“It’s about holding your nerve and knowing where you want to go”
- December 16, 2019
- William Lewis
We met through friends in 2007 on a surf trip and clicked right away. We realised we had very similar values, similar backgrounds and both had a real drive. We both wanted to find somewhere where we could exercise that was enjoyable, because we were missing that part of our lives and there really wasn’t that much going on at the time in London that was affordable. We also realised how passionate we were – and how much we believed we could make a difference to what was already out there. We think of Frame as “tough fun”. We wanted to give women a place to be really pushed, far more than if they were just working out at home, but it was also about having a good time. We have a whole range of customers, but we see them all as “Framers”. It’s a mindset.
When we had finished our business plan, pitched to the bank and got the loan, that’s when we made the decision to quit our jobs and go for this 100 per cent. But, before that, there hadn’t been a moment when we didn’t think it was going to happen. We were only 26 and 27. We didn’t feel like we had anything to lose, we had each other and we could work all the hours under the sun.
It’s been 11 years since we met and we’ve been working on Frame throughout that time. That’s a really positive thing. At the beginning, we just did everything together and then, when we began to go on maternity leave, we covered for each other. We didn’t have a long history of friendship before we decided to start a business together and there’s a chance that could have got in the way. Since then, our relationship has changed and matured; we’re both older, we’re both mums of two, we’ve both got other things in our lives. Frame isn’t just us two working 24 hours to make things happen any more – we’ve got a big team. There have been highs and lows throughout, but we’ve always shared a vision. And we’ve held the same values and we’ve always known where we’ve tried to get to at the end of it. And we’ve always had each other when things have been hard or difficult.
We’re now at the point where we understand our strengths much better and we’re big believers in working to them. There’s loads of research to show that if you’re working to your strengths, that’s way more productive than trying to sort out your weaknesses. We’re constantly learning, though, because neither of us had long careers in business prior to Frame, so we’re both still figuring out what business growth looks like. Every time you open a new site, it has new challenges. You’re only ever going to be learning, but those learning challenges will change and evolve.
We alway say passion with perseverance. If you haven’t got the passion, you won’t persevere
Investment is a challenge for women. In June last year, we pitched to 11 companies and there was one female in the entire pitch process. It doesn’t help we’re in fitness – people all call us “the fitness girls”, which is quite entertaining, but with feminism and the pro-female movement, it’s about using what you’ve got. So, if you’re in the pitch process and they’re not giving you the credibility that you’re worth, there’s no problem with taking them down that journey and then opening a can of whoop-ass to prove you know what’s going on. Sometimes you want to tell them they are chauvinistic or condescending but, if you have a goal in mind, and you know what you’re there for, sometimes you have to let things go.
Talking to mentors is always important. A few years ago, when the wellness industry started to have a moment and everything went very white with green plants, we panicked and even considered changing our logo. But in that moment, speaking to someone who had huge brand experience managed to help us see what we wanted to do, and we eventually said, “What the fuck are we doing? Why are we fucking with the brand?!” Similarly, in the beginning, we were quite disruptive in our industry and people were like, “What are you doing?” And at that point we had to remember what we were doing, which was to change and disrupt the market, and not necessarily take on everybody’s advice. It’s really hard to do, but you’ve got to have real belief in where you’re headed – it helped massively that we both felt the same way.
The first thing to figure out is if you actually want to start your own business. Now, there’s a big push to be entrepreneurial – which is amazing, but at the same time it’s not for everybody. So, are you prepared to give up a lot of things and put everything into it and can you cope with those moments that are very difficult? You have to be passionate. We alway say passion with perseverance. If you haven’t got the passion, you won’t persevere.