THE RIGHT FIT
The latest gym concept has the Fernwood Fitness stamp of approval.
A Fernwood Fitness franchisee comes up with a fresh concept, which the women’s gym chain founder will help her bring to the Australian market –
and maybe further afield
Joining forces, a Fernwood Fitness franchisee and the gym chain’s founder are bringing a new concept to the fitness arena in Australia, with a shared hope of eventually taking it to the world. Adala Bolto came up with the idea of Zadi Training after years of working as a franchisee in the female-only full-service gym brand.
Based on her insights into the get-fit world, Bolto has a different audience in mind with her boutique offer. As the grande dame of Australian female fitness, Fernwood is backing its young protegee with her concept of a fresh approach, a branded studio.
“While there’s an obvious synergy between the two models, the demographics are quite different,” says Bolto. While Fernwood appeals to women of all ages and has such services as childcare, Zadi Training is focused on millennial women who want to be in a like-minded community and are not interested in the extras provided by a full-service gym.
Fernwood Fitness founder/CEO Diana Williams says she is excited about the new sub-brand and is fully committed to building it into a strong, reliable brand.
“Fernwood has been in business for almost 30 years, and while we have always changed to adapt to the ever-changing market and evolving demands of women, there is also another woman not catered for by Fernwood. The Zadi woman is independent, committed to hardcore exercise and wants to be part of a new movement reshaping the future of fitness for women.”
Women are driving a change in the fitness industry, says Australian Institute of Fitness training maestro Nardia Norman.
“We will see female-specific programs becoming mainstream. There is a rise of influential female body-positive professionals taking on weight loss and parts of the fitness industry that capitalise on women’s body insecurities. Together with more female-specific research and an empowered female consumer, we will see more programs dedicated to women’s training and health.”
Zadi has partnered with TechnoGym to offer bespoke technology not yet seen in Australia, such as built-in female-targeted weight options, tailored video display as well as personalised experiences for individual members, catering for all fitness levels. Flexible membership options will even include pay-as-you-go for classes.
Classes are the heart of the program. It is based on exercise science, and the founders engaged fitness guru Damian Kelly to create a structured program that will work specifically for women.
While the strategy is similar to the
F45 trainer/class-based model, there is a premium price tag for customers. Class ratios are tightly controlled, the result of feedback in the research stage that oversubscribed classes were a pain point for many women. In Zadi Training, a studio space of up to 150sqm caters for a maximum of 16 participants, with a sophisticated fitout aimed to appeal to young professional women.
Bolto says the niche nature of the model allows for efficiencies across the business. “It’s seamless, there is a lot of paperless functionality and streamlined technology.”
While passionate trainers are ideal franchisees, investors with the right approach, a passion for fitness and wellness but perhaps lacking fitness qualifications, can be signed up as well, and employ trainers to run the sessions. Kelly will train the trainers, so there is consistency across the network.
The focus will be on safety and effectiveness, offering different intensity levels and ensuring trainers can explain to customers which level to take. “It’s not a fad. It is based on ongoing fitness principles, but we’ll keep up with developments,” says Bolto.
Franchise buyers can expect to pay between $200,000 and $250,000 for a bespoke studio. In the pre-launch phase the company is running a teaser campaign on Facebook and Instagram before opening the first two boutique studios, in Neutral Bay and Surry Hills in Sydney. The brand will then roll out across New South Wales and other states throughout this year.
Without revealing the five-year plan, Bolto says the focus for the first 12 months is to get the first franchises up and running successfully. But the goals are ambitious and the brand can be global, she says.
Williams says she will be involved in the rollout and development of Zadi, with the day-to-day business being managed by Bolto.
So why Zadi? “We like the sound of it. It sounds like a fashion brand or nightclub,” says Bolto. In Urdu, she says, the word expresses inner strength.
Perfect for a female fitness brand.