Jessi Duley manages three kids and a fitness empire
written by Mackenzie Wilson
IMAGINE OPENING three businesses in two states in less than five years. Jessi Duley did all that while raising three kids under the age of 5. In 2008, she moved to Oregon after traveling through India and Nepal, where she was doing some soul searching. “It was kind of like a snow globe moment where you need the world to flip you upside down, kick the shit out of you and then you put yourself back together and go figure out where you’re going to land,” Duley said. “I decided to come back to Portland.” She returned to a career in TV and film production and that’s when the epiphany—“This is not my life”—hit her. A month later, she’d created a business plan for a cycling studio. Duley opened BurnCycle in Portland’s Pearl District at the end of September 2013. By February 2014, the business had hit her 2015 projections. “It was the entrepreneurial dream,” Duley said. Part of her success came from striking while the iron was hot. She says she launched BurnCycle right when boutique fitness was hitting the scene in Oregon. Her quest to create big moments was the other key component to BurnCycle taking off. “Anything I do, I just have to go big,” she said. “I just live for the boom.” BurnCycle offers a forty-five minute, full-body workout on a stationary bike, with music and an instructor. Duley doesn’t make a big deal of the fact that she had her first child a month before opening BurnCycle, but she’ll gush about how it prepared her to help others along their own fitness journey. “I gained 42 pounds with my first pregnancy, then we opened our doors and I couldn’t physically do the physical fitness that I was trying to sell,” Duley said. Finding time to work out solidified the concept of self-care for her. When it comes to fitness, nutrition and the elusive work-life balance, Duley believes in give- and-take. She shops on the perimeter of the grocery store where the less processed foods are and she’s OK with eating off her kids’ plates when the night calls for dino-nuggets. She crosstrains to combat the effects of a go-go-go lifestyle. As an entrepreneur, she’s realized working past midnight doesn’t do her, her business or her family any favors. “I’m trying to find moments of contentment,” Duley said. “I’m so grateful to have been given this platform to be able to do what we’re doing and give the community this space because if it was just me or just the instructors, we wouldn’t be doing anything. … Everybody else meets us halfway and that’s where the magic happens.”
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