Hobnobbing with Owen Edwards from The Studio

posted by 6 years ago in Hobnobbing

So what does The Studio do?

The Studio is a private member training facility. We are not a gym! We’re the antithesis of the conventional gym model in both training and environment. We don’t have treadmills, TVs, or mirrors on the walls. We don’t use words like burn’, ‘pump’ or ‘core’.

Instead, we want to show members a better way to get fit, strong and healthy. By changing the way they train, using something we call The Studio Method, a system based on progressive resistance training using barbells, combined with High-Intensity Interval Training.

I can confidently say that The Studio is a one of a kind in terms of the combination of our facility / quality of training / service. We are a completely bespoke facility, designed from the ground up to cater for our member’s needs.

What’s behind the business idea?

Everyone can benefit from being fitter, stronger, and leaner, have stronger bones, better balance and eat healthier. It’s not rocket science but it’s not a fad either. It’s simply the truth.

I’ve worked at and trained in many gyms over my career, privately owned and commercial alike. I’ve recently become incredibly angry at the standards of which they deem acceptable. Any acknowledgement at reception has been reduced to a grunt from a member of staff. That empty hand towel dispenser still hasn’t been re-filled and that ‘out of order’ sign is still blue-tacked at an irritating angle to the same piece of equipment.

Why do we pay good money to attend a large commercial gym with several rows of uninspiring cardio machines, set in front of TV’s, showing the latest music video? Why do we put ourselves through mindless repetitions on obscure weights machines, and attempt halfhearted crunches on a mat with a questionable odor? We do this because we’ve bought into the lies and miss-information that has been accepted as common practice by most gym goers. Unfortunately, rendering most of our gym time, sweating dutifully three times a week, a complete waste.

I want to offer something different.

Hobnobbing with Owen Edwards from The Studio

Was there a breakthrough moment?

This has been an ambition for 10 years, I’ve been thinking about this constantly for 5 years, and worked hard for the last 2 years to make it a reality. The business plan has evolved over the last 2 years, but oddly enough, I was sitting in my car in a Sainsbury’s car park when I thought of the business model that we are using today!

How is the company doing?

We open our doors on 28.11.16. We have had a fantastic response so far and look forward to welcoming our members to The Studio. 

Do you have any regrets?

 My only regret is that we decided to move back home to Cardiff from London, get married and start a business all in the same year… it’s been a busy year!

What makes you stand out from your competition?

In 2015, independent clubs accounted for 3 out of 4 of those that went out of business due to limited physical resources. Those that survived were innovative and able to resist the rise of the low-cost gyms and the new micro-gyms, offering niche products, such as Soul Cycle.

The Studio is an independent club with a difference because of:

  • A unique building which when converted will be low-cost to run
  • The 13,000 sq ft space which can accommodate multiple activities
  • The ability to differentiate the business by the level of service delivered by attentive, informed staff
  • The creation of a friendly, non-intimidating, supportive community of like-minded individuals which will attract previous non-gym going, members
  • The unique offering of The Studio Method

What is your definition of a positive customer experience?

From my past experience as a personal trainer in London, one of the most satisfying things is receiving a text from a client after our session. They’ve trained, showered/changed and left the gym to carry on with their day. But out of the blue, they’ve obviously thought to message me to tell me how great they feel or how much I’ve managed to motivate them etc. It’s a great feeling.

You’re currently reaching out to investors, what do you plan to do when you have raised this funding?

Our facility will be complete, but I would like to use the funding to begin paying a Personal Trainers salary whilst they enrol on one of our apprenticeship schemes. I would like to develop phase 2 of our build and build a physiotherapy room. I would also like to develop the Studio App further.

What advice would you give yourself now if you were starting a business?

Prepare, research, prepare some more and account for surprises! Nothing runs smoothly, there will always be things out of your control, but the more you prepare the easier things will get. Don’t compromise, along with the way there will always be doubt, and people will always question you, but stick to it and believe in your idea. Listen to your wife’s advice; she’s usually right…Annoyingly.

What is your favorite biscuit?

Ok, random, but check out Jamie Oliver’s recipe for devil double chocolate cakes… ridiculously good!