Romain Gordon, B-East, Woman Entrepreneur
Some of the best entrepreneurs are people who are not only scrappy but find themselves never fitting into the classic 9-5 job. I have watched Romain from afar since she opened up B-east a few years ago as the first spinning studio in Amagansett. Over the past few years it has grown into something much more. A variety of different exercise classes, a connection to the community and a real year round business. Romain is the woman entrepreneur you rarely read about but we all know they exist because statistically there are more women entrepreneurs than men. Many women are doing what Romain has done, taking their passions and creating a business around it in local communities.
She started out in another beach town, Nantucket. Her parents were both entrepreneurs. Her mother started the first indoor horse riding ring there and her father had her own plumbing and heating business. Having parents who owned their own businesses and their own destinies is probably why in the many jobs she had it was never something she had a passion for but just a paycheck to supply food and the rent.
Romain went to UMass and returned to Nantucket after graduation opening up her own cleaning business. That was her first entrepreneurial effort. A good friend was living in San Diego and pushed her to come out and so she did. There she took a job at a modeling school signing kids up. Stayed a few years but never felt like home and the east coast pulled her back. Romain came back with the intent to get a job in Boston but when she went home to visit her parents first she bumped into a friend who was living in St. John and it sounded interesting. She moved down there and basically bar tended as well ran a hotels cleaning staff. After Hugo, the hurricane that ripped through the Caribbean, left St. John a disaster and Romain decided it was time to return to Nantucket. Instead of staying in Nantucket she returned to the Caribbean again but this time in St. Thomas. Then there was the Maryland hurricane when she was living there. Eight months of not having any electricity and curfews living with fifteen people in a house with one generator was insane and it was time to leave this life and get focused.
She had run into a woman over the years who would come down for vacation that she knew from Nantucket and she said if you ever come back to the east coast, I'd love for you to come work with me in my interior design business. The woman had now moved to East Hampton with her business. It was 1997. Romain went to East Hampton to see her. She stopped in on a Tuesday and a week later started the job.
Romain didn't love the business and found herself going into NYC to become a certified personal trainer a few days a week. She started doing a little personal training on the side. There was a guy in the interior design office who decided to go out on his own and asked Romain to help him start the business. Before she knew it they were 50/50 partners in a business she wasn't sure she loved.
She was always into fitness but didn't see herself doing it for a living. She found herself teaching spin classes to feed her addiction to exercise as the classes do not come cheap. Then she saw the real ryder bikes come into the world of spin and thought that there was something here. She believed this bike had the potential to take the world of spin to a different level. She started to poke around for spaces thinking maybe she'd start her own place. She found two investors which is a whole story in itself. One investor pulled out and the other one kept returning to the numbers. She basically said all the numbers are what ifs, the question is do you believe in me and the business. She go the money and was now ready to roll. She signed a lease in the old Cablevision space in Amagansett which was a mess. Like all businesses taking over space, people are generally painting up until the morning that the doors open and of course that is exactly what happened.
Romain opened and the business has continued to grow. She has great classes, good instructors, everything starts on time, there are also a few items to buy, the website works. Bottom line, the town of Amagansett should be thrilled that Romain put roots down in town to create a place where people can exercise. I know I am.