We recently chatted with Sherry “ShamRock” Leetham of Round Rock, Texas, about her experience taking her product, PoundPoms, from idea to market. Read on for the Q&A below, check out the website, and follow the startup on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube to keep tabs on the growth of PoundPoms.
Q&A with Sherry ‘ShamRock’ Leetham, founder, PoundPoms
Tell us about your business and what makes it stand apart from the competition.
My goal is to target, tighten and tone a women’s troublesome 4T-Zone — tummy, tush, thighs and tri’s (triceps). Nobody wants to sit and do dips on the sofa at home. Nobody wants to do crunches during commercials.
When you see the PoundPoms — I don’t care if you’re male or female — you want to grab them and shake them. … These are only one pound, but my patent can cover up to however much I want. However, moving at 120 bpm with anything more than one to three pounds is detrimental to your joints, according to the American College of Sports Medicine, so you don’t want anything heavier than that. You can burn up to 900 calories in a one-hour class.
What inspired you to start your own business?
With 20 years in fitness, people say you should open your own gym. Because I know the business I didn’t want to do that.
I went back to my college reunion after not going back for years, and it was one of those moments where you go and cheer, and then by Monday you’re walking around like Frankenstein cause you’re so sore. And so I was telling my neighbor about it and rubbing my tricep, remembering how much fun I had, and as I did that, I thought about cheerleading and saying, “Go team, go!” And in the midst of that, my fitness mind started talking to the cheer girl, and I realized that that motion, if I had a dumbbell, is a tricep extension.
And then I thought, “Well what other cheer movements are identical to other weight training movements?” I recognized that cheer motions are weight training movements. … So I thought, “Wouldn’t it be fun if I had a new dance aerobics class, and I’d call it cheer camp.” … And then I thought, “What if I could have a weight inside the pom pom?” And that’s what gave me the inspiration. I started in October 2007.
The idea came to me in 30 seconds and I spewed out an entire company.
FIT 2 CHEER is about being mentally fit to cheer yourself on. And every woman knows that moment when it’s only about you.
What obstacles did you face as a startup, and how did you overcome them?
No one taking your seriously. Men looking at you like you’re crazy.
So just as I started getting things in order, I had the most amazing miracle — I was told that I was pregnant when I was told that I could never get pregnant. I was about to launch PoundPoms in California, and two days before I left, I went to my ultrasound and my baby’s heartbeat stopped during the appointment.
So that put everything on hold. I ended up having three surgeries in four months. I was in my early 40s when that happened, and then I slipped a disc in my back and couldn’t walk. 2009, you are not my friend. … I won’t say I wasn’t heartbroken … The one thing that kept a smile on my face was the nursery. I would go to my nursery — my garage — where I worked on my PoundPoms — because I couldn’t go upstairs to where the real nursery was.
I went through acupuncture, chiropractic care, massage therapy to get healthy again. I rehabilitated myself.
PoundPoms is the only thing as of this day that I conceived inside myself and I can hold in my hands. It’s my baby. What wouldn’t you do to make your baby succeed?
In addition to connecting with potential customers at fitness classes and other events, how do you spread awareness about PoundPoms?
As you know, having a social media presence is essential. I currently promote PoundPoms and the FIT 2 CHEER CheerKamp and PoundPoms 4 Recovery programs through a variety of platforms:
- Facebook: FIT 2 CHEER w/PoundPoms
- Instagram @PoundPoms,
- Twitter accounts to cover all bases — @fit2cheer, @poundpoms and @cheerkamp @PP4Recovery
- Pinterest: Sherry ShamRock
- Tumblr: PoundPoms
- Flickr: PoundPoms
- LinkedIn: fit2cheer
- YouTube: Sherry ShamRock
A website built with GoDaddy’s GoCentral has features like Facebook integration and email marketing that let you engage with your audience — wherever they may be.
What strengths do you bring to the table as an entrepreneur?
Motivation. Joy. I want women to feel good about themselves when they look in the mirror. I heard two girls in their 20s say, “I wish I was as thin as I use to be when I thought I was fat.” Regardless of what their physical bodies look like, they were not mentally fit. Women pick themselves apart instead of marveling at all the wonders their bodies can do. Some women can have the perfect body yet look at their reflection and are miserable. When I became a fitness professional, the knowledge I learned as an LCSW (Licensed Certified Social Worker) and former counselor became my greatest attribute and what helped me form my personal mantra:
“Internal Health, External Beauty.”
Being FIT 2 CHEER is not about being FIT 2 look like a cheerleader, but mentally FIT, 2 cheer yourself on, especially during the times when there is nobody but you.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned since starting the business?
Perseverance. My favorite quote is, “Overnight success comes from many years of hard work.”
Thanks for taking the time to tell us about your startup, Sherry, and best of luck as you bring PoundPoms to the masses!