1. What’s your story?
I’m the co-founder of Trium Fitness, which I’ve been running for almost four years now. Before that, my background was in marketing and I worked for Lululemon. My main job at Lululemon was to establish the first store in Singapore, and then its second store. But at that time, I was pregnant and didn’t really have the bandwidth to manage forty people and all that. So, I left Lululemon and decided that I will go ahead to open a fitness studio. I’ve never really been one to sit and do nothing even if I’m pregnant, and fitness has been a large part of my life. It helped me get over my post-natal depression and it helped me create a community of friends when I was living abroad in France.
2. Why did you start Trium Fitness?
Health and fitness is something that is so important. My husband was abroad in the US for three years and during that time, I had to take care of my four kids. It also made me realise that it so important for me to maintain my health, because if I’m not healthy, I can’t take care of my kids. Your joints, bones and body need to move, and if you’re not giving your body the movement it needs, you’re harming it.
My fitness studio was also a way for me to get like-minded people to come together and get healthier together. It’s something that I really enjoy doing and something that I see myself doing on a long-term basis. I also wanted a space where people feel supported. It’s not a place where you just get your hour of work out and then that’s it, you go off, without interacting with anyone. That’s why I created a cozy corner in the studio. Here, it’s easy to make friends and you don’t feel like you’re alone. I often stay back to chat with my students after class and sometimes we also go out for meals.
3. What is Trium Fitness all about?
Trium Fitness is actually based on a symbol of a triangle, balancing the power of three things you can achieve with your body: strength, mobility and fitness. It also represents the three things that work in tandem to give you your health: mental, physical, emotional. Again, you can use the same symbol and analogy to see the three essential facets that make up your life: your job, your health, your family. It’s all about the balance and harmony.
4. What is good health to you?
Fitness is definitely one major aspect. But health is also dependent on the food you eat on a daily basis. If you eat rubbish, have too many sugar crashes, drink too much wine… you can’t stay healthy. Mental health is also very important. For medium to high intensity work outs, it’s great for both your physical and mental health because it releases hormones. But for those who are not comfortable with intense workouts, I like to use a blend of essential oils to help people be mindful of their sense of smell and to relax mentally. For example, at the start of a yoga class, I will use essential oils that are more citrusy so that its energising and invigorating, and then towards the end of class, I would use ylang ylang or lavender oils to help them relax and wind down.
5. How are online classes going for you now that we’re in the coronavirus situation?
To be honest, I wanted to pause the business during lockdown as I thought it was going to be a one month holiday that I probably needed. But my students actually texted me that they didn’t want to stop, and asked me if I could continue lessons. So that’s how I started my Zoom classes. With classes continuing, my students can still get the workout done – better once a week than not at all!
And I think there is a silver lining to virtual classes. I find that it gives people more room and comfort to try new workouts and exercises, because with a virtual class you can turn off your camera. You can not worry about other people’s judgements, or things like, I don’t have nice looking fitness gear to wear or I’m not confident I can do the moves in the workout well.
Although this is something we never expected pre Circuit Breaker, I find that it’s allowing me to communicate more with my students. Because now they will text me directly to arrange for classes etc, instead of going through my front desk. So this texting thing has now become quite a regular thing! (laughs) And when they feel so comfortable with me, they can then tell me other things, like the health problems they have or the problems they face in general. For example, they would say I have UTI, can I still do this or that. So it’s great, it lets me help more people. Then others would ask me where to find new fitness gear or what material to look out for, and I will tell them this is where you should go, etc. I also allow my students to encourage their family members at home to join the workout at no extra cost.
I think overall some of my students actually now prefer virtual classes, so I think it’s a thing that I will continue and keep going, even after the Circuit Breaker. Now, they can actually stay longer to chit chat after class because they don’t have to worry about things like carpark costs, or worry about driving home in time to cook dinner, etc because they are already home!
From where I’m standing, I think this is a really good break for nature. I actually see blue skies! And I also see people starting to work out as a family, it’s nice.
6. How did you start becoming an Instagram influencer?
Actually the first time I started using Instagram was all because of the filters. For my job at Lululemon, I had to post out pictures on Instagram. So that’s when I also created my personal Instagram account, where I share about what I do. As for blogging, I started that when I moved to France. Because I was there for a good four years, sharing of photos on Facebook and Instagram became a very regular thing for me, sharing my day, the fun stuff, etc. Because if I don’t my family and friends back in Singapore will be asking me if I’m alive. (laughs)
So, when brands started approaching me talking about influencer stuff, I didn’t even know what they were talking about! But it’s actually quite a simple thing to me. I will always share things that I feel comfortable with and can talk about. If can’t talk about that thing or that topic, I will just try my best to tell the brand I’m not able to do it. Because it’s very important to share authentically, and I feel like all my followers are my friends.
7. What is one challenge no one knows about when you first launched your business?
It would be firing people. I never like to tell people I have to let them go. But as the business owner, I had to do something like that quite a few times. Some of the teachers I’ve had didn’t really work out as their courses had low take-up rates. But I do give them feedback before firing. And when I do have to let people go, I try my best to explain it to them. Some of them are still friends. I’m so glad this hard part has passed. The team with me now is tried and tested.
8. What is one mantra you personally subscribe to?
Think of exercise as something as essential as brushing your teeth. Your body needs it daily and you need to give your body what it needs to lubricate your joints, stimulate your bones, muscles. Changing this simple mentality will change the way you behave and priories things.
9. What is one advice you would give to women entrepreneurs?
Expect that things will not be as you expected. So many things are beyond your expectations, so you have to be prepared that worst will happen, but find a way to overcome it and go on with your life. Don’t give up your dreams, always find a way.
You can join one of Dawn’s virtual classes via Zoom to level up on your fitness game. From parent and child workouts to a whole series of work out seshs, from yoga, pilates, yogalates to towel and chair workouts, Dawn has got you covered. $10 for a single class and $70 for a 10-class pack.
Jolene lives for avo toasts, yoga and is a little more OCD than she cares to admit. She never fails to start her day with morning coffee and is very partial to flat whites. She is obsessed with interiors and homeware, and is currently taking her RYT 200h yoga teacher training course as an aspiring ashtangi.