You might not expect a fitness franchise to provide leadership opportunities for women; or a fitness business founder who dropped out of school to have built a community of 35,000 attendees from a £200 investment and 8 second hand trampolines.
You clearly haven’t met Kim Perry of ((BOUNCE)). We sat down with Kim to learn about her journey to entrepreneurial success….
HOC: Great to meet you, Kim. Let’s start at the beginning; where did the idea for ((BOUNCE)) come from?
Kim: ((BOUNCE)) is mini trampoline fitness classes, also known as ‘rebounding’, I initially started my business because I wanted to ensure rapid weightloss after giving birth and jumping on a trampoline is 3 times more effective than floor-based fitness so I knew it was an amazing way to workout that wasn’t capitalised on. I also had the hope of not going back to my busy job in the city, so I decided to re-trained my skills in a new industry learning everything about teaching fitness and marrying that with my corporate expertise, it was my time to do it on my own. However, I never actually set out to run a company, I didn’t even write a business plan, my personal goal was to simply generate enough income to create a better work/life balance as I was travelling a lot and with becoming a Mum my priorities had changed.
HOC: We hear you started the business with only £200?!
Kim; Yes! I began ((BOUNCE)) by borrowing £200 and started with just 8 second-hand trampolines teaching classes in Essex in 2014 just weeks after giving birth to my son Jasper Cruze. Being a new Mum had helped me see the isolation parents can face emotionally, physically and practically with a baby in tow so the idea to create an inclusive, social, fun fitness class was the aim… The ((BOUNCE)) USP is that we are ‘child friendly’ meaning that parents can take children with them while they workout. This means literally anything goes, you can bring a buggy in, there’s toys, food, tantrums going on, nappy changes, breastfeeding, kids jumping on the trampolines too, crying, chaos and of course cuddles and lots of laughs but most importantly people are able to unite without prejudice and parents can focus on their fitness without a barrier.
((BOUNCE)) is for all ages and abilities so if you can jump you can do it, most inviting is that the workout is low impact meaning the trampoline absorbs 87% of shock so it’s easy on the joints and suitable for the young, old and even those with injury as its used commonly for rehabilitation too. Even the most hardcore fitness fanatics get an intense workout because harder you push the more calories you’ll lose thanks to gravity and g-force. The apparatus really is the secret to my success, but I realised pretty early on that I had to solidify the brand identity and grow.
What began as 8 trampolines is now an average of 35,000 attendees each month across the globe, 250+ studios and 600 instructors in our teaching team.
HOC: And you won the ‘UK’s best franchisor’ in 2017?
Kim: Winning that award was sentimental because at the time of deciding to franchise or not, it was was a pivotal point in business for me, I felt out of my depth I needed to grow so much more knowledgeable, I had to sacrifice a lot of time as a Mum, as a result it became the most meaningful progress in the business – those are the times are when you look back and know you’ve done yourself proud, when you rise up to a challenge, risk a lot and not give up, especially when there’s no guarantee which way it will go.
With ((BOUNCE)) it just became clear that there just wasn’t enough accessibility for people to get to classes so I wanted to develop a franchise model that maintained control but would help the brand grow exponentially. We went from being just 3 studios that I operated myself to nearly 300 studios in the first 3 years, so my fear was that the brand wouldn’t be able to maintain high standards. But by breaking down your goals and working towards your own strengths you realise where you need help – and that’s when I began to develop the rest of my now 15-person management team.
It all started with devising in-house training courses, sign-off procedures and step-by-step franchise manuals to follow, which have now turned into what we call the ‘Business Hub’ housing all info and support for franchisees. But the key is really being face to face, so our ongoing Continued Professional Development days (C.P.D) are held quarterly and instructors meet to do live training committing to an investment in the of growth of their abilities.
There are over 600 ((B)) instructors in the UK, Ireland, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand and CPD training days ensure were servicing an ever-changing satisfied customer’s experience.
HOC: Before founding ((BOUNCE)) what had you been doing?
Kim: When I was younger, I actually dropped out of high school and I didn’t go to university either, consequently I put a lot of pressure on myself to prove that I could do well in the workforce and as a result I’ve always had strong positions in corporate companies but I have also always felt like I’ve had to work twice as hard to be seen as half as authoritative as any of my male counterparts.
I’ve worked mainly in Property Development, Real Estate, Sales and also Events and in all of those positions I realised later in life that I’d been in a trailblazing position for women, whether that’s relating to lower pay, lack of bonuses, discrimination, or being the only female in a management position, I felt I was having to make a stand. Such experiences over time have helped me form a focus within my own company now at ((BOUNCE)) that it’s paramount to prioritise women’s place in the workforce and everything surrounding their needs. For example by franchising ((BOUNCE)) I was able to open up opportunities for women to teach under my brand and directly create leadership roles for women to find independent, financial security in fitness industry.
((BOUNCE)) focuses on fitness for Mums, who are generically seen as the glue that holds family life together – if that glue isn’t strong, satisfied or supported then there can be a negative ripple effect. The ((BOUNCE)) ethos is about breaking down barriers and ensuring women are more equal in more ways.
HOC: Can you remember what your very first job was, and does this relate to what you are doing now?
Kim: I remember being desperate to work from such a young age! I never felt like school was enough for me, I was always pushing the limits. When I was about 13 I’d made a resume documenting all the babysitting I’d done and how I was ironing baskets of clothes for my Mum for and charging the neighbours to wash their cars in the street!
I regularly went to every store in the local shopping centre and asked for a job after school and I finally got my first at ‘Donut King’– it was the best! I made cappuccinos constantly, I’d clean, stack shelves, place stock orders and I would always make way too many donuts toward closing time so I could take all the leftovers home…
I’m making up for that now by teaching fitness every day!
HOC: If you weren’t running ((BOUNCE)), what could have career plan B looked like?
Kim: I am very Sales driven. I am interested in leads, conversions, I like expectations, considering customer buying trends, branding, marketing and overall consumerism. It interests me in relation to considering why we want things, how we are sold-to or what we buy-into and whether that does or does not satisfy us. I like creating working relationships, planning, organisation, making procedures and looking at efficiency. I know some people absolutely loathe the thought of things like that but being in a corporate environment is where I feel useful and inspired – so ultimately, if I wan’t running a fitness brand I would still be doing something business-related probably in middle management somewhere… either that or making donuts I’ve just realised!
HOC: What are your ambitions for your brand this year?
Kim: I believe there are some big responsibilities on me as a female CEO. More-so than my business ambitions with ((BOUNCE)), this year I have a fundamental focus on female empowerment being clearly channelled throughout the brand and beyond ensuring that women in any workplace know their worth. Together we need to be constantly finding ways to spread a stronger sense of certainty that we are valued enough and proud enough to achieve our desired successes.
Since inception I’m am so proud to say that ((BOUNCE)) has made waves in this way by creating a company framework that has facilitated 1 woman every second day into a leadership role over the last 4 years and 97% of our franchises are female owned and operated.
In doing this I have become a Harlow Ambassador for the Chamber of Commerce championing business in my local area plus an Ambassador for the Allbright Academy which is a progressive network of women in business who are focused on smashing through corporate glass ceiling or building their own empires and giving them the best guidance to do this. I am happy to share my experiences knowing that if I had heard more about other women in business and their everyday plights, I might’ve made my move sooner and with a lot more conviction. All you need is a little bit of gumption for when it goes wrong and the guts to get up and be a #girlboss every day in every way.
HOC: In addition to ((BOUNCE)), what do you do to keep your mental and physical health up during busy work periods?
Kim: I have truly found my energy and happiness improve whenever I am on a trampoline, I put the lights down low and the music up high and at some point, you just realise you can’t take yourself too seriously when you’re jumping on a trampoline! Other than that, I talk to my inner self a lot, I try to recognise when I mess up, apologise for it and I tell myself it’s ok when others do too because that’s how I want my workplace to be. I work with a lot of my closest friends and my husband too so ultimately, I don’t want us to all feel under pressure. Practically, I know that if I literally stop, go and watch something on TV, then it gives my brain a chance to reset and recognise there is a way and I will find it when the time is right.
HOC: From your instagram I see your partner in life is also your business partner! What’s it like running your business together; what tips do you have for making this work at work and keeping personal life personal?
Kim: I met my husband Chris at a previous job, we’re total opposites, he’s patient, calm, considered, logical, financial, I’m more intense, risky, expectant and decisive but our office romance blossomed into a solid marriage and we’ve been a team in business and in life for 10 years.
At ((BOUNCE)) we’re constantly making decisions together and we usually come from very different perspectives of what we think is right from so the ‘secret’ is that we strategize until we can agree. At the time that can be feisty, but we choose to see each other as equals and we remind each other that we bring different skills to the company and we work on appreciating that – usually in the aftermath one of us will go up to the other and say that we love something about working together. And laugh. We laugh a lot! Finding a balance and being able to create a supportive working relationship makes for even sweeter success – whether that’s with colleagues, clients, superiors or loved ones.
I’m incredibly proud of having a work life and a love life with the same person, so I’m careful to swap hats regularly, as a wife and a Mum I plan dinners together, solidify family routine so we’re not always talking about work in front of our son, and make major memories with special holidays to relax or big parties to celebrate. I plan and diarise everything I want out of my week and that helps me manage in a practical way.
HOC: What are your top work bag pick me ups for long work days / travelling?
Kim: Lip balm is literally my life partner! When you’re a fitness instructor you’re constantly talking, sweating and needing re-hydration so I cannot live without Carmex to keep my lips less dry with all the talking I do.
I drink water 24hrs a day, I even wake up during the night and reach for it, there is nothing more satisfying – except maybe a glass of wine at the end of a long day. As someone who works in fitness, I live by the rule to ‘output more than you input’ and I don’t eat sugars but I’m a sucker for a sauvignon blanc.
I spend a lot of money on YSL perfume and MAC makeup, I am usually rushing from the studio in the morning straight to a lunch meeting or my son’s school activities so that sweaty afterglow that you get from exercising is the vibe I need to slightly disguise.
Good quality active wear has always served me well. I live in leggings, sweatshirts and crisp clean trainers and with the right casual look I believe you command an essence of confidence, comfort and style, running around all day. Stashing a fresh outfit like this is rolled up in my bag is an easy way to go from ‘class to kicking ass’!
HOC: Finally, what other business women do you look up to and why?
Kim: Pip Edwards of PE Nation is someone who I keep my eye on, her streetwear brand and busy fitness/travel lifestyle is something I relate to but most notably her slow rise to fame from working for others to now owning her own label and achieving success in her own right embodies the idea of being a blazing business woman when the time is right for you.
Karren Brady is also someone who I think about when making bold decisions. Her pioneering journey in a ‘man’s world’ at the youthful age of 21 and subsequent roles during motherhood and sickness show that if work is important to you then you can get the job done no matter what you’re faced with.
To find out more about ((BOUNCE)) head over to bouncefitbody.com
Follow the ((BOUNCE)) journey on insta: @bouncefitbody