Latina Fitness Entrepreneur Turns To TikTok To Build Community And Grow Her Business

Grace Stone, founder of Peach Bum, based in Austin, Texas.

From feelings of judgement to the serious and intense atmosphere, going to the gym as a woman can be ‘gymtimidating,’ causing some to steer clear of gyms altogether. Grace Stone, founder of Peach Bum, a Latina-owned boutique fitness studio based in Austin, Texas, brought her business to TikTok to build community around women-inclusive health, fitness and wellness.

Grace noticed a lack of safe spaces for women in the fitness industry and set out to create a space that celebrates a feminine aesthetic, while still providing top-of-the-line classes. Her business offers a diverse range of group classes, merchandise, and an immersive yet intimate atmosphere. Her fast-growing audience (over 79k followers) on TikTok, has allowed the brand to attract staff, sell merchandise internationally, and surpass 2K workout classes taught. In fact, this Latina-owned small business has over 6.1 M views on the platform so far.

Grace has become a maestro at utilizing Peach Bum’s growing TikTok following to build her community, invite collaborations with other small businesses and share ideas on how small businesses can compete in a market and industry that is still very male-dominated.

We had the chance to chat with Grace about starting Peach Bum, challenges during COVID, and what it means to be a Latina entrepreneur in a business where she is intentionally creating inclusive, safe spaces for women to work out and feel healthy.

How did the idea for Peach Bum initially come about?

I was working an office job that I wasn’t totally enthralled with, so I started listening to podcasts at my desk about how entrepreneurs successfully started a business (NPR’s ‘How I Built This’). I was and still am extremely passionate about fitness, so over the course of a few months, I just kind of mentally put the pieces together that I wanted to start seriously looking into starting my own boutique fitness studio. I knew early on that I wanted the studio to be geared more towards women and really be a safe space in that regard. Eventually, the name Peach Bum came to me one day as I was driving home from work, and once I got home I immediately checked to see if the trademark and domain name were available and they were! So I took that as a sign that it was meant to be  

What was your personal experience with fitness studios prior to opening your own business that made you want to open your own place?

To be honest, I didn’t have any practical experience operating a fitness studio prior to opening Peach Bum. I had been a total devotee of group fitness classes for years, and absolutely loved the environment that working out with a group of friends (or strangers!) can create. I had several years of experience working for startups under my belt, so I felt that with that experience in a more entrepreneurial environment combined with my own personal love for fitness, that I would be able to navigate the uncharted waters of managing a boutique studio (I also have the assistance of our amazing team of trainers!).

What do you feel might be missing from the general fitness studio marketplace, especially when it comes to catering to women?

I think for a long time the fitness industry has been quite male-dominated, and in speaking with other women about their experiences at both big box gyms and more local fitness studios, the sentiment was that a more female-dominated studio that still offered a rigorous and high intensity workout was something that a lot of people wanted. I think ultimately I just wanted to create a space that felt extremely welcoming, safe, and as un-intimidating as possible!

@peachbumfitness @JAG 💜 #smallbusinesscheck #xyzbca #ForYouPizza ♬ original sound – Grace 🍑

You started Peach Bum during the pandemic. What were the challenges you faced, and how did you persist despite these?

There were numerous challenges opening Peach Bum during COVID-19–and, in fact, opening during a pandemic actually wasn’t my intention at all! I signed my lease for our studio space towards the end of 2019 and faced long negotiations in 2020 with our landlord in order to obtain more time to build out the space during last year’s period of uncertainty. The upside of the months where our construction was put on pause was that it allowed me to spend more time on other aspects of the business such as graphic design, building out our website, and creating an organic social media following. I learned so much by being able to do these things by myself that I otherwise might not have had the time to.

By the time we finally were able to open our doors last month, we were met with so much local love and support and it felt very gratifying to know that we were providing a safe space with COVID-19 protocols in place for people to try out a new workout outside of their apartments if they felt comfortable doing so. I know for me personally that it feels way more motivating to see an instructor in front of you cheering you on and offering personalized guidance and support wherever you are in your fitness journey.

Scrolling through social media platforms it can be intimidating looking through the numerous insta-fit accounts that may not always be the most relatable. How does Peach Bum aim to cater to different fitness levels and comfort levels?

I completely agree that the representation of fitness that’s often on social media isn’t the most relatable. I think the act of showing up for yourself in small ways, whether it be coming to class when you can squeeze it into your work schedule or even making time for a walk around your neighborhood should be celebrated as much as possible. At Peach Bum, our Signature class can be done using only body weight, making it great for beginners or people just getting back into the swing of an exercise routine. We also have a number of variations that can be used to make the workout harder or more intense along with props and handweights to add additional resistance for those with a bit more experience. 

What has been some of the most rewarding feedback you have received from customers so far?

Honestly, anytime I hear someone tell me that they have been looking for a studio just like Peach Bum, it’s incredibly rewarding. I created the studio space based around not only a gap in the market but a real need that I felt to create an unapologetically feminine and fun fitness space, so it’s amazing to hear that we’ve truly created an amazing spot where people are getting a great workout and feeling like they’re part of the fitness community here in Austin.

@peachbumfitness ♬ Sixty Second Commercial 1 by Michael Reynolds – malcolm

As a Latina, how does Peach Bum cater to the Latinx community and be aware of cultural sensitivities when it comes to fitness and body image?

I think ultimately, representation really matters. It’s wonderful to see the tide starting to change on social media and with a lot of larger brands in regards to showcasing and spotlighting people of different cultures and those with different body types. When it comes to what we do at Peach Bum, our ultimate goal is to be as accepting and welcoming as possible. We can make adjustments to our workout for any fitness level, and with our classes being overwhelmingly attended by women I think there is a real energy of understanding and empathy. We also love spotlighting the Latinx community and culture as much as possible, whether it be through themed classes that celebrate the music and richness of Hispanic culture, or in collaborating with other Latina-owned businesses at our events 

How are you utilizing social media, especially TikTok, to grow your audience and share about the mission of Peach Bum?

Pretty early on in the process of starting Peach Bum, I created a TikTok account to document the entire process. It quickly gained traction and a sizable following. It was incredibly rewarding to be able to share the ups and downs of starting a business with our followers and I loved being able to have a platform where people could give me feedback on everything from our merchandise to the color of paint on our walls 

For someone visiting Peach Bum for the first time, or stumbling onto your social media accounts, what do you hope they will leave feeling like?

I think the goal for me and most likely anyone who has started their own business would be that people who interact with us on social media or come visit us in person leave with a positive impression of us! 😊 Fitness activities are so personal and I know that we won’t suit absolutely everyone, but my hope is that the branding and the energy that we put into every single class ultimately resonates with people and that they come away with the sense that we as a fitness studio try to be as authentic and accepting as possible!

Follow Grace Stone and all things Peach Bum on TikTok for tips on using social media to grow your business, and for awesome events happening at the boutique fitness studio in Austin, Texas!

Comments are closed.