In this exclusive Q&A, we get to learn more about Club Pilates and YogaSix from one of their franchisees, Keely Watson.
Franchise Chatter (FC): Tell us about your professional background. What inspired you to get into the franchising industry?
Keely Watson (KW): I’ve always loved fitness, specifically Pilates and yoga. It was a no-brainer when I decided to end my career in sales and marketing to become a full-time Pilates instructor. Since entering the realm of fitness, I have proven that I made the right decision. When an opportunity presented itself for me to go from instructor to owner, I took it!
FC: What was the fitness industry like when you began this journey?
KW: When I began working at Club Pilates, it had not yet been franchised. I bought into the franchise model early on because I saw the potential for growth not only for the company but for myself. I knew that I could optimize on that if I chose to expand later on.
FC: Explain the timeline of how you acquired so many businesses in so little time.
KW: The timeline in which I bought my franchises was pretty quick. From 2013, when I bought my first franchise, to 2018, I had a total of seven Club Pilates locations. Throughout this process, I brought on several business partners to assist in marketing and managing the studios. In 2018, I wanted to explore YogaSix, another Xponential Fitness brand, so I purchased my first YogaSix studio. I couldn’t stop with just one – I loved the concept. I currently have 12 locations, all of which are in California.
FC: What was the transition like going from Club Pilates to acquiring your first YogaSix?
KW: The transition from opening a Club Pilates to my first YogaSix was simple and efficient. I continued to open more Club Pilates and YogaSix locations in the Orange County area, eventually growing my collective membership from 0 to 3,500 members in just seven years.
FC: What prioritization methods do you use while owning over ten locations?
KW: It’s been quite the learning curve, from when I first started my first studio, to now. I have a lot more help, from my husband and two other partners as well as the immense support from Xponential Fitness. I’ve created positions for my team that delegate the variety of tasks I had when I first began.
I handle hiring, continuing education, certifications, scheduling, and tracking of the retail products we sell. My husband deals with the finance and human resources side of things. My two other partners, Jeff and Tim, are responsible for anything under the umbrella of sales and development. I also have a regional manager, and marketing manager.
FC: What is your goal for each local studio that you open?
KW: Creating a sense of community is extremely important to me. Of course, success is important too, but I want to encourage a positive, fun and uplifting work culture. I want to do this not only with my staff but among our clients as well.
I love hosting kickoff parties, social gatherings, and getting to know people on a more personal level. I also love chatting with studio staff about what community events they want to be involved in, as I find it’s what personalizes each studio. Having an open line of communication and trust is key.
FC: Why is the franchise system a great route for those pursuing first-time business ownership?
KW: Joining a franchise offers a great deal of support for first-time business owners. There’s a blueprint to follow and you’re able to capitalize on a system of collective knowledge and learning rather than making your own mistakes as you go. You have the support of experts in their individual fields versus trying to wear all of the hats yourself.
FC: What is a challenge you’ve faced owning so many studios, and how did you overcome it?
KW: Time management and delegation are both things I’ve had to improve on as we’ve opened additional studios. With 10 open studios all operating 7 days a week, organization and keeping a consistent schedule have been key in making sure things move along smoothly and I’m not constantly playing catch-up.
FC: How would you describe yourself as a leader?
KW: I tend to be pretty hands on. You have to know what you’re asking of your team and be willing to get down and dirty with the details to be able to lead effectively.
To find out more information about how you can bring the hottest wellness brand to your community, please visit the YogaSix franchise website.