We had the good fortune of connecting with Jeanette DePatie and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jeanette, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I always felt that exercise programs are oriented towards people who are already pretty fit. I felt there was a strong need for people to have access to fitness programs that are shame free and extremely welcoming to beginners. I also felt that many exercisers need access to teachers that look less like a fitness model and more like them. I didn’t see this in the marketplace so I created it. I was already working as a producer of interactive content for the Hollywood studios. And I had been involved in a software startup before–raising my first $Million in funding before I graduated from college. So I grabbed my MFA, my tech smarts, my producing skills and my passion and built a business.
What should our readers know about your business?
When I started in this work, body positivity was relatively unknown. It was out there, but it didn’t get a lot of air time on television or the internet. So there were times when it was really, really hard. What sets me apart from others running fitness programs is the absolute insistence that everyBODY is welcome. Old/young, beginner/athlete, completely deconditioned/fit, men/women, neurotypical/neurodivergent, fat/skinny, standing exercisers/sitting exercisers–there’s something for EveryBODY. And the cool thing is that I’ve figured out how these different people can all dance together. Some are rocking out in chairs and some are doing standing high-intensity moves. EveryBODY shakes their own groove thing their own way.
It was hard work, and I had to chart a lot of this business territory myself. But I overcame the challenges by staying committed to learning and growing, putting together an all-star team and always keeping my focus on helping my students stay safe, feel successful at every workout and have so much fun they can’t wait to come back.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh wow. I’d want to go to Leo Carillo Beach because it is one of the few places where you can camp and bring your dog to the beach with you. Restaurants–I’d get Mac and Cheese at 38-Degrees in Monrovia, Corn Pizza (with added sausage) vegetarian lasagna and beet salad at Zelo Pizza in Arcadia, and beef soup/pan fried dumplings/soup dumplings at Luscious Dumplings in Arcadia (the best, tiniest, most awesome homemade dumpling shop). We would visit the Huntington and go to the tea house. We would check out some awesome theater/art at the Redcat. We’d catch some live jazz either at LACMA or one of the hot spots on the east side. We would hang out and shop and eat in Thai Town and Chinatown. We’d go whale watching in Long Beach. There is literally no way to pack all the fun to be had into a single week.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Wow, there are SO MANY people who helped me along the way. I can’t single out just one. From the plus-sized fitness director at the YWCA who first helped me believe I could do it, to Donna Donahue who directed my first DVD and of course Barbara Multer-Wellin who edited my book and produced my second DVD. And of course the powerful body positive people who have helped me on my way like Marilyn Wann and my partner in many things fitness Ragen Chastain. And I really can’t neglect to mention my family and my super supportive husband, Brian Quandt.
Kelly Varner Photography