Women in Business: Esther Njuguna is all about Fitness
Charity begins at home and sometimes, so does fitness. No one knows this better than Esther Njuguna. A personal observation of those around her, prompted her to start F.I.T. It is a fitness company that works to get teenagers and kids engaged through dance fitness workouts, learn the basics of good nutrition and all under minimal supervision.
F.I.T founder Esther Njuguna.
- Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Esther Njuguna, wife to a wonderful husband John Njuguna. In the choreography world I’m known as “Ekay.” A third born in a family of four kids. I have two brothers and one amazing elder sister. I grew up in the heart of an entertainment estate…the famous South C home of a number of renowned artistes.
- How did you come up with an idea for your business? What prompted you to start a business?
My business began out of a strong desire to help my nephews and nieces. They were putting on too much weight for their young age and were living very sedentary lives which isn’t healthy for kids. So I used my dance background and passion to work with kids to create and a unique and fun way to get the kids active and also appreciate healthy eating.
- When and why did you start your business?
In December 2011 after a successful Children’s Camp.
With lots of encouragement, self-belief and desire to make an impact in other children’s lives, I approached several schools and thus FIT (Fitness In Teenagers) was born.
- Before that, what were you doing?
Prior to me starting the FIT company, I had been teaching a high intensity dance workout for adults, another creation of my own called Bailamos (which is Latin for let’s dance).
- Please share the main need your business is filling in the market and who your main customers are?
The increase of fast food restaurants in the country, growing middle-class and people being able to afford more luxury goods has increased the rate at which more people are suffering from Lifestyle diseases. Top of the list are diabetes and high blood pressure. This is further propagated by adoption of sedentary lives and lack of proper nutrition that has enabled us to have a ready market for what FIT has to offer.
- The ‘art of the start’ is often said to be very difficult – what was the hardest part about getting your business off the ground?
The hardest part was people actually believing that one person can handle so many kids at a go and do it well. I was a “One Man Army”. God has given me grace and wisdom to handle the numbers and I’m grateful that I never doubted that together we could conquer the world.
- What is the most rewarding thing about being an entrepreneur in Kenya?
Being a pioneer always gives you room to explore several paths and chart your own course. You set your own standards and act as your own pacesetter.
When you become successful in what you’re doing, others use you as a benchmark to their success.
- And the most frustrating?
The most frustrating thing is that you have to walk alone and it’s only when you succeed that people begin to take you seriously.
- Do you have any special services for pregnant women or new mothers?
Yes I offer Personal Training called “Aqua-Baila” which is dance classes in a pool.
- What is one thing you find to be true that most people would disagree with?
I believe rich kids and poor kids all want the same things in life. They all desire to be loved, cared for, provided for and given the best education possible to enable them to have a successful future.
- What’s your best hiring tip/secret?
Always choose passionate people. You can teach people how to work like you but you can’t teach them how to love their job. So always go for individuals who are as enthusiastic about what they do.
- How do you use social media?
Social media has been a way to advertise about my services. It also helps me keep my clientele in the know of special rates for classes, upcoming camps, and new updates on fitness for kids as well as health tips.
- How do you find inspiration?
My inspiration comes from the fact that according to a WHO report in 2014, an estimated 41 million children under the age of 5 years were overweight or obese. Therefore my mission is to help kids all over the world combat this problem.
- What are your non-work habits that help you with your work-life balance?
I enjoy reading as well as spending time with both friends and family. These are ways of staying grounded, being humble and learning what is truly important in life.
- What was the best piece of advice you ever got?
The best advice would be what I learnt from Christine K Odero of Supamamas, if you want to be taken seriously in business, ALWAYS have your business cards with you.
The worst? Somebody once told me my ideas for kid’s fitness would never work in Kenya because it’s never been done. I’m so glad I persisted with my dreams.
- If you could chose, who would you most like to have dinner with? Michelle Obama Why? I love her passion for kids, her grace, poise and eloquent speech. Most of all, because she leads by example in all that she does.
- What do you want your legacy to be?
That I was able to help 1 million kids globally embrace fitness and good nutrition as a lifestyle.