Meet StrongHer: The strictly women’s only gym making waves in the fitness industry

StrongHer Space is a strictly-women only gym based in Bethnal Green. Whether you’re an absolute beginner or a fierce pro, StrongHer encourages you to train in comfort and with confidence. With a focus on strength training, StrongHer started out as a women-only dumbbell class (2016) before launching it’s own fitness space during lockdown. The brand is expanding this summer and is firmly here to stay!

Lyanne Hodson, the Co-Founder of StrongHer, says: “We want to break down the barriers, educate and empower women of all diversities and all socio-demographic backgrounds to take control of their fitness. It’s a big mission but we’re up for the challenge.”

Tell us about the owners of the business and what makes them unique

Lyanne (also known as Tig) is an athlete, coach, and Co-Founder of StrongHer.  Tig staunchly believes that it’s essential to be strong both mentally and physically. After meeting her Co-Founder Sam, both realised that they were fed up with the shallow nature of the performance world and wanted to pursue something more fulfilling.

Tig says “As a mixed-race woman, I didn’t see people like me that I could aspire to, nor did I feel there was a place I could be me and it was ok, as I didn’t “look” like other people, not to mention the intimidation I felt when it came to weight training and as a sporty youngster. Creating a space that is accessible to women from any culture, any colour, any background, any anything showing them that weight training can change your life will ultimately, in my opinion,” change how women are viewed in society, will change how women view themselves, allow them to be bigger risk-takers, get more women into higher roles in companies and ultimately bring gender equality.

Sam Prynn is a strength & conditioning coach and Co-Founder of StrongHer. Similar to Tig, Sam has competed, but in powerlifting and has helped 1000’s women over her career.

Sam says “I suffered from an eating disorder from the age of around 15 to around 24. When I was 17, I was so unwell and was sitting at such a low weight that my heart was under a lot of pressure. My performing arts college had no other choice than to suspend me which destroyed me. From that moment, I made it my mission to tackle my demons and to get myself better which then ultimately led me to where I am today.”

It’s incredibly important for Sam to help show women that they are good enough and that they are able to achieve anything they want – they just have to believe in themselves as much as she does.

How did you spot the gap in the market?

We spotted the gap in the market a long time ago… it’s been there a long time masked by other brands and businesses. It’s great to see that the topic has become brought to light over the last year, but now we want to see businesses take action, we’re about movement, not just words.

A recent survey by Origym has found that one in three women want female-only gyms in order to feel safer. 31% would feel more comfortable exercising, too. There’s also been a lot of statistics surrounding the fear of harassment in the gym – it isn’t unfounded either. Origym found that 61% of women gym goers fell victim to harassment from men while working out, experiencing things like inappropriate comments, jeering, and too-close physical contact.

What are 3 things you’d wish somebody had told you before starting a business?

  1. You are the expert — Nobody can take that away from you. You often get greeted with imposter syndrome at any given moment throughout your career, especially as an entrepreneur, and you have to remember as long as you stay true to what you know and believe you will succeed.
  2. Competition is ignition — I, like many, am very competitive and that’s great as it keeps you on your toes and pushing forward, but when the competition turns into comparison it becomes toxic. I am noticing it more as a few other businesses come on the scene that are similar to what we do but I’m not comparing what we doing I simply use it as a catalyst to not settle.
  3. Don’t stay silent — if you don’t fit into the norm you have to be prepared to be loud, stand out and not be afraid of bounceback

How did you grow/develop the business?

We really grew the business through the growth of our community that believed in the business as much as we did. Another big business growth achievement was we raised £125,000 with no crowdfunding experience. The biggest takeaways from this are that if you stay true to your purpose then you can genuinely achieve anything.

We’d also recommend that you shouldn’t have two full-time jobs whilst raising capital, because it’s absolutely too much.

Top three tips for an entrepreneur?

  1. Have a reason why. This is true for any type of business. If you have a reason why it will keep you going through the hard times and lead you to a successful career.

  2. Be real and relatable. For us, when we started, we built our brand by being real, honest and relatable via social media. The health and wellness industry can often be plastered in marketing of ‘before and after’ pics or heavily edited images etc where people find it hard to relate.

  3. Resilience & humility — Not being afraid to fail. We have made so many mistakes over the past 5 years within our business, but you have to learn to love to fail as this is the way you will ultimately succeed, by learning from those mistakes.

If you’re curious about StrongHer, head to one of the following:

The StrongHer website

A free taster fun day where people can try out classes for free, there will be prizes, pinatas and much more… Book your spot here.

Pride workout with a silent disco. Donate what you can as all donations go to two amazing charities. Book your spot here.

*We strive to do our best when supporting small business and their growth. Our business databases can give you information and data that can help you with advertising, market research, company information, and industry factsheets. If you have already taken the plunge, we would love for you to join us at a seminar, our workshops cover digital marketing, business model canvas and planning, demystifying taxes and intellectual property to name a few. Visit our events page or website for more information.

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