There’s no doubt the boutique fitness model has been shaping the fitness industry – from the way fitness is delivered to how people consume it.
Challenging the traditional gym model, the flexible pay-as-you train format and community driven studios have been prying gym members away from their rigid contracts and forcing gym operators to rethink the way they do business. But, following the rapid explosion of boutiques in the UK’s capital, concerns surrounding market saturation are growing, as spectators question if the business opportunities that once existed are still as rife.
Within the industry, the figures tell a different story. Data from IHRSA’s 2016 Health Club Consumer Report indicates that consumers spent more money to access boutique fitness studios in 2015 than they did traditional commercial fitness clubs. And, with more investors than ever pouring funds into both established brands and new entrants, market research points to the boutique fitness trend continuing to surge in 2017.
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According to consumer insight firm Club Intel, in the year ahead we can expect to see “more industry players, primarily independents and small regional firms, talking the talk about uniqueness, differentiation and niche.”
Fusing passion and discipline to grow their disruptive and sustainable boutique fitness brands, these players have already announced plans to expand across the capital and beyond.
Proving that the boutique bubble isn’t ready to burst yet, here’s a roundup of some of 2017’s most anticipated new openings…….
Launched in December 2015, boutique boxing studio KOBOX was set up by former Barry’s Bootcamp trainer Shane Collins. Funding his original Chelsea studio through private investment, just over a year later Collins has launched his second outpost near Tower Hill.
The new 4,500 sq ft space, which opened last week, houses a 46 person studio, larger shower and changing facilities as well as a ground floor cafe called the KOBOX kitchen, offering protein shakes, juices and healthy snacks.
Hoping to sign a deal on a third location in London later this year, the entrepreneur is also in talks to open internationally.
Boasting five thriving studios across London, Frame’s affordable, multi-disciplinary approach has been catering to Londoners since 2009.
Securing a bank loan to open their first studio in Shoreditch, founders and pioneers of the boutique fitness model, Pip Black and Joan Murphy have since raised private investment to boost further expansion.
2016 saw the opening of both Frame Victoria and Frame’s very first stand-alone Yoga studio in Kings Cross, but according to Black further expansion is definitely on the cards for 2017.
Operating two existing London studios in Holborn and Shoreditch, indoor cycling boutique BOOM Cycle has plans to launch two more sites by the end of 2017.
Securing £430,000 in investment from Pembroke VCT in April 2013, Andrew Wolfson, chief executive of Pembroke, said at the time: “We are excited to have invested in BOOM Cycle, a dynamic UK company, and look forward to working with the founders to build the leading indoor cycling studio.”
Following an undisclosed investment from Octopus Investments, Barrecore which currently operates nine studios across the UK, including London, Manchester, Bristol and Leeds, has plans to expand throughout the UK and Europe in 2017.
The first of the ballet-inspired boutique chain’s new studios will open in Harrogate, in the UK, this month, with a new London location set to open in Moorgate in April.
“We’re thrilled to be opening in Harrogate. Following the successful launch of Barrecore Leeds last year, expanding into North Yorkshire with our partners Sweaty Betty is a natural and exciting progression,” Barrecore’s CEO, Peter Woods told Welltodo.
Opening its first location on Mortimer St in 2014, before expanding to Canary Wharf, indoor spinning boutique Psycle attracts over 5000 riders per week. The brand’s high energy classes and holistic approach to wellbeing have cultivated a strong community spirit – their classes regularly selling out.
Currently, in the midst of large-scale expansion plans, the brand is set to open its third London studio in Shoreditch this Spring with a further two sites on the cards for 2017.
Based in 26 locations, across 6 countries, Hotpod Yoga’s inflatable, heated pods have inspired over 35,000 customers to practice their unique and refreshing style of yoga, since the brand launched four years ago.
For 2017, the company has a handful of UK-wide franchise openings in the works, while the original founders Max Henderson and Nick Higgins plan on turning their current Brixton pop-up into a permanent new studio in the spring.
Sweat By BXR
New to the market, BXR opened its impressive flagship member’s gym in London in January. The state of the art venue, backed by IBF Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua, is the capital’s first fitness facility to operate a members-only gym as well as a pay-to-train boutique fitness concept, in an attempt to bridge the gap between the two.
The venue’s boutique concept Sweat By BXR is poised to launch in March, offering the pay-to-train client the benefits, amenities, and products that a member would usually get.
Arriving in the UK four years ago as part of the iconic American brand’s franchise model, Barry’s Bootcamp recently announced plans to open a third London site.
Known as Barry’s West, located on Queensway between Notting Hill and Bayswater, the studio is set to open this Spring.
As part of the brand’s long-term and carefully executed expansion strategy, choosing West London for the latest opening was an obvious choice, explained Sandy Macaskill, co-owner of Barry’s London.
“With imminent plans to develop this part of West London into a premier retail and leisure destination, the opening of Barry’s West has come at the perfect time,” he added.
Another American import, Studio Lagree landed in London in 2015. First launched in 2001, the renowned fitness program has enjoyed worldwide success due to its innovative, results-driven full-body workout, which boasts high-profile fans including Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Aniston and Michelle Obama.
According to Robert Lepone, Managing Director of Studio Lagree in the UK, the brand has plans to open two new locations this year. The first site will be located in Canary Wharf, with a second set for West London.
Australian-born fitness concept F45 exploded onto the scene in 2012 and has grown exponentially ever since. Operating a franchise model, the high-energy fitness brand can now be found in over 500 studios across the globe.
The UK’s first outpost launched in London Bridge last year, with a further seven studios set to open in London and beyond by the end of 2017. Confirmed locations include Tottenham Court Rd, Fulham and Kingston.
Backed by private investment, One LDN launched in London in 2016, in a bid to offer athlete level training and a no compromise premium fitness experience.
Set to open its second studio in Tower Hill in April, the new outpost will feature three studios – Strength and Conditioning, Boxing and Muay Thai and Hip Hop Hot Yoga.
“The opening of the new site is the start of the natural expansion of the brand, building further on our strengths in group fitness and the demand in the market,” founder Evgenia Koroleva told Welltodo.
Following the rollout of its first boutique fitness studio; Another Space, premium gym operator Third Space has plans to grow its stand-alone fitness concept. According to the brand’s CEO, Colin Waggett, a number of sites are currently under discussion.
Born from Third Space’ experience of both traditional health clubs and boutique studios, the existing studio which offers yoga, boxing and spinning, provides a solution for consumers wanting the boutique studio experience with variety and cross training benefits. It is yet to be confirmed if the forthcoming studios will feature the same model.
2017 looks set to be a big year for the self-labelled “King of Gyms” known as 1Rebel, as the disruptive brand gears up for expansion across the capital.
Having revealed plans for the launch of at least three new sites back in 2015 following a successful crowdfunding campaign, 1Rebel co-founder James Balfour has revealed that he hopes to deliver two or three new studios by the end of this year.
“We’ve played a dominant force in the city, and with both of our existing studios enjoying full occupancy, it’s important for us to expand our footprint outside of the area, towards central and West London,” he told Welltodo.
With negotiations currently taking place, the entrepreneur expects to be able to announce more details within the next couple of months.
Ten Health and Fitness
Adding to its portfolio of seven established studios across London, Ten Health and Fitness is set to open its eighth studio this April.
Located in Fitzrovia, the 2,700 sq ft outpost will offer Ten’s trademark Reformer Pilates classes and therapist expertise, as well as housing British athleisure brand HPE’s first ever UK retail store.
“We are pleased to have secured this great new site in Fitzrovia for Ten Health and Fitness, bringing their unique approach to health and rehabilitation to the capital and furthering the Ten brand, explained Casey Phillips of property agent Shelley Sandzer.
“The increasing vitality of the area is exemplified by this fantastic addition; sitting alongside some great recent additions to the street, including Mac and Wilde, Bonnie Gull and Foleys to name but a few, Ten is a prime example of how Great Titchfield Street and the surrounding area continues to evolve.”
With further notable launches coming from Core Collective, Triyoga, Bootcamp Pilates, Chroma Yoga and Groovecycle, 2017 is shaping up to be another big year for boutique fitness.