A boutique Boston fitness studio is on the move.
TRILLFIT, a Black-owned fitness studio in Boston's Mission Hill neighborhood, is expanding, after a fateful meeting on a flight, and a pandemic pivot that proved quite fruitful.
"We keep getting signs from the universe that this is the path, move forward," said Heather White, co-founder of TRILLFIT.
In the weeks before the start of the coronavirus pandemic, TRILLFIT was on quite a run. It was in the middle of a 52-day sold out streak, but then White and her co-founder Melissa Valdez made a decision.
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"Our thing was we didn't know enough about the virus to understand how we could keep people safe, and if we can't keep people safe, we don't want people here," White said.
White and Valdez decided to shift their offerings online, offering classes for free to help those struggling to make ends meet. People started signing up. Some from Boston, but then others started signing in from all over.
"People were joining us from the UK, Singapore, we went global, basically," Valdez said.
TRILLFIT is now doing hybrid offerings, digital classes and in-person classes, as well.
White is so busy that she doesn't have time to get her nails done. On a recent flight, White vented to the stranger sitting next to her.
"Everyone is always sending me Instagram messages, my nails aren't done, don't these people understand I am literally trying to change the world? Why does everyone care about that?" White said at the time.
White says the man sitting next to her then turned to her.
"The man sitting next to me said, 'you are trying to change the world, huh?'" White recalled. "I said, 'yeah, I am a female CEO and people only care about my nails, disappointing right?'"
White said the two talked the entire four-hour flight about TRILLFIT and later connected when both were back in Boston.
Recently, White and Valdez found out TRILLFIT is worth $15 million.
"My mind exploded, I had no idea I could create something that would be that valuable," White said. "I am excited, we are poised to grow and scale, our social presence is incredible."
White and Valdez say they want to continue to grow TRILLFIT, focused on areas that are passed over by traditional fitness studios. New investments in TRILLFIT are helping make that possible.
"We can continue to give those opportunities and bring TRILLFIT to under-marginalized communities, to spaces where you would never see boutique fitness, to be able to give jobs to people who never thought they could work in the fitness industry," Valdez said.
TRILLFIT is currently working on a Brooklyn studio, and White and Valdez want to expand even more.
"Nothing is impossible, nothing is impossible, and when you have a dream, exactly how Dr. Martin Luther King said, you have to do it," Valdez said. "As people of color we need to continue to strive for greatness, because most of the time, there are not that many people that believe in us, and most people have to start and believe in ourselves.