Today, I chatted with Jessi Duley, Founder of BurnCycle Spin Studios.
I first discovered Jessi through her raw, humble and brutally honest shame rager post on Instagram where she dances to Whitney Houston and completely opens up about all of the things she feels ashamed of. You have to see it for yourself. She reminds us that when we speak our shame outloud, we take away it’s power. So even though this would probably be better with some dance music in the background…. Here we go. I feel shame for rushing through my kids’ bedtime after I haven’t seen them all day and all they want is some of my attention just so I can get back to work. I feel shame for being jealous of Dave for becoming the primary breadwinner of the family when I used to be for so long. I know I should be happy for him and I am, but I’m also really disappointed since being the primary breadwinner was such a point of pride. I feel shame for still wanting my old life prior to kids sometimes and missing all the time I had to do whatever I wanted. I feel shame for wanting to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes because it feels so vain and unimportant. I try to model body positivity for my boys and encourage other mamas to not feel pressured by the insane bounce back culture when I’m falling prey to it myself. Ooooof. That was hard to say all of that outloud but Jessi’s right. I do feel better and I hope my sharing helps someone else feel better too.
Watch + Listen to the whole conversation:
Rarely do you get to meet someone who is willing to tell it how it is and truly expose all of their vulnerabilities, successes, faults and passions. Jessi Duley, a fearless entrepreneur takes truth telling to a whole other level. If only we all had the courage to be as honest with ourselves and each other as Jessi.
Can you share your journey to launch Burncycle?
I am a recovering producer. I was a producer in LA for 10 years. Then I had a quarter life crisis and moved to Nepal and India. I moved back to Portland where I was from, and realized a career in production was no longer for me. Then I landed on Burncycle. I know a spin studio is not a novel idea, but it just seemed like the perfect fit for me.
I basically wrote a business plan, figured out a space by January and then I also found out I was pregnant with my first child. And I was like, well, here we go. I would obviously not recommend this to anyone but it’s all I know. And I’m so grateful for the confluence of motherhood and starting a business happening at the same time. It was the most extreme pressure and the most extreme stress. It was unreal to do these two things that I’ve never done before at the same time, but I’m so grateful for how they were woven together to create what I created with BurnCycle and then also how I’ve raised my kids thus far. We opened just three weeks after I had my first kid and it was fucking wild. It became so abundantly clear what this space and place was going to be about. It became so much about mental health and digging in and showing up for yourself.
Can you share a bit about your postpartum journey in the fitness industry?
I was really wrapped up in the bounceback culture for my first kid. You think when you pop out your first kid that your belly is immediately going to go back down. By the third kid I was like- look at my jiggle, but with my first kid it was ridiculous and really hard. It’s interesting because I am a really small framed woman- which is thanks to genetics, but I want to be really conscious of that being in the fitness industry.
When you have a baby you know obviously your body changes and I was like 50 to 60 pounds heavier than I had ever been. Here I was trying to sell physical fitness that I couldn’t physically do myself because I had literally just shoved a human out. It was really fucking humbling and humiliating- not because of the weight gain but here I was trying to start this business and I couldn’t do the thing that I was supposed to be leading the charge on.
How does family and business intersect for you?
I’m so grateful that my kids understand that my world is not just them. By nature of coming to work with me all the time and seeing me work, my kids also see that they have to fit into a larger world. I’m grateful for that, too, because they think about their respective communities and how they fit into them. They can hold conversations with adults in ways that I see other kids not being able to. They didn’t always go to daycare, they were at the studios with us. It’s an interesting trade off. We didn’t get picnics in the park all the time, but they have a great time at the studio with me AND they can recite almost all Beyoncé lyrics.
Co-founder & COO
Bridget is mom to two little boys, Hudson and Brooks, and a champion of working moms everywhere. NeighborSchools itself was borne out of Bridget’s challenge to find high-quality yet affordable child care, and the realization that so many parents struggle with these same issues every day.
Read more from Bridget, follow her on IG, and check out her new series, Work Like a Mother.