S2 E2 - Building a Franchise in the Boutique Fitness Industry with City Row's Helaine Knapp

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Helaine Knapp joins Small Business Edge for the first episode of season 2.

Helaine is the CEO and founder of City Row, a boutique fitness studio that combines row intervals on sexy, water machines with dynamic sculpting exercises. City Row has been open since 2014 and has grown immensely since then.

Helaine Knapp didn’t always know that she would be the founder of a successful startup in the boutique fitness industry though. Before that, she worked in high fashion, advertising, publishing and eventually the tech start up industry, and she always spent her evenings in the gym.

After getting a back injury at 25 years old, a friend suggested rowing for an amazing workout that is low impact. Helaine wasn’t into it at all! But, Helaine saw an opportunity in the industry for a great low-impact workout, and despite her negative connotations about rowing, she couldn’t get away from it.

She found a sexy, water rowing machine and paired it with weight training. She put up a website and with the help of a friend, did a pop up class to see if anyone was interested in the idea. From there, it completely took off.

Discussed in this episode:

  • How City Row was developed and why it was so successful right off the get go
  • The challenges of working full-time and building a business on the side
  • The biggest lessons that Helaine has learned through founding City Row
  • The consistent struggles as a founder of a small business in a competitive industry

Learn more about Ceterus at Ceterus.com

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