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Located in the Sydney CBD, SOMA Collection is a boutique gym that offers small studio classes and personal training for busy professionals. SOMA founders Simon Anderson and Franco Atashi wanted to create a haven for those with high-pressure jobs and SOMA is most definitely that.
“It’s an oasis designed for corporate professionals or for people who enjoy the nicer things in life,” Anderson told TheLatch—.
The oasis includes a spa that offers remedial, deep tissue and relaxation massages as well as organic aromatherapy facials, as well as personal training services and a myriad of classes with only 10 people per class.
With gyms forcibly closed and many individuals working from home, it’s an uncertain climate to be a business owner. Anderson and Atashi, who have worked in the fitness industry for 11 and 20 years respectively, are now offering SOMA@HOME — “a variety of live and pre-recorded classes ranging from yoga, HIIT, Pilates, barre and more,” says Anderson.
This pivot has allowed the business to still function in the digital space, but it’s not a move that the SOMA team will be making permanently.
“We didn’t really have much of an online presence until COVID-19 hit us,” Anderson said. “Not sure if we will pursue it going forward, I know a lot of other gyms have been wanting to do this for a long time but SOMA is an experience and you can’t get that online.”
We spoke to Simon Anderson about navigating business in a pandemic and plans for SOMA going forward.
Alexandra McCarthy: Hi, Simon! Can you tell us a little bit about SOMA Collection?
Simon Anderson: We launched SOMA Collection in September 2019 — our reason was to create a high-end boutique gym with offerings that suited the busy professional. It’s an oasis designed for corporate professionals or for people who enjoy the nicer things in life.
“It’s an oasis designed for corporate professionals or for people who enjoy the nicer things in life.”
AM: What are a few highlights you’ve experienced since opening SOMA?
SA: Having a lot of celebrities come and train at SOMA as well as politicians and influential business professionals. As well as the amazing PR write-ups we have had from numerous media.
AM: Talk me through your digital presence — has having an online presence helped your business?
SA: We didn’t really have much of an online presence until COVID-19 hit us. Not sure if we will pursue it going forward, I know a lot of other gyms have been wanting to do this for a long time but SOMA is an experience and you can’t get that online.
“SOMA is an experience and you can’t get that online.”
AM: When did your business first start to feel the effects of COVID-19?
SA: Around the 10th of March, as members started to freeze their memberships.
AM: What does it mean for you now?
SA: It means we have to start from the beginning again, we have to cap the number of members in the gym and maybe not start with any classes, just personal training until the restrictions loosen.
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?? Hi, Happy Friday! We thought it was time to reintroduce ourselves. We are Simon and Franco. We are the men behind SOMA. We are the ones replying to your emails, answerings your DMs, planning classes, designing workouts and connecting with experts in the industry to bring you guys the best instructors, trainers and experience. What else do you want to know about us? Drop your question below! . . . . . . . #itrainonline #sydneypersonaltrainer #sydneygym #sydneygyms #gymmotivation #fitness #gym #fitnessjourney #crossfit #weightlifting #fitnessgoals #workout #workoutplans #workouttime #workoutroutine #athomeworkouts #homeworkout #quarantineworkout #workoutcircuit #dumbbellworkout #strengthworkout #upperbodyworkout #homeworkouts #workoutmotivation #workoutforwomen #workoutoftheday #workoutsforwomen #somacollection #somachifley #luxurygym
AM: Have you had to pivot your business or change the way you work?
SA: Not really — we will have to reduce our class sizes but we were already boutique and gave members more room in a class than they would get from any other gym. So in a way, we should come out on top.
AM: Once gyms are allowed to reopen, will it be hard to make those changes?
SA: Not really, just not great from a cost point of view. We only have 10 people in a class and if we have to cut that to 5 people it’s impossible to make a profit.
AM: How can customers support your business in the short term?
SA: We have SOMA@HOME which offers a variety of live and pre-recorded classes ranging from yoga, HIIT, Pilates, barre and more. This is $25 a week.
AM: Do you think the way you operate your business will be changed for good?
SA: No it won’t, it will be changed for six months or so but not forever. As our concept was always to be the cleanest and most hygienic gym in Sydney, we always gave our members’ lots of room in each class, for example, our studios have 10 people max, other gyms might have 20 people in the same space.
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YOUR BEST HEALTH | SOMA was born to deliver something that was missing. A wellness space designed to enrich your life. It was never just about being a gym. We wanted to be more than that. We provide a sanctuary purely dedicated to your mental wellness and physical health. . . . . . . . #somacollection #somachifley #luxurygym #fitnessaustralia #isoworkout #onlinetrainingcoach #gyminstructor #sydneyfitness #sydneyfitnessblogger #sydneyPT #bondiPT #surryhillsPT #darlinghurstPT #sydneycbdPT #PTsydney #sydneywellness #hiittraining #neutralbayPT #onlinetraining #zoomtraining #facebookfitnessgroup #luxurygymsydney #boutiquegymsydney #luxefitness #highintensityworkouts #corporatefitness #corporatetraining #workhardtrainhard #workoutvideos #ondemandtraining
AM: What advice do you have for other small business owners?
SA: Hang in there and do what you can to survive, make sure you’re claiming all the support off the government and ask your landlord to help you out going forward as this is going to take a long time to get out of. As a gym we have lost most of our members, we can’t be expected to open the doors with restricted numbers and pay full rent.
“Hang in there and do what you can to survive.”
AM: What do you think we will all learn from this experience?
SA: We will all learn to be more hygienic going forward, also have respect for small businesses and help and support them. But also to slow down, take time out for yourself and your health should be your priority, so in these instances you and your immune system are prepared!
Get sweaty with a SOMA@HOME class today.