Geared to Franchise: Total Woman Gym + Spa

Total Woman Gym + Spa is the largest, fullservice gym and day spa in California. With almost 50 years experience of helping women achieve their health, fitness and wellness goals, today the iconic brand is looking for passionate entrepreneurs to join its team.

Founded in 1965 by Art Stone, business owner and operator of a Los Angeles based chain of beauty salons; the concept for a female-geared gym came to him through his predominately female clientele. As they discussing  the need for a place that could offer the weight-loss results of a gym along with the pampering of a day spa, and ideally, be available to only women, Stone then launched his first health club with a single store called World for Women in West Los Angeles. This first location provided his clientele exactly what they had been asking for, resulting in an instant success. In 1983 Adrienne Stone joined forces with her husband and together the  couple began expansion the concept to incorporate fullservice day spas that included facials, body treatments, massage, aromatherapy and manicures. With this added service the name of the brand also changed to what is known as today: Total Woman Gym + Spa.

With 15 corporate owned and operated locations across Southern California, in 2013 the brand began seeking new ways to take the successful business and build the brand outwards and into other markets across the  United States. Finding the answer in franchising, Total Woman Gym + Spa now have a pipeline of franchisees in their final stages of qualification and are looking forward to launching its first group of franchise locations.

“It’s a completely underserved marketing in the U.S.,” says Ben Amante, Franchising Consultant for Total Woman Gym + Spa.

“There is very little available regarding full service gyms geared for women.” Referring to the many small gyms that have popped up around the nation, one of the biggest differentiators between Total Woman and these  studio-like locations is the size. “Total Woman Gym + Spas range from 11,000 to 14,000 sq ft and offer group exercise classes, yoga, pilates, as well as strength training equipment,” he says, adding, “The spa also offers a vast range of services giving the gyms the upscale look and feel of a five star day spa.”

Serving two demanding markets under one roof, the fitness and wellness industries are booming. According to fitness industry source, IHRSA as well as AMTA, ISPA for the Spa/Massage therapy industry, both these  industries represent approximately $30 billion annually and have seen modest sales growth in the U.S. even during the recession. As gym membership numbers have increased considerably over the years, rising from 36.3 million in 2002 to more than 43.6 million in 2012, the 2010 and 2011 AMTA Consumer Surveys lso shows that roughly 38 million adult Americans had a massage at least once within a year.

“If you look at the options that women have when it comes to finding a gym that’s full sized and features all the equipment a co-ed gym offers, as well as lockers, showers, state of the art group exercise classes and a full  service spa, outside of Total Woman Gym + Spa none exist,” says Amante. “Bigger co-ed gyms are still growing and they don’t want to take their eyes off their segment, so that leaves our geared for women segment wide open.”

With an open horizon, Total Woman Gym + Spa is in a precious position right now. “Franchising fits into the business model so well because it allows us to grow across all the top cities in the U.S. without costing millions  and adding the chaos of operating them ourselves. It’s much smarter to enlist entrepreneurs and franchise the concept,” explains Amante. “For almost 50 years all the locations have been company owned and operated and now that we’re franchising it we’ll be passing on ample knowledge. We live and breathe the brand everyday, so our franchisees are going to get the most thorough training imaginable.”

Now seeking individuals that love fitness, have a passion for changing lives, and want to make a living by investing in a business that provides people with better health and wellness, Total Woman Gym + Spa is actively  looking for entrepreneurs to join the team. Screening franchisees carefully to ensure the brand’s high standards will be maintained by capable and dedicated franchise partners, other requirements include $450,000 to  $650,000 liquid capital, net worth of at least two million dollars, a solid credit score, and a history of leading a successful business as an owner or senior operating manager. With a franchisee fee of just $30,000 for a 10 year franchise agreement, those interested can visit the website to learn more about the brand, fill out an inquiry, and set up an interview. “The discovery starts the minute we first speak to a candidate,” says Amante, adding that during the first few chats the individual will share their experience, interests in owning a location, and desired market. After these initial talks, the candidate will then visit the corporate team in Westlake Village, CA for a formal face-to-face Discovery Day and tour of some of our locations.

If a candidate is awarded a franchise the next step is a three-phase training process. Reflecting the corporate team’s own experience  with operating the locations, the entire program has been designed in a thoughtful manner intended to cover every aspect of running the business. During phase one of the training the franchisee will undergo in-class  learning and meet with the company’s knowledge experts. Phase two is designed as a case study, and outlines the learning objectives and outcomes of hands on training inside of an operating location. “This stage of training starts with turning on the lights at 5a.m. and ends with turning them off 11p.m.,  covering everything in between,” explains Amante. “The goal is to expose the franchisee to everything that occurs on a daily basis so that when they complete this step of training they will have a strong grasp on life as a  franchisee and know what goes into successful running a Total Woman Gym + Spa.” The last phase of training involves the corporate training team visiting the franchisee’s location to help set up for the presale, assist with  training employees, and prepare for grand opening. “The training team is there every step of the way,” says Amante, adding, “No one is going to learn how to run a business by just sitting in a classroom!” In addition to the comprehensive training program franchisees also benefit from ongoing support through an assigned Franchise Business Consultant. Assisting with developing an annual business operations plan, this consultant also helps plan and measure the franchisee’s success, while finding solutions and improvements to any issues they encounter along the way. As part of the brand’s vendor program, franchisees will also have guidance with developing their location. Providing franchisees with the architectural design, permitting, construction, as well as options regarding purchasing or leasing the equipment, the entire process has been tried and tested by the corporate team over the years. “It’s a turnkey process that allows us to focus on the most important thing while getting ready to launch, and that’s developing a membership base through presales. This means that when we open our doors we’ll already have an existing membership base.”

Currently focused on expanding in key markets throughout the Southeastern and Southwestern states and along the west coast, the shift in demographics and population throughout these areas has been explosive, which  means ample opportunity to succeed. “From 2000 to 2010, Southern States grew 14.3 million versus Western States at 8.7 million, with the South attaining a new 10-year growth margin at a much greater rate than the  West,” writes Amante in an article featured in Franchise World titled “Where’s Franchising’s Growth.” He also goes on to explain how the South has become home to one-half of the top 10 growth states and seven of the  top 10 fastest-growing cities. “Four major drivers of opportunity in the South are climate, economic opportunity, cost-of-living and a growing awareness of the region’s business-friendly environment,” he adds. Concentrating heavily on social media marketing, Total Woman Gym + Spa’s best publicity comes through referrals from existing members and the company’s drive to be an active part of the community. “It’s important  for us to reach out to women in the community and have that touch point,” explains Amante. “Our strongest way to continue to grow as we have over the years is by being a strong member of the community.”

Seeing as Total Woman Gym + Spa is the only full service gym geared for women on the market, it’s competition is nonexistent.

“Some people ask how we’re different from our competitors but we have to ask, ‘like who?’ Our goal now is to grow in as many cities, with the best location and the best franchisees before we have to start to differentiate  from others who catch on to the niche,” says Amante. “Its like an O-M-G where this is completely the blind side to the industry.” One of the biggest advantages to owning a Total Woman Gym + Spa is that when you buy  one franchise, you’re getting two businesses that are in high demand under one roof. Also taking into consideration the company’s service-based business, unlike businesses that sell a product, Total Woman Gym + Spa offers a low cost-goods sold. “Franchisees don’t have to make anything, but rather provide a service which is delivered with labor. While everyone has labor we bypass having a significant cost of goods sold and don’t have  to worry about managing inventories, various SKUs, spoilage, or shortages,” says Amante. Also a plus is joining a team that is first in the market with a national brand that has honed its expertise with over five decades of experience. “We’re geared for women, and we’re first to market on a mass scale,” he adds.

With limited competition for in this sector, Total Woman Gym + Spa offers great opportunities with some of the best markets available in the U.S. “For those who are considering purchasing a franchise, Total Woman Gym  Spa should be on your shortlist,” concludes Amante.

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