“We came across a good opportunity and thought we should give it a try.”
What work were you doing previously?
I was in the jewellery business, selling customised diamond jewellery.
What are you doing now?
My sister Wendy and I sell aqua bags online, through our brand Fluid X.
The aqua bags are exercise equipment where it’s foldable and you can bring it anywhere with you, all you need is water to fill it up to the weight that you want.
I’m still involved in the jewellery business on the side at the moment.
Why did you change?
During the pandemic, the gyms closed and our personal trainer bought these bags to our house to workout and thought it was a brilliant idea.
It was our first time seeing it, and we wondered why it wasn’t being marketed.
As the gyms were closed for the pandemic, we thought this would be a good opportunity to sell these bags so people could still workout at home.
We decided to give it a try and sell these bags with free workout content on YouTube.
In the beginning, I still worked on the Instagram, YouTube videos and marketing for jewellery. But when we sold the first batch of aqua bags, I had to focus more on the aqua bag business as it was going very well.
Are you happy with the change?
It really did take off, and a lot of people in the industry were very supportive.
How did you go about making the shift?
Initially I was thinking of spending my time equally selling aqua bags and jewellery at the same time.
As we started to sell well for aqua bags, that's when I dialled down a little with jewellery and currently do custom orders for friends and family only.
In terms of how we set up the new business, we started small with the two of us (sister team!) which was manageable.
We talked to a lot of trainers, physios, and business owners in the industry, to learn what the market needed.
It's a new product that we wanted more people to know about. A lot of people we talked to hadn't heard of aqua bags before, so it's great for us to know that it's their first time to hear about aqua bags from The Fluid X.
We had to do everything ourselves. We learnt how to set up Shopify, we did our own social media etc.
What didn’t go well? What wrong turns did you take?
There are a few ups and downs during our journey.
For example, social media marketing didn’t work out with the first guy who helped us. We weren’t making any progress from social media.
How did you handle your finances to make your shift possible?
We started with the smallest order to see how the sales went first.
We did everything ourselves in the beginning which includes building our own website through Shopify, our own social media, pop ups, contacting trainers/gyms/physios about our products.
We didn’t spend on advertising in the beginning, it was all word of mouth.
What help did you get?
We’ve got a lot of help from people around us.
We're fortunate to have friends in the industry, who helped guide us to the direction we should be going.
They’ve introduced us to a lot of people in the industry, which helped us get our foot in the door.
We message fitness thought leaders/trainers on Instagram and some do respond.
We’re lucky that one who responded is an employee at the sports retailer Decathlon, where she helped us get into the Decathlon online marketplace and pop ups at their store, which made great sales.
What have you learnt in the process?
To not trust everyone easily.
We had to go through a lot of trial and error before we found the right people to help us with our business.
I wish we'd met the right people from the beginning (service-wise), to not waste or lose money.
What would you advise others to do in the same situation?
Talk to everyone.
I was surprised by how nice and supportive people can be! We reached out to lots of people in the industry, and a lot of them responded and supported us in different ways.
We joined different support groups, including ones for women in business, and attended fitness conference/events.
And if you have a business partner/partners, delegate your work clearly between each other. For example, I’m not good with numbers so my partner Wendy will do all the finances.
To find out more about Winnie and Wendy's business, visit www.thefluidx.com
What lessons could you take from Winnie's story to use in your own career change? Let us know in the comments below.