We chat with fitness enthusiast, entrepreneur and mother, Amber Reid. At just 25 years old, Amber and her partner Willis have opened their boutique gym, Cobalt. Cobalt is a ‘Group Personal Training Facility’ where you train with a group in more of a personal training format – working on form and focusing on particular muscle groups with each class. We discuss all things Cobalt, family, empowering women, and more!
Share a little bit about yourself, your background and what led you to become the woman you are today...
Kia Ora, my name is Amber. I’m 25 years old & a Mama to a beautiful baby boy, Rome, 18 months. I grew up between Auckland/Tauranga here in NZ & then moved over to Australia with my high school sweetheart, fiancé & now business partner, Willis.
Through school I was always a high achiever, I loved sport, the arts, academics and I was deputy head girl at high school. Straight after school I moved across the ditch to follow my parents & went straight into a business degree. I lasted a semester before deciding it wasn’t for me & instead, started working for my parents whom have a wholesale liquor company. My partner & I worked in all areas of the business as you tend to do in family businesses, from sweeping floors to admin, accounts payable, accounts receivable, customer service manager, transport & logistics... the list goes on. Although not necessarily realizing it at the time we very lucky to have the opportunity to learn so many different facets of business. In hindsight this has been huge in making me the woman & driven businesswoman I am today.
Cobalt Club has already established itself as one of the most esteemed places to train in Auckland. Yet, surprisingly the business is still in it’s infancy. Congratulations to you and Willis!
Can you tell us a bit about your gym?
Thankyou! Yes our gym is very different to other gyms here in NZ. The best way to describe The Cobalt Club is ‘A Group Personal Training Facility’ similar to a gym session you would have with a PT - but in a group format. Our classes are predominately weight-based where you use a combination of weight machines & functional equipment to perform exercises focusing on particular muscle groups i.e leg day or upper body day. We put a lot of time into teaching & ensuring our members have proper technique & form and are constantly progressing and getting stronger or closer towards their personal goals each day.
The Cobalt Club is a small boutique gym where as soon as you step foot in the door you are greeted, each person is known by name, members help & support each other during the workouts & overall a very whanau orientated environment.
And what about those very first steps, taking your dream and making it reality…
Aw wow it’s been a whirlwind of events thus far! To be perfectly honest it was just time. One of those ‘what now’ moments where we (my partner & I) felt a bit stagnant. We are both such driven people & together felt as though we were no longer being challenged & it was time to level up. That we had acquired enough knowledge in our work & life experiences to now take the leap & do something for ourselves! Initially we had actually looked to buy a franchise of a gym we loved over in Australia. We went through the entire process to then have a moment of realisation that, hey actually we want to work for ourselves. That if we were to put our heart and soul into something, we wanted it to be our own. So it was really that moment there that made us back ourselves & create our own concept.
I know Cobalt as a brand name means more than the clubs signature colour, can you explain...
Haha it does! WELL… I actually came up with the name Cobalt years ago when I started my first little business venture creating gym bags. I was manager of an F45 studio where I noticed that nobody ever had a small enough gym bag & always just had their wallet, phone & keys. I created these small drawstring bags & when looking for a name I wanted something that meant ‘strong’ or ‘powerful’ & just couldn’t find a word I liked. When deciding on colour schemes the colour cobalt blue was the colour I had chosen & that word just stood out to me. I then went to find the meaning of the word; Cobalt is an element and in it’s chemical form makes up Iron - which is strong. I loved this & stuck with this. Long story short, the bags never did well but I remember my Mother at the time saying “Amber, I am trademarking Cobalt, you will come back to it” which I told her was just silly and that I would never use it again... Fast forward a couple of years later It has done full circle, we decided to name our gym Cobalt & are now selling the bags in the gym.
You have a strong focus on empowering women, starting with their health and fitness, what inspires you? and what do you wish we were talking more about?
I really do. From a very young age I have loved making people feel good about themselves, feel strong, beautiful & confident. It has always been a huge part of me whether through giving compliments, or being kind & empathetic, or even doing someone’s makeup & hair. It’s the feeling that that gives me that inspires me the most. I feel so genuinely fulfilled when I do that & in-turn feel so good about myself. That to me is my measure of success, the amount of people I help & make a difference to their lives.
I wish we were talking more about healthy relationships, not just with a significant other but a healthy relationship with food, with families, friends, communities & the impact this all has on mental & physical health & just the quality of life altogether. I am very passionate about this topic & at The Cobalt Club not only do I have the ability to facilitate a place to exercise but to allow people to feel a sense of belonging, to feel valued & influenced everyday by the positive energy in the room.
The fact that I have the ability to influence their mindset either at the beginning or end of their day is a huge opportunity for me to make a real positive impact to their lives.
Cobalt Club has a reserved focus for new mothers, do you mind sharing a bit about your post-partum journey with baby Rome (now 18months) and how these lessons have shaped you, and the classes?
Yes! I learnt when having a bubba: 1. Just how hard it is to train with a baby and 2. That there aren't many places who cater for mum’s and their bubs 3. Finding other like- minded mama’s going through the similar experiences as myself were hard to find.
Creating a Mama Moves class in our timetable was something I really wanted to do for my community & it has been so fulfilling to just watch the friendships and enjoyment that has come from these classes. We have watched babies and their mama’s grow so fast in just a short space of time.
You co-founded the gym with your partner of 7 years, Willis. What is it like working together how do mange the dynamic (spill the beans, who is the “boss”!?) at work and at home?
Haha honestly it really is cliché, but there isn’t a better way to describe it other than; We are just best mates. We are both very similar in our love of people and positivity. It just made sense for us to come together and make something great. We are both quite equal, I would say, which is probably why it works so well; we understand each others strengths and weaknesses and just balance each other out. I have taught Willis quite a lot when it comes to personal training as he is fairly new to it all but he is a great listener and learner & has taken it all on. Although hard, we do try to make an effort to have our own time with our friends whenever we can to have a little break from each other haha, but all in all it works well.
Have you got any pivoting business moments, or lessons / advice you can share with someone who is thinking of taking a chance on their dream?
My best piece of business advice: Start small & scale. Keep your overhead costs as low as possible until you have proof that your concept is viable. This was a bit of advice I had been given & it has worked wonders for us.
What can we expect to see next from you / Cobalt club?
We have grown so fast in such a short space of time, that we would absolutely love to continue to expand and have a bigger gym at some point in time.
What is your default fitness/health/wellbeing advice? The things you go back to, time and time again?
It’s not certain foods you need to avoid, it’s the amount of certain foods. All in moderation, I am huge on creating a positive relationship with food and our bodies. We eat to fuel our bodies which are absolutely incredible. Not only should we watch the food we eat but the energy we keep, the things we say to ourselves, it all fuels us in either a positive or negative way.
AND How can we join?
Easy! You can jump onto our website: www.thecobaltclub.com or download our app ‘The Cobalt Club’ on the app store (iOS only) & view our memberships & timetable there
See more from Amber @amberreidx and join the club @cobaltclubnz
Amber wears Jade Tote (her Saben bag), the perfect mid-size structured tote, constructed in 100% recycled leather. Willis wears Warrior, a unisex athletic mesh gym-bag and carry- all, with a strap emblazoned with the by-line YOU LUKCY LUCKY THING. Amber is also pictured with Roma weekender, Liv in black Croc and Gita in black Bubble. All available for you to explore HERE