Chapter 19: Taking on New York!

This Friday sees us take flight for New York City for a jam packed week full of events, meetings, and collaborations.

The reason we initially decided to go to New York was because we were invited to speak at a Digital Irish Event around New York Fashion Week. Digital Irish is a NYC-based non-profit whose goal is to promote the expansion of Irish startups and help connect the Irish community in NYC. It is a fantastic organisation which runs a number of events every year and when we were invited to speak at their event around Fashion Week we jumped at the opportunity. This gives us a great platform to present Gym+Coffee, live, to a large relevant audience. We hope that this event will give us an opportunity to make some connections with people, brands and businesses that can help us grow our community in the US. While we’re definitely nervous to speak at this event, given the calibre of other speakers and the large audience, we also feel very proud that we have been invited to attend. It’s amazing to get support like this and see that we’re being noticed across the Atlantic! :)

Once we decided to attend this event, we immediately started to look at what else we could do in New York while we’re there. We started arranging face-to-face meetings with people we were hoping to connect with for possible support, future collaborations or advice. Luckily, people were very welcoming and we have a number of coffees lined up with some great individuals and organisations we are excited to collaborate with.

Secondly, we thought about doing our own event in New York. Maybe naively or enthusiastically, we thought it would be pretty cool if we could pull that off! Our first idea was to do an outdoor fitness class followed by coffees where we could encourage our community to come along, and create a buzz about Gym+Coffee in New York. We quickly discovered (i) it’s freezing now, and (ii) outdoor venues are hard to come by. So we then began to look at indoor venues. This initially proved even more difficult, either cost or size seemed to be a big issue and we almost decided to give up on this idea. Then in an almost unbelievable serendipitous series of events, 3 things happened in quick succession:

  1. Through an old friend we got connected with the famous Tobys Estate Coffee Roastery in Brooklyn. They were so supportive and said they’d be delighted to collaborate on an event. This covered off the “coffee” part to a Gym+Coffee event. It also focused our attention on the Brooklyn area generally and Williamsburg particularly.
  2. Secondly, POUND fitness CEO and Founder Kirsten Potenza was visiting Dublin. Thanks to our local POUND Pro Carla, we were introduced to Kirsten here in Dublin and told her about Gym+Coffee and our US plans. Kirsten was just amazing, immediately understood the Gym+Coffee brand and was so open to collaborating. She’s based in LA but, as luck would have it, she would be in NYC the same weekend and agreed to lead an amazing POUND class for us. This was exactly the type of activity we wanted so suddenly momentum was with us. We just needed to find a venue.
  3. The last piece came together when we contacted the National Sawdust venue, one of the coolest event spaces in New York. We pitched them our idea and they were available Sunday 4th of Feb (coincidentally Super Bowl Sunday!!) so we agreed to rent their space and suddenly we had an event ready to go! :)

Now, we are a few days away from hosting an exciting New York City launch event. We can’t believe the class has booked out and that there’s already a pretty big waiting list. We’re busy sorting out all the final arrangements but fingers crossed that everybody will show up and it will be a pretty epic event!

As comes with a lot of our decisions, we are very excited and equally nervous about this trip. We officially launched in the US last November after just being 11 months in business. The decision to launch in the US was a mixture of ambition, stubbornness, and naivety. We knew it would be a huge task to make even a tiny dent in the US market but at the same time “from big tables fall big crumbs!” :) So far we are finding it tough to build up brand awareness, we can only do so much from Ireland. Nothing like a big huge epic event to get things going! It’s going to take time to make some inroads and to match our ambitions to crack the US market but we have to start somewhere. The attitude we always have taken is to go for something and then figure it out as we go, and that’s exactly what we’re doing with the US market.

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