Nicole T. Twyman, Owner and Founder of Fit, Fyne & Fabulous, is helping women reach their full potential—physically, mentally, and spiritually.
After struggling to lose weight as a new mom, Nicole discovered the incredible power that came from leaning into a community and sisterhood. What began with less than a dozen close friends soon grew to over 12,000 women across the country. She then founded Fit, Fyne & Fabulous, a faith-based health and wellness community with a mission to end obesity in Black and Brown communities using a holistic approach.
We asked Nicole about her mindset in growing a values-driven company, the lessons she’s learned along the way, and the places she finds motivation when the journey becomes tough.
Q: Tell us the story behind your company’s founding: How and why did you start working on Fit, Fyne & Fabulous?
A: Fit, Fyne & Fabulous started when, as a 30-year-old new mom, I was not able to lose weight no matter what I tried. You name it, I tried it. Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Master Cleanse, the Orange Juice diet, HCG drops, eating 500 calories a day, the Apple Diet—I can go on and on! I was desperate to lose weight. Sadly, it was short-lived even when I did lose weight, as I would always gain it back and then some.
So, I reached out to a few of my close girlfriends and we started an email distribution list to encourage each other to reach our respective goals. In fact, the 10 of us each chipped in $25 and created what we affectionately called, “The Fit Pot.” I held all of the money in a PayPal account, and the idea was that whoever lost the largest percentage of body weight and inches would win the $250 pot. We took our “before” pictures and recorded our measurements and starting weights. Once again, I was embarking on this weight loss journey, but this time it was different. I had a crew, a sisterhood, and a group of women who would be supporting me and motivating me to stay the course.
I was so determined and motivated by the emails, recipes, fitness tips, and encouragement we shared. I found my groove because I had sisters with me on this journey, and, of course, that Fit Pot was on my mind. After I took home the $250 I was hooked and so were the other ladies. I hosted another Fit Pot driven challenge via the email group, and we added a few ladies the next round, so the Fit Pot was even bigger. Before long, we moved from emails over to Facebook and created a group called “Fit, Fyne & Fabulous.” The original 10 women morphed into 35, then to 100, and then to 1,000. We now have over 12,200 women in our Facebook group.
Q: What problem does your business solve?
A: Fit, Fyne & Fabulous provides a holistic solution to regaining control of your health. We focus on supporting the whole woman—from her mindset to her spiritual life to education on how to cook healthy meals. We like to call it “The Fit, Fyne, Fab Life.” It’s not just about food and exercise. A lifestyle starts with your identity, your mindset, and your self esteem. We are intentional about instilling the idea that no matter how many times you have failed, failure is not your identity. Failure is actually a part of success. You have to fail forward to succeed. We essentially help women believe in what their bodies are capable of by letting go of the myth of perfection and latching on to the reality of progressive growth.
Q: What makes your company different from others?
A: There are many other weight loss programs and services on the market, but the true differentiator is the focus on the customer and not the business. Empathy, compassion, and love are woven into all of our products and services. We desire to make transformations more than we desire to make money.
Q: In what ways has your upbringing or past experiences contributed to how you operate as an entrepreneur?
A: I grew up in a poor community called Algiers, Louisiana, which is nestled along the banks of the Mississippi River opposite Downtown New Orleans. I was nurtured by many, but no one more than my grandmother, Annie Mae Dunn. My grandmother lived a life of service and I was always along for the ride. She visited retirement homes, donated money, took in abandoned kids, protected abused mothers—the list goes on.
I believe that because I watched her give more than she received without expectation, those same seeds were planted in me. I am now a servant leader and manage my business more like a ministry. I am forever grateful for being blessed with a grandmother with a heart to serve.
Q: What’s one thing you wish you had known before starting your company?
A: It’s a never ending journey. You never truly arrive at a destination because your goals constantly evolve. I now accept change as the only constant. My motto is “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of done!” One of our Fit, Fyne & Fabulous virtues is “perfection is a myth”—it doesn’t exist. Don’t wait for the perfect time or feeling. You can perfect and tweak along the way.
Q: What’s been the hardest and most rewarding part of your entrepreneurial journey?
A: It’s very rewarding to create a safe place for women to show up as their authentic selves, but that is also the hardest part. Finding the balance between love and accountability is akin to walking a tightrope—both are needed for success.
Q: What’s the biggest misconception that others have around entrepreneurship?
A: The biggest misconception is believing entrepreneurship means you have to do it all yourself. You actually have the opportunity to empower others to see their own gifts and use them to bring your vision to life. Being the boss allows others to share in your vision. Being the boss is the opposite of doing it all yourself—it’s actually the journey of building an inspired and vision-driven delivery team so that you don’t have to do it all yourself. You may start off doing it all yourself, but the end goal is to always work for the business rather than just in the business.
Q: Have you felt like giving up? What made you persist?
A: Oh yes. I have wondered if leaving my corporate job to build a business of service was the right decision. It’s hard to manage yourself, your family, and your business successfully. When life has thrown me curve balls, I have felt like giving up many times. What made me persist? It was and forever will be the wonderful women I serve. The passion I feel for helping the women of Fit, Fyne & Fabulous burns hot. Whenever I feel like giving up, I think of those whose lives I’ve helped transform. One who stands out for me today is a woman who had cancer yet continued to work out and meal prep through radiation because our group gave her purpose. Fit, Fyne & Fabulous meant so much to her that it pushed her to be a greater version of herself even in one of the lowest valleys in her life. The work we are doing has an impact that’s above me. So I must persist.
Q: We dare you to brag: What achievements are you most proud of?
A: Helping tens of thousands of women lose thousands of pounds and inches after transforming their mindsets about what they are capable of accomplishing. I’m proud of moving to Los Angeles from St. Louis and being recognized as one of Los Angeles’ most inspiring people. I’m proud of meeting Hollywood celebrities who endorse Fit, Fyne & Fabulous. I’m proud of appearing on and cooking live with the host of Good Day LA, writing my first book, self-publishing, and starting a membership site before it was trendy.
Q: What resources or people have contributed the most to your successes?
A: I attribute my success to learning from amazing leaders in organizations like Procter & Gamble, IBM, Microsoft, and PriceWaterHouseCoopers during my corporate career as a certified project manager. Learning how to lead a team was integral to the development of our support framework and methodology. The tools, techniques, and templates used to implement enterprise-wide systems as a project manager are the same methods I use to help guide women through regaining control of their health. I simply repurposed and reengineered the content to suit a new topic. Instead of implementing systems and training international teams, I implement mindsets and train women how to use what is already inside of them.
It’s such a blessing to watch someone realize that the power was within them all along. It’s rewarding to play a part in that type of mental transformation using skills I worked more than 20 years to develop.
Q: Have you discovered any underappreciated leadership traits or misconceptions around leadership?
A: Leaders are servants, nurturers, groomers, and empowerment coaches. Just because you’re a founder doesn’t mean you are a leader. Leaders find the best in those around them and help them to become a leader in their own right. A true leader is a cultivator of new and existing leaders.
Q: What have you learned about building a team and a support network around yourself?
A: Building a team is absolutely vital. In my opinion, you don’t have a business without a team—you’re simply an individual contributor. When a solid team is in place, you are able to have a greater impact in your community and business.
Q: How would you describe the journey you’ve had in a few sentences?
A: My road to building Fit, Fyne & Fabulous has been and continues to be a purpose-driven journey guided by a nagging and unexplainable fiery drive to serve women at my highest each day. I find so much fulfillment in what I do. I would definitely do it all over again.
Q: What’s next for you and Fit, Fyne & Fabulous?
A: Fit, Fyne & Fabulous will continue to thrive as a safe place for Black and Brown women to show up and share their truth about their health without regard to judgement. Our goal is to partner with bigger brands and service providers in an effort to offer more opportunities to provide greater levels of service to our women.
Nicole is a member of Dreamers & Doers, a private collective that amplifies the entrepreneurial pursuits of extraordinary women through thought leadership opportunities, authentic connection, and access. Learn more about Dreamers & Doers and subscribe to their monthly The Digest for top entrepreneurial and career resources.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.