Xtend Barre has broken ground on their flagship London studio, set to open its doors mid year on Marlyebone High Street. ClassPass chatted with their founder, Andrea Rodgers, on the experience of launching the first American barre studio across the pond.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE LONDON?
As we began to explore the London market back in 2014, we recognized what an ideal opportunity existed there. We saw that there was a definite shift occurring in the market. London was beginning to embrace a health conscious lifestyle. Consumers were becoming more aware of their health and fitness and there were even signs of pubs being replaced by green juice shops. We became confident that the city’s sophisticated demographic would be open and receptive to our workout method. It was then that we decided to dive in with the goal of being one of the first to educate London on the concept of barre.

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR STUDIO LOCATION? WHAT WAS THE LEASING PROCESS LIKE, WORKING INTERNATIONALLY?
In order to solidify our position in the boutique fitness scene, we wanted to ensure that we had a strategic location that could serve not just as a strong London presence, but also as a hub for any future European growth and expansion.  We quickly found that the London real estate market was lagging behind their community members in their desire to welcome the concept of boutique fitness. We actively searched for a year before finding our final space, with it taking an additional year to secure the lease. Unfortunately, we soon found that this scenario is commonplace and may stand to deter other American brands from establishing a presence in London.

Although the Marlyebone High Street address took much patience and persistence to secure, we knew that the location was something that we could not compromise on. Easily accessible from the Baker Street tube stop and surrounded by like minded business including boutiques, restaurants, cafes and more, the studio will be convenient for clients to reach. The studio will feature 260 square meters of space with our signature architectural design and aesthetic, making it a modern, welcoming environment that exudes our brand’s true feel.  

HOW DID YOU MANAGE TO REPLICATE YOUR INSTRUCTOR EXPERIENCE IN THE NEW LOCATION?
In addition to the strategic location, we are pleased to have found an amazing team led by Catie Miller as our Studio Owner. She brings with her a strong passion for fitness, a love for the community of London and a loyalty to the Xtend Barre method. While the very lengthy process of real estate selection could have been a huge impediment, Catie persevered and found a way to bring Xtend Barre to London right away.

HOW WILL YOU MARKET TO A NEW GROUP OF FITNESS ENTHUSIASTS ABROAD?
Catie helped to create a pop up studio at London Danceworks in July 2014, allowing Xtend Barre to establish roots in London quickly. This made it possible for her to begin to recruit an incredibly talented team of instructors, while building a buzz and a following for the workout at the same time. Thanks to her dedication, we will be opening our doors to an already loyal group of clients addicted to Xtend.

ANY ADVICE FOR OTHERS INTERESTED IN EXPANDING OVERSEAS?
Finding the right partner is key. Our partner, Catie Miller, has and continues to do a remarkable job growing the Xtend Barre brand in London. Having a strong ally on the ground who knows the local market and is well connected within the community is a vital component in establishing your brand internationally.

ABOUT XTEND BARRE®:
Originally launched in Florida in 2007 by professional dancer Andrea Rogers, the Xtend Barre workout combines the amazing results of dance with the principles of strength and safety in Pilates. In just over three years, Xtend Barre has rapidly expanded to over 150 locations around the world. The Xtend Barre workout has been sought after by national spa and fitness centers and Pilates devotees from the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Paris, London and Canada. Clients range from new enthusiasts to seasoned fitness pros and include men, women, teens, Pilates practitioners, professional athletes, celebrities, and dancers. The Xtend Barre method is best summarized by a long-time client: “If Pilates sculpts your body, Xtend Barre chisels it.” For more information, please visit: www.xtendbarre.com

Image: Courtesy of Xtend Barre

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