BFS-NYC 2019 Speakers – Five Questions with Kari Saitowitz

Kari Saitowitz

What trends do you see most affecting the future state of the Boutique Fitness industry?

Technology will continue to shape the industry from marketing and customer service to back-office functions and the overall actual experience. Brick and mortar locations will need to offer differentiated propositions vs. digital content. New entrants, variety-seeking behavior and increasingly educated consumers will hold fitness brands increasingly accountable to deliver real value (i.e., effective workouts, educated teams, personal attention, low cost/luxury, etc.). A broader definition of “wellness” and aging of the population will also shape the future of the industry.

Who or what inspires you as a business owner and why?

Initially, I was inspired by other entrepreneurs who successfully built businesses around their ideas for “a better way.” But my team and clients quickly took over. My core team always has my back and motivates me to improve, grow and continue providing opportunities for them. In addition, “love letters” from clients remind me of the positive role Fhitting Room plays in their lives. Knowing clients count on my business for emotional and/or physical wellbeing is an awesome inspiration.

What is one of the most important lessons that you have learned as a studio owner?

If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Every time I’ve gone against my gut, I’ve come to regret my decision and ultimately had to alter my course. Examples range from hiring decisions to contractor selection to booking system implementations. If you do misstep, recognize your mistake and move quickly to course correct. Don’t second guess yourself. I try to trust my gut, even if it leads to unpopular decisions in the short term.

What do you love most about being a studio owner?

I feel like I’m at the center of a virtuous cycle of positivity. My product is inherently good for people emotionally and physically; my studios are places of learning, care and respect; all clients are treated like VIPs regardless of fitness level, gender, race or age; and I’ve worked hard to build a culture where all team members feel valued. I love that fitness attracts individuals who come from different backgrounds but share a passion for changing lives. #happyplace

What book, video, podcast, Ted Talk, etc. that has influenced your management philosophy and why?

Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. Fhitting Room is nothing without the individuals who deliver the experience, so keeping my team motivated is critical. Lean In helped me view many situations completely differently. I had my Chief of Deets & Peeps read this book as well, so we could have a shared frame of reference and vocabulary. We often talk about how far to “Lean In,” rather than trying to make a circle into a square in making management decisions.