We had the good fortune of connecting with Joslyn & Brittney Rae Reese and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joslyn and Brittney Rae Reese, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
After years of being stuck in the vicious cycle of fad diets and fitness trends, we decided to launch FIT & NU in 2015. This was right after our soul-searching backpacking trip through Central America with just the two of us and a desire for change. During this trip, we became certified as Zumba instructors, but we also had the critical realization that we were curious to discover better ways to wellness. We wanted to find a deeper meaning to enjoying life while adopting healthier habits. In the past we’ve experienced a disconnect from the wellness industry that didn’t have a true interest in the total health and wellbeing of women of color. Not to mention, very few places offered nutrition services in addition to fitness. This was our “aha” moment. We knew we were not alone in feeling this way because we had heard about this kind of experience so many times before. This realization made us all the more determined to open Colorado’s first FITness & NUtrition club for women of color. We knew that this was about so much more than our personal experiences. It’s a systemic problem. It’s also a critical reason for the health disparities. When a business model does not invest cultural competence, it shows. The price comes at the cost of the health of people of color.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Our business started out as two sisters leading fitness classes in the park, local community centers, and in churches. Six years later, we’ve managed to turn our passion for inspiring and supporting others into a thriving business with a social mission. The process of growing our business has been challenging, especially over the last year because of the pandemic Despite the challenges, we have learned to stay positive even when times are tough. We have learned to lean into uncertainty and to focus on what we can control instead of what we can’t. COVID-19 has forced us to think outside of the box and accelerated our shift toward digital services. Truthfully, we are still deep in the middle of this accelerated transition and uncertainty, but we’re hopeful about what the future holds.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We would take our friend to one of our beautiful mountain towns, like Vail, Aspen, or Steamboat. No trip to Colorado is complete without experiencing the beauty of our mountains. If the weather was nice enough, we would challenge them to do the Incline in Manitou or a glacial lake hike like Island Lake. We would also take them to some of our favorite restaurants in the Denver metro area, where we are from, like Machete, Root Down, Acreage by Stem Ciders, and ChoLon. The Boulder Dushanbe Tea House is another absolute must, along with breakfast at Snooze. We would top off their trip with a Nuggets or Broncos game and definitely a show at Red Rocks. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many individuals and organizations for which we owe our success, including Mi Casa Resource Center, Mile High United Way, Sistahbiz Global Network, and our amazing friends and family. Every one of these individuals and organizations encouraged us when we were uncertain, lifted us up when we were down, and were patient with us when we were wrapped up in our business. Most importantly, they have always supported our mission. We have also read several inspiring books such as Atomic Habits by James Clear, Daring to lead by Brene Brown, The 5am Club by Robin Sharma, and The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson. Each book has been pivotal for self-growth and professional growth, along with deepening our awareness of the systemic inequalities in America.
Other: Our blog: https://medium.com/fit-nu Press and Media: https://fitandnu.com/news/
Richard Cummings and Blake Jackson.