Payal Kadakia: Embracing the Sweaty Life

November 2 - On The Dot

Last month, I saw a 30 before 30 list on Pinterest. It’s kind of like a bucket list. You write down 30 things you want to accomplish before you turn 30. It’s a fun to-do list that can be created for any age: 20 before 20, or, closer to where I am, 50 before 50, or even 100 before 100!

Inspired, I immediately wrote my own list, which includes the fairly easily attainable stuff, like “make tiramisu” (Just kidding, that seriously took me days to conquer!) to the more challenging accomplishments, like “master Pilates.”

Today, create your own to-do life list, and resolve to cross one item off the list this week.


Your must-experience list might include trying a ballet class, stand-up paddleboarding or some other physical activity. Maybe it’s as simple as taking advantage of your gym membership once a week, an activity many modern women relish. In fact, in the United States, more than 45 million people belong to a gym or health club, with nearly half of all gym memberships—22 million—belonging to women.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Payal Kadakia, CEO and Co-founder of ClassPass

I know a ton of women who don’t mind working out but do succumb to boredom. Walking into the same gym or going to the same yoga studio day in and day out can get dull real fast. And when workout monotony sets in, couch surfing and watching The Bachelorette seems a lot more appealing than hitting the weights.

That’s why I can’t get enough of ClassPass. Created by Payal Kadakia, ClassPass is a subscription service that allows users to visit all kinds of gyms and fitness studios for one monthly rate. So, instead of locking yourself into one specific Pilates studio, you can try out a dozen studios in your area instead. Pretty genius, right?

The idea for this unique fitness concept was derived from Payal’s own personal exasperation when it came to tracking down a place to get her workout sweat on. She has been a dancer all her life and is classically trained. Five years ago, when she wanted to drop into a ballet class after work but couldn’t find one, Payal felt exasperated. But like many inventors and innovators, Payal turned her frustration into a worthwhile concept: a search engine that would find the class for her.

While the idea was novel and certainly marketable, ironing out the details wasn’t easy. Originally called Classivity, the concept allowed users to view class schedules, but they couldn’t book classes, a real setback. The second iteration of the company entailed a feature called Passport, which would let users try a new studio 10 times, but that fizzled as users began abusing the system. But the third time was the charm for Payal. Once she hired a female marketing maven who tweaked and streamlined the company’s offerings, they were in business.

Now, ClassPass is booming in 34 cities, four countries and 2,500 studios. And with about $60 million in sales, Payal is demonstrating that if at first you don’t succeed, try again, and then try again and again.


As Abraham Lincoln said:

“Always bear in mind your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us!

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