Episode 01 - Flye Fitness Hong Kong
In our freshly launched Tribe Flow Series, we have highlighted the faces behind our partners and most prominent advocates. We are keen on understanding what motivates them to keep going every day and how they have built and sustain successful businesses. Finally, we are interested in how they manage the new post covid world of fitness where online is now interwoven into the fabric of companies.
We sat down with Eliza Jiang, the co-founder of Flye Fitness - leading cardio and dance fitness studio in Hong Kong, for our first episode. Flye doesn't require much of an introduction. If you wanted to experience the endorphin rush of pulling an all-nighter in a club, but without the after-effects of a hefty hangover, Flye is the answer for you. A fitness experience of joy, culture, and self-expression where you feel uplifted by movement and music to break out of your shell. This sweat-drenching, effective cardio & HIIT workout will leave your body pumping with endorphins.
We are off to a good start so let's ask those 7 questions we always wanted to ask a successful boutique studio owner.What would you say inspired you to start Flye Fitness?
What would you say inspired you to start Flye Fitness?
I never used to work out until I started Flye. And the reason is that all of the fitness concepts out there stood for short-term fitness, looking a certain way, losing weight, getting six-packs. So I wanted to create a fitness concept that stands for fun and the joy of fitness of having fun. Exercising that recreates that childhood play, that curiosity, that sort of freedom that we used to experience when we were children. We were running around in a playground combining that joy and fun with a fitness experience that stands for. Long-term fitness rather than focusing on short-term goals. So that is what inspired me to create Flye.
What did you do before starting Flye?
I'm still doing that. I'm a lawyer practicing law in private practice. Still, I have been inspired by changing or contributing to the fitness landscape and the fitness narrative, especially in Asia, to focus more on long-term overall fitness rather than short-term goals and based on looking a certain way. Therefore, I wanted to build a concept on a community that focuses on sort of long-term overall health. I was a lawyer before starting Flye, and I'm still a lawyer now in private. One of the things that I think is really beneficial for me is that I am not coming from a fitness background. Yet, I can still provide a user experience and a narrative that resonates with other female professionals who are very busy with their jobs. As such, I am a walking example of someone with a busy professional career who pursues her passions and still keeps a very active workout regime. So yeah, I'm an example of that, and I walk the talk.
What makes Flye Fitness unique?
What makes Flye unique is our focus. Long-term fitness rather than short-term gains as we're focused on building a stronger heart by lowering body fat, building up the immune system over the long term. Also, our concept is unique because it combines having fun with the joy of going out to play. Whether it's recreating that sense of fun when we were children at the playground, going with our girlfriends on a night out dancing, or attending a music festival. It's fitness and entertainment combined into one concept. Which is what makes Flye unique.
What's the most challenging thing about building a studio brand from scratch?
Building a studio brand from scratch is very challenging. You need to create a compelling value proposition for an already saturated fitness market where all studios target a similar segment of customers. Therefore you need to make that persuasive narrative that we're still working on. We're still working on refining our brand, what it stands for. The top challenge is, aside from creating that compelling narrative, to get the customers' buy-in. Stay loyal to our brand and stay with us as a member in the long-term, and not drop off and leave after a few months.
So that is the hardest thing; retention and customer loyalty getting customers to buy into the brand with the unique value proposition that we have created.
How do you balance work, business, and life responsibilities?
I am still working on it. I think the most essential thing is prioritization and being extremely organized. I try to be very organized. I try to prioritize and basically set a north star. A direction our business needs to drive, combined with my sense of purpose in life, needs to be moving towards.
I think I will drive to that goal. I need to sort out what other steps are required to get there. Based on those steps, I need to sort out the tasks that will enable me to build those foundations and the stepping stones to get those sort of big goals and longer-term goals that I have.
I am very disciplined about the tasks I accomplish each day and how they fit into my long-term goal of reaching the north star. I think that is what drives me, and that's how I try to keep the balance between life and work. However, it is very consuming. I'm not going to lie about it. Since you are building a studio from scratch, you have to be prepared to work really hard and long hours - there's no negotiation around that. To add another point. To balance work, business, and life responsibilities, which is why I'm in the fitness industry, we need to take care of ourselves and carve out time to exercise. I find that that's really important. Every day, I carve out time to exercise, carve out time to recuperate, rest, and sleep well. Those serve the basic building blocks of a healthy being of a wholesome being. To balance all of these responsibilities, I need to feel good about myself. I need to ensure that I'm taking care of my body by exercising, sleeping, eating well, and taking care of my mental health.
Therefore, I think the foundation is to maintain a balance. If you don't have that, it is impossible to maintain balance in the long-term for the startup life marathon to build something from scratch.
What advice would you give someone interested in starting their studio?
It is essential to understand why you want to start your studio, especially in a relatively developed market, like Hong Kong or the US. It's very competitive, therefore understand why you're getting into it because that will dictate your unique value proposition and what your brand stands for.
Understand the why; that is number one. Knowing it will drive everything else from the big picture, the weight to the language you use to the way you train your staff to your Instagram posts to everything. So it's crucial to understand why you're doing it.
Identify your goals and your unique value proposition clearly rather than start another studio like everyone else's. For me, that is the most important thing. Otherwise, you're not adding value to an already saturated market.
Suppose you want to experience the endorphin rush on your own skin and support a good cause. In that case, you can do it now virtually and sign up for a live workout with Eliza and her team here:
Flye - an official fundraiser for the Women for Afghan Women Emergency Relief - has dedicated all proceedings to Women for Afghan Women to support their on-the-ground efforts to provide emergency services and ensure the safety of its staff and Afghan women and their families.
I hope you enjoyed our first episode of Tribe Flow, as we are excited to share more stories from our partners around the globe. You may want to subscribe to our newsletter and receive low latency curated content straight into your inbox.