What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like/ your morning routine?
I have had the privilege of having some amazing executive coaching over the years and one of the key changes I have made to my approach has been my morning rituals. As one of my coaches says, a great life is made up of great years, great months – but you need to start with great days. Start the day with purpose and you stand the best chance of it being great. I love my coffee – it is my little indulgent moment – so every morning James, after his training, makes me a delicious latte, I sit for 10-15 mins to plan out my day, go through a little gratitude exercise and try to do some form of exercise. I find this has the most positive influence on how my day progresses and I can definitely see the difference if I don’t implement those little rituals into my morning.
How did you know it was the right time to launch Embody Fitness and which steps previously led you to this path?
When you have worked in a high-octane industry like investment banking, had the amazing fortune to experience the very best in terms of service and hospitality AND you have an entrepreneurial interest, you tend to constantly look at other industries and businesses to see ways of optimizing the product or service. My husband has always had a love of sports and fitness and, for us, banking and law did not feel like our ‘end point’. The fitness industry is very unique in having the potential to have such a transformative impact on individuals, but with very low barriers to entry in terms of both qualifications and what is required to open a business. We saw a great opportunity to open a fitness business that offered a truly quality service to match the big investment our clients were making in themselves. We had looked for this ourselves and had just not been able to find that mixture of professionalism, expertise and quality of service – since we knew we were not unique, we thought we just had to give it a go… so we did!
What is the DNA of the brand?
For me, Embody stands for exceptional quality (product, service and surroundings) delivered in a nurturing and client-centric way – we want to take each of our clients on probably the most transformative journey of their lives, but we want them to enjoy every part of it. We have all heard the saying ‘no pain, no gain’ but we want Embody to be the antithesis of this – I really believe that a transformative journey like the ones we take our clients on can and should be as positive, easy and enjoyable as possible – it is a wasted opportunity otherwise.
How challenging was it to refine the formula you would adopt with clients, and can you expand on what this approach entails?
Anyone that has opened a business and tried to do it a bit differently – gone against the grain so to speak – can probably testify to the fact that it is not easy. We have a complete team approach in an industry that is largely individualised – we wanted clients to have a seamless, no compromise, personalized and comprehensive service in a fragmented market where each service (training, physio, sports massage, nutrition and lifestyle/life coaching) is normally separated and disjointed – all whilst experiencing truly pampering service that you could only ever experience in the tranquility of a ‘spa’ environment. We are always refining the model, but I am really proud of our team and how we are as a business – when a client says coming through the door is like ‘coming home’, we know we are on the right track!
Was choosing the right location key and how did you decide on ICD Brookfield?
What is the phrase in real estate – location location location! ICD Brookfield Place is certainly that, but even more, the team behind the building really believe in curating a great working environment for the companies that occupy the building. What we offer is what the team was looking for so we are thrilled to be part of the Brookfield Place ecosystem.
What is Body Transformation and is this goal something which can be maintained longterm?
We had a motto when we opened – Transforming Bodies, Transforming Lives. Clients that have completed a programme with us truly experience both sides of this. For us, changing the body is really the byproduct of changing someone’s life – their energy levels, their balance, their happiness, their ability to find fulfilment through a changed state of mind – and all these things have to be for the long term. Our sustainable approach to this is evident across our clients. Huge caloric deficits are unsustainable and potentially damaging workouts can certainly change bodies, but not lives and for us the latter is the most important.
In terms of anti-ageing and fitness recovery – how do your recovery suites support overall wellness?
We love the added dimension of the recovery suites – the benefits of extreme temperature therapy are really well documented – improved muscle recovery, detoxification, anti-inflammatory outcomes, reduced cardio-vascular risk, improved circulation and mental clarity to name just a few – to be able to provide this to all our clients in our signature luxurious environment makes the overall journey easier and more enjoyable – and a few extra years on your life can do no harm either right?
What have been the most challenging or rewarding aspects since launching to date?
Seeing our management team working together, supporting our staff members, bonding with and helping all our clients and being true representatives of our vision for Embody is pretty special. Consistently doing things differently and setting standards that you cannot necessarily point to in the same industry is never easy, but it is a lot easier
with an amazing team around you.
How do you approach challenges?
I always try to remove the ‘fear’ points and focus on the opportunity that every challenge offers. Once you look at an opportunity without fear, it is a lot easier to see the positive path through.
How do you approach scaling without compromising on quality?
Take your time – set the vision and strategy – and make sure that everyone in the business understands what they are there for and how they can contribute to success. We want to grow as a business because I think we have something special and unique to offer, but not at the expense of losing sight of what we are trying to do – balancing those things is down to the quality of the people around you and how clear you are on what you are offering – we are very lucky to have both in place right now so we are very excited for what the future can bring.
How has social media supported scaling the business?
Now this one is double-edged. It is very difficult for a business like ours to ‘instantly’ convey what we do and how we are different. Social media’s slightly superficial image also sits a little awkwardly with our business values as we are all about long term, private, personal and transformative journeys. We are slowly breaking this down and when we get it right, we see how well people respond… this one is definitely on the Work in Progress list, but through showcasing our clients and their incredible journeys
with us, we hope this provides inspiration and motivation to others.
Have you had any mentors and if so, what advice did they impart?
I mentioned the executive coaching I had over a few years and that has had a huge impact on how I see the challenges I face – coming at everything with as healthy a dose of positivity and enthusiasm as you can muster is certainly a big focus of mine.
What advice would you give your younger self?
See the possibilities in everything you do and not the things that could go wrong – as a trained corporate lawyer a large part of your job is to anticipate and think through all the things that could go wrong and legislate for them… it is an amazing life skill but you need to find that space to see all the things that could go right in order to really make positive things happen.
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