BHR Papalia are proud to partner with numerous local businesses who are excelling in their industries and making an impact on their communities. This month, in recognition of International Youth Day, we would like to spotlight Jess Males of Bodyrox Bunbury, who started a business at the age of 19 and – five years later – leads a thriving fitness community.
Tell us a bit about your business?
When Jess Males started out as an assistant trainer, she very quickly realised that she loved what she was doing – so much so that at the age of 19, she decided to strike out on her own and start a business as a personal trainer.
Starting out in the park, for the first nine months Jess had just five clients. Then she found her passion: working with mums, and providing space for them to bring their children. “I set out to do one class in Australind and one in Bunbury,” Jess said.
Enrolments were so high the number of classes doubled almost straight away, and Jess went from 5 clients to 50 in just one month. Soon she was running evening classes, working with mums five days a week, and taking on classes at schools.
After two years of working outdoors and contending with rain and heat, Jess knew it was time to evolve. She and her husband Conrad made the decision to move into a premises.
“The support from the ladies was phenomenal,” Jess said. “They came back with fundraising ideas. It was thanks to the support of the Bodyrox ladies that we got in here - the fundraisers and a ball helped us to get more equipment and get set up.”
After a year of fundraising within the Bodyrox community, Jess was able to move into a premises – supported by Conrad, also a young business owner at the time, whose building expertise got the gym up and running.
Three years later, Bodyrox employs three personal trainers, an admin officer and four creche staff. The creche and admin staff are Bodyrox members. “I love to give that opportunity to mums,” Jess said. “Here they can bring their kids to work."
Bodyrox has made the fundraising ball an annual event. This year’s ball, held in June, raised more than $5,000, which was donated to Waratah, a provider of free, specialised intervention services for people who have experienced sexual assault and sexual abuse and/or family domestic violence.
“We loved it,” Jess said. “The feel of the event was so inspiring, we are going to do a ball every year for them.”
What do BHR Papalia do for you?
“Since starting out in business, it took me a good few years to find someone who would listen to me,” Jess said.
“I went to four different accountants, and I didn’t like the way I was treated. Then a family friend suggested Justin, and I haven’t looked back. He didn’t talk down to us, and he was realistic. He took over everything for us, and Nichelle does our bookkeeping now, which is amazing. Justin’s business knowledge is invaluable, we bounce ideas off him, and he comes into the gym to see us. He goes above and beyond.”
What have been your biggest challenges and successes as a young person in business?
Jess said her biggest challenge was starting out at 19, as a female, and not being taken seriously.
Her biggest success has been to realise her aim of creating a community where women could feel comfortable and supported. “I’ve done that, and I’m so proud of it,” she said.
What is your advice for young people starting out in business?
“Stay strong, stay true to yourself, and just do it! Don’t let anyone put you down – use the doubters as fuel to your fire, and prove them all wrong.”