Making a ‘workout’ work out as a business
Meet Crem Frazier, a Charlotte, North Carolina, businesswoman who is providing a safe space for LGBTQ+ people to realize their fitness and wellness goals.
Going to the gym and feeling safe and comfortable isn’t always easy for members of the LGBTQ+ community. But for Crem Frazier, owner of Q Fitness and Wellness in Charlotte, it was a surprise to see just how many people needed the type of space she was offering.
Frazier is a bit humble about it, “I’m happy it’s a thing, but I’m surprised because I’m just doing what I’ve always done, which is to help people.”
Frazier opened Q Fitness in Minneapolis in 2018 and then moved the business to Charlotte in 2021 to be closer to her mother. While she always catered to LGBTQ+ clientele, it took a while for her to, “grow into my own courage enough to say this is what I wanted it to be. And we’ve been doing it ever since.”
“I’m not reinventing the wheel with fitness and nutrition by any means,” Frazier says. “But I’m really proud of the fact that I can shine light on my community that I care deeply about. And really offer something that is special where you feel comfortable and affirmed and you feel great in that space.”
Frazier has always wanted to own a business. She started out being an entrepreneur when she was 12 years old. She had a bike wash, a babysitting business and she cut grass.
“So, I think kind of having my own spin on things and sort of dabbling into ownership was something that I had at a young age.”
When she first started working at the big box gyms, she realized that she wanted to do her own thing there too.
It takes a village
There was a lot of trial and error at the start. “I knew I was great at fitness. I knew I was great at helping others and supporting others. But I didn't have business acumen. I really had to gain knowledge on my own along the way by doing a lot of research and sticking close to the people that were very familiar with how to own, operate and start businesses.”
Having a community to support her has made all the difference.
Frazier credits the Charlotte Area Chamber of Commerce and the LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce in Charlotte. “If there’s something that I feel like I’m not sure about I can always lean on someone in my community. It takes a village, at times, if you want to be a successful business owner.”
Family is key too. “If I had to bring out this one Yoda, this one individual for me, it would be my mother. My mother, she’s not a business owner by any means, but she’s a strong woman, she’s a veteran, she’s always stood by me, and she always just inspired me and has been a good sounding board and that’s been consistent.”
Growing the business and staying current
A key thing she learned over the years: “make sure you’re constantly growing and you’re constantly learning because the industry does change, and you want to make sure you’re staying on top of what’s current.”
Frazier plans to keep running her gym until she can’t do it anymore. “Now I may not be doing burpees with my clients in the next several years because I’ll be getting up there. But I do hope that Q Fitness and Wellness will have the ability to reach an audience nationally. Whether you’re able to be at a brick-and-mortar location or we have the technology to connect with you and give you the exact same experience.”
She also plans to give back on a bigger scale. “Perhaps it’s a group home for trans youth. Or maybe it’s more of a dōjō style, a martial arts style of studio, for the LGBTQ+ community. For athletes who want to compete but don’t feel comfortable in that space otherwise.”
Treat your business like it’s your child
Frazier says she’s learned a lot. “If I had to do it over again, I wish that I had the patience that I have now. I wanted to grow fast, I wanted to do everything fast. As a business owner there are some peaks and valleys. Every business owner goes through that. But if I had more patience perhaps the valleys wouldn’t have been so low or so long.”
Frazier also says it’s important to identify your “why.” Ask yourself “why you want to have this business, what do you want to get from it, but more importantly, what do you want to give out of it, I think is probably what to focus on.”
And then protect that vision. “Your business is really like your child, your baby, so you have to protect it, take care of it, nurture it.”
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