- Physique 57’s barre-focused studio workout is loved by celebrities.
- The company had been in the on-demand video space for nearly a decade prior to the pandemic.
- Now, according to the CEO, the company is doubling in terms of a post-pandemic digital future.
Physique 57 CEO Jennifer Maanavi has long known the benefits of allowing Americans to exercise from home.
The boutique fitness company was founded in 2006 and first entered the home exercise realm in 2009 when the company launched its DVD series. Echoing the success of popular VHS exercise tapes of the 1980s and 1990s such as Tae Bo and Jane Fonda’s Lean Routine, Physique 57 began selling guides for its barre workouts not only in the gym and online but also at major retailers like Lululemon .
By 2012, when DVDs made way for streaming, Physique 57 moved up to online video-on-demand to complement its popular classes that have developed a prominent following over the years, including Chrissy Teigen, Erin Andrews, and Emmy Rossum and Demi Moore.
“It was definitely early, but luckily we had a great program of over 350 videos long before the pandemic,” Maanavi told Insider of her company moving to streaming almost a decade ago. “We were able to move to on-demand really quickly, and now the business is really mostly digital.”
During the pandemic, Maanavi said Physique 57 temporarily closed its studios, laid off a total of 95 employees and suspended the opening of ongoing locations in Brooklyn, Long Island and Philadelphia.
Brick and mortar, however, is not something Maanavi is giving up entirely, but rather a part of the business that she wants to “rebuild over time”. Physique 57 currently operates 12 independent studios in the USA, India, Dubai and Thailand. It also operates an international franchise and licensing business.
A Physique 57 trainer leads a woman in a Manhattan studio. She shows how she turned her favorite celebrity fitness brand into a digital business by focusing entirely on fitness at home
Maanavi said the doubling of digital media in 2020 mainly involved redirecting funds to strategic settings and social media efforts.
“We have put more resources into our social media presence,” she said. “We put more effort into our digital marketing agency. We hired someone to do SEO. We got people to write blogs. We really needed to build a much more focused digital business.”
By focusing on virtual fitness, Physique 57 was also able to experiment with different pricing models to reach more users. According to Maanavi, an in-person class in the studio costs $ 38 while his monthly subscription costs $ 24.99 per month. This is part of a bigger drive to reach more users. Members can also choose to pay $ 249.99 for an annual digital membership. (The company declined to share any current sales or financial information.)
Like many of her fitness colleagues, Maanavi said she anticipates a post-pandemic future where both physical and personal exercise are possible, although plans to open new locations for Physique 57 continue to take a back seat as the hybrid model is more appropriate to the modern one Today’s Consumers.
“It’s great news for the consumer because you realize that you can access fitness in so many different ways,” she said. “For companies expecting to get back to their pre-pandemic earnings in 2021 or even 2022, I don’t think it will all come out of the studio.”