StudioHop Founder and CEO Natalie Wolfe shares her entrepreneurial journey and tips for avoiding a midyear goal plateau.
By Elizabeth Ucles, Photos courtesy of StudioHop
The new year is in full swing, and you know what that means: hitting the gym and adopting a healthier lifestyle. However, for many, those healthy habits we abided by religiously in early January are often the last things on our minds come springtime. StudioHop Founder and CEO Natalie Wolfe explains how she stays on top of her goals and how she’s built her company on the mission of living a well-balanced life.
Born and raised in Austin, Wolfe has entrepreneurship in her blood. At age 12, she and her twin brother started their first business, a summer camp hosted at their parents’ home, and from there, she was hooked on the entrepreneurial lifestyle. While Austin’s eclectic business scene intrigued her, she decided to move a few hours north to attend college, receiving degrees in journalism and Spanish from Dallas’ Southern Methodist University.
While living in Dallas, Wolfe kept busy by attending fitness classes, from Pilates to spin. But she soon became frustrated with the cost of paying for multiple studio memberships and grew bored with the classes she was taking. Then an idea came to her.
“There’s got to be a way to go to all these studios in a city where you have one membership,” Wolfe says.
Thus, she crafted a plan and tested out the concept on 10 of her friends. She managed their memberships and had them call her when they wanted to take a class.
“I was everyone’s fitness concierge,” Wolfe says.
Her friends loved the idea, and Wolfe officially launched StudioHop in January 2015.
“[StudioHop] was born out of my own desire to workout in multiple places,” Wolfe says. “I realized other people felt the same way.”
The business quickly took off. Wolfe attributes her degree in journalism to aiding in her communication skills as she met and made connections, further planting her roots in Dallas.
“[Communication] is such a lost art these days,” Wolfe says.
While Wolfe still lives in Dallas, StudioHop has expanded and now offers services for those living in Austin, San Antonio and Fort Worth, Texas, as well as those in New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Okla. Wolfe says she chose to expand her business to her hometown of Austin because the city has a vibrant and ever-evolving fitness scene. Plus, as a native, Wolfe was already well-connected with many studios.
“One of our pillars at StudioHop is that we only work with our favorite studios,” Wolfe says.
The StudioHop team is quite small, with only six employees in total, including Wolfe’s husband and business partner, Ryan Wolfe, but the company’s grassroots outreach has helped the brand continue to grow.
A Day in the Life
On a typical day, Wolfe rises at 6:30 a.m. and starts her day with a workout, whether it’s yoga, a spin class or boot camp. She then makes herself a healthy breakfast, like oatmeal or a smoothie, and heads to her office. On any given day, she meets with studio owners and works on collaborations. Recently, Wolfe met with Outdoor Voices and Bumble.
After a long day’s work, Wolfe comes home, unwinding by playing with her shih-tzu-bichon mix, Annabelle.
While her days are full, she is filled with a relentless motivation to further her brand. But like all small-business owners, she experiences difficult times as well.
“I definitely go through periods of time where I have to dig to find motivation. Running a startup is the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Wolfe says.
But there are so many rewarding moments that keep her going. For instance, Wolfe and her team recently celebrated a member’s 300th class with StudioHop.
“It’s a weird feeling knowing that there’s so many people out there who are enjoying something I created and that it’s changing their lives,” Wolfe says. “That’s what’s most important to me and what keeps me motivated.”
While Wolfe works hard to continue growing her brand, she also strives to live a balanced life, something that is easier said than done.
“Who has actually found balance, you know?” Wolfe says. “It feels very elusive but it’s something we all want to feel.”
One of the biggest challenges when setting healthy resolutions in the new year is pushing past the inevitable rut. Wolfe suggests scheduling workouts, whether that means taking a walking with a friend, riding your bike instead of driving or heading to a class at your favorite studio.
“[Working out is] something that your body needs and something your soul probably needs as well,” Wolfe says.
Another way Wolfe suggests staying motivated as the year passes is setting intentions and goals each month.
“It’s so hard to stick with it,” Wolfe says. “Once you find your rhythm, it’s something you actually enjoy.”