March 5, 2024
Insights

The Female Moment in Fitness Is Now

Our co-founder shares her honest thoughts on the women-led shift and sports in the Lagree industry and beyond.

The Female Moment in Fitness Is Now

I have to be honest. In past years when I was asked to write about being a female leader in business, about the importance of women in leadership, I got frustrated. Frustrated because even though so many of us celebrate and support our collective power every day, we are still fighting in the fitness industry. 70% of boutique fitness studio owners are female, yet so many of us are continually struggling to be profitable or find funding. The part that bothers me the most (and why I stepped into a cofounder role at Walla)? It’s because there are so few voices representing your needs in FitTech. I felt like I was shouting into an echo chamber that didn’t seem to make an impact. But in this frustration, in this fight is where the magic happens. 

Well, plot twist. Industry events in March changed my tune—and I can confidently say that the female moment is now. This year, this Women’s History Month and beyond, I have a renewed sense of enthusiasm and hope. A new perspective on perseverance and courage. And it isn’t just Caitlin Clark's epic move into the top-scoring spot in NCAA history or the fact that, for the first time ever, women make up 50% of the athletes at the 2024 Summer Olympics. (Though these major accomplishments just upped my high-vibe moment.) So what lit a fire and gave my mindset a major dose of female-driven motivation? The Lagree Summit, IHRSA, and yes, sports. 

I returned from the Lagree Summit in Las Vegas, where over 350 Lagree studio owners, trainers, staff, and enthusiasts from around the world came together for the first time ever to learn, sweat, connect, and inspire each other in a fitness modality and methodology we are all so passionate about. It was lightning in a bottle, and with the attendees being over 90% women, the female energy was absolutely crushing it. Can you feel my previous frustrations dissipating into thin air? 

The Lagree crowd was electric. These ladies of Lagree who are teaching and owning studios around the world are raising money, making big decisions, and building profitable businesses. The best part? They are leaning on each other for support, all while making a massive impact on the health and longevity of their communities. There were dozens of young, hungry ladies at the Lagree Summit on the path to entrepreneurship as they prepared to open their first studios, alongside industry vets sharing invaluable advice and insight on the best path forward. 

As the weekend progressed in oh-so-windy Las Vegas, I started to dig into personal conversations outside software and business and ask about their individual backgrounds. Their whys. Specifically, I wanted to know what gave these women the courage to start a business with impressive machines that, frankly, are not inexpensive to get off the ground. And, unsurprisingly to me, the consistent thread amongst different soon-to-be and veteran studio owners was, “I played sports, and I just fell in love with movement.” Or “I was a competitive athlete, and needed a way to exercise that was low impact later on.” Some were golfers, basketball players, swimmers, and part of dance teams. But the overall theme was that movement, competition, and teamwork were an integral part of their lives from a young age. 

As an ex-Division 1 volleyball player, marathon runner, and now tennis aficionado, I understand the grit and determination sports instill. But, more importantly, it’s the confidence and sense of team accountability that really set athletes up for success in business. Deloitte’s study last year actually proved this point, stating that out of women who make $100K+ annually and are in management or leadership roles, 69% have played competitive sports. 

When I started my consulting firm, Studio Solutions, nine years ago, I wanted to give studio owners, specifically women, a chance at real success and an opportunity for generational financial freedom. Starting Walla was the next evolution of that dream. At Studio Solutions, I have helped hundreds of women find the day-to-day operations and sales processes for success, and now with Walla, we can give them a software platform that brings ease to the process and helps them build better, stronger relationships with their clients. But after this weekend, I realized it’s more than that. 

The Lagree Summit became a reminder that in the fitness and wellness industry, it’s about starting younger. It’s about finding and prioritizing movement—and empowering the younger female generations to get out, join a team, and instigate a positively competitive nature. As a mother of a 12-year-old athlete, that empowerment is my responsibility. It’s my commitment to constantly support her and remind her of her power as an athlete, teammate, and human because, like my daughter, young women are the next chapter of studio owners, clients, and instructors. So, my renewed, newfound positivity around women in leadership is met with motivation and a huge call to action. To create a continual loop of female-led support, and that starts with inspiring girls to play and continue with sports. 

No matter what your role is at your studio, we are the women of boutique fitness, and together, we can make a difference. Through connections, learnings, and partnerships, which is what I see as I meet and engage with owners, instructors, and trainers, like at the Lagree Summit, we can be more profitable, lifting up this industry—and our impact.

Customer retention is the key

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What are the most relevant factors to consider?

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Don’t overspend on growth marketing without good retention rates

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What’s the ideal customer retention rate?

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Next steps to increase your customer retention

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President & Co-founder

Passionate yogi, wellness aficionado, and client relations expert with over two decades in FitTech

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