Crafting a Successful First Year: Must-Have Events for Your Boutique Fitness Studio

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Crafting a Successful First Year: Must-Have Events for Your Boutique Fitness Studio

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Opening a new boutique fitness studio is an exciting endeavor that combines your passion for health and wellness with entrepreneurship. Although your to-do list as a studio owner is long, it's important to remember that one of your best opportunities to build a thriving studio is to host events that engage your community, create buzz, and establish your brand. There are a variety of events you can choose from to make your studio's first year successful. Let's discuss how to plan, market, and execute your events flawlessly.

Grand Opening Party: Announce Your Arrival

Your grand opening event sets the tone for your studio's journey ahead. Make it a memorable experience by offering free classes, live demos, studio tours, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Before your event, reach out to local partners to help spread the word and participate in the grand opening party directly, including other small business owners who cater to a similar demographic, influencers with a reach in your area, a local charity you can support, athleisure retailers, and the community at large. 

You'll need at least 6-8 weeks to plan, schedule, invite, and market, so give yourself enough time to ensure a great turnout. Overshare your event and reach out to every connection to get the word out. Remember to include:

  • Flyers at local coffee shops, businesses, and retailers.
  • Lululemon and Athleta often share studio events on their calendars.
  • Create a raffle for early founding members to win a prize for each new client they bring to the grand opening.
  • Local newspapers- don't underestimate how effective a well-written press release can be.
  • Choose a local radio station to run ads if you have the budget.
  • Buy a sandwich board with a QR code to a landing page and the words "FREE classes."
  • Facebook Ads, Instagram posts, and TikTok if you're active on those channels. 
  • Google posts with weekly updates and a clear CTA (call to action).
  • Chamber of Commerce- This is who will do your ribbon cutting.
  • Local business groups or networking events.
  • Eventbrite has a fantastic SEO reach.
  • Newsletters (weekly leading up to the event).
  • A lead magnet popup on your website that captures email addresses 
  • Specific multi-day campaign leading up to the open house.
  • Ask any invited small business partners to post on their social channels and newsletters.

Workshops: Share Knowledge

Host monthly workshops that dive deep into specific fitness techniques, nutrition tips, or wellness practices or partner with experts in holistic health, including mindfulness coaches and physical therapists. These events can cover topics like stress management, injury prevention, and creating a well-rounded fitness routine. Market these workshops as opportunities to improve overall well-being and provide opportunities for your members to chat before and after the workshop to develop relationships.

Your instructors or guest experts with their own following can lead these workshops, but they should complement your studio culture. Promote these events as opportunities for your clients to expand their knowledge and skills while fostering community within your studio. Studio owners often trip when it comes to payment for workshops. From a formula perspective, your teacher should earn 30 percent or less of the total workshop price. Often, teachers ask for 60 to 70 percent, which leaves the studio owner and the studio both in the red for these events. If you need help pricing a workshop, contact our preferred partners

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Member Appreciation Week: Celebrate Loyalty

Set aside an entire week to celebrate your members and those who have shown unwavering support during your first year. Plan an event or surprise every day, like a coffee and tea bar on Monday, customizable Epsom salts on Tuesday, and a retail discount on Wednesday leading up to a special members-only themed class or party on the last day. The sky is the limit here; get creative to supply what your members will be excited to receive. Offer exclusive discounts, special classes, and personalized experiences or gifts that say, "I know I couldn't do this without you. Thank you for believing in us." Not only does member appreciation week show your clients how much you value them, but it also boosts retention rates, encourages clients to choose memberships over class packs, and is an incredible marketing tool.

Charity Challenges: Sweat for a Cause

Organize charity-driven challenges that motivate your clients to achieve their fitness goals while contributing to a meaningful cause. Cause-based events like fundraisers create a sense of unity as participants work together toward a collective goal while simultaneously giving back to the local community. I like to run one philanthropic event per quarter and let my clients present a favorite charity to be voted on yearly. These may look like:

  • Donation-based days or classes where all proceeds go to the chosen charity
  • Silent auction fundraisers for a local charity. Invite other small businesses to donate services or products to be auctioned off to create even more community buzz.
  • Item drives like dog food for a shelter or supplies to stock duffel bags for children in foster care. 
  • A walk-a-thon (or push-ups, plank minutes, sun salutations, etc.) where clients gather pledges for a specific action in a class or event.

Promote these events by emphasizing the impact participants will have on the community and reach out to your local neighborhood to share the word and gather support. The chosen charity will also share your information, so these events- while essential for a thriving community- also support your bottom line and bring in leads. 

Themed Fitness Parties: Combine Fun and Fitness

Host fitness parties that align with holidays or seasons. For instance, a "Spooky Spin" Halloween event or a "Summer Sweat" outdoor boot camp. Encourage attendees to dress up and offer themed workouts, games, and healthy treats. Promote these events through social media, newsletters, and eye-catching flyers.

Studio Anniversary Parties: Celebrate Every Success

Celebrate your studio's one-year (and beyond) anniversary with a bigger and better version of your grand opening. Reflect on your achievements, acknowledge your team and clients, and reveal any exciting plans for the future. This event honors your journey and rejuvenates interest in your studio by bringing in new leads. I like to include cards with each member's total class count, and members love to take photos with their cards (free marketing!) Remember to include specials that boost your bottom line. 

Event Planning Tips:

  • Plan Ahead: Ideally, your entire year is planned using your content calendar. You need 6-8 weeks of runway before each event for planning, marketing, and scheduling. 
  • Team Collaboration: Involve your instructors and staff in brainstorming and executing event ideas. Their input can be invaluable.
  • Budget Wisely: Allocate funds for event-related expenses, including marketing, supplies, and potential surprises, and then add a ten percent buffer. Although events are essential, we don't want to lose money hosting them. 
  • Effective Marketing: Use social media, email newsletters, local partnerships, flyers, word of mouth, and targeted advertising to spread the word.
  • Engage Your Audience: Encourage attendees to share event photos and experiences on social media, creating organic buzz.
  • Feedback Loop: After each event, gather feedback from attendees to learn what worked well and what could be improved for future events.

Hosting diverse and engaging events throughout your first year helps establish your boutique fitness studio and forge meaningful connections with your community. By incorporating a mix of fitness, education, fun, community, and philanthropy, you'll create a studio that's not just a place to work out but a destination for overall well-being, and those clients will stay for a lifetime. 

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About the author:

Niki Riga
Industry Expert
Limitless Studio

Niki has been a client, a studio owner, and a coach in boutique fitness for over a decade, and she can’t think of an industry she'd rather be in. Her favorite part about coaching and studio ownership are the same: she loves supporting clients as they push past their limits and achieve their goals. Niki became a coach because she was regularly asked, “how did you do that!?” by other studio owners who were drowning in the day-to-day responsibilities of business ownership but didn’t have the support to grow their studio to its potential. She created Limitless Studio to partner with owners who have a vision for their business and are ready to implement systems to build the studio of their dreams.