Why Clubs Need to ‘Level Up’ with Group Fitness
For this CEO spotlight, we sat down with Stacey Seward Vandiver, the co-founder and CEO of SoulBody, to talk about her experiences in the fitness industry:
How did you get your start in the health and fitness industry?
SSV: Fitness has always been an important part of my life and I realized early on its impact on whole health and wellness. Once I discovered the Pilates method and began teaching, I knew I had found a voice. Being in front of a class and working with people came very natural to me. I have an entrepreneurial spirit and a love for “what’s next.” The minute I discovered barre classes, I knew the time had come to begin developing a method that would speak to the following I had built. As soon as Merritt Clubs approached us to train their instructors in our method, I knew we had a solution to a problem: creating progressive, on-trend content for group fitness.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome and how did you overcome it?
SSV: Making our mark in the group fitness space — it wasn’t easy. There were plenty of group fitness trainings, but most were doing the same general programming for years and had not progressed with the changes that were being created by the boutique studio boom. Staying focused, putting everything back in the company, and being able to envision where we were going and what we were creating allowed me to continue on our path to bringing smart, results-driven, on-trend classes to group fitness. Once clubs like Gold’s Gym, Merritt Clubs, GoodLife Fitness in Canada, and SuperMonkey in China, to name a few, experienced the SoulBody difference, we have seen our company grow.
What are the keys to your company’s success?
SSV: Authenticity, persistence, determination, and most importantly, building a strong community and team. We are true to our values and beliefs. That is contagious. As they say, your vibe attracts your tribe. I am very proud of the support we have received from the ground up — our squad of instructors believing in the power of SoulBody’s programs. You can have the best product in the world, but without a team to go with it, forget it.
Another key component to SoulBody’s success is our partnerships we establish with health clubs that implement the programs. They are not in it alone. We call this is our SoulBody Collective: instructors, clubs and the group fitness enthusiast. Since establishing our business model in 2015, we have had 99% retention of health clubs and 85% retention of certified instructors subscribed to our choreography — numbers we are very proud of and what keeps me going.
What is your vision for your company’s future?
SSV: Group fitness is at an all-time high due to the rise of boutique studios — 450% in the last two years. Larger health clubs need to level up and offer new, smart, on-trend classes and create the same type of experiences. I love sifting through the trends, watching what is happening in the group fitness space, and creating new programming that will elevate the experience for clubs. So, stay tuned for more to come.