As owner of three My Gym locations and F45 Hoboken North, many would say Tatiana Vega has her hands full. Did you also know she's a wife and mother of three young girls? We'd say this is certainly a very worthy candidate for a true Mom Boss! We are happy to introduce you to our pick for April, Tatiana Vega! Be sure to follow their businesses on social media and visit some of the locations for a class!
How did you get into the children’s gym space and when did you know it was time to scale the business and add locations?
When Alvaro and I moved to the area our oldest daughter was 1.5 years old and we lived in a small one bedroom apartment. Needless to say, we started looking for activities for her to do and meet other little ones. Ten years ago there were slim pickings in the area. We had to drive out of town to find fun things for her to do. We tried different programs in town and in about a one hour radius and fell in love with My Gym in West Orange. We had always wanted to have our own business so we decided to put everything we had in our savings account and got a bank loan and give it a go. Best decision we ever made. (apart from marrying him and having our girls, of course)
After being the area’s leader for kids classes for so many years, how did the transition to open F45 Hoboken come about?
After having our third daughter, Alejandra, it was very hard for me to lose the extra weight, so I decided when she turned 2 that I had no excuses and started to look for classes to attend. Like most, I had a hard time feeling motivated. A friend from California told us about F45 and how much she loved the workouts and the community and how that motivated her. So, Alvaro and I decided to give it a try in Bloomfield which was the closest one at the time and loved it. Then it "HIIT" us that we should bring this amazing experience to Hoboken for others to benefit from and enjoy as much as we did.
What is your favorite thing about raising a family in this area?
I love the diversity our area offers. My husband is from Spain and I am from Costa Rica and always felt welcomed here. We don't realize how lucky we are that our kids go to school and play sports with kids from all backgrounds and that that's their normal. It's also a very supportive community. We love to have easy access to do things NYC has to offer, you can come home to a smaller community where people know you, our kids play sports together, and there is so much for families to do.
You and your husband are business partners. Tell the truth. How hard is it to work and live with the same person day in and day out especially during Covid-19? How do you keep the personal and business conversations (and dare we say, arguments) separate?
It's hard! We are a work in progress! He is more in F45 and I am more at My Gym, but we talk shop non-stop and that's an area where we need to get better. As small business owners, we always get texts and calls at all hours and you can't leave it for tomorrow. We compliment each other as he does all the training of our My Gym teachers and F45 trainers and I do office work and marketing. COVID made it very stressful as life and family partners. What we thought was going to be a 3 week shutdown turned into being closed without income for 4 months from My Gym and 6 months from F45 which we had just opened in January of 2020. We tend to be very optimistic, but the news on TV and being closed for so long wore us out a bit. We had lots of lows as we couldn't see or plan ahead. Weeks turned into months of uncertainly and fear about our livelihood as this is what we do for a living and F45 was supposed to help pay for our 3 daughters college. Coronavirus kicked that plan out the window! I kept telling myself that God was testing us and I am not sure what the outcome would be, but we were going to fight to survive as we had worked so hard for so long.
When you get a break from running your successful businesses and being a mom of three (and it’s not a global pandemic), where are your favorite local spots to unwind at?
There are so many we love! We like Pilsener Haus Biergarten and Napoli's with the family. Antique Bakery and Barbes for date night dinners. And Gran Vin for drinks and dinner too. Victoria Reed for massages when I know my upper back can't take the stress anymore.
What is your funniest mom fail moment?
Sending my kids frozen croquets for lunch. Mornings are crazy at our house (like most families) and I don't know what I was thinking, but when the girls got home they told me they were hungry and their lunch was too cold to eat. When I opened their thermoses, I realized I forgot to fry them before I put them in their bags.
Once I dropped Victoria for soccer practice and took the other two girls grocery shopping for dinner. When my husband came home for dinner, we both looked at one another like, "You were picking up Victoria from soccer, right?" Luckily, we are friends with some of the other parents who stayed with her until we came to pick her up.
Between owning fitness options for kids, an adult gym with a clear focus on healthy eating, and having a former professional athlete for a husband, would you say your kids are adventurous eaters? Are they super active kids or are you peeling them off of screen time like the rest of us?
We have tried since they were little to eat healthy as a family and they do for the most part, but like any kids they have their faves and the items they definitely don't like. They are very active kids. They have grown up coming to My Gym and now still coming after school. They do their homework in the lobby, eat their snack, and wait for their class. They also love tennis and basketball and have played soccer with the Red Bulls Red teams for several seasons until we couldn't make all schedules work anymore, so they narrowed it down to tennis. They watch TV after dinner like most kids.
How do you think owning these businesses have helped you discuss and project positive body image on your three young girls?
We talk a lot to our girls on how important it is to eat healthy and stay active to live a happy life. It's never about the looks, but about how we are what we eat, how good foods help us with energy and increases attention at school. We discuss how doing physical activity makes us happy and how teamwork make friendships and general human connections flourish. We talk about respect to teachers or coaches and team support and hope it makes them all strong women.
What is the best business advice you ever received? How about the worst?
Believe in yourself and take risks. Of course, analyze the opportunity and create a plan, but many people miss opportunities because they are afraid. If you have faith in yourself, you can achieve anything you put your mind to. The worst advice I ever received was from a realtor in Hoboken who told me children's businesses had no future in Hoboken --- thank God we didn't listen!
A day in the life of Tatiana…Go!
Get up at 6:15am and make breakfast for the girls. Tidy up the kitchen (what if someone walks in, my grandma always said) Prep snack for afterschool and go to My Gym. Watch classes, answer calls, emails, social media posts, you know...all the fun small business owner stuff. At noon, I do all F45 calls and emails, social media and new customer follow ups. Do my F45 workout before picking up the girls from school. Alvaro and I split and bring girls to gymnastics at My Gym or tennis depending on the day. Then go home to prep dinner. We try to eat dinner together every night. Baths, a little TV, and girls to bed by 8ish. Then, I hit my desk to finish whatever I didn't get to do from the business during the day. Leave out to defrost whatever I am cooking for the following day meals.
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