The 2019 Boutique Fitness Summit in Chicago tied up the end of a three-summit series for the northeast market boutique industry. BFS’s inaugural event in Chicago drew hundreds across the city from the boutique studio community that thrives on every block. The community welcomed BFS’s new style of networking, education, and business solutions to help them grow in a market that can have as many as six studios across each block in the downtown area.
The day of the event was chilly, welcoming the first snowfall of 2019 the evening before. It gave a special feel to the event, bringing people together in a cozier environment to connect and share their stories over coffee and food. The summit was set up in the Exhibit Halls of the Hilton Magnificent Mile hotel, proving a perfect cozy space for networking and learning about business strategies to bring their studios to the next level in 2020. BFS offered owners the chance to sit and discuss their needs and build solutions for growing their team with the help of proven owners of famous Chicago boutique brands like aSweatLife and Shred415.
The educational event brought rounds of discussions, fire-side chats, and panel interviews of some of the industry’s most influential leaders and entrepreneurs. The day opened with a discussion on how important hiring and team building is for growing studios, from finding the right person, to training, and retaining the new instructor. It is important for every studio in Chicago to do so, since many instructors could potentially walk right out the door into another studio to teach classes.
As the boutique space continues to grow and evolve to match the needs of the consumer a few takeaways from the summit are extremely helpful for the industry to hear.
1. To continue to grow and be competitive in a space that has competition on all sides of each business (in Chicago’s case this can be literal), it is imperative to have a sense of community in your studio that your clients feel they are a part of. This keeps your clients engaged and happy to continue to be a member, to be a part of something more than just a gym. 2. An incredibly engaged team that works in each studio you own is the lifeblood of your business, you have to hire the right people, train them well, and retain them. Make them be a part of the business and have their voice heard. Make sure the brand vision is clearly communicated and that they feel connected to each other at work.
OurPeople fits the needs of the Chicago market perfectly and helps with the message of highlighting employee hiring and retention in all of our cards. OurPeople is built specifically to help engage and retain frontline employees and has a history of working in the fitness and boutique space with some of the industry’s largest players. ThirdSpace has been a long-time client of OurPeople and continues to push the boundaries of employee retention by utilizing data provided by the software to help better understand their business health and needs when it comes to hiring employees. OurPeople is built to be simple, engaging, and targeted, which is exactly what a hard to reach team needs in a boutique studio. They are more focused on clients and teaching classes. Instructors should not be relying on personal or company email and constantly be expected to respond to each message that comes through. Their day to day life at work is not built for this or to be stuck behind a desk swapping shifts and taking training courses. OurPeople has challenged the status quo with employee communication in gyms. OurPeople’s Cards and Smart Tag technology keep your team engaged in the business and makes sure that each message is being heard, which as mentioned at BFS, when it comes to building a successful brand, it is important everyone knows what the brands vision is.
As the year comes to a close, ask yourself, what am I doing to improve my business? If simple marketing tactics, more social media posts, and creating “new client offers” is your only answer, it might be time to take a look on how you can improve the employee experience. Your employees are your most valuable asset and clients in the boutique space know this. They will follow an instructor from gym to gym if the class atmosphere your instructor creates is exactly what they want out of their membership. You must hold your most valuable asset close to youand empower them with the solutions that OurPeople can provide your studio with today!