Scott Borthwick started White Collar Boxing London in 2010, since which time over a thousand office workers have switched the comfort of their desks for the fear and adrenaline of the boxing ring. With over 10 large events a year, each attracting 500-1000 spectators, this 27 year old ex-surveyor has got the booming London market all but wrapped up. We met with Scott to find out where this new trend is coming from and how he’s separating himself from the rest of the pack.
Where has this recent white collar boxing craze come from?
The health and fitness industry is booming. People are getting more and more into exercise but not everyone wants to do the same thing. They’re tired of the usual spinning classes and circuit training. They want to do something a bit different and exciting, and it doesn’t get much more different and exciting than stepping into a boxing ring!
There are countless companies trying to get in on the white collar boxing trend. How have you captured such a large part of the London market?
I tried various things early on that didn’t work. The worst being a £700 ad in the Metro that failed to create a single lead. Now my new fighters come through the following channels:
- Word of mouth – first and foremost I focus on the experience of our contenders. Their safety and enjoyment comes above all else, and consequently a huge chunk of our new fighters come through recommendation. Social media –I post everything we do on social media and the engagement, particularly on the Facebook pages of the contenders, is huge. People want to broadcast the fact that they’re taking part in something so unusual.
- Social media –I post everything we do on social media and the engagement, particularly on the Facebook pages of the contenders, is huge. People want to broadcast the fact that they’re taking part in something so unusual.
- Flyers –many people are curious about boxing but they’re too afraid to do anything about it. I hire people with a bit of character that can quickly get across our core message – this isn’t for psychos looking to knock someone’s head off. It’s for normal people, just like them, searching for the experience of their lives.
What makes you different?
Ultimately it all comes down to one thing – we make people feel comfortable. Every day we get emails from people saying “I’d love to take part but I’m sh*tting it.” So we tell them “Just come along and see what you think. You don’t need to take part. Just see what’s going on and decide if it might be for you.”
Across the country there are people trying to copy us but they’re cutting every corner and putting short term profit over the experience of the contenders. I’ve seen events elsewhere in the country where brawls have kicked off in the crowds, chairs have been thrown into the ring and all sorts. It’s carnage.
That’s not what we’re about. We’re targeting professionals and they expect a professional experience. If you apply then the first thing I’m going to do is check you out online and make sure you’re not the kind of person that might be doing this for the wrong reasons.
How do you get this across in your marketing?
That message is at the heart of everything we do but if there’s one tool that’s allowed me to convey it time and time again it’s YouTube. I’ve had several videos shot and the return on investment has been huge. Not only do they communicate the friendliness, safety and professionalism of our approach to the fighters themselves, but those fighters can then pass the videos onto their friends and family who might otherwise assume the worst and try to talk them out of taking part.
You can see our latest video here: