mishfit to Curves!
Something really, really big has happened in my life the last few months.
This is my story with Curves.
Back in September a friend passed me an email from the Manager of Curves, Selina Bridge. Selina was looking for someone to fill the role of Business Development Manager of Curves Australia and New Zealand. Her email asked if she knew of anyone who:
- was passionate about women’s health and fitness (these were her exact words)
- experience in running or owning own gym, and
- experience in franchising
I could immediately see why our mutual friend had passed this email on to me.
And my heart actually stopped beating for a moment. For those who know me, know that I live and breathe women’s health. I am determined to make a difference to women who are forgotten in fitness. Who want to work out, but have been hurt by exercise. Or simply do not have options to suit their needs.
Working with Curves, I know I can bring this message to a much greater platform.
My relationship with Curves had actually started the year before. I had managed to score a meeting with the marketing manager of Curves, Jacqui Bialocki. At the time, I was very much hoping that Curves would come on board with sponsorship for the 2016 Women’s Health and Fitness Summit. There seemed a natural synergy with what I knew about Curves, which to tell you the truth was not much. But I did knew Curves to be a female only gym. And I knew it had a 30 minute circuit, but not much more.
Jacqui explained to me, that she was not so much a marketing manager, but a story teller. She had just returned from judging Curvette of the year and shared with me the stories of women, who had dramatically had their lives changed by their local Curves club. These stories were NOT the typical fitness industry standard of “before” and “after” shots of people, focusing solely on weight-loss. In fact the whole focus of Curves had changed from weight loss to healthy sustainable living. And Jacqui had the stories (and the photos) to prove it.
Curves only uses images sourced from real members and real club owners for all of their marketing material across Australia and New Zealand. No more photo-shopped unsustainable images that you, my friend, (look at the calendar) are about to be inundated by for the start of the New Year.
When I left that meeting with Jacqui, I not only had a greater understanding of the “new” direction that Curves was going in, but I had met a woman who I just imagined us having a great laugh over a glass of bubbles (or two). You know how that is when you meet someone and immediately you want to hang out with them.
I left that meeting with Jacqui and rang a friend to say, “I want to buy a Curves franchise!” I had totally bought the idea of Curves.
It feels in hindsight, that this was meant to be. I had just come through a difficult period of my own franchise journey. But my life was busy. Blogging, writing articles, presenting, creating education, organising the Women’s Health and Fitness Summit and seeing clients easily filled my days. Not to mention being a mum to four teenagers (read: taxi and teenage trauma) and wife to man who travels around 140 days (which is 39% of the year, so Mark tells me).
But what about Mish? I had been asking myself. I am nearly fifty. What about my future? Just ticking along, is not really me.
Breathlessly, I replied directly to Selina’s email and explained my situation. I was ridiculously excited by the opportunity, however I listed all the things I was currently doing. And this included the Women’s Health and Fitness Summit – about to take place in about eight weeks time. Selina replied back to ask if we could have a conversation about it all. This conversation I soon realised was really an impromptu job interview.
This impromptu phone job interview went well for both of us and Selina invited me to attend the final interview stage, the following week. The last time I went for a job interview, I was fresh out of University, as a young and inexperienced teacher. Things could not be any more different.
After agreeing, I immediately went online and explored the Curves website from top to bottom. I found two clubs close to my home and booked an appointment at both. All the while, asking myself if I could imagine being there. Did it feel right?
The club owner had called to confirm my appointment and now I was waiting in my car. Waiting for my appointment I had a thought:
What if I don’t like it?
What if I just don’t like the Curves experience?
I really had only talked to Jacqui 18 months before and Selina on the phone. What they said may be completely different to what is really happening in the club. My life was busy. Working full time out of the house, plus travel time, would have a major impact on the whole of my family.
So I made myself a deal.
I would go in to the Curves appointment and if I did not like the experience, then I would ring Selina back and say: “Thanks, but no thanks. This opportunity is not right for me.” And I would not go to the final job interview.
However, my experience at Curves, was like none other. I half listened to the questions and gave purposefully vague answers. That was because all the while, I was soaking in the nuances of the club. Women of all shapes, sizes, ages, stages, cultures and abilities walked in to start their 30 minute session on the Curves circuit.
All of these women were greeted with love by the Curves Coaches. That love was bounced back to me, by the members.
“You are going to love it here!”
“I think I am!” I replied.
And so I went to the job interview and got the job of Business Development Manager of Australia and New Zealand.
Secret no more!
I started my role at Curves literally the next week after getting the job and worked only two days each week, so that I could continue working on the Women’s Health and Fitness Summit. It also helped me get ready for the transition from entrepreneur to corporate. And for the reshuffle that needed to happen at home.
Apart from key people and contacts in my life, I did not share my change of working status on any social media platforms. I wanted to keep my position a surprise.
So at the opening ceremony of the Women’s Health and Fitness Summit, I shared this story and invited my manager, Selina onto the stage. Selina shared some of our vision of working together… which I have to say, I remain ridiculously excited about.
There is more I want to share with you, dear reader, about this. But I think this enough for one blog.
However, I do have this video to share with you, that was filmed by my friends at Gym Click Media just after the opening of the WHFS.
P.S. If you would also like to experience Curves, email me here – firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be happy to either give you a 7 day free pass or if you already work in the fitness industry – feel free to talk to you about the working and business opportunities we have.