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From beating depression to being spotted by Selfridges

Thought Leader

From beating depression to being spotted by Selfridges

Virgin Media Pioneers invited Alexis Oladipo, the founder of Gym Bites, to describe how she went from needing to make ends meet to founding her own successful business.

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Name           Alexis Oladipo

From            London

Business      Gym Bites – healthy food for on the go.


In 2013, I founded Gym Bites when I joined the Princes Trust Enterprise Accelerator.


I was in a period of my life where I was very frustrated and was dealing with depression. I wanted to achieve more. I was really low on income, and waking up at 3am to work as an office cleaner to make ends meet. I had recently come out of a very messy break up, and was recovering from two procedures I had at hospital. As you can imagine, I wasn’t in a good place. However I am very grateful to God, because even though I was down, I wasn’t out! Deep down my spirit was still alive and I was determined to turn my situation around.


Being unhappy forced me to push and change my situation.


My hope was as small as a mustard seed but it was enough to get me to apply to join the Princes Trust, through which I founded Gym Bites.


Facing finances…


Starting a business with little or no cash flow is very difficult. A product based business requires a lot of pre-funding and that’s one thing I underestimated with Gym Bites. I received a start-up loan from the Princes Trust in 2015, but before then had two years on my own.


This was the biggest challenge. But I didn’t stop working. I continued my job as a cleaner, and in 2014 I worked in marketing for Food and Beverage businesses. This was an amazing opportunity. Not only did it allow me to generate some income to start the business, it also allowed me to gain an insight on how brands market their products. I had two jobs for a while to make ends meet, and eventually quit them both to commit myself full-time into Gym Bites in January 2016.

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Getting stocked in Selfridges…


The next step was studying opportunities that came up like the back of my hand – it’s crucial to know your brand inside out! I learnt that there’s nothing worse than approaching investors to help your brand and they poke holes in your business.


Social media was a great tool for Gym Bites, and it ended up giving us some real leverage.


On Instagram we were approached by Selfridges to be stocked in their food hall – it’s every start-ups dream!



People were amazed at how we didn’t have to pitch. After that so many great opportunities have come from being initially retailed with them, and for that I am forever grateful.


Success vs failure…


The new phrase I live by in 2017 is “Slow and steady wins the race”.


Sometimes as humans we are such in a hurry to win but there is no such thing as an easy road to success. You will have trials and tribulations, things will not always go to plan, but take your time with it. Take steps every day to execute those grand plans. And don’t forget that failure is good – how else can you learn if not from your mistakes?


Thought Leader

Absolutely fantastic!


I like this "Deep down my spirit was still alive and I was determined to turn my situation around." 

Really inspirational. You go girl!


Such a powerful story!!! So Inspirational!