Fitist, the class-pack booking site beloved by boutique fitness junkies, announced this week that it is moving away from its current business model to debut a fitness “collective” that will act as an incubation and studio space for workout instructors and new brands.
The company was one of the first to recognize the boutique fitness scene’s potential for growth. And in 2011 it pioneered the first platform that allowed people to book classes at multiple studios in one place. Since then, the scene has exploded with new studios and workouts and tons of booking platforms have been introduced, like BurnThis, GoRecess, ClassPass, and more.
“We’re evolving the Fitist brand to catch what we think is going to be the next big trend,” says Caroline Limpert, Fitist’s cofounder with Neda Talebian Funk. “We’ve learned a lot about how the consumer books, and we think we have a new product in mind that will really engage the whole fitness community.”
That product will be The Fitist Collective, a brick-and-mortar location that Limpert and Funk describe as “a incubation and studio space that will allow instructors to build out their brands under one roof. The Fitist Collective aims to become a gathering spot for the fitness and greater wellness community; it will dedicate space and resources to the development of retail and wellness concepts, in addition to serving as a pop up space for existing brands.”
It’s a concept that makes a lot of sense given the many homeless fitness brands wandering the city, offering classes in dance rehearsal spaces and children’s ballet studios and New York’s reputation for real estate insanity. (And one we predict other companies will jump on soon, based on rumblings.)
In the meantime, Fitist will pass the booking torch to BurnThis—a company they see as being the next big thing in the category because of its emphasis on on-the-go, mobile booking and social sharing. This will involve transitioning current Fitist users onto BurnThis to book classes in the future and hosting co-branded events. “We think they’ve created a brand that has synergy with Fitist, and we wanted to make sure we transitioned our users to another brand we feel strongly about,” Funk says.
With their users in good hands, they’ll be free to start building, and they hope to have the Collective ready by early 2015, with a pop-up in the Hamptons this summer.
“We caught the trend the first time and we want to catch it again,” says Funk. “We want to be ahead of the curve.” —Lisa Elaine Held
For more information, visit www.fitist.com