For almost 30 years, Curves’ target demographic has been the same -- women over 45 years old, mostly in rural America. This demographic often is overlooked by other health clubs. But Curves knows its market and is proud to still serve that market as it enters its 30th year in 2022.
“I am proud that unlike anyone else in the fitness industry, we are servicing the needs of the underrepresented client, which is the aging woman,” Krishea Holloway, Curves North America and Oceana president, told Club Industry in mid-November. (Watch the full interview in the video above.) “If you're a woman, we see you. You and your health are important to us. Our whole philosophy here at Curves is we want you to live your very best life, and we're here to help you in-club or at-home.”
The brand no longer is the juggernaut it once was. At one time, Curves was listed in Guinness World Records as "The World's Largest Fitness Center Franchise." During the past 15 years, many Curves locations closed. In February 2018, Japanese company Koshidaka Holdings Co Ltd., purchased Curves International.
Curves North America and Oceana is the master franchisor serving the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It has 173 open locations in the United States. That number grows to 248 when Canada, Australia and New Zealand are added. This year, the company opened three new locations with a fourth to open soon.
Holloway became president of Curves North America and Oceana in November 2018, and she added owner to her title in August 2019 when she purchased Curves North America and Oceana.
Holloway was not a novice to Curves. She started as a franchisee in 1997 at the age of 21, and quickly turned her franchise into one of the most successful Curves franchises, which caught the eye of Gary and Diane Heavins, who founded Curves. She then became a mentor to other franchisees and joined Curves corporate in 1999, moving from club operations trainer to sales and resales manager, country manager for New Zealand and Australia, director of North America, and now president of Curves North America and Oceana.
The Curves 30-minute circuit program, which is focused on strength training, is as relevant today as it was when Curves started in 1992, Holloway said. The difference is that the perception that women have today of what strength training will do for them is different than it was 30 years ago. Back then, women feared strength training would “bulk them up.” Today, more women understand that is a fallacy.
The brand has continued to evolve, launching its virtual group coaching option, MyCurves On Demand, in January 2020. Women also can opt into MyCurves On Demand + Coaching, which offers live, one-on-one weekly virtual coaching as well as the on-demand classes.
Curves also offers its Curves Nutrition Program, a fully integrated, personalized weight loss and weight management program that includes customizable meal plans and one-on-one coaching and support along with the Curves fitness program.
The company’s health and wellness education series offers members the most recent research on health topics as well as courses on topics such as balance and posture, stretching and stress management, and nutrition and weight loss.
In 2021, the company launched its first Curves On the Go, which is a mobile pop-up style workout program offering functional fitness off the circuit in various locations, such as a school gym, a community center or a karate school during unused hours. This offering is a separate franchising opportunity.
“They'll be able to take our fun, fast Curves circuit 30-minute full-body workout throughout their community,” Holloway said of these franchisees.
Holloway knows that many people still see Curves as the gym their mother or grandmother joined, but she also knows that millions of women have incorporated strength training and HIIT into their fitness routine because of Curves. And although the next year or two will focus on stabilizing the locations it already has to overcome difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Holloway does plan to grow the brand through brick-and-mortar locations, on-demand and on-the-go offerings.
“We've empowered millions of women, and we're still here innovating to meet today's woman at her needs,” she said.
Watch the full interview with Holloway above to hear more about how Curves is adapting to today’s market while still meeting the needs of its demographics.