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Women-Owned Business Series: Danielle from Atrium82

Danielle has made an impact in Brooklyn in more ways than one — starting with an all-women’s boot camp studio that switched to an affordable event center when COVID hit. Read on to hear about her motivations and inspirations, how she’s given back to her neighbors so well, and what advice she has for other females who are looking to do the same.

First tell us about your business and anything special we should know about it or you.

I started Atrium82 at the beginning of the pandemic when my boot camp studio —Brooklyn’s only all-women’s studio— was forced to shut down with no reopening plan in place. I wanted to give back to my community, so I opened the space for all kinds of gatherings and events. I wanted it to be a safe and affordable space for my neighbors. The shift from a female workout space to an event center caught the eye of local news as well as Good Morning America and several magazines.

Tell us a little about your background and why you feel a connection to your work.

The New Body Project is Brooklyn’s 1st and ONLY all-women’s boot camp studio. I truly believe that once a woman puts herself first and declares she is taking her body back, all possibilities can be created. With that mindset, I didn’t allow the pandemic to break me. I reinvented my business to not only offer fitness but I created Atrium82 — an intimate gathering space dedicated to the community and business empowerment. I feel connected to my work because it gives me purpose and simply makes me happy.

My mission is to empower the community by providing a safe and affordable space for entrepreneurs to host social and wellness gatherings & classes for free to low cost. I’m supporting this work by renting the space to weddings, corporate events, photos/film shoots, and other celebratory gatherings at market rate.  

My full pandemic pivot story is here.

We’d like to know about your experience within your community. What community do you identify as being part of? Why did you choose the neighborhood your business is located in, if you have a physical location? How have you become involved within your community?

My community is comprised of all of New York City. I identify as a Brooklyn girl. I chose Park Slope because prior to the pandemic, most of my clients resided there and it was easily accessible by train for those who traveled. After a year of employment, I was told by my employer that the studio was shutting down. I was in complete shock. I thought, “That’s NOT an option!” It was this moment that led me to the decision of starting my own business. I had no money saved but I had faith, grit, and an idea! I held a meeting with the members and the community and was able to raise a little over $3K. I’m here in this community because they have backed me through ALL of my changes. My physical location is in a historic brownstone at 82 6th Ave.

What advice would you give to young women who want to start a small business?

I often say… Believe in yourself first, then people will believe in you. And also that fear is a liar running out of breath. Never allow fear to stop you from achieving your dreams.

What woman inspires you and why?

I’m inspired by ALL mothers because people don’t understand the work it takes to be a mother and still find the time to be a woman with your own identity. You often lose yourself and your identity after having kids. People never realize the courage, hard work, and commitment it takes to juggle motherhood and entrepreneurship.

What do you think are the most significant challenges for women business owners or women in leadership positions?

This is a SIMPLE answer for me.. .a few significant challenges are as simple as being a woman of color itself and finding funding.

How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?

There is one thing that keeps me motivated and it’s my family. My parents are immigrants from West Africa, Liberia. They’ve taught me the importance of a great education, hard work, dedication, and integrity. My children are the most important because they look up to me and I need to be an example for them in every way. I stay motivated because I am THE example for them. What they see in me, and the foundation I lay, will materialize in generations to come.

Being a small business owner means relying on your community to support you and getting involved within your community as well. In what ways do you feel supported and actively engage with your neighborhood of residents and other business owners?

I am consistently supported by my community through constant interactions. My community drives business to my space and rallied around me by helping me raise money to start my company. I feel supported by them when they simply stop by open houses just to say “Hi” or when they use the space for birthday and game nights — the support is strong.

Click here if you’d like to learn more about Danielle’s story & Atrium82 – they use the space to hold all kinds of events, even micro-weddings!

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