Where Others See Imperfection, Successful Businesses See Opportunity

The founders of FITiST unpack how they turn imperfection into opportunity–whether we’re talking about bodies, business plans, or unexpected setbacks.

The founders of FITiST, like any devoted fitness enthusiasts, are always striving for a more sculpted and perfect product–whether that’s a body, or a business.


But building a business–one of Fast Company’s most innovative of 2013–and chiselling a physique are very different projects. They both require patience and dedication, but creating a company that completely re-imagines the definition of your standard gym membership is bound to have a few unpredictable surprises.

Neda Talebian Funk and Caroline Limpert both attended the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania where they discovered a mutual love of staying fit–and keeping their routine fresh. After experimenting with dozens of new trendy workout programs, they realized that trying out every boutique exercise class was neither cheap nor efficient. The idea for FITiST was born.

Neda Talebian Funk and Caroline Limpert

Talebian Funk’s experience as a branding consultant for retail aggregators like Gilt Groupe helped shape the idea for the site, which allows customers to purchase a sampling of classes and programs across a range of workout styles and gyms in New York City and Los Angeles. The idea sounds straightforward, but it’s important to remember that FITiST is nothing short of revolutionary in an industry that is dominated by “unlimited plans” and monthly memberships at disconnected independent locations.

Taking on a project with such a lofty goal makes it easy to get lost in the details, but the founders have tried to maintain perspective on the important accomplishments and turn the negative situations–like site crashes–into clever marketing opportunities.

“Caroline actually calms me down sometimes when she’s like, ‘Don’t you know that Facebook goes down sometimes too?,” said Talebian Funk. Their spin solution to a temporary site crash? A marketing opportunity. They turned to social media and pinned the meltdown on the runaway popularity of their product.

Bottom Line: Perfection isn’t everything.


Video Produced by Shalini Shrama // Camera & Edit by Tony Ditata // Shoot location: Courtesy Pilates ProWorks

[Image: Fitish]

About the author

Colin Weatherby is a writer, videographer, and current Leadership intern at Fast Company. If he's not strapped to a computer, he's usually on top of a mountain.