Bring the Gym to Me
"One of my great success stories is when a former Cirque du Soleil performer who is originally from Brazil was about to move back to his hometown as he was unable to find work here in NY, but then I set him up with a summer job teaching Circus Arts at a camp in Long Island. He was so incredibly grateful for the opportunity, he couldn't stop thanking me. And the camp fell in love with him as well ..."
Wanderlust Weekly: Congrats on the growth of Bring the Gym to Me! What inspired its creation? Sarede Switzer: I became a certified yoga instructor and had been teaching private and group classes in my neighborhood and people started asking me if I was able to teach other types of classes such as Hip Hop, Zumba, Pilates etc. which I was not qualified to teach. So I started to network and reach out to other instructors via Facebook and other avenues. I then started renting out studio spaces in the neighborhood to host these classes and started publicizing them to the community. This became my first business, Crown Heights Fitness. From there, I started to see that there were many people who were interested in these classes but the classes offered at the studio didn't fit into their schedules and/or weren't catered to the level that they needed. People started to ask if I offered private, in home classes. And one small in home group class approached me since their regular instructor had moved to Florida and wanted to know if I could send them a replacement instructor - which I did. That's when the lightbulb went on in my head where I realized that I didn't have to spend $ to rent studios or worry about getting enough people signed up for the classes, I could just serve as a facilitator between client and instructor to make sure that they had the right fit - And thus Bring the Gym to Me was born.
Wanderlust Weekly: You've built a strong community following in New York, what are some of your proudest moments? Sarede Switzer: One of my great success stories is when a former Cirque du Soleil performer who is originally from Brazil was about to move back to his hometown as he was unable to find work here in NY, but then I set him up with a summer job teaching Circus Arts at a camp in Long Island. He was so incredibly grateful for the opportunity, he couldn't stop thanking me. And the camp fell in love with him as well. Here is an interview that I did with him about his fascinating life story. Another proud moment that comes to mind is when a potential client had called me from Williamsburg and I asked her how she found out about our services, like had she seen one of our ads or something? And she replied "Oh, everyone here in this neighborhood knows about you! I know so many people who are your clients." So I realized that i had "made it" in that community and had become a staple! It was very exciting and encouraged me to keep going and to try to tap into/expand in other communities in a similar way.
Wanderlust Weekly: The wellness field is constantly evolving, what upcoming news or developments can we look forward to? Sarede Switzer: From the fitness instructors perspective - My business model fits into the new "gig economy" phenomenon, where rather than having to work for one specific company in one specific place at set times (eg a 9to5 office job), more and more people are opting to work as independent contractors so that they can have the flexibility to work on their own time and as much or as little as they want. Instructors can decide to teach as many or as few classes for me and let me know their availability on a weekly basis. I believe that this gig economy model will become more and more prevalent in the fitness instructor world as people realize that they do not need to be restricted to teaching at a studio or to be responsible for finding their own clients (if they prefer to be self employed). From the clients perspective, research shows that in home personalized fitness classes are increasing in in popularity as people become more intelligent fitness consumers and learn more about their health and individual needs. The small in home group classes that we offer can also be a great bonding experience for close friends or family and can also be an economical option for those looking to save $ by splitting the cost of in home training (rather than having a one on one trainer just for themselves). From what I see, these alternative small in home groups are becoming more prevalent especially in certain communities. Many of my clients are religious Jewish women who due to modesty reasons are uncomfortable going to a mixed gym. So having in home training (either 1on1 or in a small group) is a perfect option where they can preserve their modesty while still staying in shape. I think there is a big market for similar populations such as muslims or certain very conservative Christians or even non religious people who feel more comfortable working out in privacy rather than in a public arena such as a gym. [ learn more ]