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1. a small store selling fashionable clothes or accessories.
2. a business that serves a sophisticated or specialized clientele.
3. a word used to describe a fitness studio that offers a specialized workout experience.
The fitness industry is forever evolving. From old aerobics tapes to big box gyms, how and where we exercise constantly changes. Amongst the on-demand videos and memberships, there’s one trend that is reshaping our wellness routine: boutique fitness—and it’s here to stay.
But what is boutique fitness? And how does a word that is often used to describe high-end shops and hotels become the new name of a sweat-worthy revolution? It starts with the millions of people worldwide who belong to a fitness studio (a record 18.2 million in the US to be exact) and one of the largest generations in history: millennials. All are looking for the best workout experience.
“I think people in my generation are more willing to invest in what challenges them and makes them healthy,” says Carla Zuniga, a millennial who grew bored of traditional gyms told the L.A. Times.
“This generation has created a personalized on-demand economy," said Doug Hecht, MINDBODY SVP of Consumer Products. "They seek value rather than price, and are spending more on experiences rather than things.”
Thousands of the businesses on the MINDBODY app are considered boutique—offering workouts or services with a high experiential factor, smaller, more intimate class sizes, and strong brand association. Plus, a comradery that can’t be ignored. The whole “vibe attracts your tribe” is applicable here, and a handful of these studios are totally Instagrammable. This breed of studio has become more than just a place of exercise. The great ones have transformed into community-powered lifestyle brands, which aim to exist in every part of their customer’s daily lives.
Ask anyone who goes to a boutique studio why they take classes there, and they will tell you it’s the feeling you’re left with post-class. Customers believe in the message of their favorite studio, the ‘why,’ and feel a strong pull towards the studio’s core values. Lotte Berk, who invented barre in the 1960s, had the right idea when she opened a small basement studio in London, attracting top-notch clientele.
So, what does the future hold for this sector and what are the upcoming trends that will have an impact? Emma Barry—the founding member of Les Mills International and former Director of Group Fitness Programming at Equinox—told WellToDo that she is confident we will continue to see a growth in boutique expansion.
“Boutique fitness will continue to capture the hearts and heart-rates of more consumers as the fitness and wellness purse continues to fill,” said Emma. “…Expect HIIT, bodyweight training, strength, yoga and functional fitness (all top 10 worldwide trends) to continue their presence along with boxing boutiques and recovery/stretch labs.”
But, don’t let the word dissuade you. Booking a class at a "boutique" fitness studio doesn’t have to be intimidating. It doesn’t have to be considered “luxury.” Whether you’re tapping into the Barre3 benefit, flowing hard to hip-hop at Y7, or checking out Beginners Pilates at your local spot, studios of all sizes and reach are using this idea of “boutique” to give you a great workout—and an intoxicating (fitness) experience, no matter what your goals are.
February is Black History Month—a celebration of the achievements and contributions of African Americans in society. As the beauty and wellness industry becomes a more welcoming and inclusive space for all, we are taking this opportunity to continue to shine a light on the gap of inclusivity and diversity in our industry, and take action to promote, empower, and honor the Black community that shapes and grows wellness.
While the beauty industry is making improvements—it's important to showcase and support Black businesses and the creatives in this space every day. To honor them, we're shouting out some of our favorite Black-owned beauty and wellness businesses to support.
Beauty Bin is a full-service day spa and dry bar located in Asheville, NC. With a focus on inclusivity for people of all backgrounds, genders, and races, their MO is to match the outer beauty of every client to their inner beauty. From eyelash extensions and hydrafacials to waxing and massage, Beauty Bin is a one-stop-shop for all the spa services.
The KIKA Method® is a gentle assisted stretching process that loosens up tight muscles freeing your body from pain and stress. By practicing this method, clients can experience decreased muscle tension, increased energy, enhanced flexibility, a substantial reduction in stress, improved posture and relaxation, and increased mental clarity. While its headquarters is located in Las Vegas, NV, they have multiple locations sprinkled throughout the US, including Atlanta, New York City, and Dallas—just to name a few.
At Kimberly Coleman Salon, their philosophy begins with promoting healthy tresses, elegant sets, unique accouterments, perfect pampering of hands and feet, and precision cuts. Known for working with models and celebrities, they fully appreciate and celebrate the diversity of their clientele which also includes super moms and warrior dads.
Pressed Roots was developed with the simple concept in mind—that everyone deserves access to easy, and quality hair care. What started as a single pop-up shop in Boston, grew to a multi-city pop-up tour, and is now slated to be the largest national hair salon franchise specializing in the care and styling of highly textured hair, they launched their first flagship location in Dallas, TX.
Jersey City resident, Alyza Brevard-Rodriguez started SW3AT. The company began as a fitness apparel line in 2015 but evolved into a sanctuary catered to health and wellness now known as SW3AT Sauna Studio—the first infrared sauna studio in Jersey City. The healing power of infrared heat therapy is a phenomenal option for holistic health proven to strengthen the immune system and provide relief from joint stiffness and muscle pain. It is also supportive of any fitness program as it aids in weight loss (you can torch up to 900 calories in a 45-minute session) while also detoxifying your body from some of the most harmful toxins.
Kelli Coleman and Anika Jackson opened The TEN Nail Bar in Detroit to address a void in their city. They saw a need for a quality, modern nail bar that could also serve as a fun social space for Detroit’s residents and professionals. They designed the TEN to provide their clients with a #Perfect10 experience—where you can relax, enjoy music, a drink, your friends, a clean and precise manicure, and a much-needed break from all your hectic days.
Located in the beautiful downtown Hyde Park Chicago area, Bettye O Day Spa specializes in first-class treatments. They aim to nurture and relax each of their clients with individualized and innovative therapeutic techniques. From body wraps and massages to facials and hydrotherapy, this day spa promises to be a safe place for healing to occur.
Looking for more businesses to support? ClassPass has also created a list of Black-owned business to check out all year-round. While both of these lists are a great start to get you familiar with many of the Black-owned businesses either in your neighborhood or around the globe, we have only scratched the surface. We'd love to keep these lists growing.If you have any businesses you'd like to see on this list, click here to submit a Black-owned business we should be highlighting as well!