Brendan James and Matt Gordin are brothers-in-law and close friends, who have secured the master franchising rights to Rumble Boxing in Australia under their brand, Boutique Fitness Studios.
The duo also have exclusive rights to Club Pilates, CycleBar, and StretchLab, all of which are extremely popular US brands that fall under the Xponential Fitness banner. A publicly listed company in the US, Xponential is the largest franchisor of boutique fitness brands globally with 10 brands spanning 2,700+ locations across the world.
Who are Boutique Fitness Studios?
Over just a few years, and despite landing the deal at the start of COVID lockdowns, Brendan and Matt have secured the rights to be the master franchisor in Australia, and the studios so far, have been successful. Brendan and Matt have brought some of the biggest and star-studded workouts in the world to Australia. Boutique Fitness Studios (BFS) has landed the master franchise rights to:
Rumble is the hottest celebrity-backed workout in fitness right now. It has massive brand loyalty and widespread appeal partly thanks to attracting top names like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner, Jason Derulo, and Kevin Hart to its studios.
This Pilates concept offers over 8 million classes per year and is the US’s most successful Pilates brand.
A boutique cycling concept that delivers an immersive, multi-sensory experience in state-of-the-art “CycleTheaters.” Classes are led by specially trained instructors, enhanced with high-energy “CycleBeats” playlists, and tracked using rider-specific “CycleStat” performance metrics.
A world-leading boutique assisted stretching brand. They already have 30 locations open across the brands, and 90 are already licensed in Australia with more to come.
All of these brands are supported by Xponential Fitness, which is the largest global franchise group of boutique fitness brands.
The Story Behind Boutique Fitness Studios:
Growing up in Perth, the pair met when Matt began dating Brendan’s sister and they became great friends. After graduating from university together, Matt chose to pursue a business career, while Brendan ventured into the world of options trading. Brendan’s trading expertise eventually led him to Chicago, while Matt’s entrepreneurial spirit took him to Los Angeles to explore various business ventures.
Despite their differing career paths, both Matt and Brendan shared a passion for the fitness industry. They had an opportunity to experience Xponential, a prominent player in the boutique fitness space, and were thoroughly impressed by the brand’s comprehensive offering, innovative business model, and global success in franchising complementary boutique fitness concepts.
Inspired by their exposure to Xponential, Matt decided to bring CycleBar, the largest indoor cycling brand, back with him to their hometown of Currumbine. Meanwhile, Brendan, after retiring from trading, embarked on his own entrepreneurial journey by developing Club Pilates.
With the first CycleBar opening in 2020 and Club Pilates in 2021, the universe threw a few curve balls for indoor group exercise. “The pandemic definitely had an impact and was difficult, but believing it would be temporary, we pushed through. The closures hurt the most but with government subsidies etc, we came out the other side and continued to grow. COVID, if anything has had a long term positive impact on the industry with people more concerned with health and wellbeing.” says Brendan.
So what was it about these two brands that caught the attention of Brendan and Matt and made them want to introduce them to the Aussie market?
“Pilates was already big in Australia, but not with the quality and the target market that Club Pilates demands. It was missing a big portion of the audience and we saw this as a big opportunity”, says Brendan. “For CycleBar, no one in Australia was doing rhythm riding like CycleBar or Soul Cycle does in the US, and again we saw an untapped demographic to go after. We also had tried and really enjoyed both products more than anything we had experienced to date in Australia.”
As the number of brands under their belts grew and the opportunities to scale effectively in Australia became more apparent, Brendan and Matt decided to join forces under the BFS name, offering a portfolio of four distinct fitness brands under one umbrella. This strategic collaboration allowed them to leverage their combined expertise and resources to expand their reach and impact in the industry.
With over 30 open locations and 90 studios already sold across the BFS group, their business continues to flourish with a focus on further expansion. The latest addition to their brand family, Rumble, has quickly become one of the hottest brands in the market, gaining significant popularity. Excited about its potential, Brendan and Matt have plans to open five new Rumble studios this year, further solidifying their position in the boutique fitness industry.
What's it like to own a Rumble franchise in Australia?
Dan and Jasmine Collins are the studio owners for Rumble Mona Vale, in Sydney. Seeking more flexibility with their young family and a way to align their work with their lifelong love of fitness had led Dan and Jas to consider opening their own boxing / HIIT studio. Their concept included their own touches of what they both liked in training that catered to all fitness levels and ages.
When the pandemic put their plans on hold, they heard about Rumble through a couple of Dan’s best friends – globally renowned DJ brothers, Chris and Matt Stafford. Living in LA, the Stafford brothers had been training at both the Rumble LA and NYC studios. After hearing all the hype and then investigating the franchise further, the Collins couple decided to go all-in.
“The biggest hesitation we had was that we wouldn’t be able to put our own twist on the studio due to the franchise model, but we recognised early on to trust the process. The combination of boxing, strength, and HIIT, plus the nightclub vibe of Rumble is what we were planning to do, but on steroids, and the end result is amazing”, says Dan.
On the other side of the country, Alistair Borg recognised Rumble as a fantastic opportunity. The studio owner of Rumble Subiaco, in Perth had worked in the fitness industry earlier on in life and had always dreamed of opening a boxing studio that was accessible to all fitness and skill levels. After a career segway into oil and gas, then real estate, Alistair felt a pull back towards the fitness industry. “I was looking for an avenue back into the world of fitness and heard that the boutique fitness phenom, Rumble Boxing, was coming to Australia and I knew I had to be a part of it”, says Alistair.
No stranger to business, Alistair hails from a family of entrepreneurs and has owned and operated small businesses before with his wife. “Franchises are built on brands and Rumble has a unique edge in the fitness industry with its exciting brand. Once we had done our research on the team behind Boutique Fitness in Australia and Xponential Fitness in the US, we were confident that the support they would provide would be excellent and it has proven to be so. Even though I thought I had the necessary experience to build a successful business, having a team of people who have a proven track record in the industry, that could provide further training and processes just makes a lot of sense”, says Alistair.
Even a proven model like Rumble can come with its challenges. Franchises provide a certain amount of safety because there is often a huge amount of expertise that a studio owner can tap into at the corporate level. According to Alistair, “The economic position that the entire world is facing right now meant that I knew it would take a lot of hard work to be successful. My thought process is that people still what a community-based fitness studio like Rumble can provide, you just need to be better at it than your competition and provide an amazing experience for your members. They need to want to come and be a part of that experience and get a bloody good workout along the way. So that is what we set out to create and we feel like we are succeeding in that endeavour and will always strive and work to be the best that we can be in order to stay ahead of our competition.”
What makes a fitness franchise model successful?
BFS has carefully selected its brands based on research, consumer demand, and popularity. These tried and tested fitness offerings have already been refined in the US market before landing in Australia. “A strong and supportive infrastructure starting at Xponential, through to us, and then through to the Franchisees provides the best chance for success”, says Brendan.
So far, the numbers certainly add up, for Boutique Fitness Studios, with studios open for longer than a year averaging revenue greater than $40,000 per month for the last 12 months. The top 5 studios under their umbrella have had an average revenue of over $60,000 per month for the last 12 months.
Dan and Jasmine Collins attribute much of their success to finding a product that they genuinely enjoy and are passionate about and recommend aspiring entrepreneurs do the same. “It will reflect back into everything you do”, says Dan.
For budding business owners looking to enter the fitness industry or franchise model, Alistair has some words of advice:
“Here are a few things have learned along the way that I think are vital for success.
Firstly – The franchisor can give you the tools and tell you what you need to do to succeed, but they can’t do it for you. Like any small business, it takes hard work and dedication to make it work.
Secondly – You need to create an energy that makes people want to be a part of what you are building.
Finally – You can’t do it all alone, find good people to employ and bring on your journey with you. Find ways to make them a part of that journey and be invested in it. Teamwork makes the dream work.”
What opportunities are available for potential franchisees?
Brendan says that BFS currently has locations available in all states and territories across their brands. If you can see yourself running a boutique fitness studio, contact BFS via their website to find out more.
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