In this episode of the Nicole Petitto Podcast, Nicole had the opportunity to speak with Matt and Kamille McCollum, the founders of Bodybar Pilates. With over 23 locations and counting, this emerging brand is definitely one to watch. While other brands are adopting a hybrid model of business that unifies a balance of digital fitness with the brick and mortar space, Bodybar Pilates is taking the opposite stance. Hear about their journey and why their departure from digital fitness best serves their brand.

Podcast Highlights

4:30 – Expanding Bodybar Pilates: Matt says, “We would have people coming in and taking classes from LA, Chicago, and New York, and they would ask where they could find another Bodybar Pilates. The summer of 2018 in our studio was really starting to burst at the seams and we needed to expand.”

7:00 – Every Bodybar class is unique: Matt says, “One of the things that’s so unique about the Bodybar Pilates system is that there’s so much flexibility from an instructor standpoint. [Instructors] are not given an assignment of what you have to teach, the things that you have to do. Every reformer class you take is going to be unique. I’ve never taken a duplicate class ever in my life.”

11:07 – Launching content that replicates in-person pilates experiences without Pilate reformers: Kamille says, “Without having the springs and the resistance of a reformer, it was challenging to figure that out but mat Pilates can be very challenging in its own right. So we were able to do some of our mat pilates exercises, block them as we do in a reformer class and then we would add some cardio bursts in there and try to make it as intense as we could.”

12:31 – The Bodybar community stayed on even during COVID: Kamille says, “70% of them still continued to pay some type of membership while we were shut down.”

20:33 – Livestream vs on-demand classes: Matt says, “The majority of our clients were participating in the pre-recorded sessions just because it fits their schedule. And that’s one of the benefits to digital fitness is that it can fit most people’s schedules one way or the other. I think that that was probably what we saw more engagement with, but the live classes were way more fun. “

23:20 – Challenges in teaching an online class: Kamille says, “All of the logistics that go into an online or even a pre-recorded class you just don’t think about when you’re asking instructors to record a class from their living room or their bedroom. And then you’re like, why would you have that in the background? Or why can’t I hear you? Because the music is so loud. It’s just the small little things you think it’s going to be something so simple.”

26:20 – Why Bodybar stepped away from Digital: Matt says, “If you’re going to do something you need to do it great. Otherwise, why are people gonna buy your content?”

“How do you feel about somebody signing up and paying you a subscription for something that’s not going to give them the results that they’re looking for? So if you feel like you can deliver that product then proceed, press forward, continue to do your due diligence. But then you have to factor in the business component.”

“What are the true costs of doing this? What’s the cost of, if I do it poorly, how does that affect my reputation? How does it impact our brand? We’re trying to build a brand that’s national and hopefully one-day global brand and taking our eye off the prize of what we need to be executing on today would hinder that and it would set us back.”

Kamille says, “It also depends on your member base. Are they getting value from that? So if you have a studio that’s an add-on and you’re able to do it well and affordable for your members and you see that they are logging on and they are using those pre-recorded videos, then I think then that it would be worth it. We just saw, as soon as those studios were open, we were being flooded with our customers back face to face and had very little views on our video library in general.”