It’s a family fitness business. Sixty-two-year-young Ellen Ector (@vitaminellen) and her daughter Lana Ector (@lanagem), 25, have joined forces to #snatchitback, one body at a time! It all started in 2010 when they opened Gymnetics Fitness, a private women’s fitness studio in Atlanta that offers customized dietary consultations, personalized fitness regimes, and training to some of Atlanta’s hottest celebs and any others ready to take on a healthy lifestyle. Since then, the Ectors have successfully expanded their brand to include the popular workout DVD series, Black Girls Workout Too!, and a fashion-forward fitness apparel line, GemWear. Combined, Ellen and Lana share over 200,000 followers on Instagram and have created unity among them with hashtags like #snatchitback, #blackgirlsworkouttoo, and #gymneticsfitness. We caught up with the pair to talk the ups and downs of family business, the business risks of fitness, and much more!
BlackEnterprise.com: What business or financial steps did the two of you take before opening a gym?
Ellen & Lana: We knew fitness was becoming a fundamental part of everyone’s lifestlye. After completing research in the fitness market, we decided upon a specific demographic and location. We built our clientele in two years and used social media to bring awareness to our brand.
What are the business risks involved with opening a gym and how did you overcome them?
There are always risks when opening a new business, so we created a realistic business plan to combat the problems that people tend to run into when starting a business. We made sure that we knew the market, created our brand, had supportive clientele, etc. Most importantly we knew that this was our calling. The saying “You never work a day in your life if you enjoy what you do” specifically applies to us. Going into business for yourself is not about making money, it’s about doing what you love to do. We found what we loved to do and decided to hone in on that.
Why did you choose to strictly focus on the women’s market? How has it benefitted you?
We wanted to focus on women because that was our true passion. We knew we could be the driving force behind women who wanted to improve their lifestyle but were holding back from the lack of African-American women in the fitness markets. We wanted to serve as role models who have the same issues—our hair, family, stereotypes, etc—but didn’t let those issues hinder our healthy lifestyle choices.
In a time where many are struggling financially, how do you convince them that fitness is a worthy investment?
We treat our clients like family. We often educate them on the value of a healthy lifestyle. We motivate them and help them realize that taking time out for themselves is a good investment. We tell our clients that this is one of the best investments that they will ever make. Plus, our group training classes are like no other. We keep it fun and interesting so they can actually see a change in their bodies while enjoying themselves.
Check out more on how Ellen and Lana run their family business on the next page …