If you’re involved at all in the online healthy living community – whether you’re a blogger, blog reader or general fitness enthusiast – you’ve likely heard of FitFluential. As a blogger and fitness geek myself, I’d seen the name pop up numerous times online without realizing what it was. This week I had the pleasure of speaking with the woman behind the whole movement – owner and CEO of FitFluential, Kelly Olexa.
Olexa, 43, lives in Chicago and founded the company in April 2011 after seeing an opportunity for an online fitness community and realizing she was uniquely suited for the job. “I’d been working in sales for a social media agency and found myself drawn to helping out with the blogger relations side of things,” she said. “I also observed that, although there was no shortage of ‘Mommy Blogger’ or ‘Foodie Blogger’ networks, no one had effectively developed a digital network for fitness influencers. Furthermore, the networks that were in existence all seemed to be functioning in an ad network model, which is one that I find to be the least effective manner of promoting a brand’s product or service.”
With experience as a fitness blogger and brand influencer for big name companies like Ford, Sears, and Polar USA, Olexa set out to build her own network in hopes that it would provide a nice additional, part-time income. Instead, the company grew so quickly without any investment or PR that she was forced to quit her full-time job by August 2011 just four months after FitFluential’s launch. “We had brands inquiring about our pricing and I had not even established price points,” she said. “That was a huge ‘wow’ moment for us.”
Olexa now employs a four-person executive team and leads more than 1,000 FitFluential ambassadors and 7,000-plus members overall. She estimates that FitFluential is currently reaching more than 150 million people online each month, inspiring people to live healthier more active lives day in and day out. (more…)