Creating a Fempire: Q & A with Kick It By Eliza™

Eliza-and-Rachel

Last spring, I showed up to The Club by George Foreman III ready to take my weekly 6:20am kickboxing class, only to be informed that the class had been canceled permanently. Not wanting to waste my trip to The Club, I asked the manager if any other classes were happening at that same time slot. He told me to try Kick It By Eliza™… “You’ll like it. Its good,” he exclaimed.

Welp, “good” was quite the understatement. The class was superb! Not only is Kick It By Eliza™ a VERY challenging cardio workout, but the class is so fun and high energy!!! As someone who grew up dancing and cheerleading as a kid, its awesome to be immersed in a choreography-based workout and sweating it out in a group setting.

Over the past few months, I have become part of the “Kick It Crew” (the group of people who attend class regularly) and have been fortunate enough to have opportunity to get to know both Eliza and Rachel, the brains behind the operation. Eliza Shirazi is the creator of the fitness phenomenon – she currently instructs all of the classes and is the face of the brand. Her close friend and business partner Rachel Levine is running the business development side of the company, leading the charge as Kick It By Eliza™ plans to open its very own studio in 2016.

These girls are young, motivated and completely inspiring! I put together some questions for readers who want to learn more about Kick It By Eliza™, what the future of the business looks like and some of the concerns that arise for both Eliza & Rachel as young entrepreneurs. Here we go:

1. For readers who are not familiar, tell us exactly what Kick It is!
Eliza: Kick It By Eliza™ is a 13 round fitness method that is music driven, sweat inducing, and kickboxing inspired. This fitness brand is committed to fostering a strong community in class with partner exercises and out of class with online and in-person engagement.

2. How did Kick It get started?
Eliza: Kick It By Eliza™ started in 2009 at UMass Amherst. Coming from a dance background, I wanted to find a workout that was music driven, fun, and based on community. When I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for, I created Kick It By Eliza™. The more I taught the class, the more popular it became. Soon enough, I was hosting major fundraising events on campus and drawing hundreds of students to Kick It. For four years I got to Kick It with UMass Amherst students and when I moved to Boston I realized how difficult it is to maintain the same momentum with so much competition in close proximity. Without hesitation, I kept teaching and people reacted exactly how I had hoped they would – they came to Kick It. It’s always an evolution and the Kick It Crew constantly grows with the brand. FYI the Kick It Crew is anyone who has taken the class. When you step into the class, you have stepped into a family that is with you in and out of the studio.

Kickin' It for a charity class at The Club By George Foreman III

Kickin’ It for a charity class at The Club By George Foreman III

3. Eliza, I know you like to keep the room heated during the workout…what’s the reasoning behind this?
Eliza: I love a warm room and have the ability do this at The Club by George Foreman III. Having a heated room helps the Kick It Crew warm up and increase flexibility. When you are more flexible you have a better range of motion. Of course the heat creates a lot of sweat, but don’t confuse more sweat for a better work out. Heat or no heat, Kick It gives you a unique work out and most importantly, makes you feel like the badass you are.

4. Do you have any words of advice for people who are nervous to attend class because they feel as though they are not “coordinated” enough? (No dance or kickboxing experience?)
Eliza: I hear this a lot for any class– coordination. Kick It is meant for anyone and everyone! I have 20 something year olds and 70 something year olds doing it every single week. This class is not about getting every move right, or burning the most calories you have ever burned in an hour. It is about the feeling and community. Feeling and community is more powerful than anything else. Ask anyone who has taken the class– you will walk out looking sweaty, but feeling FABULOUS. Read some Kick It Crew feedback here for more persuasion 😉

5. I noticed that the class is mostly female dominated. Is Kick It geared towards women or is this a class for the guys as well?
Eliza: This class is geared towards everyone, but has an emphasis on female empowerment. Guys, we want you there because we are stronger together. The Fempire is the female inspired empire that has organically grown from Kick It. My goal in life is to empower women and I am so lucky I can do it through this class/brand. There are plenty of guys that take the class (i.e. friends, husbands, boyfriends) and they absolutely contributed to the creation of the Fempire.

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6. What’s the future of Kick It look like?
Rachel: Eliza and I a working towards opening the Kick It Studio in 2016. The studio will be the center for the Kick It experience. We will offer Kick It By Eliza along with fitness formats that compliment Kick It By Eliza- think yoga, Barre, bags classes, and a Kick It Fusion class that will blow your mind. All of these classes will have Eliza’s special touch on them which will align them with the brand and create a wholesome experience for the Kick It Crew member.

Eliza will continue throwing down the hottest fitness events in the city – stay tuned via social media and the website because there are A LOT comin’ your way and we want you to be a part of it!!

7. Will you continue teaching at The Club once the new studio opens? For Southie girls like myself, I love having Kick It so close in proximity to me. 
Eliza: Great question–we are still figuring that out! Kick It By Eliza™ will be taught by more people than solely me. We hope to have people bringing the Kick It experience to convenient locations across Boston…and nationwide.

8. Do you plan on offering memberships or class packages? Do you see Kick It on ClassPass in the future?
Rachel: The Kick It Studio will for sure be on ClassPass and we hope you like what we have to offer enough to get a full membership with the Kick It Studio! We’ll also offer drops-ins and class-packs, so you can make a purchase that suits you best!

9. Have you begun the process of recruiting more Kick It instructors? What characteristics and abilities are you looking for in future instructors?
Eliza: Yes, I have! Kick It instructors need to have rhythm, heart, and soul. I am looking for ladies and gents who can bring serious flavor and fun to each class. You don’t necessarily need an extensive dance/fitness background because it’s more than just a ‘fitness’ class.

10. As a young entrepreneur, what’s your biggest challenge? fear?
Eliza: I’ve been an entrepreneur since 2009 and each day has brought new challenges, fears, but most importantly, excitements. What first comes to mind is when you create a brand (and future studio) with your name & image all over it, and classes that you pour your heart into, you really don’t want to fail. It’s hard to not take it personally because I give myself to the Kick It Crew and they give themselves to me every single class. There’s a lot of work to do as we grow and I want to strive to keep the class/brand/studio authentic every single step of the way – staying true to what the Kick It Crew and I believe in.

Rachel: Time and money are my biggest challenges and fears. Because these are my fears, I’m always hustling to GSD (get shit done) and ensuring that there is money in the bank to continue pursuing these goals. For the record, I am confident that my fears will not get the best of us. Kick It By Eliza will become globally recognized brand and it certainly will NOT be due to solely Eliza and me. It’s going to take a village to grow this brand. There are a handful of people who generously donate their time to our mission (including you, Lindsay and Liz) and we couldn’t be more thankful for them.

Every time you step into a Kick It class you’re helping us prove that there is a demand for Kick It and for the message we represent – female empowerment. Every time I walk into a Kick It class I get a jolt of gratitude because you have shown up once again and we need YOU.

11. Where are you currently teaching Kick IT?
Eliza: I am currently teaching Kick It at Equinox, The Club by George Foreman III, and independently for pop up events/fundraisers.

12. How/where can our readers sign up for a class?
Eliza: www.KickItByEliza.com for the class schedule and special events. Feel free to drop a note at the bottom of the website to reach Kick It By Eliza™ directly. We can’t wait to Kick It with you!

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Thank you to both Eliza & Rachel for taking the time to chat. Want to learn more? Follow Kick It on Instagram and Facebook!

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