Escape Fitness started as a family business. With Matthew’s father’s experience in engineering and his own focus on fitness, it was a natural decision to start manufacturing products within the fitness space. They started with dumbbells and weights to building their own brand.
The Steps to Building a Fitness Brand from Scratch
The Escape Fitness evolution started by identifying a hole in the market. In this case it was an affordable rubber dumbbell and Olympic plates. It was the perfect decision for them since there wasn’t anything in the UK-space, no business which was manufacturing these items near them.
Step 1: International Markets
Since they were manufacturing in Poland, it seemed natural to start selling in Poland, even if their headquarters were based just outside of London. Whenever you sell your products in a different country, there are aspects of marketing that need to be addressed before promotions: different cultures, different people, different needs, for example.
We probably misjudged the market. We were a little bit soon in there because we were selling a premium product and the market was really developing but it gave us and understanding of international business and how difficult it can be.
Building relationships and partnerships with people in other countries, it can be like an extension of your business.
Business is about relationships, at the end of the day, and creating awareness.
Step 2: Product Development
Having a great team for product development is the key. Matthew has a team of people who look at product ideas from different perspectives (from fitness to operational to international viewpoints). They challenge each other in order to build a better product. In addition to that, Matthew highlights these points:
- The importance of pricing
- How are you going to differentiate yourself?
- Understand what you are going to do differently.
You might think, ‘Fitness is fitness everywhere’ but the places that people do fitness is different and the types of people that do it and the types of fitness they want to do is different. It is important that you understand that.
Step 3: Marketing Tips and Trends
Matthew suggests taking your time and talking to people who are in the industry, or people who know (or are people who are) consumers in the industry. Then add your own flair to it.
You get these trends and that will drive the kind of equipment that people want.