Grad Launches Women's Health and Lifestyle Company
Hailing from Norway, Henriette Gogstad always dreamed of living somewhere “way bigger and more exciting.” At age 19, she moved to New York City to study for a semester, but after moving back home to Norway, Henriette yearned to return to the States. By the summer of 2012, she arrived in Los Angeles to study Visual Communications, and later returned to FIDM to receive a B.S. in Business Management. After graduating in 2018, Henriette started working on a business plan and recently launched her health and lifestyle company, Elette, earlier this month. We chatted with the FIDM Graduate to learn more about her passion for women’s health, journey to FIDM, and how the college prepared her for entrepreneurship.
Tell us about the business you recently launched? My business's name is a play on my name, so "Elette" came about, and it means "Torch; bright light." I had no idea of the meaning of the name, but it couldn't be more fitting, because the core of my business is women supporting women, and I hope it can be a bright light in someone's life as it's all about women's health and lifestyle. It is a membership program that features products and services in physical, mental, and external health.
Depending on your personal need, each membership plan includes a set of "General Passes," which are live group classes with badass wellness coaches, plus unlimited concierge services that are meant to help you design the new health and lifestyle journey of your dreams — think of it as your personal health agent. Then there are a number of "Premium Passes," which are Private 1:1 Sessions with amazing wellness professionals. These premium passes are available at an additional cost, and can be booked as often as you want.
There is also an online boutique with a curated collection of products — all from female-owned small businesses. We want the focus of women supporting women to motivate other women to buy brands that they know are female owned, rather than buying the cheapest and most accessible products. Our main objectives are to create a strong community for women, made completely up by women who all share the goal of living a healthy lifestyle and who want to support each other. We strive to create a personalized experience for each and every member for them to achieve complete wellness.
How do you feel FIDM prepared you for entrepreneurship? Going into the BUMT program, the only thing I was expecting was that I wanted a bachelor’s degree, and I thought business was a smart move. I had no idea what the program was going to be like. The VCOM program was pretty easy for me, because my major in high school was Art & Design, so I was really well equipped with the knowledge and experience, so it wasn't that different. But the BUMT program was no joke. It was so much work, but that was just what I craved and needed! I learned so much, and with each class and quarter I felt like I was developing a business mind. With everything from group projects, presentations, and all the assignments we had to do, I consider myself pretty equipped both mentally and physically to be a business owner.
Throughout my years at FIDM and living in LA, I fell even more in love with the City of Angels (more so than NYC), and it quickly became my new home. I ended up moving back to Norway in 2014, but knew it wasn't the end of my love story with LA, so in 2016, I went back to FIDM to pursue my B.S in Business Management and that's when it all aligned. I instantly felt right at home, and business was without a doubt what I was meant to do. After almost six years of living in my favorite city in the world I have learned so much about who I am, what my passions are, and what I want to accomplish in my life, and it's starting with my new baby: Elette.
Any favorite FIDM memories? Starting the A.A as a 21 year-old, and the B.S as a 25 year-old were two completely different experiences; it honestly can only be described as two different lives. I have a lot of funny memories of both pulling all-nighters because all the drafting/rendering/sketching assignments would take forever to complete, and I also remember going out (mainly) during the week, and showing up to class tired and hungover. Then for my B.S program, I was way more mature and knew exactly what I wanted to get out of my time there.
I started working on campus, at the FIDM Museum Shop, and honestly Judy and Jessica are still to this day two of my favorite and best employers I've had. Working there gave me a whole new perspective of campus, the staff, and faculty, because I got to interact with them on a different level than as just a student. I became good friends with the Museum staff, the parking attendees, the security guards, and the maintenance staff. I loved walking around campus and actually knowing their names and said "hi" to all of them, and them also knowing me. I felt like I was playing a way bigger part of the "FIDM World," and that to me was very rewarding. They all made my day on campus better.
Any advice for current FIDM Students? My advice for current FIDM students is to remember to live as a student at the same time you live your age. Like I said, when I was a student at 21 I partied and school wasn't my number one priority. I think it's important to remember that when you do go to school at such a young age, and may have a lot of pressure from your parents and peers, that you don't forget to live. I know that the choice I made to go back to school at 25, and that being my challenging degree was the right move for me because I was mentally and emotionally prepared, and that has paid off in the long run.
You're going to be working for the rest of your life, and you'll be forced to make so many difficult decisions, and college should be a time to discover who you are, who your true friends are that will stick with you after college, and that it's not the end of the world if you don't get a 100 percent on every test or paper. Also, you can always go back to school, there's no age limit to learn, and I think it's badass to be the oldest gal in the classroom — trust me!
What is your biggest goal right now? My biggest goal right now is to move back to Los Angeles. I'm currently in Norway and have been here for over a year now (Covid has not made this easier), but I'm trying to be patient and believe that when the time is right, I will be returning. I just launched Elette on March 1, 2021, so my goal is to also be patient with the process, and work as hard as I can to make it a success story, and I really want and hope to help improve women's health and lifestyle in Los Angeles, because LA changed my life in so many incredible ways.
LA saved me in a way, because I never felt like I belonged or could be myself in Norway, but when I moved to LA that all changed, and I finally felt like I could be myself, and that I belonged. The people, the culture, the nature, the food, the entertainment — everything about LA has helped shape me into the person I am today, and I want to give that all back to my own community, and that is Elette in Los Angeles.
Learn more at theelette.com and on Instagram @elette.la.