Boutique fitness, including Barre, is a multi-billion dollar industry. “There are hundreds of techniques that fall under the category of barre classes,” says Wackerman. “It’s everything from ballet classes to hybrid Pilates and yoga classes. It’s a very competitive industry where everyone thinks their way is best.”
With rivalry this fierce, it can feel impossible to get the attention (and the dollars) of paying customers who have so much variety to choose from. “At first, competition in the industry frustrated me, but now it inspires me,” says Wackerman, who has trained thousands of students and teachers in eighteen different countries across the globe. I asked Wackerman for her best strategies for standing out from the crowd.
1. Find Your Unique Angle
What elements can you pinpoint in your business that make you different from everyone else? After all, not every coach inspires clients the same way. Not every artist uses the same techniques. For Wackerman, answering this question was easy because of the foundation she built her theLONDONmethod on.
“If you really want to learn and understand English, you’ll probably spend some time studying Latin,” says Wackerman, who began her career as a fitness instructor 15 years ago. “After getting interested in learning and teaching barre classes, I did my research and uncovered the teachings of Lotte Berk, the woman who is credited with creating barre.” Realizing that many of Lotte’s original tutelage had been abandoned or changed by other instructors, Wackerman decided to revive them with Lotte’s daughter, Esther Farifax. She traveled to Berk’s home in England to study the moves and theLONDONmethod was born.
“Your own story doesn’t have to be that extreme,” says Wackerman. “But whatever it is, it’s unique because it’s yours.” Even if you can’t go back to the source of your particular practice, perhaps you can differentiate yourself by the clients you serve, the science behind your technique, the results you’re able to achieve or the way you deliver your service. Whatever that distinct approach is, be sure to tout it to your clients.
2. Get Collaborative
Spread the word about your technique far and wide so it’s not drowned out by the sound of others talking about their methods. Wackerman not only pitched herself to podcasts that might be considered competitors, but also invited near competitors on her own podcast to talk about their methods. “If you have knowledge you’re willing to share with others, everyone will come to you as a source,” says Wackerman, who picked up additional clients from her guest appearances. “I had foundational knowledge of this technique that other instructors were interested in.”
Wackerman also developed an international training program. “I decided that this was one way I could try to unify all barre teachers and keep the true legacy of Lotte Berk alive,” says Wackerman. “In an industry where everyone is literally fighting over who owns the bicep curl, we allowed our community to learn and teach the original work of Lotte Berk at their own studios.”
3. Adopt an Abundance Mindset
Even if you’ve niched down your clientele, chances are that it’s still in the millions. That’s a fairly unlimited number for you to reach out and offer your services to. The fitness industry is no different. From 2013 to 2017, boutique fitness brands grew 121%. That’s more locations and more teachers for a growing number of students.
“Knowing that there is enough out there for everyone and being confident that what you offer is valuable will set you apart from your competition,” says Wackerman. “There are no limits to who can benefit from what I offer and it’s likely the same for you too.”