Noël Fiorentinos, Work it Out {Our #NJMOMpreneur of the Week}

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More than a decade ago, Noël Fiorentinos set out to create a gym that uplifted, supported and pushed women to feel confident and strong while striving to reach their fitness goals. Now with two locations in Hoboken, her studio Work it Out has become a fitness brand that a community of ladies counts on—not only for the cult fave signature classes (Sweata Weatha and Tight End to name a few) but also for girls’ gymnastic programs, events, curated wellness products and major boss babe inspo. We caught up with the Englewood mom about how her brand has evolved, the role family plays in her business, and how she’s adapting amid quarantine right now.

Noël with her husband and daughter Vaida (3)

Work it Out is all about empowering women to feel their best through fitness. How did you first start and how has your mission evolved?
I founded Work it Out in Hoboken over 10 years ago, and it’s a female-driven, fitness lifestyle brand. We consider ourselves a haven where women can work out in an environment that feels comfortable, familiar, and without judgment. I love to create and Work it Out is an extension of who I am. I am constantly refining the brand as my vision evolves. Before this, I was involved in competitive gymnastics and opening a business always felt like the ideal path for my professional growth.

In light of what’s going on with COVID-19, you’ve become one of many small business owners who have had to pivot and adapt in massive, unexpected ways. Tell us how you’re dealing with this unprecedented time as a business owner. 
In the beginning, I did not want to believe this was going to be as insane as it has become. In general, I like to think I am an optimistic and positive person, and this virus was anything but that. So, I refused to give in to the fear right away. After discussing the virus with family and friends, I was coming to see that this was very much a real situation. Our business caters to women and girls of all different ages and both our employees and clients started to have concerns. To ease everyone’s fears, we released new cleaning protocols to ensure everyone’s safety. I assumed this was as far as it was going to go. By the third week, though, the climate of fear was escalating fast in the world and it hooked me. I was feeling a whirlwind of emotions—anger, sadness, confusion, disappointment, and pressure. On top of this entire COVID conversation, I’m 8 months pregnant. For someone who is pretty quick under pressure and has a lot of answers, I was thrown completely out of balance and understood nothing.
On Thursday, March 12th, early in the morning, I sat down with my thoughts and wrote a long letter to our community that we were closing. I was incredibly emotional, and it took every ounce of courage for me to hit send on the email. It was an intense experience for me—the decisions I make affect over 1,000 members and 40 people on staff, including my two younger sisters. After that, I just sat back and processed what was going on—I felt like I was frozen in time, like a shock after someone dies. I didn’t do much except talk to all the people around me—my friends, family, and employees. I called every single instructor on staff and asked them how they were and in return, I shared how I felt paralyzed. They understood and made me feel supported and cared about what I was dealing with. The warmth I received from those calls helped me cope.
Since closing five weeks ago, we have been actively teaching free Instagram live classes daily. Our very supportive staff has been volunteering their time until we figure out how this new period is going to work. We are very close to offering a paid virtual class option for our members. We rented out our equipment for the duration of the quarantine to the community, and we’ve been putting a lot of focus and energy into our online store. These new revenue streams help but they do not compare to our in-person business. Everything that we’ve been dealing with feels like a high-stakes challenge for me.
Keep your head down and focus on yourself and the things you can control—everyone’s path looks different,” — Noël Fiorentinos,  NJMOMprenuer and owner of Work It Out

Our Mompreneur of the Week, Noël Fiorentinos, owner and creator of Work It Out

That’s a LOT. I know our NJMOM community can relate, especially navigating this while parenting. How are you doing at home?
As I approach my last weeks of pregnancy, which adds another layer of stress, there are days where I have to force myself to focus on what’s happening so that I can steer the ship for everyone else. The pressure gets to me in certain moments and I cry. My husband and I both own our businesses and are required to be on 24 hours a day with a 3-year old daughter at home. Working with your child at home is probably the ultimate challenge. It always feels as though something is being neglected, as I’m sure all moms can relate. Overall, I’m managing—I pray a lot, think a lot, and try to do as much as I mentally, emotionally, and physically can in one day.
Speaking of your daughter, overall, how has being a mom shaped or changed your goals for your business?
The short answer to this is that she has given me ultimate validation for the path I have chosen. I know in my heart what I do will shape who she becomes. My goals haven’t changed because of her, they’ve just become more crucial to achieve.

It’s a family affair. Two of Noël’s sisters work with her.

Your sisters are also integral parts of Work it Out. Describe the dynamic between you and what it’s like to have them help you build your business.
I am 6 years older than my sister Devon, who runs our Girls’ Gymnastics Program, and 9 years older than Tara, who handles all our marketing. I wear many hats when it comes to our relationships. In ways, I’m their second mother. I can act as a mentor, a friend, obviously their sister, and then their boss. It’s a delicate dynamic that constantly changes. I find experience, life stages and maturity all play a role in how we are getting along. I love them immensely, and taking everything into account, I am honored they choose to work for this company. It’s very special that we get to grow this together.
You’re about to bring another babe into your family. How are you preparing personally and professionally for the transition?

Currently, I am trying my best to prepare. I recently started with tangible tasks like transitioning Vaida to a new bedroom and getting the nursery ready. Professionally, I don’t know if this climate will allow for a smooth transition. I plan to take the same approach as I mentioned above —one day at a time.

Right now, we’re all trying to do our part to support local businesses. Can you share some of your favorite businesses our NJMOM squad can support virtually?
T
he Work It Out online shop has a great assortment of athleisure, loungewear, beauty products, and accessories. Our products are under $60 and will make you feel good about yourself during this quarantine and every purchase goes to our staff and studios. As for other businesses, there are so many. Hoboken is such an amazing little city. Hoboken Girl has been doing an incredible job giving all businesses even coverage and visibility. I’m so proud to be a part of this small business community for 10 years. We will all survive this and come back stronger—I feel it.

One of Work It Out’s bright and colorful studios in Hoboken.

What’s the best advice you have for other NJMOMpreneurs?
Keep your head down and focus on yourself and the things you can control—everyone’s path looks different.

For more info on Work it Out, check them out on their website and Instagram, and once they’re back open, make sure to visit them in Hoboken at 603 Willow Avenue or 5 Marine View Plaza.


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About Author

Marisa is a mom to two sweet boys and a little lady (all under 4!) as well as one precious girl in heaven and her heart. A true Jersey girl, Marisa loves raising her family here and embracing all that being a #NJMOM has to offer. Whether it's summer days on Spring Lake beach or down on LBI, or heading out to sample some of the state's best eats (Montclair and Jersey City are favs), family days out and about together are her favorite way to spend a weekend. A former news anchor turned on-air lifestyle host and expert, you might also catch her on TV or in the kitchen cooking up something delish for the littles.

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