Paris of ParisFitPhilly graduated college in 2014 and began working as an archaeologist until an accident changed everything. In 2015, she was rear-ended in a car accident, leaving her with two bulging discs in her back, two herniated discs in her neck, nerve damage in her legs, and a significant cut to her head.
After this accident, she was unable to perform basic daily tasks or work. She began seeing a physical therapist who instructed her to go to the gym regularly to strengthen her core. Paris was able to rehabilitate herself by going to the gym, and her inspiring story led to her becoming a personal trainer.
Paris shares, “I met a woman that said, “I watched you rehabilitate yourself. You can really help a lot of people.” She wanted me to get certified as a personal trainer so that I could help other people… I ended up becoming a personal trainer, and now I’m a gym owner.”
Today, Paris is a personal trainer and owns Paris Fit Studios in Philadelphia, where she helps people change their views on fitness and adopt new fitness and lifestyle habits.
Tackling Challenges in the Business World
One of Paris’ biggest challenges was not having other investors, financial help, or loans.
This lack of additional financial resources was particularly challenging when she opened her gym in January 2020. Shortly after, she had to close it down for a year and a half due to the pandemic restrictions.
She explains, “I didn’t have access to those different loans, and as I’m going through it [the pandemic], I didn’t know what I was going to do – Thank God, I am also a fitness merchandiser and was able to sell products. I turned my business to be more virtual, and alongside that, I found different grants that were out there. That’s what truly helped me during that time.”
Marketing Her Business Online
Paris’ top marketing strategy is social media, particularly Instagram reels and TikTok. She also uses email marketing and media exposure to increase brand awareness.
Paris adds, “I’m not really big on paid advertisements, not to say that they’re not good. I think they’re great, but I don’t understand them at the moment, so a lot [of my marketing] comes from me showcasing my different workout videos.”
Additionally, Paris has been featured on news stations in Philadelphia, including Fox 29, CBS 3, NBC, and ABC. She has also appeared in major magazines like wedding magazines, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Philadelphia Weekly.
Her most successful content highlights her transformation and clients’ transformations after working with her.
She explains, “I also have a private gym and showcase what it looks like inside of my gym. I feel that’s what draws more people to me. Our gym is all pink, so it’s very Instagrammable, and people are into that. I feel like showcasing what my business has to offer, what we do offer that makes us one of the best in Philadelphia, has helped my business out the most.”
Working with Brands
Paris has worked with many brands, including Under Armour and Footlocker. For Footlocker, Paris demonstrated physical activities and preventative measures to help Footlocker’s employees improve their health and well-being.
She notes, “For Breast Cancer Awareness with Footlocker, we talked more about heart health, cardiovascular exercises, and things that can help people that may suffer from breast cancer, just to help them in general for prevention.”
Paris shares that Philadelphia has a high obesity rate of over 60% for adults and 30% for children. As a result, promoting healthy exercise is very important to her and many fitness brands she chooses to collaborate with and is a major driving force behind her motivation to thrive in the fitness industry.
Standing Out in the Competitive Fitness Industry
In addition to her Instagrammable pink gym, Paris stands out by creating unique products and being a one-stop shop for fitness.
During the pandemic, she created the gym box, a complete at-home workout box with 22 types of resistance bands, fitness sliders, a jump rope, a swiss ball hand, and more. She also has a fitness app and fitness television show on major streaming platforms like Amazon Prime, Roku, and Samsung TV.
These options give her clients numerous ways to workout, including attending her gym in person, watching her fitness videos from home, using her gym box, and more.
Paris shares, “We’ve partnered with different brands like Alibaba.com… I’m an Alibaba influencer, so I do their TikTok. Not only do I have products that I source from Alibaba, but I’m also an Alibaba seller as well. I also manufacture [with them], and it helps sell fitness products to different trainers that want to expand their brand as a personal trainer, so being a part of the e-commerce world and physical world. I feel like that’s what separates me from a lot of personal trainers.”
Another critical element of standing out in the fitness industry is strong, consistent branding.
Paris’ brand colors are pink, black, and white. She also has a brand logo and customizable products with her brand colors in her gyms.
She adds, “We even have our own poster girl photo that we use on our different products. Right now, we have some products in our local shops and a fresh grocer selling our resistance bands in the shop. That poster girl is on there. That same photo is used on our billboards too.”
Her brand consistency makes her brand recognizable and reassures clients that the brand will stay true to itself even as it grows.
If you’re just getting started in the industry, Paris recommends, “Don’t be afraid to try new things. I feel like a lot of people are afraid because they don’t want to fail, but it’s not really failing. It’s learning so that you can improve for the next time.”
In addition, she recommends that people find their own lane and what separates them from other businesses in the industry.
Don’t go into business looking to compete with someone else by using the same content ideas, marketing strategies, etc. Instead, make yourself an original within the industry.
In the future, Paris is planning on expanding her business to other countries and creating greater brand awareness globally.
“My future goals for the business are to have more of a nationwide brand and a steady online program that could be used nationwide, and just more awareness to help lower the obesity rate in the country, not just here in Philadelphia.”