Sandstone Yoga & Pilates started 2020 with a bang, opening its fourth studio in the Cotswold village of Broadway in January.
In March 2020, numbers remained strong as lockdown approached, but it became increasingly clear to franchisor and founder, Michelle Nicklin, that the world was changing dramatically.
In partnership with the four franchisees, the studios transformed to provide a full live online schedule through a new virtual SuperStudio, pooling talent and expertise to offer a packed and varied selection of 30-plus classes a week - this was all put into place during the first weekend of the lockdown in the UK.
After the technology bedded in, Sandstone honoured existing passes with a discount and offered refunds, while also introducing a first class free option for new customers. In ‘doing the right thing’ for existing clients and by expanding and diversifying its offer at a reduced cost, Sandstone incredibly retained around 80 per cent of its customer base.
The Teacher Training also continued using the new online platform and the current cohort are progressing well.
The online offer continues to expand with teachers from across all four physical studios offering live classes at the SuperStudio, including founder Michelle who was inspired to get back on the mat every Wednesday evening.
On Monday, May 19 Sandstone formally expanded its franchise offer just eight weeks after the shock of lockdown. Its new Petra Package option offers prospective franchisees the chance to develop a home-based, online, and community-focused yoga business with access to join the SuperStudio, which is supported by a new and detailed financial business model to demonstrate viability and profitability against a range of scenarios over one to five years.
Sandstone continues to offer its Marrakesh Package of a full, physical studio, but this is also now linked to the SuperStudio to generate active as well as emerging passive income from specialist courses and workshops, which will soon be offered as online-only recorded purchases.
The Petra Package retails at around 50 per cent of the Marrakesh package, offering a lower entry point into this vibrant business and the ultimate flexible option to maximise home and dynamic working patterns in the current and future environment. Inquires have already been strong in the first week.
Michelle said: “As soon as it became clear that the issue was likely to have significant and longer-term implications for offering classes, workshops and training, we got the whole team together to understand what we could do for our customers and how we could adapt as a business.
“Our head office team and the franchises responded magnificently and with lots of hard work, belief and passion we reinvented what we do and how we do it in a matter of days; and have now build on that to offer future franchisees a new option to join this vibrant and growing business.
“We were determined to adapt and respond, however hard it felt at the time. And today we have an ever stronger customer offer and a new and more flexible way for others to join us in a business which is now optimised for the current and future world. It’s not been easy but I am so proud of how we worked through this and have come out better, stronger and more focused than ever.”