Ashley Verma is the founder of the boutique studio Define London.
Ashley suffered an injury during her broadway dance career and following her recovery was a journey into developing a fitness program designed to be gender, age and fitness-level inclusive. With a demonstrated history of working in the health wellness and fitness industry and strong skills in performing arts and teaching, Ashley created Define London. The signature offering of the Define concept is a Barre class.
We met with Ashley to find out her suggestions for gaining and retaining clients in a boutique group exercise setting.
What are your three top tips for gaining and retaining clients at a boutique gym or studio?
1) Know your client!
Know who they are why they’re there. Know their aches and pains, especially in the fitness world, obviously!
From a boutique standpoint, for Define London, we know what we can house in here, we know how many people we can fit in studio one and studio two. Our front desk is always engaging, we write down notes when someone comes to the desk to make sure the instructor knows everything they need to about the client. For example: “Just so you know, the client is four weeks postnatal, she’s going to need some corrections, make sure you meet her prior.” So you should really get to know your clients and answer any questions that they have.
2) Know your brand!
It’s also absolutely essential to know your brand. In a nutshell, know what you’re doing and believe in it! Everything must be aligned if you want to succeed.
For me, at the moment I’m working with 10 concepts for Define London to get involved in. Each one is structured, I believe in them, and they work. That’s how we’re getting them out there and that’s what’s bringing the clients in.
3) Know your community!
This is beyond important. Where did you decide to put your business, what street are you on, what direction are you facing, how close are you to a tube station? How can you get every vendor involved from your front door to the tube station?
Collaborations with other brands are really useful – networking and building relationships with local businesses can be key at the start of a new business venture. For us, we’re in Fitzrovia, so we’re doing everything we can to collaborate with restaurants, hair salons, the colleges and universities that are around here, the mums who are dropping the kids at school. We get the kids to come in for a cardio class, something fun for the school, and then their mums can get involved.
It’s just having a thorough understanding of where you are planting down and believing in it. For me, as a business owner, I looked everywhere and this location just felt right and it worked out, and I thank the man upstairs for it. I trust we are in the right spot, and you know, as the saying goes “If you build it, they will come”. I’m a firm believer that we’ve built it and people trust in the brand so they’re coming, and thankfully, they’re also staying!