Business Focus: In The Spotlight

This month we talk to fitness duo Albane and Volkan Karesan about setting up their business, The French Fit. Originally from France and Turkey respectively, they now live in Teddington and offer a variety of exercise and wellbeing classes throughout the TW area.

When, and why, did you start your business? 

We met nine years ago when we were working abroad as professional dancers. It was January 2020 when we moved to the UK, February when we started working as employees, and March when we were made redundant because of Covid! We found jobs locally which helped meeting people, we also did free classes online, and eventually started to get some enquiries. So, in April 2021 we decided to start our own business.

What challenges did you face when setting up? 

We had no idea how to run a business! Our rights, our duties, all the admin side of it. We know how to do our job very well, which is how to help people feel better and happier. But we are ‘people’ people! It’s not easy building a business when you view your clients more as friends. We are still learning.

What do you love most about running your own business? 

Everything! Being independent and free, making our own decisions, being accountable to ourselves only! Being able to deliver a service in our own way, being 100% ourselves.

What valuable lessons have you learned? 

We’ve learned the same lessons in every country we lived and every job we’ve done: working hard, being self-motivated, doing things with our heart and being good and honest always paid off.

What’s your most popular class? 

Our different skills make us very different from each other. We’re both personal trainers but one of us is also qualified as Yoga Teacher, Nutritionist and Pre & Post Natal training specialist, while the other is qualified as Boxing Trainer, LesMills BodyPump and Spinning Instructor. Our background as professional dancers also make our dance classes really popular, with a variety of Latin Dance, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Zumba as well as couples dance, wedding dance, etc.

What advice would you share with other small businesses or those thinking of starting out? 

If you love what you do and are willing to work hard, do not listen to negativity, stay true to yourselves and go for it.

What are your plans/hopes for the future of the business? 

We wish to carry on building our business at Sports St Marys. The facilities we rent are just amazing, and the Sport Team are super-friendly, kind and helpful. Other than that, maybe to open our own place one day… That said, we’re really happy right now, enjoying the journey without thinking about the destination.

Name some other local independent businesses you love to support. 

There are so many, and we wish to support them all! For the future mamas, MummaPod is the person you want to have next to you! In Teddington, we love Islay for a coffee, and of course the Good Wine Shop (being French, you know…!) In Twickenham, as a real Turkish cook, Volkan finds delicious food at the Mediterranean supermarket. And of course, we love Park Lane Stables!

What do you love about our local area? 

More than anything, the people. It is unbelievable how much people are ready to help and support each other. We love the community and the cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Finally, tell us a little-known fact about yourselves! 

When the first lockdown hit, we both went to work at Sainsburys Local in Teddington. And we want to thank them again here for having us, as it literally saved us. The shop managers and team were all super-friendly, we actually had a great time working there!

Tel: 07587 269513 / 07502 085293


Compiled by The Word Sanctum,

Copywriters for small businesses.

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