The largest fitness franchise in the world, Curves International, has listed close to 3,500 locations in the United States, where the health club first originated in 1992.[i],[ii]. The fitness franchise was co-founded by Gary and Diane Heavin in the year 1995,[iii] and has grown to an approximate 10,000 location worldwide.[iv]
Today it is present in over eighty-five countries, and has helped millions of women worldwide.[v] The owners of the health club, husband and wife, have their headquarters in Waco, Texas. Although it is specifically for women, some Curves centres allow male members as well. Their competition in this field includes Spa Lady, and Lucille Roberts.[vi]
Comparative Information About Curves
Curves for Women currently lies 28th in the world’s ranking of top selling franchises.[vii] This is quite a remarkable feat considering the number of fast food joints like McDonald’s and Subway whose brand equity rises with accessibility. Among fitness franchises, the next in line is Anytime Fitness Inc. ranking 47th, and then Gold’s Gym, positioning 56th.[viii]
Curves Fitness has reached where it is, in so little time because of various reasons. Some of these reasons have been analyzed and listed here.
- Product differentiation: Curves for Women is different from other fitness clubs because it focuses on weight-loss and fitness. It has also incorporated a new fitness routine of half an hour’s length. In these 30 minutes, they manage strength training and weight-loss guidance program.
- Specific target group: Curves focuses on fitness and weight-loss for women. By doing so, they have narrowed down their consumer group down by half. This helps because it can focus on areas concerning this specific category, rather than providing general help like any other gym.
- Placement: Although they started small in Texas, they started selling franchises early and aimed global. In seven years, they had around 6,000 franchises globally. In Russia and surrounding countries, Curves is called FitCurves.
- Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): CSR does not bring profits, rather it takes money out of the company, but it builds goodwill among its present customers and potential customers. Goodwill is the equity of the brand. Co-founder Gary Heavin is highly involved in charity and social work.
- The product itself: The program is a complete bodily exercise and training. Strengthening and cardiovascular training is all present, making it a healthy workout for all women, not just those interested in weight-loss.
- Evident results: This is probably the most important marketing factor. Experiencing it personally, and then telling others about creating a buzz through word-of-mouth. Due to positive results, it has loyal customers, and is growing rapidly till date.[ix]
Bumps in the Journey
As in the case of any successful large firm or organization, things have not always been uphill. Heavin has been criticized for making donations to charities that advocate and promote pro-life and abstinence. The press played a heavy role in criticizing his choice charities which ultimately affecting the Curves business. Heavin has also had to combat lawsuits. [x]
Regardless of the struggles that every successful business owner faces in this day and age, we can all take a look at the roots of Curves success and learn something from their sound business model.
Topic for Discuss:
As a fitness business owner, what has been your success story and the obstacles along the way that you had to overcome?
[i] Franchise Direct, Top 100 Global Franchises – Rankings, on the Internet at, http://www.franchisedirect.com/top100globalfranchises/rankings/ (visited July 20, 2013).
[ii] Franchise Direct, Curves Franchise Cost & Fees, on the Internet at, http://www.franchisedirect.com/fitnessfranchises/curves-franchise-08356/ufoc/ (visited July 20, 2013).
[iv] Franchise Direct, Curves Franchise Cost & Fees, on the Internet at, http://www.franchisedirect.com/fitnessfranchises/curves-franchise-08356/ufoc/ (visited July 20, 2013).
[vii] Franchise Direct, Top 100 Global Franchises – Rankings, on the Internet at, http://www.franchisedirect.com/top100globalfranchises/rankings/ (visited July 20, 2013).