In the winter of 2015, the FLYAROO Fitness Crew packed our bags and headed out west to Los Angeles for the #LAFITEXPO. It took us two years to build the company so we could debut the certification during this amazing event.
February 7-8, 2015 was a monumental weekend for the company. FLYAROO Fitness was debuting as a national program and online instructor certification. The positivity we received from our booth visitors at the expo and the other businesses that shared our experience was a huge success for us. At that point in our startup, we weren’t sure how others would perceive our vision. Luckily, we were welcomed with open arms.
After we returned to New Jersey, it was time to start certifying instructors. However, most people still didn’t know about the company and our only online presence was the website and our Facebook page. I remember turning to Ashley and the rest of our team and saying.. “what do we do next??”. Ashley was creating the choreography and curriculum and I was marketing like crazy, but it wasn’t enough.
I reached out to a family friend who was just promoted in her public relations company as a media strategist. I explained my situation and asked for much needed advice. It must have been fate when I called Helen. She was just about to leave her company after more than a decade and was willing to sign up FLYAROO Fitness as her first client at 3DotsPR. Within a month, we were toasting over champagne to a new venture for all of us!
While we were toasting, Helen asked our team- “what would be the best media scenario for your company?” Ashley and I both agreed that a TV segment with children on set to demo our classes would be the most ideal. Helen told us that it was highly unlikely for this to be an outcome.
It was already the end of March when Helen started pitching us to the media. We started off with business columns, such as Creditera, WE magazine, Career 2.0, and nerdwallet to name a few. Next, she had us write stories for bloggers and lined up radio and print interviews. We had gone from the online presence of two websites to over 30 in less than 3 months! All of our publications are listed below.
Mid-April, Ashley and I received a phone call that would be a game changer. We were asked to be guests on Good Day New York (local Fox). Ashley was the star of the show on April 30! Not only did Helen push for us to be on live TV, but we were also asked to bring in kids and show a demo of our program! We also received almost 6 minutes of airtime. It was an incredible experience that left all of us hungry for more.
Right after the Fox segment, Helen called me with more good news. US News and World Report wanted our expert opinion on using imagination to strengthen the brain. I prepped my answers for days before the phone interview. Helen told me that even a one liner in the article would be a huge win. Two weeks later when we were published, we realized that the company received an entire paragraph!
Helen didn’t slow down at any point in our work together. She was unstoppable and truly believed in our brand. Sometimes I wondered if she was also a co-founder of FLYAROO Fitness.
May was a busy month of numerous and amazing publications. We were asked to do all types of interviews almost on a daily basis. Some of our favorites were with fitbump, Philly, and Staten island parent magazine. If we didn’t think it could get any better… It did. It actually got so much better that I wasn’t sure if we were dreaming! June was a crazy month for the company. It was the start of summer and warmer weather. We had begun taking the kids outside for classes. One of the best parts of being an entrepreneur is having the creative freedom to write programs. And one of the best parts of FLYAROO Fitness is being able to teach the classes anywhere just by using our imagination! It was clear from the start that Helen would put just as much effort into understanding our brand as she would put effort into pitching us to the media. I explained to Helen that we could take any of our themes and apply them to a variety of environments. For example, instructors in Florida or California could teach our summertime or beach themes on the beach (we don’t have public beaches here in New Jersey). While we don’t recommend taking the kids to the jungle or the zoo, we could take them to the playground, which was scheduled to be our August theme. Helen absolutely fell in love with the playground idea and including families into the magic world of fitness. Before we knew it… We were off to a great start to the summer!
Publications were eating up our pitch. They couldn’t get enough of FLYAROO Fitness at the playground! I was writing stories and different workouts for the whole family with signature FLYAROO Fitness moves. Our instructors were getting excited about the media and how it was transforming our brand into a household name. We were asked to come out to CBS for a live TV segment. Next, our Sacramento instructor scored two live TV segments on KCRA NBC and on Good Day Sacramento (for Good Day Sacramento, we had two separate segments in one day!). Oh, and all of our TV segments included children and demos. We were flying high by the end of June.
We honestly weren’t sure if it could get any better when Helen called me with more good news. The TODAY show wanted to film a tape to air segment with us. What?! That’s national TV! And they want us!… We also ended up at Fox and Friends in July, but due to a rainy day our segment was unfortunately canceled. (side note: Today Show will be posted at the end of the month).
I want to say that this was all FLYAROO Fitness. We are the company going out into the public telling everyone that our mission is to create a new generation of fit and healthy kids. In reality, part of my theory is true. Not to blow up our egos, but we are doing something amazing with our passion for working with kids. And we don’t want to keep all of that love for ourselves. We want to certify instructors all over the world so that they can share THEIR love of fitness too.
Again, the company made it because we believed in ourselves and our mission /vision. But we couldn’t have done any of that without Helen. She’s been the backbone to every freak out we’ve had over the past 6 months. She spent hours on the phone with Ashley before Good Day, showed up to the hair salon to calm my nerves the day before we were supposed to air on Fox and Friends, and she talked me through my complete breakdown before going live on CBS (so much so that we actually have a picture of Helen running up to me on the set as the producer was counting down to going live). She’s been encouraging when I felt discouraged. Helen has been our publicist, our mother (especially when she told me to leave my beautiful blonde hair behind and go back to my natural browns), our boyfriend (when we felt like we needed a hug..), and our number one fan.
Today, we have a goal to certify at least one instructor in every US state. We’re up to 20 states and 3 countries. We’re global!! Maybe by 2016, our goal will be at least one instructor in every city and every country. All I know is that FLYAROO Fitness wouldn’t have the branded name or the admiration or the public support if we had chosen another route for growing our company or even another publicist.
So this is my HUGE thank you to Helen and her courage to leave her safe and stable (and very secure) job to embark on this courageous journey with FLYAROO Fitness. We were all in it together, not sure where the next step would lead us. I have to say, we are all surprised and very excited to see where the rest of this year will take us.
Thanks for reading!
Ethel Baumberg is a fitness professional and co-founder of FLYAROO Fitness. She holds an MPH in health education and behavioral sciences and a BA in psychology with a concentration in childhood development.