Smart50 Awards 2014

18 KX Group

Revenue

Over $2.9 million

Growth

117.5%

Founders

Aaron Smith, 31

Head Office

Victoria

Year Founded

2010

Employees

14

Industry

Health and community services

Website

www.kxpilates.com.au

 


Victorian-based health and fitness business the KX Group is built on, and takes its name from, a Japanese philosophy called the Kaizen Experience.

“It’s about ‘change for the better’ or continuous improvement,” says founder Aaron Smith, who opened the first KX Pilates studio in the Melbourne suburb of Malvern in 2010.

The KX Group’s tagline is “define yourself” and Smith says it refers to both customers defining their bodies through the group’s various exercise styles (pilates, yoga, barre and running, with another brand to come soon), as well as defining who they are.

“It’s more than just a brand, it’s a way of life,” says Smith. “We can always improve on the past.”

It’s an approach to business that Smith has honed since opening his first high-performance pilates studio, having previously travelled and worked overseas as a personal trainer.

The KX Pilates chain now has six company-owned studios and five franchised studios in Melbourne, with the first Sydney studio to open in September and Perth to follow soon after. As a whole, the KX Group has grown by 117% since its inception.

Smith wants to have at least 15 franchised studios by the end of the current financial year, but he is wary of growing too fast too soon.

“I didn’t have to do anything at all in Melbourne [to attract franchises],” says Smith. “But I don’t want one on every corner.”

“I’d rather have a small number of studios dominating rather than a huge amount performing half as well.”

Smith says opening up the group to franchises has driven the group’s brand awareness and recognition in the industry, due to the simple fact the Pilates arm of the group has gone from three studios this time last year to 11 studios. And when it comes to finding the right franchise partner, Smith knows what he’s looking for.

“They have to fit a certain personality,” says Smith, who uses words such as “fun”, “cheeky” and “energetic” to describe the KX brand. “And that is a personality like myself and the brand.”

Smith says his plan was always to exit the KX business in 2018, and while that goal is still intact, he says exiting the company by 2020 is probably more realistic.

As for what he will do after 2020, Smith says another business in the health and fitness or nutritional space is on the cards.

“Now that I have the franchise systems down pat, it will be easy to change it about,” he says.

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