be the name women remember and choose when they think of fitness/wellness. We hope to add more products and programs that are customized for women and under the FitChix brand as well in the future.

3. What’s the most overlooked area of fitness/health/wellness? Women-specific products. Overall, there is a lack of clear message that explains the benefit and steps to achieve a balanced fitness approach to life or striking a clear balance in your life between cardio activity, strength training, stretching (flexibility) and nutrition. You’ll see a greater emphasis on this core-balance in all things we do moving forward.

4. What’s the best thing about being fit?“Being able to do the things you love in life. Our bodies were meant for activity, but we’ve become a more sedentary society. One of the things we like to ask our customers is: What does being a fit, mean to you? And the answers are compelling. For some women, being fit means being athletic and in outstanding physical shape. For many, it’s just about striking that balance between being a mom, a professional and being in a healthy relationship. For others, it’s just about being able to walk up a flight of stairs or maintain their range of motion, that is the is the driving factor, especially for an aging population.”

Fitness Apparel for Women

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