60-second start-up: Liberté Fitness

0-5 seconds: Sum your business up in a sentence

Liberté Fitness runs group outdoor fitness sessions in parks and gardens as well as beach fitness retreats and has an 'Ever done it Outside' clothing range.

5-10 seconds: What's the business model?

In the parks, members sign up to direct debit for a certain number of sessions a month, they can also pay a more expensive rate for pay as you go.

The beach fitness retreats are wellbeing weekends that people pay a one off price for and the clothing range can be bought by members and non-members.

10-15 seconds: Who are your competitors?

Personal trainers running boot camps taking their 'indoor' sessions 'outside' but no one is running specific outdoor sessions in a similar way to us, as we use no kit and no session is ever the same.

We focus on the social benefits of training with others and have built a membership network of like-minded people. We don't shout or humiliate people and are not a military boot camp - far too many people have tried to jump on the boot camp bandwagon, it's boring.

We re-educate people on how to live a healthy and fitter life and make friends at the same time whilst getting them out of the gym.

15-20 seconds: What's your USP?

Group, outdoor fitness training that's fun, un-intimidating and inspires people to kick-start a healthier life.

20-25 seconds: How have you funded it so far?

It is totally self-funded, I worked in my investment banking day job whilst setting it up, ensuring every penny I earned went straight into the business. It was set up without any debt and will remain self-funded for as long as possible.

25-30 seconds: What were you doing before?

Working in a selection of start up boutique hedge funds. I've always been entrepreneurial & enjoyed the buzz of helping start something from scratch. I'm not at my best being 1 of 1000s of staff in a big corporate.

30-35 seconds: Where did the idea come from?

I took a sabbatical to Australia in 2008 (pre credit crunch) and saw literally hundreds of people training on Bondi Beach and that was at 5am before work. I wondered why back home, we spent all day stuck in an office and then went to dingy underground London gyms having not experienced the great outdoors all day. The Liberte ethos was born.

35-40 seconds: What's the smartest thing you've done so far?

Holding down a full time job whilst starting the business, it was most definitely the hardest way of doing it as I worked every waking second of every day on two jobs but it was far more rewarding when I came to make the big leap and work on my business full time. A real entrepreneur takes risks and leaving a highly paid job in the middle of a recession is a big one, but the minute I did, opportunities presented themselves to me that were beyond my wildest dreams.

40-45 seconds: What's the stupidest?

Believing other people were as passionate about the brand as I was. People aren't. No one will ever be in love with their business as much as the owner, when I realised that, I stopped having such high expectations of everyone else.

Also, initially I struggled to realise just how much of a sacrifice my personal life would take to get Liberte off the ground. I couldn't live the same London lifestyle I'd previously had which was frustrating at times when colleagues bought swanky clothes or had eaten out at amazing restaurants and I was eating baked beans on toast despite working flat out! The rewards come later, much later.

45-50 seconds: If your business was a biscuit, what would it be?

Now I've left the corporate world, I don't have biscuits, they were just the biggest temptation of all in an office environment, all that junk food. I'd have to say Liberte would be an oatcake (low GL).

50-55 seconds: Which idea are you a bit jealous of?

There are a few and they are all fitness and health related. Definitely Graze - who would have thought anyone would pay £4 for a box of seeds that could be delivered in the mail and amazingly people love it. I'm also VERY jealous of innocent smoothies; I just love their brand and everything it stands for.

I'm disappointed I didn't follow my own idea about home delivery of healthy food boxes. I had that idea way before everyone else 10 yrs ago on holiday but was too scared to make it happen.

55-60 seconds: Where are you going to be in 12 months' time?

To have 600 members within the next year and see many more people wearing the 'Ever done it outside' kit. We've recently had our beach fitness weekends mentioned in Harpers Bazaar as one of the top 5 fitness holidays so I hope to have them all sold out. Also focusing on brand awareness.

To find out more information about Liberté Fitness, click here

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