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Bala’s Natalie Holloway on Building a Stand Out Brand

Feb 9, 2023

Sam Loui

From Shark Tank to Instagram to the ankles of hikers at Los Angeles’ Runyon Canyon, Bala has built an iconic brand that reimagines fitness products in a fashion-forward way. Co-founder and CEO, Natalie Holloway, has led the company from a one-product brand pitching on Shark Tank to a globally recognized brand that just fundraised on Sydecar. We chatted with Natalie about her experience developing and growing Bala, as well as her tips for fellow consumer founders!

Sydecar (SC): Bala’s Instagram marketing has brought a fresh, unique look to workout equipment. How did you gain conviction that this brand direction would be effective? 

Natalie Holloway (NH): Early on, we wanted Bala to stand out in the fitness industry and we felt that no other brand was leaning hard into the fashionable side of fitness. We felt that Bala could blend your fashion self with your fitness self and so we made our photoshoots and product shots highly stylized. We have stayed true to this vision since the beginning, so fashion is part of our ethos. 

SC: What were key decisions that you think shaped Bala’s success so far? 

NH: We are always looking for innovative ways to sell our products to customers, and we focus  on the product first and foremost. In the early days, we did not overthink things. We just kept executing and did not look back. We created momentum. 

SC: As a consumer goods founder, what were the challenges you encountered when fundraising? Did you discover any best practices? 

NH: Fundraising is tough. You have to tell a really compelling story as a brand about why you must exist in this world and why customers need you to exist. You have to demonstrate a great product roadmap and financial model, and tell a compelling story on how you will achieve your goals. Let the no's roll off your back and keep moving. Approach people shamelessly because you likely will have to approach hundreds of people before you get your first yes! 

SC: How has fundraising for this recent round compared to your experience on Shark Tank?

NH: When we went on Shark Tank, we were a completely different company. We were a one product brand. Today, we have built a reputable brand and have years of revenue to prove our position in the market. The biggest change is in my personal confidence. I’ve pitched myself and my business hundreds of times, and the stage fright has gone away.

SC: How are you using your new funding? What product launches or campaigns are you most excited to execute? 

NH: We are launching a slew of cool products this year. We are very excited to show our customers what we have been working on to enhance their fitness routines. We will also do a bigger push on our workout platform Balacize. I’m really excited to get more people working out with us online. 

SC: Any advice for founders building their own consumer brands?

NH: First and foremost, focus on getting the product right, and stay true to your vision. If you have a great product, the customers will come. Value action over inaction, and make sure you are always experimenting. Don't let the no's get you down. There will be a million no's before you get to the yes's that really matter.

From Shark Tank to Instagram to the ankles of hikers at Los Angeles’ Runyon Canyon, Bala has built an iconic brand that reimagines fitness products in a fashion-forward way. Co-founder and CEO, Natalie Holloway, has led the company from a one-product brand pitching on Shark Tank to a globally recognized brand that just fundraised on Sydecar. We chatted with Natalie about her experience developing and growing Bala, as well as her tips for fellow consumer founders!

Sydecar (SC): Bala’s Instagram marketing has brought a fresh, unique look to workout equipment. How did you gain conviction that this brand direction would be effective? 

Natalie Holloway (NH): Early on, we wanted Bala to stand out in the fitness industry and we felt that no other brand was leaning hard into the fashionable side of fitness. We felt that Bala could blend your fashion self with your fitness self and so we made our photoshoots and product shots highly stylized. We have stayed true to this vision since the beginning, so fashion is part of our ethos. 

SC: What were key decisions that you think shaped Bala’s success so far? 

NH: We are always looking for innovative ways to sell our products to customers, and we focus  on the product first and foremost. In the early days, we did not overthink things. We just kept executing and did not look back. We created momentum. 

SC: As a consumer goods founder, what were the challenges you encountered when fundraising? Did you discover any best practices? 

NH: Fundraising is tough. You have to tell a really compelling story as a brand about why you must exist in this world and why customers need you to exist. You have to demonstrate a great product roadmap and financial model, and tell a compelling story on how you will achieve your goals. Let the no's roll off your back and keep moving. Approach people shamelessly because you likely will have to approach hundreds of people before you get your first yes! 

SC: How has fundraising for this recent round compared to your experience on Shark Tank?

NH: When we went on Shark Tank, we were a completely different company. We were a one product brand. Today, we have built a reputable brand and have years of revenue to prove our position in the market. The biggest change is in my personal confidence. I’ve pitched myself and my business hundreds of times, and the stage fright has gone away.

SC: How are you using your new funding? What product launches or campaigns are you most excited to execute? 

NH: We are launching a slew of cool products this year. We are very excited to show our customers what we have been working on to enhance their fitness routines. We will also do a bigger push on our workout platform Balacize. I’m really excited to get more people working out with us online. 

SC: Any advice for founders building their own consumer brands?

NH: First and foremost, focus on getting the product right, and stay true to your vision. If you have a great product, the customers will come. Value action over inaction, and make sure you are always experimenting. Don't let the no's get you down. There will be a million no's before you get to the yes's that really matter.

From Shark Tank to Instagram to the ankles of hikers at Los Angeles’ Runyon Canyon, Bala has built an iconic brand that reimagines fitness products in a fashion-forward way. Co-founder and CEO, Natalie Holloway, has led the company from a one-product brand pitching on Shark Tank to a globally recognized brand that just fundraised on Sydecar. We chatted with Natalie about her experience developing and growing Bala, as well as her tips for fellow consumer founders!

Sydecar (SC): Bala’s Instagram marketing has brought a fresh, unique look to workout equipment. How did you gain conviction that this brand direction would be effective? 

Natalie Holloway (NH): Early on, we wanted Bala to stand out in the fitness industry and we felt that no other brand was leaning hard into the fashionable side of fitness. We felt that Bala could blend your fashion self with your fitness self and so we made our photoshoots and product shots highly stylized. We have stayed true to this vision since the beginning, so fashion is part of our ethos. 

SC: What were key decisions that you think shaped Bala’s success so far? 

NH: We are always looking for innovative ways to sell our products to customers, and we focus  on the product first and foremost. In the early days, we did not overthink things. We just kept executing and did not look back. We created momentum. 

SC: As a consumer goods founder, what were the challenges you encountered when fundraising? Did you discover any best practices? 

NH: Fundraising is tough. You have to tell a really compelling story as a brand about why you must exist in this world and why customers need you to exist. You have to demonstrate a great product roadmap and financial model, and tell a compelling story on how you will achieve your goals. Let the no's roll off your back and keep moving. Approach people shamelessly because you likely will have to approach hundreds of people before you get your first yes! 

SC: How has fundraising for this recent round compared to your experience on Shark Tank?

NH: When we went on Shark Tank, we were a completely different company. We were a one product brand. Today, we have built a reputable brand and have years of revenue to prove our position in the market. The biggest change is in my personal confidence. I’ve pitched myself and my business hundreds of times, and the stage fright has gone away.

SC: How are you using your new funding? What product launches or campaigns are you most excited to execute? 

NH: We are launching a slew of cool products this year. We are very excited to show our customers what we have been working on to enhance their fitness routines. We will also do a bigger push on our workout platform Balacize. I’m really excited to get more people working out with us online. 

SC: Any advice for founders building their own consumer brands?

NH: First and foremost, focus on getting the product right, and stay true to your vision. If you have a great product, the customers will come. Value action over inaction, and make sure you are always experimenting. Don't let the no's get you down. There will be a million no's before you get to the yes's that really matter.

So, ready to roll?

So, ready to roll?

So, ready to roll?