Fithouse always had plans to add a streaming service to complement its two New York-area fitness studios. The coronavirus just sped those plans up in a big way.
“We’ve had to learn how to make a pivot very quickly to the online space,” Gabby Diamond, senior financial controller, told NetSuite’s Kendall Fisher in a recent video interview. “It’s a crowded space and we have a lot of members to keep on board.”
When New York City shut down non-essential businesses, Fithouse’s two multi-modal studios were closed and its 40 instructors left idle. Fortunately, there were a number of tools already available in the industry that allowed the company to add streaming video courses. That helped existing members transition to an online model as well as attract new business from people stuck at home discovering they had some free time for exercise.
Yet, that left the company adapting to a new business model even as it was laying off employees to allow them to collect unemployment and staff were working remotely.
“People are getting thousands of emails a day about what companies are doing to handle the crisis,” Diamond said. “The challenge of getting to [our] customers so they hear about what we are doing and communicating effectively was a huge challenge. So was communicating with our team of 40 instructors.”
Diamond explains how Fithouse met that challenge as well as the challenges of cash flow, shifting responsibilities in her role and how she sees current events impacting the future of the fitness industry in this conversation.