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Collective Wellness Group - Ready to lead the Future of Wellness in Australia

  • Written by Milo Elder

Collective Wellness Group eyes 1,000 locations as part of local expansion

Collective Wellness Group (CWG) is an investment and management company that operates franchise brands and has an aggressive local growth plan. Under its umbrella includes some of America’s most recognisable health and wellness franchises, which Co-Founders Justin McDonell, Richard Peil and Dave Mortensen have identified an opportunity for in Australia.

Over the next five years, Collective Wellness Group brands’ market share is expected to grow to 1,000 locations. As a board member of industry body Fitness Australia, McDonell is well-versed on consumer wants and needs in the health and wellness space, coining ‘boutique fitness and wellness’ as the continuing growth trend in the Australian market. CWG’s executive team is completed by Arthur McColl, CEO and Jordan Smith, COO.

The CWG stable is currently comprised of three brands within the wellness sector. The largest and best known is Anytime Fitness - the gym chain McDonell and Peil brought to Australia in 2008 - which now boasts over 450 locations nationally, and over two and half million members worldwide. Anytime Fitness is committed to enabling its members to work out anytime, anywhere and is expected to exceed 500 locations by 2018.

Orangetheory Fitness was developed in the USA, quickly gaining a cult following thanks to its unique method of displaying participants’ heart rate during group personal training classes, driving a competitiveness to get in the ‘orange zone’. With four Orangetheory Fitness studios currently open across Australia, the next site will open in August in Waterloo, NSW, with more to follow in 2017.

Rounding out CWG’s portfolio is Massage Envy, a unique membership-based service promoting the concept of massage and skincare as a regular part of a wellness routine, not a luxury. Massage Envy currently has two locations open, with a further two to open in Spring, in Sydney CBD and Balmain NSW. Massage Envy in the USA is the largest massage and skincare brand with 1.2 million members.

Whilst each brand operates independently, McDonell and Peil want their company aligned in improving the holistic approach to health and wellness of Australians. With Anytime Fitness continuing to make leaps and bounds (it’s now the largest health club brand in Australia), CWG’s next focus is to gain traction for all three brands within the billion-dollar* local fitness industry.

As an Industry veteran, Peil is confident in their brands. “The evidence of global success is clear. In all thirteen of its countries Orangetheory Fitness has never closed a studio and Massage Envy has more than a thousand doors in the US alone. I am continually surprised by the number and variety of great opportunities being presented to CWG with the view of taking them to the Australian market.
With any new brand introduction, there’s a process of in-depth analysis and due diligence. We know there’s plenty of space for new brands, but we spend a lot of time scrutinising potential opportunities, firstly to ensure that we believe there is a desire by the Australian consumer, and secondly that what we bring to the market place complements, not competes, with the brands we already have within CWG.”

Leading reports identified ‘Exercise is Medicine®’** as one of 2017’s key fitness trends. This global health initiative encourages medical professionals to prescribe physical activity within patient treatment plans. It may sound obvious but McDonell sees this as a sign the business is headed in the right direction. “The ‘Exercise is Medicine®’ trend is a great example of a shift in the health industry and consumer’s perception. No longer do we see fitness as just a weight loss tool. We’re finding more and more that exercise and accompanying recovery is essential, as is time for yourself to emotionally deal with stresses of a fast-paced life. This is why we know that Massage Envy is as valuable to members as our fitness brands. Now, we are constantly looking to find ways to care for our overall wellbeing.”

As a company dedicated to empowering people to do more than they think they can, McDonell is proud that their brands perfectly align to this. “CWG promotes living healthy and active lifestyles, and we really want people to re-think what wellness means to them personally. It’s great that the brands we bring within our portfolio truly reflect and deliver upon our mission, which adds to the culture of CWG by enabling and motivating our support office team, franchisees, suppliers, and members to live well.”