Emma Barry Talks About the Future of Boutique Fitness

Lucy Connor
23 June 20
38 min listen
Emma-Barry

Industry leader Emma Barry joins us on this episode of the podcast. Emma had worked with marquee fitness brands such as Equinox and Les Mills. Since 2017 she consults for budget clubs, boutique studios, and fit-tech start-ups and is also a prolific writer and sought-after speaker.

Emma chats to us about what drove her to write her book Building a Badass Boutique, her thoughts on pivoting to a digital offering, and discusses the playbook for boutique studios opening back up. If you would like to pick up a hard copy of her book, you can find it here, and if you would like to sign up for her online master class, you can find it here.

Episode Link

This episode of The Fitness Founders Podcast can be found on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and anywhere you get your podcasts.

Transcript

Kevin: How is it going everyone and welcome to The Fitness Founders Podcast. I’m Kevin Mannion, VP Marketing here at Glofox. This week we talk to Emma Barry, well known speaker, industry expert and author of Building a Badass Boutique. Drawing from her experience working for brands like Les Mills and Equinox, Emma talks to us about the changing world of boutique fitness, the challenges to opening up, and her 10 enduring steps for building a fitness studio that rocks. Let’s get started. 

Okay, Emma Barry, welcome to the show.

Emma: Thank you so much. I’m delighted finally to be chatting with you. Thanks for having me on.

Kevin: Yeah, you too. Obviously you’re working with businesses around the world so really keen to get your insights as well as that talk about your book and talk about the future. Obviously we’re in pretty turbulent times at the moment on a lot of fronts, so maybe just give me a little bit of background around what’s happening with the businesses that you’re working with.

Emma: Right. I’m a Kiwi living in L.A. and commuting when we can into Amsterdam, so I get to see a lot of businesses. What I’m working on right now is like many people in the industry, a lot of us had revenue got to zero overnight with many of our clients. Some people have managed with deeper pockets or maybe they have a different path of profitability and being able to stay open and used this time to really get organize around their brand, to really perhaps pivot digitally or really put the acceleration on digital expression of their brand. Other people are using it as a time to tidy up administration, all of these things. I have a few clients that I work for, so one being based in Amsterdam. So we’ve worked all the way through digital expression of the brand, so we’ve been working very strongly into that. Also just like everyone trying to work out how do you open 800+ clubs safely in a way that is in line with the regulations that the manager sections that we operated and I’m happy with on how we bring in a really safe but a really excited and forward thinking way. So I’m working with the budgets, I’m working with some boutiques here in the US and also in the UK, and also some fit tech start-ups which of course are absolutely that have moment. They are booming right now like 800-1000% up in sales and usage all of these crazy things. Thankfully, I’ve invested across the sector and like everyone just trying to do everything I can to get people back to being healthy and happy. 

Kevin: Got it. And obviously you’re really well known name in the industry and it’s really great to have you on. You released a book probably before all this started called the Building a Badass Boutique, Let’s dig into that a little bit and tell me what drove you to write the book?

Emma: Right. Well, thanks, great question. A few things, is we launched in February just before [unclear — 3:21] in London, so that was sort of towards the end of February and then the second. So couple of things drove me to write this. One was is you can only have so many coffees, so many dinners, so many lunches with people talking about their challenges and those sorts of things. So I started to notice that I was trying to solve the same issues over and over again, and I thought I must write this down some time and just be done with it and sort of have it as a bit of a bible or a textbook for this particular part of the industry. That is the first driving factor. 

And then the second part was I was actually on a business accelerator which demanded that we write a book as part of that curriculum. It was a 9-month accelerator actually in London. One of the things was you have to write a book. Unless you write a book you don’t get your thoughts out, you don’t start building any kind of findable expertise or IP in the industry. People can’t find you and there’s a bit of a saying, I mean you know this from being an entrepreneur that is like, “If people can’t then see an ounce of your content then you need to produce more stuff.” So the reason I mentioned there is I wouldn’t get it done without those guys. If I didn’t have 3 whips or 6 whips in my accountability team have get it done. We don’t have care if you’re in 3 continents. We don’t care if you’re waking or not. Get the damn book done. So there was a need for it, I need to get it out on paper, and then I had a driving force behind me. And then of course launching it I swear, I said to the guys, I’d be launching the book the day I’ve written it, which is always a good old trick. 

Kevin: Yup, pressure… 

Emma: Yes. So that’s what drive me to do it, and it was a big need in the industry. My big passion is I want the whole of the fitness industry to just be more magnificent, serve more people at a much higher level, and this was my way last year and this year to be able to do that.

Kevin: Nice one. Now, it’s a 10-step journey and there are probably things that have change a little, and we’ll get maybe on to those a little bit later. But maybe just, if you can at a high level, take us through your 10-step journey to designing studios that rock. 

Emma: Absolutely. I took 10-steps journey approach. You know, asking a lot of time in people, and culture, and brand, and all of those things. It’s very important if you look at a brand like Disney. They actually have a touch point for every way – would it be a staff, would it be a member. I took their approach and I thought what are all the things, and all the great things, and all the crap things that I have seen in the health boutiques and how do I address that in a really comprehensive way. I delivered it into 3 areas really. One is brand, and everything starts with a face that’s nice and easy to remember. So there’s brand, there’s a product, and then there’s systems. So under each there are 3Ps. It’s really important that you’re a brand, you know who you are, and you know who you are not. And this is something that boutiques do very well. It’s very important you understand the pain. What solution are you providing to your community? Usually you’re only serving 2, 3, maybe 400 active members, so it’s a smaller community that can be much more tightly delivered to than a big club which serves thousands. And then the last part of it is positioning. It’s very important that you know where you sit in the landscape and how you compete against other competitors or people down the street. What is your specific offering? So that is sort of brand and we do a lot of work and exercises around that. 

The middle part is product and this is the stuff that our customers see. So it’s the people. People are our greatest assets and we’re seeing it now we can’t wait for humans to get back with humans. Also the programming; I see a lot of average programming out of there, a lot of great programming, a lot of awful programming. Programming is a very tangible thing. If your program doesn’t get a result and it’s not able to be kept fresh and it is not safe, if I don’t get what you’re promising me, then that’s a fail. So what can we do to improve the programming? And then the last is place. Where do we actually do this? What is the stage for transformation that you’re creating in your facility or at home, whatever? So it’s those things. That’s the product, the tangible parts of your business that your customers see. 

And then the last part, systems, is everything you need to make your business hum. So that is your processes. It’s your plan. How’s your planning – who does what, when, how, for how long, how much is it going to cost, all of that stuff. And then the last P is pace. I really believe there’s always a natural kaitens in business. And we’ve seen now the boutique business really flourished. I mean it’s been around for a long time. Barry’s Bootcamp is over 20 years old. So it’s not new concept. [unclear – 7:45] These are all early iterations of a focused offering. But it wasn’t until SoulCycle that seminal moment when they came through that you could actually realize that you could charge for something that was very high in service. So pace, how do we maintain pace on an industry that’s very fast growing. And then the last P to tie it all together is polish. And everything’s working towards, we have an audit within the book called the boutique barometer. Basically, you met your baseline. Where am I at now across the 10 phase and then what is my blueprint looks like going forward, what do I need to improve/tweak. 

Now, the book is 100% relevant now. The only thing that I don’t talk about in deep is this pivot to digital. It’s fascinating. I just completed a masterclass just to try and to bring more life. I suppose to do a whole world wide tour of masterclasses and of course that didn’t happen. Now, I committed it online. But now the piece that we are adding on is interviews, and panels, and whitepapers etc. from the digital community. I’m actually finding it a little bit challenging to even demystify that for people because it’s, you know, what’s your CRM, what are all the back office pieces, what are the APIs, what are my options if I have no money, a little bit of money, lots of money. I want to go to the world. I just want to go to my own community. I’m just doing a bit of work with people like Bryan O’Rourke from Fit Tech Council and stuff like that to trying and demystify that whole area. The book is 100% relevant and we’re beginning to have a digital discussion around what are the options. So that’s a little bit about the book, and it’s been going very well. It’s been great to get out and great to share with people. 

Kevin: Awesome then. Well done on setting that goal of writing it and getting it deliberate. That’s impressive. The 10 P’s, I’m going to use that for something myself. Okay, let’s move on a little bit I think around COVID. My biggest question for you is how is the consumer changing and their expectations?

Emma: Yeah, so the consumer has gone through this as we have. I think we’ve all have this come to Jesus moments of who am I, what am I doing, what do I really miss, what do I value. There are some things that stay through this and it’s just been highlighted. Number one right at the top is never been such a big magnifying glass on health. We preach to the choir usually. Like in the fitness industry, we’re kind of preaching to the people who are already relatively understand fitness and feel okay going to a facility. I say we’ve been motivating, and motivated. What we’re now stepping into is because of coronavirus we’ve actually had a lot of people who are not well, who are overweight, who have got underlying health problems. Some of these brought on by wrong by lifestyle choices. I think this has been this magnifying glass on health. I think there will be a shift in the future towards health rather than I’ve got to have a 6-pack, 8-pack, 10-pack. It’s more I’ve got to do this to be really robust and really take responsibility for my own body and this life. I think this has been it. 

I think, secondly, the customer definitely highlighted the need for social, to be together. Humans love to be together. There are moments that we really want to come together. We are missing our concerts. We’re missing our churches. We’re missing our boutique fitness classes. We’re missing our friends. We’re missing the pubs, and the buzz, and the dance clubs, and all of that stuffs; so that’s absolutely being, not that we needed reminding of it, but it’s been very, very acute. People have felt that very strongly. There was a fear factor out there. There’s a whole safety element that was not there before. We could literally go anywhere and not really worry about washing our hands, and who we’re breathing on, or who’s breathing on us. All of that have definitely shaped things. It’s also forced us to become a lot better at what we do. This has forced us to sit back and go, “Holy crap! What are we doing, is it really good? Is there a better way to do it?” And so people have done it. 

Also the other thing, I was on an interesting marketing call yesterday. The consumer is very discerning now. We’ve all been aware that there has been a period through this time because so many people are being… or lost their job, let go, hiccups the whole thing. There’s been a sensitivity around charging. A lot of people went to free. What’s going to be interesting as we start to re-engage in the economy is what will people then convert into. Now one thing for damn sure, you were silent for the last 3 months. There is going to be very little sympathy for your brand. Who have managed to keep up that conversation and remain in conversation with their people and do whatever they could whether it was lending out equipment, or putting a motivational quote, or having live Zooms where people could just come on and maybe have a happy hour together, whatever it was, so that community that all [unclear – 12:35] I think anyone who is just pertaining to do good things and all of those things. I think everyone is being washed out, so the corporate bullshit I think has kind of being pushed aside because we’re being driven back down to human basics. There is definitely a bit of thing here. I’m sure it is the same with you guys over there. 

Kevin: Yeah. Honestly, a lot of good points there. One thing stood out for me really is the health. A lot of talk for a long time around the link between health and fitness but now there’s a real tangible link, so that’s probably worth remembering for some people here that are thinking about positioning their own business. You know, obviously the importance of keeping your community engage over the last few months is going to be one thing that’s really going to pay off in the next while. 

Okay so, you’re obviously working with a lot of businesses that are moving to digital and online, and it’s a topic that we’ve tried cover a lot here but I’m really interested to get your take on the DOs and DONTs of all of it. What have you seen done well? 

Emma: Yes. I think there’s a whole matrix. The whole answer is it depends, right. I think we need to go back to, and I do talk about this a lot about the book, you have to work out who you are, what’s important to you and your members, and then also think a little bit about the future. If the answer is should I pivot digital which is the number one question I get every day of the week, and then I’ll just start asking questions. A few things to frame that conversation before we give some options around it is if you don’t offer something digital, the moment that people walk out of your bricks and mortar, they will be picked up by something else. So that’s just something that you need to know because we know I think it was Les Mills stat, that is something about 86% and it will be a little bit more now just because of the times, are already doing something at home or on vacation or something. There’s at or something that they are doing whether it might be a biometric or watch, or it might be Kayla or it could be Les Mills on demand or something. People know that it’s there. We’re also on the streaming wars of Amazon, HBO, MYX, Disney, all of those guys. So that pushing entertainment of which fitness is kind of one of those things, one of those offerings. 

All I was saying is if you’re not going to do it just know that someone else is now got of bit of mind share of your member, okay. You might decide that that’s fine, we just going own face to face and we’re going to do that really well. But just a caveat, just know that there’s a lot of dollars going in subscription now and online is getting very good. I’ve love it trialling a bit back when I was in my Les Mills days. We’ve been trialling this for 10 years. This is not a new conversation. It’s just that it has been accelerated by about 3 years and 3 moths I think is the average. Whatever that number is it’s been accelerated a lot. People are over the bump of, can I get work done at home, can I exercise at home, can I take my brand with me with wherever I am? And the answer is yes, yes, and yes.

Then I would say, if you want to serve your members, I would be asking some questions. Anyone who surveyed and I was chatting with the MXM guys the other day who did the big shutdown survey. Ask your members, sometimes they surprise and delight you with their answers. There some things what we found during COVID was some people went straight to, so if you look at brands like Les Mills that wasn’t easy and it is more in the big club market than the boutiques, but they went to a 60-day free if people have the Les Mills programs for example. And a lot of people are like, “This is awesome. We’ve got nothing digital. This is fantastic.” That was a good LinkedIn. So if there was a professional platform of its… or anyone at all, that was an option. 

The second thing was, gosh, I really miskaiten from Friday night at 6 o’clock, and I don’t care if they are streaming from his garage. I need and hour with that guy so it became a very, the community thing became very… So these are things you have to know what’s really important from your members. Now most people love their people that’s why they go. They have a huge community. Then if you’ve established that yes we need to do something there’s a bunch of things that you can do. Are we going to live, are we going to do live plus on demand which is basically recorded and then distributed, or are we going to do live on demand, or do we do stream, which is live but I happen not to be on the studio, I happen to be wherever I am. These all have as we all know music licensing around them because they’re all different users and the music industry is still better than me. So if you want to use that Rihanna track that just dropped, don’t expect that to be shared around the world further more because it won’t last. You don’t have the rights to do that. So people are having to never get quite a few variables. But I would say start with should we and answer is probably yes unless you’re just going to be the anti-trend, and there is something about that. You have to invest in being anti-trend as well and become famous and very good at it. But even Daybreak, if you look at Daybreak, the big night clubs, the club party that goes in the morning even they are doing it virtually. Even something you thought would have to be face to face didn’t have to be. I would say that’s probably yes and then it is like who do we use, how often, do we pre-record and send out, are we going to do it as part of classes, doesn’t have to be a secret team, how proficient would it need to be. We look at the Equinox stuff that’s just been released. Obviously it’s got a very high quality. You know what are the brand values of our brand or the people not here? I’ve seen lots of platforms where people are just filming pretty bad lighting, average audio, but they don’t care. That’s good enough for the members. They just following along it should at home but they don’t care. So you have to know how highly volatile is your member, and what are they speak, what delights them. 

Kevin: Yep. I think what stands out for me there is it’s a cliché but there is no answer to exactly what you should be doing. Probably the best bit of advice is pick up the phone and ask the members what’s suitable for them, what’s convenient for them, what do they find would work for your costumers.

Emma: Right, because they look around at what all your competitors and people who are doing this in the same space. I’ve just noticed there’s a lot of people looking around, looking at different platforms, do we do it with them, do we create on it, do we just push it out, all of these things. It’s a little bit of both. But this is your business, you get to write it. 

Kevin: Yeah. I think if there are people getting away with really drawn to get a workouts in certain scenarios but you probably have be aware that everyone is getting a little bit better on this and what worked a few weeks ago may not work in a couple of months’ time. 

Emma: 100%, and there will be a sliding scale of quality. Quality will be expected very shortly actually, so even if it is audio, and lighting, and the way it looks and feels definitely. But there are also many brands. I think at some of the Dance brands in New York City, DanceBody, they have been doing this for a long time and it is very real. There’s a reality show, but her audio is always great, she’s got great camera and charisma, all of those things. The quality has to be look because it’s been such a great examples online and people are aware of it.

Kevin: Yeah. So we’re on a learning curve just to use Zoom but now it’s the learning curves are going to keep continue. Okay, so let’s move on a small bit and talk about welcoming back your members and we’re seeing more and more countries and cities opening up. Give us maybe like in the context of a boutique studio. What is the playbook for opening back up?

Emma: Right, so the first thing is what are the regulations of your country. We we’ve been working with a lot of boutiques in central Europe, so that opened up there in the process of being allowed to be doing outdoor workouts. That started with no equipment. Now, they’re beginning to be able to take the equipment outside. So the community that you have retained we now take them wherever we’re able, everything is socially distance, everything is clean, all the equipment are being sanitized, people are being encouraged to bring their own, all of that stuff. Whatever the rules are of the region that’s the place to start so we’ve now being able to open up all of Europe, we now have I think it is July, July 1 or July 8, kind of most of our clubs that I’m working with at least we’re able to open indoors. 

Now some of them have the restrictions and that has hit boutiques really hard. If you do the 2 meter rule, that doesn’t mean you take one block out. It means you take two blocks out. The example here in Dallas was a SoulCycle recently opened and a class of $50 they were 8 people in $50. How you make that business model go? I don’t know, so there’s going to have to be a lot more extra revenue streams and digital and stuff and we are just working our way out. No one that I’m aware of, I don’t know what it is like with you, have I heard about talking about relaxing those distancing actions yet. Which to me is like kind of okay because if I can’t get more people in and I have to presumably pay my instructors somewhat the same that I did and I’m so going to be charging in the same way that kind of all fit together. So there has to be shift in all those economics I think.

Yeah, that’s what we’re seeing, distancing, cleanliness, deep cleans, distance between classes at least 30 minutes, everything cleaned in between, you may get it, people roaming around with backpacks, maybe reconfiguring the studio once we do get back in to use more of the space sort of things. But then if you’ve only got half of your class or even a third of your class, goodbye to 65% of your revenue. But now you’ve actually got instructors that can’t take this offering because there’s less classes and you’ve got members that can come less often because there are less spots. There’s even people talking about maybe you are a Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday rider because we’ve had to share it around our tribe to give them all a swing at the brand.  

Kevin: Yup. And so there is definitely a lot of challenges for people to get around. But even a few simple things there if you are opening up in a couple of weeks’ time you need to be having a look around your studio now and seeing how things can operate, how you can reconfigure things, where people are going to walk through the door, and where they are going to be, and all of that, and obviously consulting the regulations. 

Emma: Yeah, have the mask the whole thing. Whatever the protocols are they all need to be there. The big piece is staffs need to be retrained. This is a whole different way. You’ve got to know where I walk in, where I walk out, what’s mat, what is being taken out of the studio, or stuff. It’s actually a little bit more than that. You can’t go and greet people. You’ve actually got to learn a whole new way. People have to check in a touch less way. There’s a bit.

Kevin: I think it’s probably a wake call for businesses that are even a month out or so that now is the time to start thinking about how they are going to set this up. 

Emma: And there’s been a lot of I will just say go to just like the gold standard I would just check out the Equinox standard which is what they\re doing to opening because that have gone way above, above and beyond. But it will give you the full laundry list of what that’s about and then you can make it relevant to your business. 

Kevin: Got it. Okay. Okay, Emma, so maybe let’s maybe talk a little bit about communications. Let’s say you’ve got it figured out and you’ve got enough space to get people through and start making some money. How do you think about communicating back to your members and people who used to visit about getting them back in?

Emma: Right, so the best communication I’ve seen are first of all be transparent. If you don’t know be honest about the bit you don’t know. Hey guys, we are like you. We are all waiting on the government recommendations. Okay. We’ll let you know more when we do. But please know whatever we do we we’ll be safe. We fully acknowledge that some of you might not feel uncomfortable to come back. We’ve shot a little video that we’d like to show you to show you what we are doing. We are retraining all our stuff. You’ll notice that when you come in, this is going to happen, this is how you check in, this is going to be us, you’ll notice that half of the boxes are taken out, whatever it is, you’ll be expected to. We have to keep our locker shot. We’ll let you know when they are open. Again, these aren’t choices. These are things we’re doing to keep you keep safe.

It’s just simple language, clearly communicated, and it’s with excitement. You know the best clubs I’ve seen opening in Europe it’s like we can’t wait to have you back. We are doing what we can. You are all going to be spaced out but we are outside, and we’ve got this, he’s teaching tonight. He can’t wait to see you. Please remember to wear your mouth mask. There will be temperature checks when you walk in. This is what it looks like. We are trying to make you feel as welcome and as warm as we can, and we want to uphold what we’ve been asked to do. That is sort of the most successful opening that I’ve seen and people are delighted to come back. Sales are actually relatively buoyant in a lot of markets because there is a lot of people who want to come back. 

Anyone who is at risk sort of feels like they’ve got underlying issues it’s only that probably going to stay away and it’s fine. And that’s something else people are saying, if you want to stay at home no problem. We are still going to be recording a few classes. We’ll get them to you. If you need in a class equipment let us know and we’ll send it out to you, all being completely cleaned, whatever. This is how to do it is safety, clear, clean, retrain. 

Kevin: Yeah. Okay, so training is a big aspect. I know that video was a big thing here like showing people around, showing how you’re set up is a great way to build a bit of confidence that you’ve got, that you’re ready to go. Yeah. Good one. 

Maybe just one step back then it was online. It also relates to probably having a little bit of limit of capacity and people who visit maybe have fewer times in the week. How are you coaching your customers through how they are keeping this accountability with their members from a distance?

Emma: Look, it’s all about touch points. That come back to that journey again if we belong to the same studio I have a touch point if I am wearing your clothes, I have a touch point if you push me a push notification, or maybe I send you a text just asking did your team an ab thing that was part of your weekly workout. I think it is taking more of a general lifestyle approach to people’s relationship with the brand. While they might only visit once, or twice, or three times a week, whatever, there’s lots of in between moments so they are obviously going to be hit by your social media pushes if they are hopped on there which might go 5x, 6x, 7x a day. You might run a couple of months where you’re like coming back to normal sale whatever it is. Run a campaign that really, “Hey, it’s going to be each week we are going to run a bit of a special thing.” It might be bring a friend or whatever it is. You can keep those touches coming not only when they are on the studio. You can partner with people but there’s so many ways. Again, I have hundreds of examples in the book of ways that you can reach out. 

Because if I only come once a week and that’s the only time I think about you, I’m on my way to cancelling. No doubt about it. Anyone who joins a gym says I’m going to come 3x a week, they come once a week, they may miss a month and then they cancel. That is the stats of our industry. We all know it. So it has to be you have to be in my mind. Barry’s have done a phenomenal job. Every day I am getting the trainer coming to my living room. Then I’m getting, “Hey, we’ve got equipment now for sale.” They even got clothing range out. Barry’s at home. I mean those guys pivoted so hard then they said, “Oh, we don’t do digital but now we are. We’ve got four options – no equipment, subtle equipment, heavy equipment…” That’s how you do it, so you’re just always in the inbox and it can be mindfulness, it can be interviews, education. There’s so many things that you have to be in my mind every day. I don’t think you can go a day. 

I think Harvey spoke about it at Equinox recently in an interview and it’s like there is a 7-days on approach now. Doesn’t mean you would be doing every day, but it means that you are engaged in lifestyle trends every day, meditation, these things. 

Kevin: Yeah, it’s a great one. It’s a big lesson. I think the summary for me is be in that inbox every day which is probably a lot of work and a big change for a lot of businesses and how they used to operate. But it’s a great piece of advice.   

Emma: It might be app. I think the app is easier like everyone is on Instagram stories. I mean, because email we know that is only a percentage of those that go through and they should be really engaged with the brand. You’ve got to get through spam folder and all that stuff. It doesn’t matter where it is coming from. It could even be a text on the studio like a message. You just got to look at all of that. Again, ask your members, “How do you like to be communicated with?” Then you do it through that way. It is a bit more work for the marketing aspect of a company but it is absolutely worth it. 

Kevin: Yeah, that’s very insightful. Now, probably the last topic I’d like to cover is just the future and the future of boutique fitness. Say 12 months as things open up, obviously the consumer changed so much, it has to put a shape on the industry. Even we take something like pricing. Do you see generally pricing going up? Do you see people being more budget conscious? What’s going to happen?

Emma: Yeah. I think there will be a proliferation of pricing models. I don’t think anyone knows the answer because we are going to have to test it in the market that is, let’s face it, in a recession. The good thing about health and fitness is that it is resilient to recessions. That was shown in 2008-2009, and previous recessions are that even if growth is slow in the economy generally, health and wellness seems to go quite well and has enjoyed in many markets double digit growth. I think that’s kind of the first thing going in. 

I would also say that the budget clubs are probably well positioned because we’ve also seen almost the evaporation of the middle market. We’ve seen the 24s, and the TSI here in the US at least. A lot are filing for bankruptcy or considering check to relieve them. Whether is tough place of they are not spatial enough to be a luxury or a boutique and they are not cheap enough. The budget sector now does a great job, great equipment… relatively self-serving but they are doing a great job. I think you are going to get a lot of people actually deciding, am I going to pay 10, 15, 20, euros, pounds, and dollars whatever it is to go to get this fantastic because people have really missed equipment. They have missed their treadmills, they have missed their kettle bell, they have missed doing pull ups. If I could do one more bodyweight circuit I will scream, like, everyone is got of over that. I think that’s really interesting. 

And pricing is also going to be… there is also going to be a top level I believe. I think there could be another whole market for people who do have means, who are like I’m going to join a private club where there is only 500 members but there’s going to be distancing and I’m going to get super service. I think there is going to be room at the top. There is going to be room at the bottom. I think we are all going have to rethink our pricing. Because I think at the very least if you think of a boutique even if I drop once a week in frequency and it becomes the average for our membership that changes your whole pricing. So you cannot stay at the same size, how we are going to pay the instructors with half… There are so many variables and in the end the market is going to decide. The market is going to decide how valuable and then what is that relationship between in an in-person and also my digital expression, and is that charge the same or is it an add on. It is my gut feeling that I think we have to think, we’ve been talking about this for 2-3 years now, there has to be an ecosystem of service. Sometimes it is face to face, sometimes it is digital, sometimes is that a retreat, sometimes is that a festival. We’ve got to stop thinking about fitness as live and not live. It’s got to become one in the same way that we shop and the same way that we eat food. We don’t think, oh food is all different over here. It is like we go out and eat. We have groceries delivered. We go to a 5-star, we go to a food court. We just it is contextual but all the time we are just consuming food, and I think that’s going to become the new norm, as the new norm for fitness. Everywhere I go I get what I need. I don’t care that I’m in my garage whatever doing exercise. I’d rather do that than do nothing at all. Yeah, I think that’s going to change and pricing for sure is going to change. I think there is going to be a big emerging part of that. Also, if you look at your exponentials and your… and all the services are beginning to line up and become more of one offering. It’s like a club in the sky, it is like club that is all split out into its different secret but it is still under one organization. It probably has one price. I think it is a lot more of that.

Kevin: Okay. I think in summary, at a high level, the fitness industry is going to very big and bigger especially with things you talk about at the start around the social aspect and the renewed focus on health. But there is a big challenge for boutiques to maybe reassess the 10 Ps in your book because they are going to have to be flexible and agile with everything from what they are delivering to how they charge for it so touch your members and see what is going on around you. Keep your eyes open I think is the lesson.

Emma: Yeah, I think it is. And then I think it is partner, like, we know that people get bored with just one offering like just yoga, just whatever. I think maybe there is some interesting ways to partner. We’re beginning to see that before COVID hit where we have boutiques going into hotels. They are going into [unclear – 33:55] They are going into wherever there are people, enough people like minded who might like some sort of exercise. I think is that you look them all. I mean, they were taking over all the failing real estate of the retail, so what is going to happen now is interesting. But there is definitely going to be a thinning of the herd and you might want to jump in with some others like you. That might make the model work if you can sort of work as a group. And you certainly have to have other secondary items because the fitness industry was actually in a little bit of trouble and many boutiques were actually already before this hit because they weren’t able. Because it is so pay as you go we hit these melons put any money in the bank because it’s literally pay as you go to keep the lights on. So that has to change. You’ve got to shift more members to more of a stable base whether it is subscription or whether it is membership. There has to be that happening to and that where you Barry’s and your Soul’s, all those people are in this. I love those. I’m doing it for the year. I’d rather pay less, come more often, and commit. 

The difference between that and the club is that in a club you paid it and you agree to that but you didn’t you and you didn’t see the value. If you find something in boutique you lo.ve and you religiously go to, you are happy to pay. That’s the value shift that we haven’t been able to make in fitness. If I don’t come, I don’t turn up, I’m not engage, I don’t want to pay, I’m disenfranchise, so I’ll leave again. 

Kevin: Okay. Well, I think that’s a great way of summarizing things and to finish things off here and that’s really good. Well, my second last question before I go is, what is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in the past 8 weeks?

Emma: Yes. I guess the biggest lesson I’ve got is we have to do better in the behavioural change. It hasn’t mattered whether we are face to face or if we’re at home we have seen a drop off in adherence to exercise and healthy living be it face to face or be it in our own homes even with all the going live and the whole thing. Physical activity has been down 40% at least here in the US anyway on normal so that’s kids in schools, all of these things. We have not been able to bring physical activity, healthy living, good choices, meditation, mental health checks, all of these things. We’ve not been able to embed them in people deep enough that they literally our strong is we’re still brushing our teeth. I think that’s been the reminder again, we have to do better at behavioural change. We are not changing the mind and therefore we are not changing the overall habits of people which in the end, and Apple know this, because they have just taken the tiny little thing that stand up – breathe, meditate, close the rings. I think these are tiny actions actually but they know how important they are because without that foundation of behavioural change you don’t get the big change. We are so focused on the big change, lose the weight, change my life, change my world. We are not realizing that it is the little decisions that we do every day that takes us to that place. It’s just a reminder of that we’ve got to do better.

Kevin: That’s it. That’s a great lesson. Okay, Emma, before you go just tell us where they could find your book and how they can get in touch.

Emma: Oh, great. The book is on Amazon so it’s worldwide, so Building a Badass Boutique. And then my masterclass is by the same name .com, so buildingabadassboutique.com. I’ve got a [unclear – 37:09] right now. I know people are a little bit light on the old cash so providing a lot of support and on-going support at a very good deal. So use the code badass, use my coupon badass, and you’ll get a big whooping discount. But thank you for asking. 

Kevin: Thank you very much, Emma. Thank you very much for coming on the show. 

Emma: So welcome. Thank you.

Kevin: Thank you. 

This podcast is brought to you by Glofox a boutique fitness management software company. If you want to accelerate growth, work efficiently, and deliver a well-branded boutique customer experience, then find us at glofox.com.