Today we’d like to introduce you to Scott Caponi.
Scott, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I graduated from Suffolk University in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. Soon after I graduated however, the economy crashed and I struggled to find employment relevant to my degree and previous internships. All throughout college I had also worked various jobs in the restaurant and food industry to help pay my bills. As I did my best to navigate a compromised job market in a poor economy, I still held onto my restaurant jobs because they were a reliable source of income and living in Boston is not cheap.
Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months and soon almost three years had gone by working in gourmet food stores, restaurants and nightclubs. As I continued searching for full time employment in the marketing and advertising industry, I had seen multiple classes of college graduates flood the job market for the same positions I was applying for. The restaurant experience I had accrued over the years did not weigh very heavily against a recent college grad fresh out of an internship. It was starting to look like my best option was to continue moving forward in the restaurant and food industry or take matters into my own hands.
Growing up I had always been very active with athletics. My brothers and I all played multiple sports and often spent portions of our summers at various athletic training camps. Once I got to college, athletics were not in the picture as much but I did continue to maintain my workouts and a general passion for fitness. I decided that if I was going to pull myself out of the restaurant industry and do something different, personal training would be a pretty common sense transition.
I got my personal training certification and worked as a personal trainer at two different gyms in Boston. A few years had gone by and I still hadn’t cut ties with my restaurant jobs. Even though it was great experience in the fitness industry, it’s hard to make a career out of being a personal trainer at a large gym. You’re mostly busy from 6am to 10am and then 5pm to 10pm. You’re only paid per session so you need to fill up as many time slots in your weekly calendar as possible, even though clients get sick, cancel or go on vacation, and most trainers don’t receive health benefits. I was starting to feel like things were going to need to change again. I knew I had a lot of potential to grow in the fitness industry and that if I wanted to make a career out of it, I would have to go out on my own.
One of the biggest reoccurring issues I was noticing with my personal training clients was that most of my clients were either too busy, too lazy or generally uninformed on how to maintain a healthy, well balanced, nutritional intake. I would be listening to clients tell me about how they don’t have the time to go to the grocery store and that getting takeout every night was easier and faster. After working in the food industry for so long, and also being mildly poor, I had fostered an affinity for cooking at home. As I showed more and more of my personal training clients my Instagram photos of all the food I made at home, I started getting requests from my clients to cook for them the way I cooked for myself. I realized this was it.
I started Food & Figure in January of 2014. Traveling to clients’ homes to provide personal training sessions in their homes/apartment buildings, providing personal chef services in their kitchens and taking on little catering gigs here and there. Things were scrappy in the beginning and I took on a lot of clients and gigs that were probably not a good fit but I needed the money.
Since then I’ve been able to create some more brand awareness for my company. I’ve met some great people and made some great connections. I’ve gotten much better at making sales pitches to potential clients and I’ve learned not to get too attached to every client like they’re one of my children. Clients come and go and the business has its ups and downs. I know that I’m onto something with my business and that as long as I keep my head down and push through the hard times, I’m confident that all this hard work will eventually pay off.
Has it been a smooth road?
Far from it. I would compare it more to riding a roller coaster in the middle of a thunderstorm.
When you’re a new business you’re often faced with decisions that you won’t know if you made the right decision until about three months after you make the call. I was very open to every and any opportunity that came my way. Sometimes I would over-purchase on groceries or make way too much food. These don’t sound like major problems but if those excess materials were estimated more accurately my profit margin probably would have been larger.
I was approached by a lot of other businesses and people to put on events for them in exchange for marketing opportunity for my business instead of getting paid. Almost all of the time, it was not worth it but I was hungry for clients and hungry for marketing exposure. How many clients did I need to sign up to justify the money I was losing by doing the event? Perhaps my marketing materials needed to be more informative? Maybe my sales pitch needed to be more direct? Maybe I should have been focusing on doing events somewhere else?
I started this business because I enjoy fitness as well as cooking and food. I did not start this business because I enjoy reconciling my QuickBooks accounts or studying Massachusetts health codes and food policies. I don’t enjoy maintaining excel files and researching nutrition information for specific portion sizes. It’s great to start a business you’re passionate about but learning how to run all the administrative duties needed on the backend to run a company has been an uphill battle since day one.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Food & Figure provides personal training services to clients that have a fitness facility available to them either in the home or the office. Most clients in the city live in residential buildings that have a gym as part of the building’s amenities. I also train clients at an exclusive training studio in downtown Boston if they don’t have the option of a fitness facility in their home or office.
Food & Figure also provides fitness focused personal chef services. Mainly specializing in weekly prepared meal deliveries. Clients benefit from the fact that they don’t have to worry about going to the grocery store, cooking a healthy meal, and cleaning up afterwards. Clients receive a meal program customized to their needs and goals, delivered twice per week.
There are other options out there in the marketplace but what sets Food & Figure apart is its connection to fitness. I follow a specific balance for carbs to fats to protein for client’s meals so that each meal falls within a certain amount of calories.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I do think Boston is a good place for a business for like Food & Figure. There’s a growing trend in health and fitness awareness in the Boston area and I think that people are also starting to realize that you’re not going to get skinny just by exercise alone. They say abs are made in the kitchen.
- Personal Training Sessions are typically $100 per 1 hour session but is subject to bulk purchase discounts
- Personal Chef Services are usually fully customized. Different clients usually require different amounts, special ingredients, etc
- Weekly Prepared Meal Delivery is usually $15 per meal but is also subject to delivery charges and special ingredient fees
- Website: http://www.foodandfigure.com/
- Phone: 617 899 1006
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @foodandfigure
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/foodandfigure
- Twitter: @foodandfigure
- Yelp: www.yelp.com/biz/food-and-figure-boston