Episode
4

Nastassia Ponomarenko

Nastassia has founded multiple startups (in and out of the fitness industry), launched a $1M+ Fitness apparel company, has 1.4M+ followers across social media, and she's only just getting started!

Ep
4

Millions of followers & Millions of sales before 20

August 16, 2021
With
Nastassia Ponomarenko
45:30

Millions of followers & Millions of sales before 20

The fitness apparel company, Nasty Fit, she founded at 18 has reached over $1 Million in sales and she just turned 21. And while this was happening, between the ages of 16-19, she amassed a following of almost 1.5 Million followers across YouTube & Instagram. After that she founded Connectful in October 2020, a networking app for Gen-Z that gained 6,000+ users in 2 months.

And now?

She's using the skills she learned from Connectful, combining them with her mastery of the fitness industry, and is now working on a new fitness app called CoreCircle. Corecircle is a a social fitness app where users can document their fitness journey in public - the app is currently in private beta and already has users all over the world raving about it.

Throughout the episode, we dive into what it's like to start a company, how she grew her businesses so quickly, and the lessons she's learned along the way.

Fun fact: Her deadlift PR is 315lbs!

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Episode Transcript

Cory McKane  0:00  
And shout out Jackson fall for the intro.

Nastassia Ponomarenko  0:3

Oh my god. Yes. Yeah, Jackson.

Cory McKane  0:08

So how do you know Jackson actually? Um, so I went to launch house, April through

Nastassia Ponomarenko  0:12  
I think no March or April right for about a month as a co living experience for founders basically in LA in Beverly Hills. And he was one of the main guys there. He He's a designer for launch house and so he's awesome. I completely fell in love with his dog Memphis.

Shout out. Shout out Memphis, Our Lady Memphy. I miss her.

But yeah, we instantly bonded. He's a great guy.

Cory McKane  0:35  
Yeah, it's funny because I actually bought it with Memphis myself. He left for, um, it might actually been when he visited la Kevin where he was. But basically, I took care of his dog for like two days. And she's like the best dog get so attached when I was pumped because he had Apple TV. So I watched all the shows that I've never been able to watch, because I don't have that. So. Yes. Love it. So awesome. So enough about Jackson. He's gonna love being featured on the beginning. Can you tell everyone who you are what you do? And then we'll break down, you know?

Nastassia Ponomarenko  1:09  
Oh, that's sure. Definitely. Well, I mean, Hello, my name is Nastassia Ponomarenko. I'm the founder of core circle, a social fitness app for Jen's ears to track and document their fitness journeys in public. I'm also the founder of nasty fit a fitness apparel brand for young women that I launched when I was 18 years old. So it's been a couple of years since. And I've just been doing business stuff ever since I was 18. Really, but my biggest thing right now is the social fitness app called core circle. It's just absolutely I'm in love with it. I have a big background in fitness have been doing it for over six years now ever since I was 15 and a half haven't skipped over a couple days of working out literally since then. So it's something that I'm so deep in with on the business side, consumer side, even the influencer side, which I'm sure we'll talk about when I was a bit younger. So just kind of all aspects of it.

Cory McKane  2:04  
Love it. Yeah. I mean, you're literally 21 and you've already had a you already have a company that's done over a million dollars in sales. So it's pretty. It's pretty cool. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Absolutely insane. So how did you get started fitness was typical, like you're in high school PE class, and they got the, you know, showed you how to do a bench press or what was

Nastassia Ponomarenko  2:22  
definitely not the PE class. Um, I was on Instagram. And yeah, I was 15 and a half scrolling through Instagram, I might have been stalking who some boy follows I think it actually was was that I think it was that I think I was talking who this guy that I liked at the time follows. And I saw like all these fitness models, but I didn't know what fitness models for at that time. And I just like clicked on a couple of them. And I was like, wow, they look really amazing, like just great physiques. And I don't know what happened, literally, I guess that is just what catapulted everything, and started this whole fire it made to just like work out. But I think it was just that I was like, enamored of how they looked. And I was like, wow, I want to do that too. I played sports my entire life. But obviously team sports. Team activities are much different than doing something for yourself. So completely different. But I think it was that just that what I did on Instagram just started everything, weirdly enough.

Cory McKane  3:25  
But what I was gonna say is I was so funny to me. Because I told my friends, I was like, I'm gonna start interviewing a bunch of like, fitness CEOs and like these big, you know, people involved in nutrition industry and all that stuff. And Jackson was like, you should interview my friend associa. And we were friends on Twitter. And like, I had an early app too. And so I didn't know anything about you. But I knew you had an early app. And I was like, well, that's cool. But like, like, what am I going to ask her about? Like it was, you know, like, when I had an early app, like, I couldn't have told you anything. I'd be like, oh, like we're working on it. And then he's like, we'll check out her YouTube and then check out her. Check out her her company. She's built with a million plus sales, and then check her out. And I was like, she's done like 40 bigs. Like it's just like, he kept like, like, every single thing. I was like, This is so impressive when I was 21. I was like in college and had no idea it would be so many years to grow restriped what it is today and you've like three acts by growth and just crushed so props to you. And we're going to break down like all four of those things I just said we want to start with because we got we got your we got global fit it we'll get core circle here in a bit. We have nasty stuff in the beginning. Let's start chronological order from the top. Yeah, there we go.

Nastassia Ponomarenko  4:39  
Well, let's see, I think it all started from so I became obsessed with fitness at 15 and a half and then I mix that with my passion of being in front of the camera. So ever since I was in sixth grade. I filmed my first kind of YouTube videos. They were singing YouTube videos. I did like Adele. I did all those but I can't sing though. That's the thing. But it's something that I really enjoy doing at the time and that make channel still active. No, oh god, no, no, no, I, a couple of my classmates found out about it. I don't remember how doesn't matter, but they were like making fun of me about it, of course. And so I just deleted all my video since I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Well, no, no, it's okay. It could have been actually much, much worse. It wasn't even that bad. I wouldn't even call it bowling. It was just kind of like, you just got made fun of a little bit for a couple days. And then, um, but then I still I mean, the flame didn't die out. I really liked just filming and documenting and vlogging. And so at that time, I think it was what like 2013 2012 that's when like this whole, like, beauty guru stage theme came up on insert on YouTube, sorry, and I was watching other people's videos, so I just really enjoy what they were doing. And so I did my own kind of makeup stuff as well. Let's see. But when I was 16 1516, that's when I again became obsessed with fitness and started just documenting everything on YouTube. So um, a couple of videos went viral like I had one that was a get ready with me high school edition. And that one had like millions of views. And so that kind of

Cory McKane  6:15  
really quick Did you delete those videos? So I saw that you only have four videos on your current YouTube show? That's a good question. I couple weeks ago, I did delete most of my YouTube videos. Yes. Oh, what did you do? I was like, I was like, there's no way she just put one on there. And it got so many views.

Nastassia Ponomarenko  6:29  
No, no, no, I think because the person I was in high school, which is when I feel most of my content is a complete different person

than I am today.

Cory McKane  6:38  
And so like this is me exactly. Okay.

Nastassia Ponomarenko  6:41  
Exactly. Especially Yeah, it's just, it's something that makes you cringe, you know, the things I even did, like, a year ago make me cringe. Sometimes it's just like, how fast one rose. And it's like, the things on the internet are kind of forever, and I just didn't want like those videos out. So I was just like, fuck it. Like, I'm just gonna delete everything. I just don't want to be associated like this. But But yeah, so I film content. For a couple of years, I stopped and started focusing more so on startups in business last year.

Cory McKane  7:14  
Well, I mean, and then. So how did your fitness clothing brand come about was like a million in sales insane. So like, how do you? How do you even like, was it? Were you just like, I could do this too. Like, you're like, what was that process? Like?

Nastassia Ponomarenko  7:26  
My first form of income came when I was 17. I was selling workout guides, and made a lot of money as a 17 year old. And so I saved up some money didn't spend all of it. And I in senior year of high school, I was like, Okay, I want to start my own clothing brand for a couple of reasons. And yeah, I just started it. I mean, it was really difficult because I don't come from a family of entrepreneurs or anybody who knows how to build businesses. So I kind of had to figure out the ropes myself and Google a lot. And lots and

Cory McKane  7:59  
lots of videos.

Nastassia Ponomarenko  8:00  
Lots of YouTube videos, probably Yeah. You know, how to start a business, how to start talking to manufacturers, where to even find manufacturers, all of those questions. And yeah, just just started ordering samples, and then ordering in bulk, and then just nasty if it came about, of course, it was a little bit more to that than just nasty fit came about. But yeah, July 2018 is when we first launch and every year we've been doing better. So it's amazing. Yeah, we hired an apparel designer in 2019. We, I used to package and ship everything out from my parent's garage. And so um, yeah, 2019 is one way I know it's kind of like that typical, like young

hustler.

Starting your parent's garage type of deal. Yeah, moved out everything to a fulfillment warehouse in Texas. So that's where everything's at right now.

Cory McKane  8:49  
So awesome. So awesome. Wait, So at what point did you realize that it could be like a business? Like At what point did you go from like, maybe? I mean, I know you looked at it, it's gonna be a business when you first started, but what point were you like, Okay, this is actually like ridiculous. Like, we're making good money.

Nastassia Ponomarenko  9:04  
Oh, um, I'd say the first couple of months. Well, the first couple of months were like, it was it was a lot of, I wouldn't say be messing around, it was just more so like, I came to a realization a couple months in or probably even after, like, half, half a year of having NASA fit out that like, our pieces weren't original by any means. Like it was just kind of like, you know, like the simple like black leggings and like baby pink and there was no kind of original unique sense to nasty fat. So I was like, Okay, I suck at drawing things out and designing things in terms of like, you know, like on paper, I have the creativity line, right, but I can't really sketch things out. So I hired an apparel designer named Amy she's completely awesome. So worked with us to this day to get really cool designs out so like our contour collection, for example, did extremely well. That was our first kind of like, unique piece. And so you can can we break that down then? So like, you want to make the contour? That's right. Contour contour contour collection.

Cory McKane  10:07  
Yeah. cutter collection to make the contour collection. What does that process look like? Okay, like day one. Yeah contour collection to having it sold online. How does that process work?

Nastassia Ponomarenko  10:17  
Right? So I mean, the first one is is the idea right? That that's the first thing. So I first began sketching things out myself just because it's always important to have a visual even with like, I recommend this with apps too. Like, for me, when core circle came about when I had the idea, thankfully, I was already accustomed to using figma. So I just created mock ups. So mock ups are like amazing. Yeah, yeah, love figma. So yeah, I just started sketching out kind of the, the where the contour lines where I'd want them at and all that good stuff. And so I just sent them over to Amy, it took a couple of rounds to get like the perfect kind of look of the of the legging of the of the sports bra that we sent that out to our manufacturer, we got like a ton of samples back had to revise a lot to get like it to a really amazing and then ordered it in bulk, and then promoted it on social media and all that good stuff. And that's basically it. I mean, honestly, I have to say, though, like, having your own brand, like selling merchandise, just for anyone has never been easier than it is now. Like, it's so much different from for example, like what I'm building a fitness app where product market fit is everything to one success. But in terms of just not talking from the macro perspective, I'm not talking about just nasty fit in general, nasty fit and specific. Um, but yeah, like, I mean, I could start like a T shirt company tomorrow, basically, and start making sales pronto because of like, tick tock and Instagram. It's really interesting. But yeah, sorry, I wasn't really off topic there.

Cory McKane  11:50  
No, that's this. Were on the podcast. I don't want to answer. It's perfect. Yeah. And I noticed you did like a day in the life was it again, you have four videos for me to choose from. So I noticed you did a day in the life. Do you do that often? Or was that just like a one time kind of a thing?

Nastassia Ponomarenko  12:06  
Is that the one that has his 7 million views? One? I had a lot of views on that. Yeah, it's probably that one. Oh,

Cory McKane  12:16  
it was right now. Yeah, it was? Yep.

Nastassia Ponomarenko  12:18  
Okay, cool. Um, yeah, I did a couple of those. Um, I mean, just by nature, those videos hit off well with people. And it's really fun to film to you just kind of take people along with your life, but not something that I would do now, just because I, I don't know, when I was, you know, back then filming videos, it was all kind of public and out in the open, you're taking people along with your journey, what you do on a day to day basis. And now it's just, I don't do that because I value privacy. And also my life is actually extremely boring, because I just work on that. So

Cory McKane  12:52  
yeah, obviously Wait, like we've started filming like a TV series for we strive and like our day to day and like my day to day God. But it's just like, there's some cool stuff we do. But like, it's mostly just me on the computer on call. So I'm like, fun. It's just like, I don't want to watch this. But then some people do want to watch this. Oh, my God. So you're preaching to the choir, I totally get that, I guess you

Nastassia Ponomarenko  13:15  
provide. There are some people actually who work all day, but they like provide, like value in between, like, every two minutes, for example of the video. They're like, here's this advice, or here's this tip, or here's how I built like they make it entertaining. But like, that takes time, honestly. And it's just a lot of

Cory McKane  13:31  
time.

Nastassia Ponomarenko  13:32  
Yeah, exactly. It's just, I don't know, I burnt out from like, the whole content creation side of things.

Cory McKane  13:38  
I mean, and then I was gonna ask is like, you have like, half a million followers on Instagram. And then you have your YouTube channel. So like, have you kind of more just moved over to Instagram and kind of neglected that? I don't say neglected, but like kind of neglected? I guess I'll say that. Yeah, it's a word event.

Nastassia Ponomarenko  13:56  
A Yes. I think also, one of the reasons because when I was 20, I just majorly transitioned into filming more business and self improvement content. Whereas my most of my subscriber base are people who watch me because of fitness, and the, you know, fitness, vlogs, and all the workouts and all that good stuff. And so that didn't transition Well, of course, into the self improvement business side of things. So it's like, you also kind of, I don't know, just many things happen. At the same time. It was a mixture of that it was a mixture of me just not wanting to create content in the first place. Instagram is just an easier platform, to be honest. And I don't know,

I also have this notion

of I don't have that much to share on YouTube. Regardless, I mean, a lot of what people share on YouTube is either personal, or either like tips or advice. And it's like, I came to this point in my life where like, I don't care about inspiring people, right. I just want to build like a successful business as Really it? Whether one gets inspired or not is is not something I can control. Nor do I want to control. Because I think, you know, having the desire of wanting to inspire the masses just comes through ego. So that's how I think about things now.

Cory McKane  15:16  
Yeah, I mean, good to know. I mean, because I look at the YouTube channel, and I was like, I feel like she's more Instagram focused, but I wasn't really sure. And then when you look at the core circle, right after this, but like, when you were starting off, was it kind of like YouTube and Instagram or growing like this? And then you switch now to Instagram? Or was that kind of like one shot up? And then the other one followed? Um,

Nastassia Ponomarenko  15:37  
doo. Well, I started on YouTube, right? 15 1617 years old. And then I think around 17 years old. That's when I transitioned more into Instagram, as well. Just like, Hey, I have this following on Instagram. Go follow me. Oh, sorry. I have this following on YouTube. Go follow me on Instagram. So it was more so of that. Just natural transition. And then yeah, Instagram started growing. YouTube was growing it all, it all grew kind of simultaneously. I think YouTube though, it was easier to get more views as opposed to Instagram because that's such a saturated plot. It's really difficult to grow on Instagram, especially now compared to like, years ago, when I first started or when many other fitness influencers started, like it's virtually impossible to build a high following now starting from like nothing, which is why so many people use Tick Tock.

Cory McKane  16:31  
Yeah, it's I mean, yeah, honestly, it's not what you said. Like, it's, I mean, even like running our brand account, it's like, it's so impossible to like, Oh, yeah, some of our competitors have like, 100,000 more users than us because they've been around for years and like they're getting like six likes, opposed, you know, so it's like it just so you know, that's a fake. That's fake followers. They they bought that most brands. Sorry, I didn't mean followers. I mean, like they have actual customers. Like they have Well, I know for a fact they have like 100,000 customers but then only get like six likes. So yeah, cuz I get I'm totally I'm very familiar with like, the when when I first started we did the whole, like fake follower bullshit. You know? Most people do. It's so obvious. Now. Now. It's now it's like, okay, really, guys, come on. Yeah, I feel like 2016 ish, it was still cool to do that, like people didn't really get it yet. And then you know, people are like, I think I think the common man or person knows that that's what's going on. So yeah,

Nastassia Ponomarenko  17:28  
I'm sure hundreds hundreds of new accounts are popping up per day that are brand related business related things so yeah, it's really difficult. And I think just like Instagrams algorithm is is not is not optimized for for new accounts to grow. Which I think over time is definitely going to bite Instagram in the ass or, and or is already biting Instagram in the ass as we know. They're not growing as I don't think they're growing as a platform

Cory McKane  17:55  
to grow and you have everyone though, I feel like I feel like they have like everyone's been sustaining that growth. Exactly. Exactly. Holding up. Yeah, tick tock just so like, I I don't have any followers on tik tok. And I put one video on there and got like, a million views. And I'm just like, okay, like, what's going on? Yeah, no, I don't need it. I'm like, I've just been so busy. And I have like drafts that I keep building up. And I'm like, Oh, I see tomorrow.

Nastassia Ponomarenko  18:22  
I'm currently doing the same thing because core circles launching in a couple of weeks. And so like now leading up to the launch. I'm like, posting a lot or not posting like just creating a lot of content. Because it is the best place when you want to just grow your waitlist or Yeah, brand awareness, anything like that. I

Cory McKane  18:40  
saw a buddy that will not really buddy this guy. No, that's like, not funny at all has like, millions of followers, and he just post videos of him talking every day. And I'm like, Okay, are you funny or not? I promise you this guy's not this guy's not funny at all. I watched the video and I was like, this is just a generic like, anyways, I digress. I just thought today. So it's, it's on top of my mind. Yeah, it's good. Let's get to coursework. Let's get the core circle. So where you did a million dollars in sales, half a million followers on Instagram dominated YouTube. And now you're like, boom, I'm gonna make this fitness app. So why did you want to make the app and then we'll get into what is the app and blah, blah.

Nastassia Ponomarenko  19:21  
A small backstory leading up to that. So I was actually I launched my very first tech startup, or my very first app called Connect falls and networking out for Gen Z. And I actually launched it last year October. And he had it live was working on it for about four months post launch and I spent so much money on it made so many mistakes, hiring mistakes, design mistakes, product mistakes, literally all the mistakes. And in February is one of this year is when I realized oh my god, like I just totaled all the money that I spent on this app and didn't have product market fit like users were leaving high churn rate all that not so fun stuff. And I remember having conversation with my dad in early February. And we were kind of talking about connectable. And then my dad just kind of jokingly said, I don't know if he was serious or joking, but he was like, you should start a fitness app. Because of course, like, this isn't my niche, like, you just start this. And I was like, literally, in that second, I was like, Dad, how could you say that, like, I'm never gonna start something. And like the fitness space again, I just wanted to, like, move from it, actually. And then, um, the next thought that came into my head was oh, my God, like a social fitness app, you know, a fitness app that is baked into the social experience. And literally, within like, seconds, I was like, this is a fire idea. And then literally went home did a ton of market research started Google docking everything that I wanted on there. And gone the designs, yes, started mocking things up as well. And figma hired a UI UX designer, within a couple of days, or the next day, I don't really quite remember, he got it done in a week. And so we started developing from there got the MVP out in two months to the hands of beta testers. So it all just happened quite fast. But it's because you know, being a second time founder, has so has so much leverage, honestly. And because you make so many mistakes with your first startup, you apply all of that to your next startup. So that enables you to just execute really fast. And fitness is something like I told you, I know, like all aspects about it. So it was just literally a perfect marriage between consumer social and fitness, mix it together, bam, beauty. That's how I feel about it.

Cory McKane  21:44  
No matter what you say, like I've always thought, whenever a buddy of mines like I want to because I want to make a start up. I'm like I could, I could save you two years in like a week, like I could easily do this. And so I always I know, I'm confident which route is gonna work really well and all that stuff. But like, if I ever had to make another startup, or if I ever do, I'm just like, so excited to just like fly through the like the onboarding and all that stuff. mock ups? Yeah, absolutely. Yes.

Nastassia Ponomarenko  22:10  
That's actually exactly how I felt when with connectible. I was thinking in the back of my mind that you know what, like, if I started something new right now, it would be so much easier and better, because you're starting from like, the ground up, basically, right? You're not already you tweaking on an already existing product and spending more money. It's like, it's just like a clean slate. And I was like, I can't be thinking about this. It's like thinking about cheating on your partner.

Cory McKane  22:36  
Like, I really

Nastassia Ponomarenko  22:38  
feel like that's like, I can't think about anything else besides my other startup. And then that's why I'm really I'm really just, it was a good not opportunity. But it was like, mixed with luck. I don't know what you want to call it. But the idea of course, ripple just like how it came out to be was just so perfect. I was like this is it, you know, screw connectable, I'm over it. Course, or called to the moon.

Cory McKane  23:02  
How to love it. How many? How many users do you have to connect for when you moved on? Oh, that's a good question. Um, um,

Nastassia Ponomarenko  23:11  
I think a total of five to 6k. But our but that's because we spent like 1000s of dollars, with no videos and marketing and all that good stuff. Which was completely a waste of money, because it's like pouring water into a leaky bucket, because users eventually leave sort of like a you are daily active users, weekly active users with pretty low compared to the number of users we had. So that was that, yeah, that's just a clear sign that you don't have a good product.

Cory McKane  23:39  
I mean, that's what's rough about launching a social product, like social fitness is a little different as you have more elements to build, like when it's just as pure social people instantly go, Well, I'd rather just use Instagram, I'd rather just use Twitter or Facebook. So like, just pure social is just so hard to implement. So yeah,

Nastassia Ponomarenko  23:56  
yeah, this is true. And no, I completely agree with you. I think also, because we were targeting, like entrepreneurial gems years, and there's not a lot of us out there really to so our target, our demographic was like very, very small, probably like, what

Cory McKane  24:11  
1000s, maybe

Nastassia Ponomarenko  24:11  
10s of 1000s if we're taking like the entire kind of just the entirety of maybe the states or whatnot. But there's that. And also, when I was working on connectfood, that was around the time where clubhouse just popped off. And that's around the time when I started using Twitter, and I was like, whoa, whoa, my people are on Twitter, but I'm starting like a networking app, you know, because I had no friends and I had a hard time finding, you know, my people, but like, Twitter exists, and it's a great place and it's awesome. Exactly. So it's like, you know, also this realization of you don't need to build a kind of a an app for just one thing where it could be networking can be found that kind of anywhere, to be honest. I don't know just a lot of things learned. But the Social fitness. See, this is one of the things that I completely rave about is mixing utility and, and social and doing in a good way. That is, I think literally the the winner of any consumer app is kind of like Instagram, right? You heard about like, 2013 2012 I don't know, when Instagram started popping off somewhere around there. I was too young to care about that at that time. But um, yeah, like, apparently people used Instagram for its filters at first, because the filters are free. There are many of them. And then it turned into a whole social giant, it's kind of like, the tool comes first. And then the network kind of that that phrase. But I think again, like how I said, integrating mixing the two social and and utility is just the best. And so I mean, I agree and all that stuff. And I was just thinking about, like, your age, and I'm like,

Cory McKane  25:54  
did you did you ever have my space? No, no, no, I didn't know. Your age is so convenient. Because I realized that your age is the same age as the current year it is. So I was like, Yeah, like 2015. convenient.

Very convenient. You don't have to do any math ever. You just know how old you are. Okay, so no buy space. Probably a little bit later to Facebook. Yeah, definitely. Yeah, no, Facebook was

Nastassia Ponomarenko  26:22  
a seventh grade, I think or Yeah, sixth and seventh grade. And I don't know if you also had that phase where you played like all the Zynga games, like Farmville

Cory McKane  26:31  
had, we had like mafia kind of stuff on MySpace. So we were I was kind of already over that kind of vibe. But Exactly, exactly. I saw my friends still play Farmville and all that stuff. So there's a lot tonight, not too many. I have a couple. A couple. Yes. Maybe one, maybe one. But so can you explain the the overall concept of core circle, I will obviously include this in the beginning too. So people know. But let's kind of break that down really quick what you guys do, and you know why you do it?

Nastassia Ponomarenko  27:00  
Yeah. So basically, the utility aspect, it integrates very well, without the utility, there's kind of no social aspect to core circle. So basically, you create your own workout within the app. And then all workouts that you complete are posted on the homescreen for your followers to see. So that's like our social element, like you could see everybody's workout that they've done for the day, basically. And you could click on their workout and see exactly what they did. So for example, I have a lot of people following me who look at my workouts every single day, they can now we've added the feature where you could save other people's workouts for later. And then, if you complete another person's workout, they will get credibility for it like the workout author. So if somebody does my workout, it'll say like, Sally Sue just completed in stasis, like, or Sally Sue just completed the lower body day, created by Atma Stasi for the marinko. So hello, we've noticed that a lot of our users were on the homescreen, just like clicking on other people's workout, seeing what they're doing, seeing what exercises they can incorporate into their workout. So it's like, Okay, this is great, we could easily incorporate a feature into actually saving and doing other people's workout. So that's basically the premise of it. And we've just been building out, building out the app, ever since we've launched into private beta in April literally just didn't have to, that's our core, like usage of the app. So I'm really thankful that we didn't have to, like scratch things out. And like, try out another core feature like that is our core feature. And it works really well. Because why why creating a workout works well, and of course roles, because most people use the Notes app. And I think we might have talked about this I'm not sure if we did. But most fitness enthusiasts use the Notes app to kind of create and track their workouts I used to, it's not an effective place to to actually see your progress. very disorganized, too. And so our goal was to just create a very minimalistic user experience of creating a workout because other fitness apps Oh my god, they're their UI is like extremely cluttered. Not user friendly by any means. So

Cory McKane  29:17  
is your is yours, like more of a text document where I because I don't know if I was invited to the private beta. And if I was I told you about the sign up. So one of us is in the default there. Okay, I easily could ask you as well, we'll call it we'll call it even. But is it more of like an empty text box? Or like what are you guys like, like, how does that work for? Yeah, I can literally just show you through the screen right now actually. Um, so and then if you have a video of it, we'll do a

Nastassia Ponomarenko  29:44  
sure. Yeah. Awesome. So basically, as you can see here, so it's basically empty text box, but they're categorized by sets, reps and weight, so it's not as free. Okay, you cannot get even you can't get like more freeform than notes that is like the complete definition of freeform. So ours is very Simple but also is categorized. So we could actually track things on the back end what you're doing and use it for data purposes later on. So that's basically the purpose of it. We just added an explorer feed actually, that is categorized by, by goal similarity. So if I want to increase my PR, increase a PR, and another user wants to increase their PR, I'll be able to see kind of their goal as well, recently joined. So if a user just created an account, they'll get promoted as well on the Explore feed activity as well. So if you're active in the app, then of course, you get rewarded for your activity. And also people near you, because a lot of fitness enthusiasts typically don't have those other fitness friends that they could go to the gym with, or just talk fitness with. So being able to find people in your area is really important to

Cory McKane  30:51  
know what's funny, I don't think I mentioned this to you, but I actually. So last couple years. So last May, I was we had the contract about to be signed with me in this NFL Hall of Fame guy. And I was going to build a fitness app with him. And it's going to be all it was going to be a social fitness app, actually. So similar concept to what you're doing. But it was gonna be about challenges. So you challenge other people. And a lot of the ideas you mentioned were ideas that I had like, like the ability to like, mark a workout. I love the idea that like the way we're, I didn't think of it this way. But when you said that you could bookmark a workout and have it saved to the homepage, like this person did this of this workout. I had the same thing. But this person is challenged. So I honestly when you said that I was like, Oh, that's genius. Like, I think it's so cool. It's a good way to like grow your brand, while also like letting someone else follow a cool workout. And the fact that it's free is awesome. So we'll definitely definitely have to clap on that. Because like, I never ended up building it. So you can just have a lot of that crap I built. So we'll talk we'll talk about that. Yeah, yeah. I was gonna say I think that's incredible, though. I love I love that the idea of how that's built out. Are you guys planning on doing like, try think of another app that does this, but like, adding like another ability where like you type in squat? And it'll have a photo of video attached? Are you guys gonna keep it this way? Clean you simple UI. What are you guys thinking?

Nastassia Ponomarenko  32:16  
Um, well, our button right at the top, it says explore exercises, and then tapping on it will kind of bring up an exercise directory that is categorized by muscle group. So that's really what we have right now it makes creating a workout extremely simple. But there's a lot of things that we're going to be just improving in that aspect. Because in order to right now, we don't keep track of what kind of weight a person's using sets, reps, what even what exercise are doing. And so we have a feature on our roadmap that will track the muscle groups that you are that you are engaging throughout the week Also, we're going to be we're going to add a feature where it will show you the weight that you did last week. So you could continue to like progressive, decent progressive overload as well. Like if I did goblet squats last week, let's say three sets of 20 at like 50 pounds. And this week, today, I'm doing goblet squats, then they'll tell me what I did last week. So I could then consciously know that, Okay, I need to increase my reps or my weight. Or we're literally

Cory McKane  33:20  
adding that this month to that exact feature. Because it's like, I'm so pissed because our and we're not to clarify to the audience, and she's b2c, I'm b2b, so totally different, totally different. So we're not competitors anyway. But I was gonna say, like we have on our web, but our users can't. They hate it, because they can't see what they did last week. And it's so annoying. And it's my fault, because when we rebuilt the app, we didn't include that feature we used to have now we don't have it. So that's our number one priority right now is get that back on the app. So I'm excited that you guys are adding that to is it's it's such a crucial feature.

Nastassia Ponomarenko  33:52  
It is Yeah, right now, it's our users are currently just like looking through all the workouts that they've done in the past. But it's like the UX isn't obviously optimized for for that it's not easy to see what you did last week, or whatever it may be. So literally just yet improving UX is the number one thing and I feel like a lot of fitness apps just like I don't know, if they, they care about it, but it's just like you're too damn slow, like, I think, okay, one of the other advantages, you know, that having a small team has, and possibly even a solo founder, too, is your ability to execute on a very, very fast pace. Yeah, fist bump, there you go. And for me, like I am on our Instagram page every single day seeing all of the requests that we're getting all of the problems and all of that. So I'm very much like, I'm just in the UX seat. So that also enables me to know what the problem is. I'm also an everyday user, of course circles, so that helps. Yeah, it's just perfect. I could go on and on by about this. But yeah, well,

Cory McKane  34:57  
I mean, I was just so that I love that because I do The same thing, but you guys are doing it like, awesome, right? I love how you said that. Like, we had all these people asking for this. So we added this or like we saw that. Actually what I was gonna say is I did a really good job of interviewing people. But I did a bad job of analyzing my analytics. And from what you said, it's, you said, we had everyone on the homepage doing this, that we did this and it sounds like it might correct and you were using your analytics to do that.

Nastassia Ponomarenko  35:25  
Oh my gosh, that's another thing that's so important, too. It's not only like listening to what people say, because also like what they say, Oh, my God, I love your app, or like, Oh, my God, I hate this. Or it's typically I love it. Yeah, exactly, exactly. But when you look at the metric, it's like, this person hasn't visited the app and like five days.

Cory McKane  35:43  
They're your friend to your like,

Nastassia Ponomarenko  35:46  
I know, like, Oh, my gosh, I love this feature. So much like has never used it, you check the metrics. So yeah, it's really important. I will use mixpanel to analyze everything. mixpanel I rave about it, you can literally create cohorts of people see exactly what they're doing, who they are, etc. and segment them based off of like, how many times they work out of how often they visit the home screen, etc. So like, Oh, mixpanel just absolutely phenomenal. So yeah, I do a lot of I analyze the data and that sense to it helps so much.

Cory McKane  36:21  
Yeah, I love that you said that. Because the first literally just in the past six months, we started getting our analytics, we actually use amplitude. So I wanted to use mixpanel. But like, I just heard that it was a little bit better. But next panel looks way better, which I like more so like anyways, I got it. There's a whole double there's like a three month fight to get to amplitude, but I wanted to use mixpanel. So yeah, but I love that you guys use. Like, that's, that's for how the fact that you guys are in beta and you're already doing that is seriously very impressive. And like that's gonna, that saves you so much money, and you know that but like, yeah, you guys are doing that. Yeah, so

Nastassia Ponomarenko  36:59  
No, I was just gonna say I feel like these are the not there's no right or wrong steps to anything, honestly. But it's like, in order to really get the full picture like, these are the things that just need to be done. Right. And and so many people miss that. A, I don't know what other people do, honestly. But it's like, you have to know the metrics, because that's where the truth comes from. Right? If you you know, you can't, you can't bullshit yourself. If you know the metrics, really. So it's like, you know, when you're doing bad, you know, the days that you're doing bad or if a feature is working or not just by seeing what people do. On mixpanel, for example, or amplitude.

Cory McKane  37:38  
Yeah, I honestly have to like that we're able to squat this part. This podcast is sponsored by next petal in Apple two. Honestly, I have to like slap myself and force myself to like, use like stereo analytics, because I don't do a good job with it. But like, I think there's so many people that don't do it. And it's just like, it's it's just great to know that you guys are doing that. Okay, go ahead. Go ahead. Sorry, I don't want to go. Okay.

Nastassia Ponomarenko  38:07  
No, I was gonna say, I think it's because and I had this I had that. I don't know if it's this core reason, but it's because like, I don't know, sometimes like what I said, metrics, they tell the truth. So some people don't want to, you know, face the truth of how shitty their you know, app is doing or whatever. That may be scary. It's really scary. Yeah. Yeah. And be also because like, if it's something new, if you're not used to checking metrics, or or knowing how to segment things, or, you know, anything new is scary, too. So it's also I think it's a mixture of those two things.

Cory McKane  38:37  
Yeah. And I completely 1,000% agree, and I'm in that same boat always just, like scared to check it, but also, like, still learning how to like better segmental. So, um, what is you guys? What is your strategy for monetization? Long term? Are you guys gonna put ads in there? You're gonna do like, you could pay someone for their workout? Like, what's the what's the idea?

Yeah,

Nastassia Ponomarenko  38:57  
definitely no ads, no kind of freemium pricing model, too. I think subscriptions are for what we're building. It's just so kind of outdated. We're going to be having fitness influencers most likely become like our paid content creators within the app. So I'm thinking about using fitness influencers. And having them get paid, possibly through workout guides, we don't know exactly exactly what we're going to be doing because monetization isn't number one, as you probably know, with a consumer social, the number one thing is retention, and building a genuinely awesome product. But I don't know if it'll fit in the roadmap of launching like, end of year, end of the year is the best best time to launch because that's when people are starting their like, New Year goals. Yeah. So hopefully, by the end of the year, if it's all good, then we'll launch but if it just doesn't time, well, then we won't. We're hoping to raise

Cory McKane  39:54  
Yeah, hope as you're raising that key building about ourselves, you know, exactly. Yes. Yes. Yes. That's Number one thing. Yeah. And then so what are what are your long term goals for the platform? And then we'll kind of we'll probably call it good after that cuz I know we you got stuff to do and all that fun stuff. So, what uh, where do you see Costco going in the next couple of years?

Nastassia Ponomarenko  40:15  
Hmm, good question. Um, well, definitely the best social fitness out for weightlifters that's facts. I mean, there's no so successful.

Cory McKane  40:26  
Sorry, use my Gen Z slang.

I'll put I'll put a translator the I

Nastassia Ponomarenko  40:37  
was gonna say, yeah, there's no successful social fitness for people who weightlifter, the only actually social fitness app sorry, take a shot every time I say that is Strava. Strava is a is a good example of that type of app that incorporates social and utility. But it's for you know, people who run swim and bike. So definitely there is this whole, there's this entire market of like people who weight lift that is just completely untapped. So just becoming the best in that set scenario, I think is going to be honestly not hard to do, just by like the current metrics we have and how much our users currently love. Core circle. So that's exciting. Overall, just definitely doing better in the social element. Like our number one thing, or one of the most important things is the ability for people to create communities, their own community within the app. So for example, like on Instagram, it's really hard to find other people discoverability like we talked about is pretty trashy, because it's just Instagram saturated. And everybody kind of wants to become the next fitness influencer too. So, you know, it's like, how do we get those people onto core circle? How do we get those people who want to build community into coursework? Well, and then how do we reward them for being like active, so it's always just always expanding that part. Also, the data kind of what we talked about, like really keeping track of what exercises people are doing the weight, etc, and then dishing back you know, like, tick tock, for example, it's like Tick Tock knows you, they know what you watch how, how long you watch it, what, what kind of theme or anything like that, right? And then they dish dish you content to watch. And there's this like, amazing feedback loop. So also creating something like that for us, like really knowing what user what exercises people enjoy doing, what new users, we what sorry, new exercises, we could recommend, what muscle groups we could recommend just adding in more data for them. Because most of our users are actually like, newly getting into working out. Some of them have been having a hard time with accountability and consistency. So for new users like or new people into fitness like that, you know, you don't want to put much thought into what workout you're going to be doing. You just kind of want like a workout laid out for you. So just expanding our expand the app to fit that aspect. Same thing I could say like with Tick Tock For example, I don't have to push some buttons and tell a filter of what content I like to watch. Right? I don't want to say I like entrepreneurial content. I like corgis, right. Tick Tock just knows that about me. So it's same thing

Cory McKane  43:27  
I love I love that I think you guys are gonna crush it and I can't wait to try out the beta or not. I don't know we'll figure it out.

Nastassia Ponomarenko  43:32  
I'll send it to you

Cory McKane  43:35  
I'm not well I'm like a insane beta tester I will be like this you know, on the Settings tab when you push this This button is off by a quarter of an inch so I'll be like, on it so but I've heard I've heard great thing so far. Love your energy, love everything you've done so that you're literally crushing it. So I can't wait to see what you guys do with core circle it will be sure to put all the links at the bottom of the show notes.

Nastassia Ponomarenko  43:58  
Sure. Thank you, Cory. I super appreciate this. And best of luck with your podcast too. You're killing it as well. So thank you for having me on here. Well,

Cory McKane  44:05  
there we go bumps, fist bumps pistons all day.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai