Without small business, we’re nothing. TheLatch— and GoDaddy have teamed up to rally behind local businesses and entrepreneurs during this unprecedented time of change.
We’re speaking to small businesses and entrepreneurs across the country to better understand how they’re adapting to stay open, how they’re keeping their community safe, and how we can support them now during this time, and beyond. We’re focused on keeping Australia open for business, even if doors are closed. #OpenWeStand
We Don’t Train. We Hustle. This is the mantra of Hustle Boxing, a boutique exercise studio based in Sydney’s Potts Point.
Hustle Boxing founders Simon Maree and Tim McGann have certainly been hustling since their gym was temporarily shut down by the government in March. The pair have launched an online program, called Hustle at Home, where their trainers run daily live sessions, weekly check-ins and on-demand replays.
Both Maree and McGann reveal that they wanted to move into the online space before this, but recent events have expedited that process.
“We were seriously looking at online prior to any of this blowing up and we’ve thought for a while that there is a great opportunity to reach more people,” Maree and McGann told TheLatch—.
Since moving their offering online, the duo has received encouraging feedback from their clients.
“There is a great community vibe, everyone is welcome and people are giving us amazing positive feedback,” they said.
TheLatch— spoke to Simon Maree and Tim McGann about how a business less than one-year-old is navigating this uncertain time.
Alexandra McCarthy: Hi, Simon! Hi, Tim! Thanks for chatting with me. Let’s start from the very beginning — can you tell me about your business?
Simon Maree & Tim McGann: Thanks for the opportunity to chat! Hustle Boxing is a premium studio fitness that uses boxing and HIIT/functional training as its foundation.
We’re all about the experience, and whilst the training (put together in part by well-known athlete Andrew Papadopoulos) is extremely well-curated and results-driven, it’s the overall customer experience that really gets us excited!
Think high-end retail for our lobby, day-spa for our bathrooms and nightclub for the studio.
We launched in August 2019 after we had undertaken a number of research trips, including one to New York and LA to see what trends were emerging, particularly in boxing — something that we knew there was a lot of interest in but no one had, in our opinion, successfully managed to bring mainstream or premium. The fitness market in Australia is certainly saturated but we feel we have found a nice niche.
AM: How many people do you have on your team at Hustle Boxing?
SM & TM: Our people are by far our biggest asset. I [Maree] come from a background of business development in the superyacht industry and know the importance of good people in delivering on service expectations, so we take the task of recruitment and retention very seriously.
Compared to say an F45 [studio], we run a higher staff model as we want to ensure everyone who walks through our doors gets made to feel like they are exactly where they are meant to be.
Gyms and fitness studios can be a daunting place so we are here to alleviate any concerns. Pre COVID-19 we were running four front of house staff and six trainers and we had active ads in place for more!
“We want to ensure everyone who walks through our doors gets made to feel like they are exactly where they are meant to be.”
AM: Off the top of your head, what are a few highlights you’ve experienced since opening Hustle Boxing?
SM & TM: The learning curve has been immense, we previously had some experience with a franchise fitness brand but starting something from scratch is a whole other kettle of fish!
Probably the biggest highlight has been seeing people become passionate about our brand and seeing what a community-based gym can do to change peoples lives — our members are such a great bunch of people and we’re constantly getting a kick out of seeing them enjoy what we’ve built.
Being approached to collaborate with brands like Samsung, Stylerunner, P.E Nation and JAGGAD has been pretty amazing too.
AM: Talk me through your digital strategy, how has having an online presence helped your business?
SM & TM: We’ve always put an effort into our social media game as we know how important it is to try and give the best representation of your brand online.
I couldn’t tell you how many members and guests that I’ve spoken to who have told me they first came to know about us through Instagram. We’ve been really lucky to be supported by people who are proud to share their experiences at Hustle Boxing to their own audiences in a really genuine and non-salesy way.
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Down To Yoga?! ?♀️ Your Saturday morning is looking all kinds of EPIC as @hustle_boxing teams up with @onehotyoga to drop a 30min + 30min Hustle at Home ✖️ One Hot Yoga online session FREE to all!!! Come help us break the internet (?) with @andrew_pap_ @sam.hustle & @yogawithjanet_ ???? The access link is in our bio ?? You don’t need to bring a thing and you sure as hell don’t need any experience – EVERYONE is welcome! Let’s make this something special ???? ✖️ SATURDAY 18.04 9:15AM ✖️ #MADEOFMORE #HUSTLEBOXING #ONEHOTYOGA – – – – – – – – – – – #fitness #sydney #pottspoint #boxing #hiit #functionaltraining #studio #studiofitness #zen #onlinesweat #grouptraining #premium #luxuryfitness #dayspa #hustle #online #aquabags #chakra #beautiful #bondi #sydneyfitness #yoga #elizabethbay #darlinghurst #smiles #onlinetraining
AM: When did your business first start to feel the effects of COVID-19?
SM & TM: We had been following what was going on overseas from early February and had some concerns that it was going to be big.
By March, our attendance was significantly down (in the order of 80%) due to some self-imposed class size restrictions that we put in place and from people who just weren’t comfortable training in a group anymore.
Obviously March 23 was D-Day for all gyms and we went from a very successful, in-demand business to zero overnight.
“We had been following what was going on overseas from early Feb and had some concerns that it was going to be big.”
AM: What does it mean for you now? Have you had to pivot your business?
SM & TM: Its certainly a challenge, that’s for sure. We are, as previously mentioned, an experience-based studio and people love Hustle Boxing for the fit-outs, the little touches like fluffy towels and a banging stereo so we’ve had to work really hard to come up with an alternative that brings the experience to our people.
AM: Have you changed your offering?
SM & TM: We sure have, within a few days of the mandatory shut down, we launched ‘Hustle at Home’ to our member base for testing, and after another week, we launched a billable product to the market and we’re really proud of that.
We thought long and hard about how we could stay relevant as a brand and we realised that our most important assets are our staff, so we have brought two of our best trainers in Andrew Pap and Sam Maree (who happens to be my brother) to peoples’ living rooms!
In terms of how we’re all working, we’ve definitely had to make some changes — everyone has the option of working from home and we’re careful about social distancing when we do have to be in the one place when for example filming a session.
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Nothin gonna stop this Hustle ?♂️? Coming to you LIVE erryday ? Hustle at Home is making ISO feel like it’s something we could learn to love ?? 6 more months? We got this We’ve just made it even easier to join, hit the link in our bio for more info and we’ll have you jamming with us in no time. No fixed contract, unlimited access to on demand sessions and as many LIVE sessions as you can handle ???? #MADEOFMORE #HUSTLEBOXING #HUSTLEATHOME – – – – – – – – – – #fitness #sydney #pottspoint #boxing #hiit #functionaltraining #studio #studiofitness #music #onlinesweat #grouptraining #premium #luxuryfitness #dayspa #hustle #online #aquabags #smiles #tunes #beautiful #bondi #sydneyfitness #trainer #elizabethbay #darlinghurst #smiles #onlinetraining
AM: Has it been hard to make those changes?
SM & TM: It hasn’t been a holiday… But we’re 100% committed to what we’ve built and we all love what we do so it’s only natural that we were going to pivot and make the most of the situation that we’re in.
AM: How can customers support your business in the short term?
SM & TM: Hustle at Home is a genuinely great product, where we live stream (currently six) live sessions per week and we have an online community where we store sessions on demand so that people can work out anytime/anywhere.
The live sessions, in particular, are unbelievable — there is a great community vibe, everyone is welcome and people are giving us amazing positive feedback. We’ve just launched a $7 for seven days access to our Hustle at Home live sessions offer and we would LOVE people to jump on and try that!
“The live sessions, in particular, are unbelievable — there is a great community vibe.”
AM: Do you think the way you operate your business will be changed for good?
SM & TM: We were seriously looking at online prior to any of this blowing up and we’ve thought for a while that there is a great opportunity to reach more people than you can with a bricks-and-mortar business so we think that we’re going to be different and stronger at the end of all of this. One thing is for certain, Hustle Boxing will rise again!
AM: What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?
SM & TM: Back yourself and don’t let anyone put doubt in your mind if you believe in what you’re doing. That’s not to say don’t take peoples advice, but take it in the context that only you know what you’re able to achieve and what you’re working towards.
To borrow a cheesy quote, ‘Tough times don’t last but tough people do’. I love that.
AM: What do you think we will all learn from this experience?
SM & TM: The value of relationships, being able to hug a friend or loved one, the importance of supporting others and receiving support and definitely to not sweat the little things.
I believe this will be the biggest thing that 95% of people alive have been through and the one thing that makes me feel ok about it is that we’re all in it together so reach out to someone and see if you can help them through.