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Meet Charlene Dipaola of Hip Shake Fitness in Manhattan Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Charlene Dipaola.

Charlene, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was working full-time in Digital Marketing. Working my way up the corporate ladder at the same time, my husband and I were trying to have kids. This is when I got diagnosed with PCOS which means that my hormones are crazy, I’m pre-diabetic and we would have a hard time trying to conceive. This put me in a downward spiral. I felt like my femininity and worth as a woman was on the line. It never occurred to me that I would have trouble having kids. As I was trying to get through this, I turned to diet and exercise to help me feel better about myself. This was also recommended by our doctor for PCOS. This was when I fell back in love with dance. I took ballet class when I was 7 and dance was always something I loved. Now, it became something that helped me get through my day and it helped me have fun, get a workout in but most importantly get back into my feminine side.

I realized how hard it was to find a dance class that I love that would work with my schedule. Also, when you’re starting out w/ dance classes, at least in my case, I was that person in the back who knew nothing. It gets awkward. This is how the concept of Hip Shake Fitness started. I wanted to give as many people access to dance workouts that are fierce and feminine that they can do anytime and at the comfort of their own home. In essence, they can dance like nobody’s watching!

It has been three years since we started the company and the bonus is that now I have this amazing tribe of women who all dance with each other and support each other virtually and in real life.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It’s never been a smooth road. It still isn’t. Will it ever be? Hah!

In the beginning, it was a challenge for me to change my lifestyle. When you have a good job in a cushy company with a good salary, benefits and all that it’s easy to get used to it. To be able to buy whatever you want. To always have everything you want and more. I am grateful that my husband Todd has been supportive of my personal entrepreneurial journey. I had to personally adjust my daily habits. Cook at home more, cut back on spending and make sure I was living with the budget I had.

Since I worked in digital marketing, I thought that I knew what would work and what wouldn’t. I made assumptions especially regarding marketing of what I would be able to do. I had to learn the hard way that I was wrong. I initially put a lot of marketing budget in things that didn’t work. It was a hard learning and I had to learn from experience that my own company would work differently from other “brands” I’ve handled before.

We were virtually unknown in the fitness space so it was really hard to start up. Not a lot of people wanted to work with us. I’m so grateful for the handful of people who supported us from the beginning. They have become my friends. Now we have found our niche. That we are different from what’s out there because we are diverse and we are over the top in showing our feminine side. Tone and Twerk, Afrovibe, Burlesque Burn — you can see based on our top workouts, we appeal to the fiercely feminine audience. We also focus on making sure we show different body types. That makes us stand out from the rest.

Please tell us more about your work. What do you guys do? What do you specialize in? What sets you apart from competition?
We are at our core a community of women who love to dance and we are dancing our way to fit. Our main product is our on-demand dance workout studio where you can access 200+ dance workouts anytime, anywhere.

We are known for our dance workouts that are extremely and unapologetically feminine. The 1st workout that really set us apart was Tone N Twerk. You start with a booty toning workout and end with a twerk dance. Since then, we have launched so many other dance classes that also bring out the flirty, feminine in anyone such as Afrovibe, Burlesque Burn, Brazilian Warrior and many more.

What sets us apart is that we have a very diverse team. We have instructors from so many different cultures: African, South American, Asian.. you name it. We don’t hire models to do the workouts, we use “real people”. We want to be able to show that you can dance and live a healthier lifestyle no matter what your body type is.

Lastly, we have such a supportive, inclusive and loving community of women who are going through their own respective health journeys together,

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
This year, we are in the works to plan some fun merch that should work well with our current studio workouts. We also just got our videos launched on the amazon prime video platform which is exciting.

We are also working on a bunch of exciting partnerships with different brands. So if you’re a brand looking for a partnership or collab, holler at ya girl!

Lastly, there is so much possible technology we can integrate like wearables, app integration, etc and I’m looking forward to working more on that in 2020 and beyond.


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Image Credit:

Ben Lioe and Anne Marie Iniguez

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