Sydney’s ecclectic entrepreneur Jake Henley and business partners Rebecca Roussos and Tri Nguyen talk about leadership, fitness and coffee with Technogym Australia’s Guilio Gasperini, to discuss the secrets behind the broad success of Australia’s first Snap franchisee.
Jake Henley and his team want to be more than just industry innovators in the Australian wellness scene. Internationally awarded (among others, the prestigious Snap Fitness Franchisee of the Year Prize in 2010), with 11 years of experience in the fitness industry and 20 opened clubs, the Sydney trio aims to become the new standard in small-business management and start-ups.
We interviewed Jake Henley at the brand new Snap Fitness Club in the perennially fashionable village of Double Bay. Strategically located in the deluxe ground floor precinct of the InterContinental, the club boasts state-of-the-art Technogym equipment, offering a comprehensive wellness solution to satisfy the most demanding members and hotel guests.
Jake, you were only 23 when you opened Australia’s first Snap Fitness Club.
Yes, together with Rebecca Roussos, back in 2009. Rebecca is at my side since day one and was the Club Manager at our first Brisbane club. We both had worked in the fitness industry for years but wanted to make a step further and start our own company. Business started to grow pretty fast and we needed a reliable financial advisor. That professional turned out to be Tri Nguyen, and we clicked immediately. In 2012 we decided to join forces and became business partners. Rebecca, Tri and I complement each other’s skills and personalities and work very well together.
What are your three fitness trends for the next two years?
- Group Cycling
- Micro-studios (niche membership)
Surry Hills, Sydney’s creative hub and one of the trendiest suburbs, will be home to your newest project. Tell us more.
Surry Hills represents an important milestone for us, as this will be our twentieth club. The centre, opening in September, is located in a very strategic position only few steps from Central and Museum stations. This club is spaced over two levels, for a total 1,600sqm of pure Wellness and fun. In addition to innovative Technogym cardio and strength equipment, the club will have a large group fitness studio offering Hot Yoga, Tabata and Zuu classes, just to name a few. And, in a couple of months’ time, every gym member and coffee lover will also be able to relax or have a healthy bite at the Henley’s Wholefoods Café just located downstairs.
Here you are, not only fitness…
Indeed, the fitness side of the business represents only a part of a broad portfolio of brands under The Henley Group umbrella, which ranges from boutique property developments to commercial fitouts and cafes. In 2013 we inaugurated the first Henley’s Wholefoods: a boutique paleo, organic and lean café located right next to the fitness club. This concept allowed us to create value for our customers, potential customers and ultimately shareholders. We currently own six cafes, all within or next to the fitness clubs, and more are planned to come.
What would you suggest to young people willing to start up their own business?
Focus and commitment. First make sure this (entrepreneurial project) is really what you want to do, second make sure you know what you are doing. Thinking about doing something just because it’s a good idea is just not enough. Be persistent and keep going, from day one and all the way through.
What’s your relationship with fitness equipment suppliers?
Innovation and quality are at the centre of everything we do at The Henley Group. Technogym is our preferred brand from day one and I personally love to train on Technogym equipment every day.
To find out more: www.thehenleygroup.com.au
Pictured: Snap Fitness Double Bay, featuring Technogym’s Excite Unity, Kinesis and Element Lines.