I first connected with Natalie on Instagram (@thatfoodiegirl). We were both bloggers, had our own businesses and love food/cocktails, so it was clear we’d make fast friends. It’s been exciting watching Natalie’s newest venture blossom and grow in such a short period of time. Before we dive into the evolution of StudioHop though, let’s learn more about Natalie before she took the leap into the crazy world of entrepreneurship.
Natalie graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas in May 2012, where she earned degrees in both journalism and Spanish. Since her passion is writing and food, and she has been writing a food blog called That Foodie Girl since April 2011. Natalie launched New Digital Strategies one month before she graduated from SMU.
New Digital Strategies is a digital marketing firm that strives to build brands online. While Natalie still runs NDS, her passion for fitness was stronger than ever. She had spent the past two years at Uptown Yoga in Dallas, where she’d attend classes 4 times a week. They knew her by name, she loved the personal boutique experience, but she wanted to be able to try different studios around Dallas to keep things interesting. But when she joined big boxed gyms or paid for drop in classes, she left feeling unsatisfied; and she knew she wasn’t alone. And like most entrepreneurs and their brilliant ideas, StudioHop was born just like that. She had the name and brand vision immediately.
Natalie sought the advice of some successful entrepreneurs at various networking events and meetups. One mentor in particular suggested reading the book, The Lean Startup, so Natalie quickly got to work reading and jumping head first into full startup mode.
In just a few weeks after reading the lean startup; she had a list of 10 friends and 5 studios to begin pilot testing StudioHop model.
One of Natalie’s biggest fears in the beginning was actually telling people her idea. Which I can relate very closely with. When you first think of your ‘big idea’, it’s precious and you hold it extremely close. The problem with this though is in the earliest stages you need the most help. People can’t help you if they don’t know why or what they’re helping you with.
Another big challenge for Natalie was the competition. A company out of New York decided to launch in Dallas just a few weeks after Natalie began signing up beta testers. This is when she learned the importance of pivoting and differentiators to set yourself apart from the competition. Luckily, her focus on quality and strong loyalty to the Dallas fitness community has proven greatly beneficial. She has been able to curate a truly first-class, boutique fitness experience for her members and a no studio/class limit policy. Things her competition is unable to provide. Here are just a few of the current StudioHop offerings:
Starting a business does not come without sacrifice and a lot of valuable learning experiences. Natalie has experienced all this first hand. Some of the most important things she’s learned with StudioHop and would suggest to other’s trying to take the leap into entrepreneurship:
1. Learn To Be Scrappy
2. Be Confident
3. Be Flexible
4. Be OK with Change (It’s not always a bad thing)
As a fellow entrepreneur I can confirm that this is all sound advice. I’m so excited to see what is in store for the future of StudioHop. Right now she is currently accepting members for the Dallas area and has plans to launch in the near future in Austin and San Antonio.
I’m a big quote person, I just love quotes. So when I asked Natalie what her favorite quote was, she provided this little, yet powerful gem:
“It never gets easier. You just get better.” – Unknown
If you have workout ADD like me and are looking for a more personalized, custom fitness solution without being tied to one over-priced gym, StudioHop is for you. So #HopToIt and get your fitness on! Click below to visit the StudioHop website and join the party!