Decoding Wellness with Pure Sweat Studios’ CEO

June 19, 2024

Wellness continues to be a hot topic these days. From wellness tourism to virtually-driven mental health platforms to growing focus on “wellness in the workplace”, the word has come to encapsulate anything that has to do with living healthy and holistically. What’s more, the wellness segment is rapidly growing and is set to exceed seven trillion dollars in the U.S. by 2025.

As a company who partners with our clients to build and grow their brands in ways that resonate with customers, we tapped wellness business CEO and Founder of Pure Sweat Studios, Candice Bruder, to give us her take on big moves happening in her industry. With several locations in 10 states nationwide (and rapidly expanding), she has a front row seat to best practices in terms of designing to maximize the customer experience and growing beyond the prototype. Our COO, Lynn Gonsior, spoke with Candice to hear more.

Lynn: How do you define the “Wellness Industry.” What types of businesses do you include in the competitive set?

Candice: This is definitely the million-dollar question today. But I typically define it as any business that takes a holistic approach and is committed to mind, body, and spirit health. I believe that each facet is of equal importance for the whole to function properly; and each is interconnected with the other. For example, we scientifically know that stress has a direct impact on our immune health, as well as our sleep. If we are sick or not sleeping well, that is going to affect our mental and emotional health.

Any truly authentic business within the wellness industry understands the dynamic of these pillars, and its role integrating all three into its services, products, and offerings.

Lynn: Since launching your business, what has changed in terms of consumer behavior and sentiment about what you do? Is there more of an appetite for it?

Candice: People are invigorated now more than ever about alternative ways to manage stress, improve their immune health, and incorporate self-care into their everyday routines. When I first opened Pure Sweat in 2017 (Nashville was our first city), people would walk in and say: “What are you, yoga?” At that time, yoga was the catch-all for “well-being.” Now that I think about it, I recall yoga 20 years ago as being “alternative,” and look how it is embraced as a mainstay worldwide today!

I am also observing a rise in the practice of being proactive versus reactive with well-being. I float, for example, so that I don’t get burnout; I use the infrared sauna so I don’t get sick; and I cold plunge to build resilience when life gets tough outside of the plunge. For so long, we have been a reactive culture. We wait until there is a problem, and then when there is one, we want a quick fix and remedy. Wellness, as I see it today, is about having a thoughtful, intentional, and committed investment to all facets of our well-being. This requires practice, time, and consistency.

What has evolved as a growing need, however, is to detox and de-stress. It’s a different playing field these days with the amount of toxins and stress in our daily lives. I have focused Pure Sweat Studios on modalities that have stood the test of time and practiced in countries and cultures around the world: sauna, cold plunging, soaking in mineral rich water. There is great merit in that; and with these timeless modalities, I have evolved them to adapt to contemporary times. Life is complicated enough as it is, and there are so many choices for consumers. Wellness can be simple, natural, and also free. My advice is to pick a few that work for you, and stick with them!

Lynn: When you set out to design the perfect wellness experience tell us what that was like? How did you approach the physical aspects of your space as well as the customer experience within it?

Candice: Design is an expression of a brand. Everything we do at Pure Sweat Studios is intentional to create an experience. Through a specific aesthetic, sound, aroma, I believe in creating spaces that are inspiring to the senses, fostering connection within, while being received as an aspirational home away from home. Our clients call us “their happy place,” and we love to set a vibe.

Within design, it is also an expression of standards of excellence. We are rooted in providing premium experiences, which includes offering the best equipment there is in the industry. Demonstrating to your client that you provide the best, underscores trust and integrity: two of the most important pillars within successful business.

Within the umbrella of experience, I also believe creating customization is critical. Our design integrations offer various experiences that can be customized to support a client’s unique needs. Whether that’s entertainment or lighting options while in the sauna, different music and frequencies to support a mindset while floating or cold plunging, or beauty and health boosters when in session—a client is also empowered to customize their experience according to their need.

Lynn: How do you ensure the same level of quality and experience at all of your locations?

Candice: Operations is the backbone of business so that all else can flourish. In order to have a strong backbone, there must be robust and thorough hands-on training and material development to support the pathway of success. We have 12 Operating Principles that clearly define our commitments as a brand. Each has a supportive what, why, and how we bring them to life.

As a franchise company, we also host monthly training calls with our franchisees and their teams, covering everything from front desk best practices, to declaring your super powers. An important ingredient to our training calls is that team members are also invited to join, not just owners. Our teams are the ones who bring success to business every day. A strong team equals a supported owner.

Lynn: Absolutely. At the core, it’s ensuring you have an employee value proposition. In order for brands to improve the customer experience and drive revenue, they need to have one.

Lynn: Can you give us some “secret sauce” ideas on how you enhance the customer experience inside your stores?

Candice: I believe passionately in being masters of client care, education, and creating immersive experiences that foster discovery, community, and connection. This is then operationalized through robust training materials that bring our care and brand to life in the studios.

Every touch point with clients is intentional from the moment they walk in the door. Our client care is also about being an active listener so that we can authentically support them. One of our resounding principles is “we are never just a sweat.” Beyond the abundant benefits of the services we provide, I know that at the heart of what we offer is a space for health, healing, and connection within.

Another mantra that guides our secret sauce is something I have believed for years: when we share our human experiences, we create the greatest opportunity for connection and understanding.

Lynn: What does the future of the wellness industry look like in your opinion? How competitive will it be? What will we see less of, or more of?

Candice: I think the future of the wellness industry is abundant! Wellness creates such a beautiful domino effect of awareness and expansion of other well-being practices. For example, at Pure Sweat, we also serve as a catalyst for someone’s well-being journey; perhaps through us, they become motivated and inspired to try fitness or meditation; they become more curious about what they put in their body and on their body. It’s a circular process of discovery.

I think the movement towards natural and timeless will continue to grow versus fabricated and the latest fad – a getting back to basics mindset. I’ve also seen the language change from “self-care” to “overall well-being care.” To me, this signals that people realize that taking care of yourself isn’t really just about self; in a way, it means you show up fully to everything you do, and this has an impact on everyone around you. It seems less selfish, more community driven.

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