2020 is a world we probably never could have imagined living in just five short months ago. But here we are, living in a global pandemic, trying to navigate how to “get back out” into the world. What does that look like? How does it work? What is normal? In the lens of the fitness industry, these can be extremely challenging questions to answer.
In March, a few short days before cities and states started to close down, we made the conscious decision to close our doors for group fitness. Our last full day of classes was Sunday the 15th and by Monday the 16th at 6 am, we were streaming our very first of 4 live classes a day on our Instagram channel. We never missed a single class or a single day of allowing our members to PYL with us. We put our full-time team to work in completely new ways, and we did it without batting an eye – we called our coaches to action and they rose to the occasion. Our work is to create communities and help people feel alive, and if there’s anything the staff at Alchemy knows how to do, it’s just that.
In the beginning, we thought, “okay, we’ll likely be back open in two weeks, we got this, we can do it.”
And then reality sunk in. Stay at home orders were put in place. And then extended. And extended again. And working from home became the norm, and still IS the norm. In that moment, the idea of “just two weeks” quickly passed, we knew we had a decision to make. Realities of the business sunk in and decisions were left to be made to protect what we’d built over the past 5 years. Our people are everything to our business and we made the conscious decision to keep our full-time team intact and do everything in our power to remain together until opening back up was a possibility.
In the midst of all this…something magical was happening. Our followers started rising, live streaming viewers were steady and growing, success stories were pouring in from members who had found their new at-home rhythm with us. We were keeping the community together one A20 at a time. We really had something here. Now let’s make it better. We started streaming on youtube, adding new formats, demanding even more from our teams, who were now learning how to produce, sound mix, and coach on an entirely new and foreign platform…all on the fly. And again, our team showed up, put in the work, and delivered day in and day out. We were a machine.
Now let’s make it better.
As reopening started to become a reality, so did the reality of how different that was going to be for our members…those questions came back to haunt us: What does that look like? How does it work? What is normal? 6ft spaces were taped off on the floors, coaches were in masks, lockers closed down, anti-bacterial wipes and sprays and sanitizers, well…everywhere. No high-fives, no equipment. You name it, it was gone. But not our attitudes, not our community, and not our purpose.This new service we were building had legs. It was an outlet for those not ready, able, comfortable coming back into our studios so we decided to double down and truly build this thing out properly. We knew it had to become part of our in-studio membership offering and we knew we wanted to replicate that feeling as much as we could to bring it to people’s homes that have never been inside an Alchemy location.
And again, overnight, the asks of our team changed as we started to research and learn how to set up a recording studio, and cameras, and learn how to produce live-streamed classes and coach on a set. We converted a section of our Uptown location to our Digital Headquarters overnight and spent weeks troubleshooting tech and streaming roadblocks. And on Monday, June 22nd at 5:30 AM we went live with our first A20 on our new platform. As a company, and as individuals on a relentless drive to help people feel alive, we have truly learned the power of tenacity and how to turn these obstacles into catapults for the business and our clients. This was new to all of us, and quite frankly, not even on our radar a mere 6 months ago but we took this situation we were handed and knew we could evolve to serve our community. I am so excited to be on this team and am extremely proud of the work we have done. We feel so incredibly lucky to be able to bring Alchemy to more athletes all over the world at a really accessible price point! Although we’ve been able to bring Alchemy to seven locations across two states in just five short years, Alchemy Anywhere allows us to reach, well – ANYWHERE! In our first week, we have gained over 3,000 members in 30 different states and 5 countries. And this is just the beginning. You too can make lemonade out of lemons. Put your mind to it and go.
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Written by Jalisa Goetz