Can't Please Everyone
Why I named my business THE FITNESS NUT HOUSE.
Thirteen years ago when I sat down and started developing my business plan I needed a name that would be recognizable and unique. I had come up with names that were serious such as; Conant Strength and Conditioning, Conant Training Systems, Club Vita, Kennebunk Wellness Center. But I felt that those types of names would be intimidating for the majority of the people. After a lot of debating with myself I decided to call my gym THE FITNESS NUT HOUSE.
When I was a teenager my passion for fitness was great. I really got into training, nutrition and bodybuilding. I was considered a "fitness nut" among my peers. Everywhere I would go people would refer to me as the fitness nut. I lived and breathed fitness and nutrition-- I still do to this day.
During graduate school I wanted to help kids learn more about nutrition and how to take care of their bodies. I believed that heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer that affects millions of adults per year was a result of childhood behaviors. It all starts at an early age. I figured if I could start to teach the children better strategies of how to eat and exercise, without being over the top, too serious, or too technical, then perhaps they could have a better quality of life as they got older, reducing the risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer.
Realizing that I needed a way to get the kids interested in my information I decided to come up with a fictitious character that was non-intimidating and non-threatening or ego based. I didn't want a human because of the male /female image and ego stereotypes. I opted for a simple little character named "Ollie the Fitness Nut." I chose to make him half hazelnut half human. The hazelnut is healthy for the heart. I figured that this would be a non-intimidating figure that everyone could relate to.
I worked diligently on putting together material, trademarks, copyrights etc.. My objective was to pursue HMO's and to have helpful, fun information about nutrition and fitness passed out among the hospitals and schools. I wanted the kids to have the information so that they could understand how the body works in a simple to understandable way. I met with a marketing firm in Minneapolis that liked my idea and they were on board to helping me get Ollie The Fitness Nut launched. But I was naive and didn't have much capital to draw from and the marketing company took my idea and kept it for themselves. They changed the name of the character and changed a few of the concepts I had come up with and they dropped me like a hot potato. In other words I was kicked to curb.
Feeling a bit dejected I gave up on my venture. Then things would change when I had the opportunity to open up my own personal training center. Since I had everything trademarked and copyrighted, I didn't have to spend more money on getting my material made up. I used my little character as the name of my business. THE FITNESS NUT HOUSE. It has a dual meaning, 1. I was called the Fitness Nut, 2. It is the creation of The Fitness Nut that I tried to promote to the collective consciousness of society.
I felt that having a fun little character would make it easier for families to come in and see me. Though I don't have the backing of a HMO to get my message out, I can still get the message out about nutrition and fitness in a smaller population.
Many people don't understand the name of my business and some interns that worked for me won't acknowledge the name on their resume for fear that it isn't a serious enough name to be recognized as an established business, I like the name and it reminds me of where I have come from. I don't need a fancy serious intimidating name to teach people exercise and nutrition. I am confident in my knowledge and ability to help people. If someone doesn't like the name because it might tarnish their social status then so be it. I don't fall into the category of following the sheep-like mentality. I like to create new and different things. I like to step outside of the box. I love the Fitness Nut House and am not going to change the name to appease the masses.
So in a NUTSHELL that is how the Fitness Nut House came about.