International Women’s Day: Celebrating Our Co-Founder, Iulia Danilova
by Evelyn Valdez·
For over 100 years, March 8th has marked a day of celebration and empowerment of women. On this day, we are proud to celebrate our co-founder, Iulia Danilova!
Iulia (along with her husband) started UPPPER three years ago. She is an inspiring leader and entrepreneur who has grown UPPPER to what it is today – and that’s on top of taking care of her two kids and handling her two other companies!
We sat down with Iulia and asked her a few questions to share her story through her personal experiences. So, let’s introduce you to Iulia…
Q: For those who don’t know you, tell us a little bit about yourself… (where you’re from, anything that describes who you are as a person)
A: “My name is Iulia, some of you may know me as “Fit With Iulia'', and I am the co-founder of Uppper. I am 30 years old and I moved to the U.S. from Moldova with my husband when I was 18 years old. I am a mom of 2 and fun fact - a lot of people think my favorite color is pink because of my hair, but it's actually black!”
Q: What drove you to start your fitness journey and share it on social media?
A: “So when we moved to the U.S. I was sitting at home, wasn’t active and my diet wasn’t the best. I soon realized I was gaining a lot of weight and wasn’t happy with the way I looked and how I felt, so I slowly started getting into fitness. I started running around the park right by my house (I could barely run for 2 minutes straight) and then I decided to get a gym membership. I worked out for a few months until we moved to Los Angeles where I had a small gym in my apartment building. I became more consistent and after a few months I started seeing the first results and I became obsessed with it. I started posting my progress photos and workouts on my Instagram to share them with my friends and family (this is back in 2014). Some of my posts made it to the explore page and then more and more people started following me. The rest is history.”
Q: Strength training was male-dominated in the past, did this ever intimidate you when you started hitting the weights and sharing your journey with others?
A: “Absolutely. I remember when I started squatting with a little barbell in a yoga class because I was so scared to go to the weight room and be around all men. Eventually, I realized that I wouldn’t progress as much as I wanted to by limiting myself to the yoga room so I pushed myself to get out of my comfort zone. I started working out in the weight section and over time I got more comfortable. As soon as you realize that everyone is there to make progress and focus on themselves you will be more comfortable as well. Just give it time, focus on your workouts, and do your thing.”
Q: What inspired you to start your company, UPPPER?
A: “By the time we decided to start UPPPER I was already a few years into my fitness journey and I had quite a few people following me on Instagram. I was using some lifting accessories - resistance bands, wrist wraps, lifting straps, lifting belt, and I had a lot of people asking me for recommendations. I was always navigating people to Amazon, but honestly, the accessories I had were very boring and the quality wasn’t great. My husband and I realized that there was a gap in the market and room for a new brand. So we decided to give this idea a try!”
Q: Which women inspire you the most?
A: “I have two women that inspire me the most, Elena Cardone and Leila Hormozi. I’m pretty sure 95% of the people watching this will have no idea who Elena or Leila are.
Elena Cardone is the wife to Grant Cardone, who we consider to be our mentor. Grant is a very successful entrepreneur, but there is a very strong woman behind him and it is his wife Elena. She is all about the importance of being on the same page with your husband, and all about big dreams and massive goals. To me she is an example of how to be a strong woman, support your partner and work together towards big goals.
Leila Hormozi is the wife of Alex Hormozi. Leila and Alex are both entrepreneurs and they work together. But Leila is a very talented business operator and she has a YouTube channel where she shares her business experience. And while her content is not for entertainment and most people won’t be interested in it - as a businesswoman I find it extremely helpful. I pick up things from Leila that I would not pick up myself and it helps me a lot at work. But Leila wasn’t always so successful and she is a great example of how you can change your life around if you put your mind to it.
So, Elena is about mindset. Leila is about technical business skills.”
Q: What would you say is your biggest achievement so far?
A: “I would say my biggest achievement is meeting my husband at a very young age. This year will be 14 years since we are together. Moving to America at the age of 18 right after finishing high school is another achievement I am proud of. And of course, having two wonderful kids - I love them so much!”
Q: Final question, Iulia - are there any updates on the knee sleeves?
A: “About those knee sleeves..”