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POP-UPS


2012. Situated in a car park, it resembled a giant beach hut from the outside. Inside, it had a shingle beach where spa- goers could sunbathe, as well as three treatment rooms, a wood-fired sauna, ice room, relaxation yard and organic bar. Treatments were affordable and it became highly popular, hosting everything from yoga events to comedy nights. “Setting up a pop-up spa enabled


us to be more innovative than if we were running a permanent spa,” says Paul Smyth, founder of Something & Son. “We didn’t have the pressure a permanent spa might have, so we could try out new ideas and focus on getting people in and having a great time. We learned what worked and what didn’t.” Although the pop-up was dismantled


in October 2012, Something & Son transformed four rooms at the Barking Learning Centre into treatment rooms so the concept could continue in winter. The £230,000 pop-up spa was funded


by the local council and the Outer London Fund, created by London mayor Boris Johnson to support the outer London boroughs during the Olympics; a further £300,000 is now being invested in a permanent bathhouse. Something & Son is also talking to both Bristol and Brighton councils about recreating the concept there. An interview with the founders


of Barking Bathhouse ran in Leisure Management issue 2 2013, p54.


CORPORATE OFFERING Hotpod Yoga uses the pop-up format to target the corporate market


– something other fitness operators might also consider to extend their reach into this market. The company offers hot yoga classes in its own pop-up inflatable studios


– the eponymous ‘pods’ – which it uses to provide an in-office offering. It focuses on Vinyasa flow yoga, with the heat (around 38 degrees) facilitating


“maximum benefits in a relatively short time” – perfect for office lunch hours. The pod – which includes heating,


music and lighting systems – is designed to take people out of the office environment the moment they walk


The pop-up pods are quickly inflated and deflated


Hotpod Yoga is marketed to corporate clients


through the door. Any office that signs up is given its own pod and agrees a class timetable with Hotpod Yoga: they can offer as many classes as they like, with Hotpod also very flexible in terms of class times. Instructors then come in, inflate the pop-up “in a matter of seconds”, heat it and sign participants in for a one-hour class, before deflating it, tidying up and putting it back into storage at the office. The pod measures 8m x 9m when erect, and just under 3m high, with a capacity of 20 people. Although Hotpod Yoga services its


own clients in London and the M4 corridor, outside of this the concept can be franchised, to cater either for corporates or the general public.


“The novelty of the pop-up format, with its lack of


adherence to traditional formats or venues, gives these offerings an element of coolness and exclusivity”


60 Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital


JOIN THE COOL CLUB The novelty of the pop-up format – with its lack of adherence to traditional formats or venues, its lack of fixed abode, and its flexibility to morph in response to demand – gives these offerings an element of coolness and exclusivity. London-based pop-up gym Move,


founded by AJ O’Neil, absolutely embodies this. Its growing number of followers are brought together as a buzzing community whose excitement for working out is kept alive through new class formats and locations – including rooftops, piazzas and gardens. With no fixed address and no


membership contract (prices start at £10 per class), social media is used to great effect: via irreverent, fun and enthusiastic Facebook and Twitter posts, followers can keep track of the latest classes – and the locations for those classes. Not only that, but participants’ feedback is actively sought regarding where and how they’d like to Move.


September 2013 © Cybertrek 2013


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