Please tell us a bit about the nature of your business?
((BOUNCE)) focuses on fitness for mums, who are generically seen as the glue that holds family life together - if that glue isn’t strong, satisfied or supported in their own skin both mentally and physically then there can be a negative ripple effect on so many. The ((BOUNCE)) ethos is about breaking down barriers and ensuring women are more equal in more ways, from work and finance and including fitness.
What inspired you to start your business?
When I was younger, I actually dropped out of high school and I didn’t go to university either, consequently I put a lot of pressure on myself to prove that I could do well in the workforce and as a result I’ve always had strong positions in corporate companies but I have also always felt like I’ve had to work twice as hard to be seen as half as authoritive as male counterparts. I’ve worked in Property Development, Real Estate, Sales and also Events and in all of those positions I started to realise I’d been in a trailblazing somehow, whether that was relating to lower pay for the same job, lack of bonuses, discrimination, or being the only female in a management position, I was seemingly always a step behind.
In May 2013 I was asked by the Director of the Company to put myself forward for an upcoming promotion - so I was fairly certain I’d be offered it. At some point around this time I felt confident enough to also tell my employer I was pregnant.
I did not get the promotion. And that was the catalyst for deciding I was going to do go it on my own.
Things just weren’t adding up for me to be where I wanted to be professionally, so by the Summer of 2013 I’d started my qualifications by correspondence to re-train my skills in the fitness industry, still working my day job but studying by night. Throughout my pregnancy I felt a great deal of power to pursue my priorities and prove that anything I could do on my own I could do alongside the responsibility of being a mother too. When Jasper was born in December 2013 I was still completing assessments and participating in online lectures while breastfeeding and burping him!
My experience is not unique. I believe many women struggle with the stigma of knowing it’s incredibly hard to be seen as legitimately conscientious when accompanying a family in your late 30’s, as is it compared to how your work ability is viewed sans-children in your early 20’s in the world of corporate.
What was the most challenging aspect of building your business in the beginning?
((BOUNCE)) began with 8 second-hand trampolines in 2014, just weeks after I went through a difficult pregnancy to have my son via emergency c-section. My new business idea arose from the injustice I felt as a pregnant woman in the workplace, plus post-partum when I yearned to be able to prioritise physical fitness and mental wellbeing but it proved most challenging.
Being a new mum helped me see the isolation parents can face emotionally, physically and practically so my idea to create an inclusive, social, fun, friendly fitness class was the main aim with ‘endorphins’ as the key! When you exercise, your body releases these natural high chemicals that interact with receptors in the brain to reduce the perception of pain and trigger feelings of euphoria. Research shows that exercise and resulting endorphins:
Who wouldn’t want endorphins on their side!
Being a salve to a baby’s needs is neither a healthy nor sustainable family foundation for a mother. With no friends around, moving to a new area and not knowing anyone my initial idea was to make friends via exercise. Being Australian, all my family resided on the other side of the world which transpired that even calling on the phone was difficult due to opposing time zones.
I went from being a successful leader in my corporate career to feeling, deflated, isolated, frustrated and without independence as a new mum. Previous employment saw me as the Sales Manager for a large events company for almost 10 years and the only female in Management. This came with its own set of issues but ultimately encouraged my optimism to trail blaze for women. The career path came to a poignant end when I was overlooked for a promotion arguably lined up for me - after I announced I was pregnant. The fact my impending family situation had played a part in how others viewed my ability to work was the catalyst for future success. I resigned and pursued my passion by completely re-training in a new industry as a fitness instructor, attending lectures and breastfeeding through them, completing assessments while rocking a newborn to sleep at 1am, 2am, 3am only to still be awake at 7am studying. It was exhausting but my hope to ‘make life easier for mums in the fitness industry’ was the goal.
If you were to launch your business again, would you do anything differently?
No! I am very passionate, considered and committed and I believe that I have a strong moral compass guiding all my business decisions. Being commercially thinking is one of my greatest personal strengths, that and working alongside incredibly brilliant talent means I have honestly no regrets I'd wish to change.
What keeps you motivated?
A will to maximise happiness in life. Everything I do at ((BOUNCE)) leads directly to joy - whether thats choreographing, performing, being at my desk or creating large scale events, even my day to day classes - there's nothing about the business that isn't what I'd want to be doing all day every day and thats the key to motivation, finding something you love to do, something you're excited to get up for every day and wanting to show the world what you've got inside you!
How do you balance work and family life?
I’m sure it was really tiring and tough and emotional in so many ways, but because I initially did not view what I was doing with ((BOUNCE)) as actually ‘creating a business’ it was easier to manage and I mainly just remember a general feeling of liberation with each new little success of my classes growing.
I was more aware that I’d had a crappy time at my recent place of work and I didn’t want that to define my workability, so I was actually pretty impassioned to prove that ((BOUNCE)) was going to be brilliant - and obviously I didn’t have a lot of financial risk riding on it so that helped me juggle things more enjoyably.
Due to my family all being in Australia I didn’t really have much help or support as a new mum so when it was tough and I was sleep deprived I just tried to take it day by day, if I could work on building ((BOUNCE)) then great, if I couldn’t then I didn’t beat myself up about it. Plus teaching my classes were only an hour of my time so I could always meet those actual commitments.
What’s your proudest business moment?
In 2017 we won Franchisor of The Year at the Best Business Women Awards which was probably the greatest achievement of all the awards we’ve won purely because it was the hardest thing for me to lean how to do, so to be recognised for how I’d created it and how it was operating successfully was momentous for me. Those are the times when you look back and know you’ve done yourself truly proud, when you rise up to a challenge, you risk a lot and don’t give up. Thanks to those fears I believe the company was able to rise rapidly and dominate the rebounding industry quickly, seeing a success that our competitors have not achieved in over 20 years of operation.
What’s been your most successful form of marketing and/ or brand awareness?
The people within ((BOUNCE)) for sure.
Nothing can sell our brand better than those who teach ((BOUNCE)) or those who participate in ((BOUNCE)) so its visibility and word of mouth that makes the most impact.
I could spend a million pounds on 10 different marketing mediums and it would have no comparison to someone within the ((B)) brand showing, reviewing or speaking about what we do... so thank you MoE for highlighting ((B)) !
Do you have any positive habits or routines that you feel have attributed to your success?
I drink coffee in the morning and wine in the evening and everything that happens in between has been a success so I'm going to be upfront and tell you thats my routine! hahaha.
Honestly though, every day is different, its an absolute whirlwind of activity running a fitness company that has over 500 instructors and 250+ franchised locations so I am involved in a lot but I have a really strong management team so if anything, my new protocol is to stay out of things that I dont need to contribute to directly otherwise I know when I'm starting to burn out, I see the signs quicker now and I know when I need to say 'No'.
The best thing that keeps me grounded of which I am certain has helped me feel successful is that I try to always make the school run. As a mum its imperative to me to find that equilibrium between mum and CEO, so achieving the morning drop off and/or the afternoon pickup (even though it means I work late into the night and on weekends) its a massive personal positive for me and keeps me on track with the balancing act of both important routines.
What's your favourite business app/ tool/ book/ podcast etc?
I get obsessed with watching TED Talks on YouTube, particularly influential expert speakers in the realm of Business and Psychology. If I take a little bit from everything that I watch from industry leaders on the TED platform then its like Im attending to a world renowned conference every week from the comfort of my own office. I love it!
What advice would you give to new entrepreneurs just starting out?
I don’t think you should think too much about the bigger picture, it can be overwhelming and many people are be held back by the complexities of running a business, particularly women in business. My success has come from focusing on my personal motivations and creating the environment I want to operate in day to day.
Focus on what you are passionate about, have integrity, but always be commercially thinking and have a strong point of difference in everything you do. You need to be incredibly decisive in your ideals and very direct with people if you want to get anywhere fast and when you work with such conviction, you will never believe a failure is a setback.
If you want to get in touch or see more of Kimberlee's adventures, head over to their website or social media:
As always, if you're not already a member of our Mothers of Enterprise Society FREE FB Group, we'd love to have you! Simply click here to request to join.