Träningsboomen har kommit för att stanna. Vi löper som aldrig förr och gymmen har blivit jättar som hela tiden basunerar ut nya pass och träningsformer. Hur står man ut på en så konkurrensutsatt marknad? Ett företag som vänt upp och ner på många av föreställningarna om hur, och var, man tränar är det New York-baserade företaget KiwiSweat. Deras modell, som de kallar ”pop-up fitness”, går ut på att erbjuda unika ”en-gångs” träningsevents på olika ställen i New York.
Vad sägs om ett spinning-pass med utsikt över Brooklyn Bridge? Eller ett högintensivt kickboxningspass till afrikansk livemusik i en övergiven teater? Genom sina annorlunda träningsevents har KiwiSweat fått många fans. Men företaget håller just nu på att ömsa skin för att skapa framtidens träning.
Vår egen Erik Niklasson, som just nu befinner sig i New York, träffade grundarna Alicia Thomas och Pam Graf och pratade om att vikten av att hela tiden utvecklas, ta sig över hinder och tänka nytt.
How did it all start?
Alicia: I was working for a real estate consulting company. After business school, I thought I wanted a corporate position where I would wear a suit every day. It was exciting working with large scale projects in New York City and abroad. But after a while I felt I was just creating powerpoints and it didn’t feel very creative. Before attending graduate school, I had been involved in a number of small startups. I missed that world and the creativity that comes with working with start up companies and I really wanted to get back to that. I always had a passion for fitness, so I decided to start a spinning studio. A former colleague introduced me to Pam and we decided to do it together.
I had done research about spaces in town for a hot yoga and spinning studio. A good location is everything, but finding one that you can afford as a startup is difficult. We had to think differently. That’s when we came up with the idea of making temporary fitness events in different spaces around the city. New York is full of empty, cool spaces. Why not use them? We called our model ”pop-up fitness”, went all in and started KiwiSweat in 2011.
We held our first event in Chelsea Market in downtown Manhattan in a space that was temporarily empty between two tenants. Thinking back on it, we were quite naive in the beginning, which was probably a good thing. We asked an instructor who’s really big in the spinning world if she wanted to teach the first class and luckily she agreed. Having the best instructors is essential for us.
Alicia: Then the lifestyle publication Well and Good wrote about us and we started getting a lot of attention. This was an exciting time. We were featured in NY Times and the Wall Street Journal very early on. Using alternative spaces for fitness also came with a lot of unexpected drama! Since then, every event has come with its own set of challenges. But it’s been a lot of fun.
What’s the next step?
One problem we faced was that KiwiSweat couldn’t easily scale. This was a real obstacle. We had plans on expanding to other cities but realized it would be difficult to do without setting up satellite offices and the numbers just didn’t support that. We wanted KiwiSweat to be a ”real” company. We never wanted to be event coordinators. In order to take KiwiSweat to the next level we had find a way to make it scalable. Then suddenly one night I woke up and had a great idea. I called Pam and said, ”We have to meet first thing tomorrow”.
From day 1, KiwiSweat has been a platform for instructors. We’ve always put the instructors in the center, so why not give them all the power? We are now developing an app that will serve as a platform where instructors can connect to people who wish to find new exciting ways to exercise. By using our platform the instructors will have greater freedom than when working for a traditional gym and will also be able to make more money. The people using the app will find a growing variety of alternative exercise events. We will still do fitness events (our pop-ups), but more for marketing purposes.
Pam: It’s like Airbnb, but for fitness. The great thing about it is that it’s not limited to any specific country or city. Any instructor with an idea can create an event or a class. It could be anything. A yoga session in a park, kayaking, anything. We are really excited about this and will have a fully functional app by early summer.
KiwiSweats framgång visar tydligt på vikten av att utmana invanda föreställningar och använda outnyttjade resurser för att skapa värden för sina kunder. Vilka utmaningar står ditt företag inför? Behöver ni hjälp att tänka nytt? Varför inte boka in en dag hos oss på Idéfabriken för ett kreativt träningspass? Hör av dig, så berättar vi mer.