HCM People
Jessie Blum

I’d love Heartcore to be in every major city in the world


Where is the brand heading?
The pandemic has seen us repositioning Heartcore from a boutique studio and gym to being an expert in Dynamic Pilates.

Our Pilates equipment – the Coreformer – is bespoke and proprietary, setting us apart, while the Heartcore experience is designed to be transformational for mind, body and soul.

Our approach goes beyond delivering a great workout. Our studios make customers feel welcome and at home – we were one of the first to define the boutique fitness concept by bringing focus and attention to every detail.

As a people business, our team and community mean everything to us and we care deeply about them.

We’re now setting out to expand Heartcore globally and grow our community by working with partners in new markets to grow our portfolio, our online platform and our new Heartcore retail offering.

What kind of pandemic have you been having?
As for so many others in the industry, it’s been hard, but has also opened up new opportunities for us.

Operationally, we’ve had to make tough decisions and ‘lean out’ our structure to become more sustainable.

We also had to reconsider our offering and translate our in-studio experiences into digital. This was completely new to us and the start of Heartcore Online. We knew it was the only way to stay relevant and connected to our community.

Since reopening our London studios, we’ve been trading significantly better than any time prior to the pandemic.

What lessons has the pandemic taught you?
Within a week of closing our studios, we’d pivoted to online. We were the first London studio to launch livestream and while our offering was far from perfect at that point, the appreciation, gratitude and respect we received gave us the strength, confidence and drive to continue and get better every day.

During that time, the average attendance per class was 250. There was something raw, personal and deeply moving about livestreaming from our living rooms and seeing everyone connecting from their personal spaces. It was so bonding – especially during the 15 minute pre- and post-class where we chatted, connected and supported one another.

It showed me that it’s not about being perfect, it’s about being human and showing up with integrity, courage, heart and strength.

Creating Heartcore Online not only allowed us to continue operating, but also to expand internationally and this international community continues to thrive.

What’s special about your Pilates concept?
Our workouts are more designed for conditioning than traditional Pilates. Classes are low-impact, making them accessible to a wider demographic than most conditioning concepts and we teach in an empowering and motivational way.

Our approach is personal and respectful – a ‘fitness meets spa’ experience and a true mind-body workout and reset. We carefully consider every touchpoint customers have with the brand and take the whole journey into account – from start to finish.

The Coreformer is critical to our success. It’s easy to use, comfortable and adaptable for every body type. After a workout you feel like a new person: balanced, calm, tall, positive, accomplished and strong.

I developed and designed the Coreformer to create a bespoke experience. It delivers a complete functional training solution, using gravity and spring resistance to meet people where they are on their fitness journey. It’s unique, exclusive to Heartcore and designed to meet the highest standards of engineering, quality, durability and sustainability.

What do your programmes cover?
We specialise in dynamic Pilates on the Coreformer, while our mat-based workouts are designed for anyone who doesn’t live close to a Heartcore studio, travels a lot, or enjoys mat-based workouts.

Our platform can be accessed from anywhere in the world and consumers can choose from sessions to improve their mobility, strength and conditioning, as well as specialised classes such as pre- and post-natal.

How much does it cost?
A membership for unlimited live stream and on-demand is £60/month. For in-studio classes, we have packs available starting at £24.00/class.

Flexibility is key. You don’t gain loyalty by tying customers into year-long memberships, you earn it by providing a meaningful service every time your customer engages with you.

How many customers do you have?
Currently, we have an engaged community of around 45,000 people.

Is the business profitable?
Yes, the business is profitable. We just had our most successful year to date and are about to open more studios in central London and launch our international studio partner programme. We’re confident our business model will translate successfully into new markets.

How are you funding this growth?
I own and run the business and we’re fully self-funded. As an independent female founder, I’ve sustained the business without any VC funding and I’m proud of our successful growth to date. I have an outstanding team behind me who’ve been with me on this journey for many years.

Tell us about your omnichannel model
As explained, we launched Heartcore Online at the start of the pandemic as a way to show up for our community and move together. Fast forward and it has allowed us to grow a global community from Oslo, Dubai, Cape Town, Paris, New York, LA to Sydney and Tokyo. Tatler Magazine awarded Heartcore ‘Best Online workout’ in 2022.

What makes your physical studios stand out in the market?
They’re an expression of the brand – a home away from home – comfortable, intuitive, personal, welcoming and inspiring.

We make our studios a sensory experience: from looking great and smelling delicious, to being equipped with quality products, such as Dyson hair dryers and a premium bodycare range.

Being well is a way of life, and the environment you’re in is as important as the people and the workout.

What are you looking for in new sites?
We choose residential over commercial to make Heartcore easy to access for the local community. We want it to be part of everyday life.

Our studios are unique and come with an interesting story, such as our architectural gem in St John’s Wood, which was formerly a Sunday school.

What brand extension do you do?
We organise curated retreats in beautiful locations and we’re expanding into retail and lifestyle, launching a Heartcore scent with candles and diffusers, Pilates accessories and a clothing line. I’m also working on a sustainable body-care range, skincare line and fitness equipment.

You’re planning to grow via licensing. How will this work?
My goal is to inspire, empower and support others who are looking to own their own Heartcore studio.

Our model is designed to provide partners with everything they need to run a successful Heartcore studio, such as business planning, in-depth teacher training, setting up and running a studio, marketing and exclusive access to our Coreformers.

Heartcore is founded on my love of wellbeing for mind, body and soul and it’s important we keep that love at the forefront of our mind as we expand and grow, so it’s done with care and respect for the brand. Ultimately, I’d love Heartcore to be in every major city in the world.

What tech do you use?
We currently work with Mindbody software and booking tools.

What’s your approach to marketing?
Our daily work is to ensure every class is the best it can be, as word of mouth has proven to be our most successful and reliable marketing strategy in all these years.

It takes time to build a brand. It’s a promise you make to your community every day. You need to gradually gain trust by being consistent, listening, showing you genuinely care and remaining relevant in what you do. You can’t buy brand status – you earn it.

More: www.weareheartcore.com or visit stand 7D03 at FIBO 23.

Jessie Blum: personal
Blum comes from an entrepreneurial family / Photo: JESSIE BLUM / HEARTCORE
What’s your background?

I grew up in Germany, in a family of creatives, doctors and entrepreneurs. My father is an award-winning wine-maker, restaurateur and hotel owner and from an early age I was captivated by it. That’s where my love for hospitality was born.

With innately creative parents, I felt inspired to study graphic design, but while I enjoyed the buzz of my career in advertising, the work never fulfilled me.

In my late 20s, I swapped my apartment for a backpack, seeking the meaning of life abroad. For a year, I travelled the world – Australia, Asia and Africa – and ended up in LA pursuing a new career in fitness.

I loved the feeling of helping others feel better and doing something meaningful and worked with people from all walks of life, including A-list celebrities.

LA is where the idea for Heartcore was born. Drawing on my professional experience in fitness, hospitality and design. It’s the sum of everything I’m passionate about.

How has your view of yourself changed over time?

Building and running this company has taught me so much about life and what I’m made of.

Up to my late 20s, I never envisioned starting and leading a wellbeing company – let alone doing it in a foreign country, but I guess you should ‘never say never’.

There were moments I had to navigate the company through storms, but they say it’s the darkest moments that shape us the most. The first was in 2016 due to financial mismanagement and the second has been the pandemic. Both were wildly humbling yet equally empowering. They made me stronger, more confident and better at running and building the business.

What’s your endgame?

My dream is to build a legacy with Heartcore. This is my life’s work – representing everything I stand for and that’s important to me.

My goal is to inspire, empower and support as many people as possible all over the world through the power of positive movement, while extending the brand into new markets.

My big dream is to eventually build a collection of integrated wellness destinations in naturally beautiful locations.

What’s your personal self care routine?

My daily commitment is movement – for my mind as much as my body. Whether that’s a Heartcore class, hot yoga when in LA, a jog or walk in the park – it helps me stay balanced, focused and energised.

I treat myself to a biohack with infrared sauna, RLT and Cryo two or three times a week and over the years, I’ve learned that I function best on eight hours of sleep. And I love starting my day just before the sun comes up.

Who do you admire in the industry and why?

Mel Zuckerman, founder of Canyon Ranch. He trailblazed the integrative wellness space with his beautiful approach to helping people rebalance mind, body and spirit. He was an amazing leader and visionary, building one of the most iconic wellness brands in the world.

What are you aiming to learn next?

I’m fascinated by the power of the mind and approaches to healing trauma and resolving chronic pain.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Don’t wait for the perfect moment. Take the moment and make it perfect.

The Coreformer is bespoke and proprietary / photo: JESSIE BLUM / HEARTCORE
The studios are designed to be ‘a home away from home’ Credit: Photo: JESSIE BLUM / HEARTCORE
Heartcore St John’s Wood, London is based in a former Sunday school Credit: Photo: JESSIE BLUM / HEARTCORE
Heartcore has grown a community of 45,000 members Credit: Photo: JESSIE BLUM / HEARTCORE
 


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SELECTED ISSUE
Health Club Management
2023 issue 3

View issue contents

Leisure Management - Jessie Blum

HCM People

Jessie Blum


I’d love Heartcore to be in every major city in the world

Blum has grown the business without any VC funding Photo: JESSIE BLUM / HEARTCORE
The studios are designed to be ‘a home away from home’ Photo: JESSIE BLUM / HEARTCORE
Heartcore St John’s Wood, London is based in a former Sunday school Photo: JESSIE BLUM / HEARTCORE
Heartcore has grown a community of 45,000 members Photo: JESSIE BLUM / HEARTCORE

Where is the brand heading?
The pandemic has seen us repositioning Heartcore from a boutique studio and gym to being an expert in Dynamic Pilates.

Our Pilates equipment – the Coreformer – is bespoke and proprietary, setting us apart, while the Heartcore experience is designed to be transformational for mind, body and soul.

Our approach goes beyond delivering a great workout. Our studios make customers feel welcome and at home – we were one of the first to define the boutique fitness concept by bringing focus and attention to every detail.

As a people business, our team and community mean everything to us and we care deeply about them.

We’re now setting out to expand Heartcore globally and grow our community by working with partners in new markets to grow our portfolio, our online platform and our new Heartcore retail offering.

What kind of pandemic have you been having?
As for so many others in the industry, it’s been hard, but has also opened up new opportunities for us.

Operationally, we’ve had to make tough decisions and ‘lean out’ our structure to become more sustainable.

We also had to reconsider our offering and translate our in-studio experiences into digital. This was completely new to us and the start of Heartcore Online. We knew it was the only way to stay relevant and connected to our community.

Since reopening our London studios, we’ve been trading significantly better than any time prior to the pandemic.

What lessons has the pandemic taught you?
Within a week of closing our studios, we’d pivoted to online. We were the first London studio to launch livestream and while our offering was far from perfect at that point, the appreciation, gratitude and respect we received gave us the strength, confidence and drive to continue and get better every day.

During that time, the average attendance per class was 250. There was something raw, personal and deeply moving about livestreaming from our living rooms and seeing everyone connecting from their personal spaces. It was so bonding – especially during the 15 minute pre- and post-class where we chatted, connected and supported one another.

It showed me that it’s not about being perfect, it’s about being human and showing up with integrity, courage, heart and strength.

Creating Heartcore Online not only allowed us to continue operating, but also to expand internationally and this international community continues to thrive.

What’s special about your Pilates concept?
Our workouts are more designed for conditioning than traditional Pilates. Classes are low-impact, making them accessible to a wider demographic than most conditioning concepts and we teach in an empowering and motivational way.

Our approach is personal and respectful – a ‘fitness meets spa’ experience and a true mind-body workout and reset. We carefully consider every touchpoint customers have with the brand and take the whole journey into account – from start to finish.

The Coreformer is critical to our success. It’s easy to use, comfortable and adaptable for every body type. After a workout you feel like a new person: balanced, calm, tall, positive, accomplished and strong.

I developed and designed the Coreformer to create a bespoke experience. It delivers a complete functional training solution, using gravity and spring resistance to meet people where they are on their fitness journey. It’s unique, exclusive to Heartcore and designed to meet the highest standards of engineering, quality, durability and sustainability.

What do your programmes cover?
We specialise in dynamic Pilates on the Coreformer, while our mat-based workouts are designed for anyone who doesn’t live close to a Heartcore studio, travels a lot, or enjoys mat-based workouts.

Our platform can be accessed from anywhere in the world and consumers can choose from sessions to improve their mobility, strength and conditioning, as well as specialised classes such as pre- and post-natal.

How much does it cost?
A membership for unlimited live stream and on-demand is £60/month. For in-studio classes, we have packs available starting at £24.00/class.

Flexibility is key. You don’t gain loyalty by tying customers into year-long memberships, you earn it by providing a meaningful service every time your customer engages with you.

How many customers do you have?
Currently, we have an engaged community of around 45,000 people.

Is the business profitable?
Yes, the business is profitable. We just had our most successful year to date and are about to open more studios in central London and launch our international studio partner programme. We’re confident our business model will translate successfully into new markets.

How are you funding this growth?
I own and run the business and we’re fully self-funded. As an independent female founder, I’ve sustained the business without any VC funding and I’m proud of our successful growth to date. I have an outstanding team behind me who’ve been with me on this journey for many years.

Tell us about your omnichannel model
As explained, we launched Heartcore Online at the start of the pandemic as a way to show up for our community and move together. Fast forward and it has allowed us to grow a global community from Oslo, Dubai, Cape Town, Paris, New York, LA to Sydney and Tokyo. Tatler Magazine awarded Heartcore ‘Best Online workout’ in 2022.

What makes your physical studios stand out in the market?
They’re an expression of the brand – a home away from home – comfortable, intuitive, personal, welcoming and inspiring.

We make our studios a sensory experience: from looking great and smelling delicious, to being equipped with quality products, such as Dyson hair dryers and a premium bodycare range.

Being well is a way of life, and the environment you’re in is as important as the people and the workout.

What are you looking for in new sites?
We choose residential over commercial to make Heartcore easy to access for the local community. We want it to be part of everyday life.

Our studios are unique and come with an interesting story, such as our architectural gem in St John’s Wood, which was formerly a Sunday school.

What brand extension do you do?
We organise curated retreats in beautiful locations and we’re expanding into retail and lifestyle, launching a Heartcore scent with candles and diffusers, Pilates accessories and a clothing line. I’m also working on a sustainable body-care range, skincare line and fitness equipment.

You’re planning to grow via licensing. How will this work?
My goal is to inspire, empower and support others who are looking to own their own Heartcore studio.

Our model is designed to provide partners with everything they need to run a successful Heartcore studio, such as business planning, in-depth teacher training, setting up and running a studio, marketing and exclusive access to our Coreformers.

Heartcore is founded on my love of wellbeing for mind, body and soul and it’s important we keep that love at the forefront of our mind as we expand and grow, so it’s done with care and respect for the brand. Ultimately, I’d love Heartcore to be in every major city in the world.

What tech do you use?
We currently work with Mindbody software and booking tools.

What’s your approach to marketing?
Our daily work is to ensure every class is the best it can be, as word of mouth has proven to be our most successful and reliable marketing strategy in all these years.

It takes time to build a brand. It’s a promise you make to your community every day. You need to gradually gain trust by being consistent, listening, showing you genuinely care and remaining relevant in what you do. You can’t buy brand status – you earn it.

More: www.weareheartcore.com or visit stand 7D03 at FIBO 23.

Jessie Blum: personal
Blum comes from an entrepreneurial family / Photo: JESSIE BLUM / HEARTCORE
What’s your background?

I grew up in Germany, in a family of creatives, doctors and entrepreneurs. My father is an award-winning wine-maker, restaurateur and hotel owner and from an early age I was captivated by it. That’s where my love for hospitality was born.

With innately creative parents, I felt inspired to study graphic design, but while I enjoyed the buzz of my career in advertising, the work never fulfilled me.

In my late 20s, I swapped my apartment for a backpack, seeking the meaning of life abroad. For a year, I travelled the world – Australia, Asia and Africa – and ended up in LA pursuing a new career in fitness.

I loved the feeling of helping others feel better and doing something meaningful and worked with people from all walks of life, including A-list celebrities.

LA is where the idea for Heartcore was born. Drawing on my professional experience in fitness, hospitality and design. It’s the sum of everything I’m passionate about.

How has your view of yourself changed over time?

Building and running this company has taught me so much about life and what I’m made of.

Up to my late 20s, I never envisioned starting and leading a wellbeing company – let alone doing it in a foreign country, but I guess you should ‘never say never’.

There were moments I had to navigate the company through storms, but they say it’s the darkest moments that shape us the most. The first was in 2016 due to financial mismanagement and the second has been the pandemic. Both were wildly humbling yet equally empowering. They made me stronger, more confident and better at running and building the business.

What’s your endgame?

My dream is to build a legacy with Heartcore. This is my life’s work – representing everything I stand for and that’s important to me.

My goal is to inspire, empower and support as many people as possible all over the world through the power of positive movement, while extending the brand into new markets.

My big dream is to eventually build a collection of integrated wellness destinations in naturally beautiful locations.

What’s your personal self care routine?

My daily commitment is movement – for my mind as much as my body. Whether that’s a Heartcore class, hot yoga when in LA, a jog or walk in the park – it helps me stay balanced, focused and energised.

I treat myself to a biohack with infrared sauna, RLT and Cryo two or three times a week and over the years, I’ve learned that I function best on eight hours of sleep. And I love starting my day just before the sun comes up.

Who do you admire in the industry and why?

Mel Zuckerman, founder of Canyon Ranch. He trailblazed the integrative wellness space with his beautiful approach to helping people rebalance mind, body and spirit. He was an amazing leader and visionary, building one of the most iconic wellness brands in the world.

What are you aiming to learn next?

I’m fascinated by the power of the mind and approaches to healing trauma and resolving chronic pain.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Don’t wait for the perfect moment. Take the moment and make it perfect.

The Coreformer is bespoke and proprietary / photo: JESSIE BLUM / HEARTCORE

Originally published in Health Club Management 2023 issue 3

Published by Leisure Media Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385 | Contact us | About us | © Cybertrek Ltd