On the up · 23 August 2018

From pilates to quidditch GoSweat hooks up the exercise-eager with nearby fitness classes

GoSweat founders and couple – Newport-Booth and Hind

If you’re anything like me then, fitness classes are the way forward. Without the pressure of a personal trainer to the lack of motivation you have working out alone – a group class is the best of both worlds.

Although knowing where and when to find your favourite workouts is always difficult. Living in London also means the classes at your gym are jam-packed or are over before you finish work.

GoSweat helps you find nearby available fitness classes without having to pay full-whack gym prices. This pay-as-you-go service lets you workout freely and conveniently.

As part of our “I fell in love with my co-founder” series, Business Advice caught up with Stephanie Newport-Booth and Alex Hind to discover the couple who met at Newcastle University, ditched their jobs at Aldi to start their own fitness business.

What is your business?

GoSweat is revolutionising the fitness space, creating the platform that lets you discover and book the greatest range of sport and fitness. Starting with Fitness classes, of which 4 million are booked every week, GoSweat lets users simply search for ‘what’ and ‘where’. They can instantly book, on a pay-as-you-go basis, one of the 1000s of activities we have on offer such as; pilates, bootcamps, football or quidditch.

When was the business founded?

GoSweat was founded in September 2016, after Steph and Alex had left their roles as Aldi Area Managers and moved to London.

What is the company’s turnover?

GoSweat doesn’t publicly disclose its turnover but it’s <£50K as of August 2018.

How many employees are there?

4 (soon to be 5) employees and Conker, the office dog.

How did you both meet?

Alex and Steph met at Newcastle University in 2011 whilst both studying Geography. Although it’s a surprise that they hadn’t met prior to that as they grew up 10 minutes apart in Chester, frequently competing at each others schools but never crossing paths.

What inspired you to start a business together?

After studying together for three years at Newcastle University, and then both being Aldi Area Area Managers for two years, Steph and Alex were in the full swing of working together. They’re shared frustration for how hard finding sports and fitness was, coupled with their desire to elicit change and passion to make the industry more accessible, paired them further.

What specific roles do you both have?

Alex: When we first started GoSweat Steph and I were already so accustomed to working together, so intune with the others skill set and weaknesses, that we barely needed to communicate who would tackle which task. As our team swelled, and our responsibilities and challenges grew, we had to draw lines and set boundaries. Steph is Chief Procurement Officer (CPO), and overseas sports provider relations and Sales and Marketing. I’m CEO, which can sometimes feel like Chief Email Officer, and manage GoSweat’s funding and corporate growth.

How do you separate work from your personal life?

Steph: Switching off in any job can be hard. Switching off from your own business even harder. But trying to switch off when your colleague is sat on the sofa next to you, even harder still. Sometimes it’s too hard, and that’s why I’ve learnt not to force it. If my mind wants to work, I let it, and that’s where having Alex as my partner, in life and work, is so fantastic, because he understands – he gets it.

Do you have any rules to leave work at work?

Alex: Yes. The number 1 being, do not speculate. Whilst we’re both realistic and understand it’s not always possible to leave work at work, we are strict about not speculating about anything business related. As soon as you open the door and start letting yourself imagine multiple scenarios it can lead to a rabbit hole, which doesn’t benefit anyone but just eats up time.

What are your individual strengths?

Alex: Steph is the planner, she dreams big, plans and implements business strategies. She’s incredibly personable and when she sets her mind to something, is unstoppable. I’m generally much more cautious but am a natural leader, who seeks to instill enthusiasm and drive performance. I come from a family of entrepreneurs, with my eldest brother having founder carwow. I’m not too shabby on the pitch either, and have played representative sport in rugby, cricket and tennis and was offered a football contract aged 16.

What’s been your biggest business achievement to date?

Steph: Our biggest achievement to date has been finding Kent, our fellow co-founder and GoSweat’s CTO. So many business die a death because they don’t have the right skill-sets, and Alex and I were adamant from the beginning that we wanted a third co-founder, who had technical expertise. We kissed a few frogs, but hit the jackpot with Kent.

What is the hardest part of working together?

Steph: The hardest part of working together is not getting a fresh perspective. I remember when my Mum used to come homefrom work, she’d vent about her day to my Dad and he’d inevitably come up with ideas for how she could overcome the predicament at hand. It’s hard for Alex and I to do that, as we already know what’s going on at work, and chances are we’ve already tried to hash it out there.

What is the best part of running a business together?

Alex: How long have you got? Seriously, I appreciate that working with your spouse might not be for everyone but being able to experience our highs, and our lows, together has made us very strong as business partners, and in life.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Carly Hacon is a reporter for Business Advice. She has a BA in journalism from Kingston University, and has previously worked as a features editor for a local newspaper.

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