Kate Ivey is the founder and trainer of Kate Ivey Fitness and her own fitness platform DediKate. Starting in New Zealand six years ago, Kate saw an opportunity during COVID-19 lockdowns as people turned to online fitness. She expanded to Australia and has scaled her business to $900,000 with nearly 2,000 paid subscribers. Yahoo Finance caught up with Kate to hear how she took her idea to a trans-tasman empire.
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What does your business do?
We have DediKate which is an online health and fitness community for busy women. It's for rural women and mums and those that would like a down-to-earth approach to fitness. So we provide health and fitness solutions for busy women such as 20 to 30 minute workouts that you can do anytime, anywhere, with minimal equipment.
How did the global pandemic impact your business?
Quite a big one. We doubled our membership base from the New Zealand lockdown, and that prompted us to launch into Australia as well - we're starting to really go well. In Australia, the pandemic and lockdowns in 2021 really helped people to realise they were doing a lot of rushing around. People have realised that they can work out at home and they can work from home, how much time it actually saves them and how much more effective and efficient they can be if they do work out at home.
Has the business always been virtual, and do you think virtual fitness will continue when lockdowns are long gone?
Yes, it was because I live on a farm. So when I started the business, we were 30 minutes from the nearest town and now we're 10 minutes away (but it's still a really small town in New Zealand).
Gyms are always going to do well because people love being able to see people face-to-face but I think [virtual fitness] will continue because it's just so accessible. It's so open to anyone, you don't put makeup on, you don't have to feel self conscious walking into the gym. Everything is provided there for you to do in your own home and it's time efficient so people can get so much more out of their lives by not spending that time traveling to the gym and instead doing really short effective workouts like what we offer.
What makes your business successful?
We're really down to earth and relatable. We're all mums—myself and my eight trainers. We're not Instagram models, we're everyday people that you know you'd meet walking down the street, so members really relate to us it motivates them to exercise because it's realistic. We show them that we can do it and they then get belief and confidence that they can do it too.
It is exclusively for women. Some husbands join in and the odd man here and there does DediKate, but you have to have a target market, which for us is women. There's no reason why men can't do the programme but we talk about things that are both about and for women on the platform and in our podcast.
What has been the biggest challenge expanding to a new country (Australia)?
It's way bigger market than we have here in New Zealand. So I've learned that I need to refine my target market even more. We're having, not a rebrand but a shift in our brand, and we are focusing on rural and real women, mum’s and in those that want a down to earth approach to fitness. [We're focusing on] rural people and those with rural values.
If you're in the city, you can still use our platform. But we're marketing to those real down-to-earth, girl-next-door types who wants to exercise to feel good. They're not worried so much about looking perfect in a bikini.
I haven't been this excited about something for so long. We've put so much work into it. We've got photos in the New Zealand high country and in the Australian Outback and it's creating this amazing trans Tasman sisterhood and community.
What’s your best piece of advice to an entrepreneur?
You have to work hard. The advice I give to anyone, especially to female entrepreneurs or ‘mummy entrepreneurs’—or whatever it's called—is you have to go into it wholeheartedly and completely back yourself. You can't think 'I’ll do it in my spare time and see how it goes', you have to put yourself all in and reach for the stars and that’s how you’ll get there.
What was your end goal when you started the business?
I've always wanted to be global. I wanted to help lots of people and I guess at the end of day my ultimate goal was to help people just like me to get their self-identity back, to feel good from exercise and to realise that it's not about being perfect but rather about getting it done and being consistent. I always thought that I had to be perfect and I was either all in or all out with my health and fitness. But actually it's just about finding an equilibrium that works for you.