What’s the elevator pitch for Until London?
The vision is for Until to become the first members club and workspace for health and wellness professionals – somewhere they can use as a base and where they can bring their clients to deliver their services.
It’s been designed and created to make world-class, market-leading services and health tech more accessible and affordable for the professionals delivering these to consumers.
This first-of-a-kind offering will provide self-employed health and wellness professionals a perfectly curated space and environment from which to run their own businesses.
Until will welcome business owners across a multitude of professions (treat, train and coach) including personal trainers, strength and conditioning coaches, physiotherapists, chiropractors, osteopaths, nutritionists, naturopaths, business coaches, life coaches, acupuncturists, audiologists, reflexologists and psychotherapists.
Tell us the details
Importantly, our customers get many of the benefits of being a full-time employee, such as health insurance, sick and injury pay and so forth, without the restrictions of being an employee.
Our first Until site in Soho has opened within the new Ilona Rose House near Tottenham Court Road Station. The 9,500 sq ft unit includes 3,000 sq ft of gym floor space, nine treatment rooms, eight coaching rooms, luxurious changing rooms, a cutting-edge performance suite and a members’ clubhouse for the professionals (not consumers), with a kitchen and lounge area providing fresh coffee, as well as healthy snacks for members which are provided by our partners.
It’s the first members club and workspace for self-employed health and wellbeing professionals, giving them a state-of-the-art home for their business and a performance suite with the latest technology for assessing and tracking musculoskeletal performance and damage in their clients.
They also get support growing their business through a range of business services, from marketing through to financial advice, as well as a state-of-the-art podcast recording facility and video call booths for delivering online sessions.
We’re offering a CPD programme delivered by members for members, while the 1500 sq ft Until clubhouse will be a base from which health and wellness members can run their businesses while connecting and collaborating with some of London’s top health and wellbeing professionals.
First and foremost, Until is a community. Our goal is to create a highly aspirational, powerful and supportive community of London’s very best health and wellbeing professionals, working across training, treatment and coaching.
This, above anything else, is where the true potential of the business sits. It’s what will act as the springboard to help our customers realise their dreams for their businesses and themselves.
What’s the thinking behind the name?
The word ‘Until’ is the fulcrum at the heart of every goal. For example, “I’ll keep training until I can run a sub five hour marathon”; “I’ll keep working on my mental health until the days feel lighter”; “I’ll keep doing my treatment until I can walk pain-free again”.
It effectively underwrites the promises we make to ourselves and that’s exactly what we do for our members.
How did you develop the concept?
Until was shaped with and by professionals. We spent over 1,000 hours hanging out with some of the most amazing wellness professionals across all the lead professions we support – everyone from physios through to personal trainers and psychotherapists.
We saw that they were struggling with three problems. Firstly it’s a lonely road being self employed and the professionals we spoke to were craving the chance to work alongside like-minded professionals and benefit from everything that comes with that community, such as support, development and business growth.
Secondly, going it alone in running your own business turns you from a professional to a business owner, along with all the associated new pressures, skills and tasks that come with that and many told us they’d value support with the business side.
Finally, getting access to cutting edge equipment and services in a flexible and affordable way is proving a challenge for some, as many gyms don’t welcome outside personal trainers coming in with clients.
They need access to the latest health tech to help them enhance and diversify their product and service offers to their clients.
Who did the design and architecture?
Given the disruptive nature of our business we needed an equally disruptive partner with a big vision and an appetite to push the edges. From the start we partnered with Quarterback, who brought the latest thinking, technology and practices to the project to ensure we build a scalable and differentiated product and process to enhance the experience we offer for both our members and guests.
The business was self-funded before we raised over US$3m in equity to support the initial ramp up and roll out. That funding came from a variety of experienced and exciting angel investors with participation from Soho Estates.
What’s the customer journey for the clients of members?
Our members’ clients (guests) get a premium, seamless experience. They’re greeted by our front of house team on arrival and shown to the waiting area or changing rooms and then greeted by the professional and taken to their treatment room or the gym floor.
Water points, towels and luxury changing rooms are all provided for guests and our front of house team is always on hand to assist them with anything they might need. We also provide disabled access, toilets and changing facilities, should they be needed.
What’s the customer journey for members?
Our members seamlessly control their experience using our bespoke app, which enables them to check into the building where they’re greeted by our front of house team.
They can then go to the member clubhouse, put their bag in their locker, catch up with other members, send some emails and maybe have a coffee from our barista machine.
They then deliver treatments in coaching rooms, on the gym floor or via a video booth, performance suite or podcast room. Rooms and suites are all booked and accessed using the app.
They can also have lunch at the clubhouse, attend training events in our training centre on a subject relevant to their profession or attend online social media clinics to help them generate more new customers through social media.
Tell us about the deal with Soho Estates
It’s a straight 10-year lease – we’re clear that when we choose a location we want to be there for the long-term and are very excited about the evolution of the Soho market.
Soho Estates is excited about the prospect of Until, what it will deliver for its members, and the impact and services it will provide for the local community.
Having been on a similar journey with Soho House they see similar potential and while they’re our landlord in the first instance, they’re definitely actively supporting us behind the scenes through network and capital.
Could wellness be the new anchor for the commercial property sector?
Our experience is that the pandemic has created a sea change in landlords’ attitudes to health and wellbeing.
Pre-pandemic it was seen as the responsibility of tenant companies to look after the wellbeing of the building occupants, not the landlord. Not anymore. Landlords know it has to be their focus too to ensure that commercial workplaces are more appealing destinations for workers.
They’re also starting to realise that premium health and wellbeing services are largely COVID-proof – as professions that can keep working during lockdowns and also as consistent footfall-driving destinations, in a way that offices no longer are.
Tell us about the location and catchment
Soho is the ideal location for our first club, as it has a great existing health and wellbeing pedigree, as well as proximity to Harley Street and a strong roster of leading gym and wellbeing providers. It also has great transport links to north, south, east and west London.
Most of our members are professionals who are already working from central London but are looking for a better way of working than their current solution.
How far are people travelling to use Until?
Our business is a destination business because we’re working with leading wellness professionals. That means their clients are travelling to see them, as they have a strong ‘pull’. That’s one of the reasons quality is so important to us – we’re working with seasoned professionals who are leaders in their fields.
To ensure this happens, we’ve got a rigorous verification process and all new members are approved by our membership committee, which is made of leading health and wellness professionals.
Is the fall off in commuting due to COVID impacting Until?
Our feeling is that hybrid working will be the new normal – ie, people doing 2-4 days a week in the office and the rest from home.
This works well for our model, as consumers are prioritising making time to see their trainer, physio, psychotherapist when they’re in the city.
All health and wellness practices are infinitely better and more effective when delivered in person. Again, this works in our favour in a post-lockdown world.
How many sites are you planning and where will you develop?
The ambition for growth includes a target of 15 Until sites across Europe and the US within three years. Following the opening of Until Soho, we’re planning to launch across London in Victoria, Liverpool Street and London Bridge / Waterloo in 2022.