This blog is a place to learn about the exploding phenomena of “boutique fitness studios”. We talk about the business. How to start them, how to operate them, what the opportunities are, and what the challenges are. If you’re exploring business opportunities in this space, dig in.
In 2005, (after 25 years in a corporate job), when I started in this business, I’d never heard the term “boutique fitness”. It wasn’t a thing. To work out, people went to health clubs and gyms. A few quirky people went to yoga studios. When my sister and I opened the first cycling studio on the east coast, we called it a “dedicated cycling studio”. People knew indoor cycling from seeing it at the gym, but the idea of a studio dedicated to one kind of workout had to be explained. Not today.
The area surrounding our small cycling studio in suburban Boston had just 2 fitness studios in 2005, our cycling studio and one yoga studio. Today there are 3 barre studios, 4 bootcamp concepts, 3 Crossfits, 5 cycling studios, 5 more yoga studios, a boxing place, a handful of ‘hybrids’, and I’m quite sure there are more coming.
By the way, there are also more traditional health club options in our area than there were in 2005. What? How is that possible? There is only one explanation:
Boutique fitness studios have not grown primarily by luring customers away from gyms…..they have grown by drawing new people into fitness, literally creating new markets and users.
This is a key concept for anyone interested in this business. Starbucks didn’t grow only by stealing coffee drinkers from other coffee shops. Starbucks created new coffee drinkers. Boutique fitness is creating new fitness participants. The reasons behind this growth are dealt with in this blog, but believe me, the growth is real.
Here, we are working to help you understand the market and to identify opportunities within it. That is why we exist.
p.s. for more on our history read "one guy's boutique studio adventure"
After a 25 year stint in corporate America, Bill Pryor co-founded “Spynergy” the first cycling studio on the east coast in 2005 (later changed to CycleBar). After 5 years of highly profitable operation, in 2009 he established a consulting company to help boutique studio entrepreneurs and worked on dozens of studio startups around the world. In 2014, he co-founded the first cycling studio franchise company, CycleBar, that opened over 100 locations in it’s first 3 years. That company was sold to a private equity group that continues to operate and evolve the concept. Bill has been highly active as an owner, operator, and adviser with both independent operators and with franchisees in fitness. In this blog he also partners with other boutique studio experts with extensive history in this arena.