Trib3 franchisee for Deansgate, Katie Kopka, talks success, sweat and safe spaces
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to opening TRIB3 Deansgate?
I’ve worked in the learning and talent space for the last 16 years. I founded my own small boutique consultancy that works with organisations to help them unlock the potential and performance of their people. This is something I’m still doing and am lucky to work with some amazing brands and people.
Why did you choose fitness franchising rather than starting out independently?
For me, franchising was about taking a huge leap and doing something radically different in terms of industry, whilst having the support of a known brand, with processes and learnings to mitigate some of the risk.
The product is second to none. I have not seen, nor experienced, another true boutique that has the quality of programming or the attention to detail in terms of the customer experience that TRIB3 has. The fitness market is ultimately about people and TRIB3 puts people at the heart of everything it does with kindness as a key cultural anchor.
What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
It’s been great and a real impact in having its operational knowledge shared and having it part of the day-to-day store team from day one. I have weekly check-ins with operations to make sure we are all aligned.
In terms of support I have received, it’s been everything from finance to recruitment and property maintenance. Any support that’s needed I pick up the phone.
What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to buy their first franchise?
Be crystal clear about how much cash you have; how much you are prepared to invest and what the limit is. It’s so easy to get carried away in the excitement and completely blow the budget.
In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?
To be successful, you have to come at it with a growth mindset.
Worry less about looking smart and put more energy into learning. Also, realise the franchisor is wanting to learn too. You likely bring a skillset/mindset/perspective that’s valuable to the overall success of the brand. Early on realise you are operating within and outside of three teams – your own team, in my case the store team, your home team – whoever’s got your back like a partner, friends or family members and the franchisor team. Skills to navigate people and everything that comes with them are crucial.
What do you think it is about working out that brings people together?
I think it’s probably slightly different for everyone but speaking from my experience and what I see at TRIB3, it’s the connection, the community and support, both in and outside the studio. At TRIB3, we celebrate in class every time someone gets their sweat medal and this translates into complete strangers encouraging each other to keep going or push that bit harder which certainly breaks the ice for when class is over.
As a woman in an industry that often has problems with impossible expectations, how do you make everyone, particularly women, feel welcome?
We pride ourselves on our diversity at TRIB3 Deansgate and I feel like our community recognises and appreciates that. We are a safe space where the only thing that matters is that our TRIB3Rs have a great workout whilst having fun.