Nikki Ellis runs Cinch, a boutique personal training studio in Macleod. She placed runner-up in the Banyule digiDECL Women in Business Awards 2015, because we loved the vivacity of her submission and her innovative approach to business. Cinch is no ordinary gym! For Nikki, the appeal of the Women in Business Award 2015 was the networking potential with other professionals, and she intends to use her free membership for a weekly focus day in the company of others.
Nikki started Cinch in her garage five years ago. By late last year, the business had grown to the point where she knew she needed her own studio – and she moved into a larger space in March.
The majority of her clients are women. Despite the existence of women’s only gyms, Nikki believes there’s a gap in the market. “There are areas we need to address such as pelvic floor strength and pre- and post-natal activity, which aren’t always addressed in women’s only gyms.”
Every trainer at Cinch has a degree in Physical Education or Clinical Exercise Science, bringing a high level of education to every session. The main service they offer is small group personal training, although members can also do yoga or one-on-one training. With up to twelve members per group session, Nikki has found, “Women love to get together and train. There’s so much support and social interaction. It’s really special and you’d never see that level of camaraderie in a gym.”
Cinch differs from a regular gym by being decked out like an adult playground. Ropes, balls, sandbags, even a sled track – needless to say, Nikki’s clients don’t get bored!
The idea behind this set-up is functional fitness. Cinch is not about using machines. “Most of my clients are sitting down all day, so they don’t need to be sitting on a bench press. They need to be up and moving.”
Machine-based workouts are static and supported, with no focus on joint control, stability, or rotational forces. “You’re just pushing a load,” Nikki explains. “It’ll give a strong body, and one that looks aesthetically strong, but it’s not functional. We want people to get fit under their own steam.”
She’s passionate about developing useful strength. She wants older adults to be able to stay in their homes longer, parents to be able to suddenly sprint with their children, and others to not pull up sore after an afternoon of shoveling mulch. So their sessions use balls and ropes and sandbags to shake it up and keep it fun. And her clients love it.
Nikki takes a creative approach to marketing. Recently, Cinch ran a Bring-a-Buddy campaign, where every member who participated received a $30 Coles voucher, regardless of whether their friend signed up. She promotes weekly in her kids’ primary school newsletter and makes the most of her professional networks. Local Eltham blogger, The Little Mama, gives Cinch an occasional plug to her 2000 followers in return for free personal training. Nikki’s massage therapist provides free treatment in exchange for training, and both recommend the other to their clients.
“It’s just nice to collaborate with other women in business,” Nikki says. “I love that.”
The goal is to keep growing and open a larger space with treatment rooms and extra services. Considering Nikki’s motivation and generous approach to business relationships, she has everything she needs to make it happen.
Cinch | 1/24 Aberdeen Road, Macleod | www.cinch.training.com | 0406 261 171