In this exclusive Q&A, Self Esteem Brands COO Angela Jaskolski shares more about the company and what Self Esteem Brands expects the personal health and wellness industry to look like coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Franchise Chatter (FC): For those who may not be familiar with Self Esteem Brands, can you share a bit of background on the company?
Angela Jaskolski (AJ): Self Esteem Brands is the parent company of fitness, personal health and wellness brands, including Anytime Fitness, The Bar Method, Waxing the City and Basecamp Fitness. Our mission is simple: To improve the self-esteem of the world. We do this by offering the best health and wellness franchising opportunities on the planet.
Anytime Fitness is one of the fastest-growing franchises in the world, with over 4,700 gyms on all seven continents. The Bar Method currently has approximately 100 studios in 30 states, with services focused on a low-impact, full-body workout aimed at improving strength, mobility and mental wellness. Our latest franchising brand, Basecamp Fitness, is a boutique franchise built around high-intensity interval training (HIIT), offering 35-minute classes – the most efficient workout out there – that rotate between various exercises aimed at improving strength and endurance.
In addition to our health franchises, we also focus on personal wellness with Waxing the City, which offers best-in-class services focused solely on facial and body waxing.
FC: Tell us a bit about how Self Esteem Brands and its franchises were impacted by the pandemic?
AJ: Like many businesses, the pandemic was a disruption to our business, but we adapted and were able to find ways to succeed. In March, along with most of the country, all four of our brands closed their doors temporarily as we tried to figure out a way to serve our customers as safely as possible. We quickly were able to work with our franchisees and brand leaders to figure out solutions that allowed us to continue operating studios safely, like social distancing measures and intensified cleanings. We also leaned into digital platforms like Bar Online and virtual workout classes for Anytime Fitness members so they had the tools they needed to workout wherever they are.
Each company has its own challenges during the pandemic, and we continue to work to find the best solutions for our customers and staff at every location, whether that is lowering capacity, offering digital courses or other measures. We already had a lot of the tools in place to ensure our customers had what they needed for their fitness, personal health and wellness journeys, but the pandemic definitely accelerated our ability to be nimble and solutions oriented.
FC: What is Self Esteem Brands’ outlook coming out of the pandemic? Have you seen any changes in the personal health and wellness industry that you think will impact your brands?
AJ: We’re very optimistic that our brands are positioned to do better than ever coming out of the pandemic. The demand for fitness, nutrition and personal wellness services is expected to surge as the world emerges from the pandemic, and SEB stands out from the competition with a holistic approach, operations on all seven continents, and a strong blend of digital and in-club/studio services to meet that demand. We are set to prove that the blend of digital and bricks and mortar channels can, through great design and impeccable execution, serve one another and deliver great experiences for both franchisees and consumers.
More broadly, the International Franchise Association recently released its 2021 Economic Outlook report, which predicts the franchise industry as a whole will recover to pre-pandemic levels this year. This is an excellent sign for our franchisees or anyone considering getting into the franchise industry.
Additionally, the report broke out growth predictions for various industries within franchising, and it predicted the personal health and wellness sector will grow by 3.5% in 2021.
FC: Has the pandemic affected how Self Esteem Brands will do business moving forward or how your brands will expand into new markets?
AJ: As I mentioned before, I think people are excited to get back to in-person activities, and we’re hoping to see an increase in demand for in-person personal health and wellness services coming out of the pandemic. That said, I think, as with a lot of industries, the pandemic has accelerated the demand for digital options for traditionally in-person services, like personal health and wellness. During the pandemic, we saw more people taking advantage of our brands’ online platforms, and our research indicates as we come out of the pandemic, we’re likely to see many members continue to use online platforms in some form for their personal health and wellness.
FC: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions. Before we close out our Q&A, why do you think someone interested in franchising should choose Self Esteem Brands?
AJ: Two things make Self Esteem Brands stand out. First, our proven franchising formats and best-in-class operations and franchisee support – our commitment to the success of our franchisees is simply unmatched. Whether an experienced entrepreneur looking to diversify their franchising portfolio, or someone passionate about fitness, personal health and wellness, we have the best options and support to put our franchisees in a position to succeed, anywhere in the world.
More so, our purpose is to improve the self-esteem of the world – and we are big believers in industry disruption to meet consumers where they are. Our president and CEO are the original co-founders of Anytime Fitness, which disrupted the fitness industry almost 20 years ago by meeting the needs of members differently than traditional gyms. Today, coming out of the pandemic, demand is growing for services that help consumers better manage their physical and mental health and wellness. This will be another moment of evolution for the fitness industry, and we’re fully focused on ways to accelerate our strengths in this space to lead this disruption and bring our purpose forward to help our franchise owners adapt and serve consumers in new ways.