UNYTE – Yoga for everyone
“Yoga is a workout for your mind, your body, and your soul.” (Madonna)
UNYTE – Yoga for everyone!
“(…) this is really interesting, and you get to know your own body better, which increases your focus. I hope this will be the decisive factor in winning the cup.” (Lukas Podolski on yoga before the 2014 soccer world cup)
The German national soccer team does it. Celebrities do it. Executives do it.
Everyone should be able to do it: UNYTE is the new yoga for everyone. With the help of an unparalleled interdisciplinary team of experienced company founders, innovation experts, executives, yoga experts, studio experts, and communication experts, we will create Germany’s leading chain of yoga studios.
And we are doing so at just the right time:
Today, Germans are constantly rushing from one appointment to the next. The speed of communication has increased by 10 million. At the same time, average sleep time has decreased by two hours. These developments have a very detrimental effect on people’s physical and mental health. As a result, people feel stressed and overwhelmed by work. “Over the last 7 years, the number of sick days due to mental illnesses has increased by more than 97 %,” former German Minister for Labour and Social Affairs Dr. Ursula von der Leyen wrote in the 2012 federal stress report.
Yoga as a Growth Market:
In light of these recent developments, people are becoming increasingly interested in yoga and meditation because of their positive effects on the body and the mind, and these two niche phenomena have entered the mainstream. In 2011, German health insurance companies paid more than 100 million euros for yoga classes.
“Through my work with the German national soccer team over the last eight years, the public image of yoga has changed. Skeptics have noticed that ‘real men’ can do yoga too.” (Patrick Broome, Germany’s most famous yoga instructor and senior advisor to the UNYTE yoga academy)
This is a global trend. Annual revenues of the yoga and Pilates industry in the U.S. have already surpassed 5 billion euros, and annual growth until 2017 is projected to be 5.2 %. This yoga boom in the U.S. can be considered a positive signal for growth in Germany.
(Sources: Radio Eins, German Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs, 2012 Harris Interactive Service Bureau „Yoga in America“, http://www.yogajournal.com/press/yoga_in_america?print=1, http://www.statisticbrain.com/yoga-statistics /, IbisWorld Top 10 Fastest Growing Industries April 2012)
The Yoga Boom in the U.S. Is a Positive Signal for Growth in Germany
Germany as a Growth Market:
Roughly 14 million people in Germany are interested in yoga and meditation. According to the latest BDY (German association of yoga instructors) study published in 2014, however, only 3.3 % of Germans, i.e., 2.6 million people, practice yoga regularly.
This means that our target group of interested non-users and rare users consists of over 11 million potential yoga customers!
But why do so few people interested in yoga actually practice it? We have analyzed the reasons for this through several market research activities and studies. The evaluation of our own market surveys provided us with the following results:
- 52 % of people surveyed have not had any direct connection to yoga yet. They are lacking a compelling reason to start and easy access.
- 39 % of people surveyed think current offers are too expensive (our competitive analysis showed that the average price in Germany is approx. 80-100 euros when converted to a monthly price).
- 30 % think current offers are “too esoteric.”
- 25 % of people just do not feel welcome because there is no warm and inviting atmosphere.
- 15 % simply cannot find a studio nearby.
(Source: TNS Infratest 2009, n = 1000, Germany; 14 years and above; 20,165 people surveyed; Ifak Institut, Media Markt Analysen; 05 Mar. 2007-29 Jul. 2007; 01 Sep. 2007-27 Jul. 2008, Spiegel – Gefährlicher Kopfstand [Dangerous Headstand] 14/12, Unyte survey 29 Sep. 2014; 561 participants).
We want to make yoga readily accessible and use the existing market potential!
Our Concept: UNYTE – Yoga for everyone!
Simply speaking, there is just no modern offer that takes account of most customers’ needs and that reduces the existing barriers to entry.
UNYTE Has Found a Solution
Our goal is to create the leading yoga brand in Germany first and to become the leading chain of yoga studios afterward; we plan to do so by operating at least 20 yoga studios in Germany with a total of approx. 40,000 members by 2020 and by starting our international expansion soon after our launch in Germany.
To ensure success, we have left nothing to chance from the very beginning, but have collaborated with experts. Therefore, the UNYTE idea was not a sudden inspiration but the result of a systematic 6-month ideation process led by Venture Idea, an innovation company. This company was supposed to develop a chain of yoga studios that would bring yoga to the mainstream through an innovative approach (Yoga for Everyone!), thus realizing the huge market potential.
While UNYTE values and includes the roots of yoga, it translates them to modern urban life and work. By creating the first chain of yoga studios, which will combine several advantages in the areas of marketing, design, accessibility, pricing, and business structure in the background, we will make yoga more easily accessible with an eye for detail. As a result, we will become the pioneer of a new and professional yoga market.
We will make yoga simple and easily accessible for the vast majority of society.
In doing so, we will rely on our team of founders, which has a total of more than 100 years of professional experience in the development and teaching of yoga classes, gym operation, retail concepts, communication and community networks, and established business models.
Our journey will begin with our “studio 1” in Berlin, a flagship studio in an attractive location and with a community space in the lobby that will invite people to become acquainted with the world of yoga first. In this studio, we will tell our story, provide a place of inspiration, interaction, education, and discussion, and put the UNYTE concept we have developed for 3 years into practice.
Photo copyright by Katharina Krug
Our product is perfectly tailored to customers’ needs and based on a concept carefully designed by innovation experts Venture Idea. The result is a modern yoga experience that is based on the needs of our target group, easily accessible, flexible (7 days a week and 17 hours a day, i.e., from 6 a.m. through 11 p.m. every day), affordable, and supported by state-of-the-art technology.
We want as many people as possible to participate in the advantages of yoga, no matter what they earn, where they come from, and how old they are. Demographic change will lead to a significant increase in demand for yoga within our aging society.
Through our yoga system, which has been translated to the Western World, is easy to understand, and integrates many people, we will support both the physical and mental health and development of our customers. The entire UNYTE yoga system is meant to free the mind, satisfy the heart, and strengthen the body.
“UNYTE stands for change, innovation, vitality, and joy of living. UNYTE is a journey together with others and to one’s inner self.” (Yasmine Orth, Creative Director at UNYTE)
Our modern studios are places for interaction, motion, and rest all at once. In fact, they are a home away from home for our customers and a place where our customers feel good, secure, and relaxed. In our studios, customers may rid themselves of their fears, their burden, and their physical limitations and achieve mental growth.
Through our 360° vision, we enable people to access the world of yoga, which includes a completely healthy way of living and healthy nutrition, sustainable products, educational offers, and the integration of relevant topics such as “work-life balance.”
We are connecting people and creating a yoga family that puts our customers, our staff, and our team of founders on an equal footing.
Communityspace, photo courtesy of Katharina Krug
As a first step, UNYTE will become the leading yoga studio chain by 2020, with over 20 studios in Germany alone. We will offer the same services and use the same design in all of our studios, which will enable us to expand our business model to other cities in the DACH region and beyond in a fast and cost-efficient manner.
“In the context of a systematic ideation process, Venture Idea identified the considerable structural weaknesses of the current yoga offer in Germany, so UNYTE is now able to focus on these weaknesses in its innovative business model.” (Lucas Sauberschwarz, managing director of Venture Idea)
For instance, the classes and opening hours currently available hardly manage to meet customer demand in terms of flexibility and availability.
- UNYTE – Yoga for everyone! is the new yoga chain with flexible opening hours and the best classes and service at an affordable price.
- For only 59 euros per month, i.e., for a much lower fee than that of existing yoga offers, customers of UNYTE may attend an unlimited number of yoga classes.
- Our studios will be located precisely where people live and will be open from 6 a.m. through 11 p.m., so our customers will be able to do yoga whenever they want to. Customers will also be able to choose the genre they want and not be influenced by any dogma; during peak times, classes will start every half hour. This will enable us to fully realize market potential that has not been realized so far.
- Moreover, we will employ the best instructors in the scene and enable them to become shareholders of their studios.
Yoga May Balance the Effects of Urban Stress
Using the above elements, we will create a standardized concept that will make yoga attractive and easily accessible to all people in urban areas. Indeed, such people are increasingly searching for a refuge from urban stress and virtual realities.
Our first studio in Berlin will be Germany’s most modern yoga studio, will be 700 m² large, and will have 2,500 members; it will also have an unprecedented quality, equipment, and size and be in a central and easily accessible location.
Overview of Prices on the German Yoga Market:
A Huge Market Niche in the Segment below €60 per Month
Strictly Limited Yoga Offer in Gyms
Even though this may sound unbelievable, there is no major player on the German yoga market yet. At the moment, no market player is operating more than 5 studios. Prices are relatively high, and studios hardly manage to set themselves apart from each other. Thus, UNYTE is in an ideal position to realize the huge market potential.
We will use an efficient and effective marketing strategy to convince our target group of our company.
In collaboration with Philipp und Keuntje (PUK) agency, we have identified our potential core target group and its preferred use of media and then defined and developed the most suitable marketing activities based on this profile.
The result is our media mix, which always tries to keep costs as low as possible:
- Local SEO (Places profile, “Google Now”) and retargeting
- Facebook ads
- Daily papers (solely for reasons of PR)
- Out-of-home (based on guerilla marketing + flyers)
- For the launch of our studios, we will organize select events for our potential members and for the press
Social media and guerilla marketing will play a key role in our marketing mix.
The UNYTE brand may be used internationally, is easy to understand and to remember, and is a registered trademark in the EU and in Switzerland.
Because of our team’s high level of competence in PR, our good long-term contacts with virtually all relevant media and agencies, our strong network, and high-quality personal multipliers, UNYTE will be very present in conventional media (print, TV) and in all online media, which will enable us to reach people at relatively low costs.
Moreover, we will use select testimonials to support our PR campaigns and our other campaigns and thus quickly increase people’s awareness of and confidence in our company.
Last but not least, as our market research also told us, yoga practitioners have two main reasons to go to a specific yoga studio:
1.) Recommendations by friends: Our market research showed that “recommendations by friends or family” was by far the most important reason why people tried and practiced yoga (as 86 % of people surveyed told us).
2.) Competence of the yoga instructor: We have already described why our approach to attracting and retaining the best instructors (the UNYTE human resources system) is so important.
We will use both of these aspects to attract customers in a systematic fashion. For instance, we will launch “invite a friend” programs for members. Simultaneously, we will reduce the barrier to entry through our fair contractual structure (i.e., through trial lessons and other special offers).
- International trend and competition analyses, personal trials of various offers
- 2012/2013: Detailed market research with a particular focus on the existing barriers to entry and on the things that frustrate yoga practitioners
- Based on this research: Creation of the first “yoga for all” concept in collaboration with innovation experts Venture Idea GmbH
- Evaluation of large companies’ demand for prevention programs related to stress, sensory overload, burnout, and absence from work
- April 2014: Company foundation
- May-July 2014: In-depth market research and survey of 500 people to refine the offer and the pricing strategy
- June 2014: Start of partnership with Philipp und Keuntje advertising and marketing agency in Hamburg
- December 2014: 3-F Architektur architecture firm commissioned to develop studio design
- February 2015: Decision for Berlin as the location of the first studio
Presentation of Studio 1 Draft by 3-F Architekten
Based on our schedule, we plan to open our studio 1 in Berlin in the fall of 2015. After the initial phase, during which we will gain detailed knowledge of processes and potential improvements, we will open (at least) another 20 studios until 2020.
We think it is important to keep in mind that we will implement all concepts and plans in our studio 1 and that this studio will thus guide all of our future activities.
We will keep optimizing all processes, systems, the product, and the key elements until everything is ready for roll-out and for our expansion. In total, we have contributed capital and services worth roughly 500,000 euros so far.
Selection of Locations
BIKINI BERLIN is our favorite location for our studio 1 in Berlin, and we have already started negotiations on this location. BIKINI BERLIN, a revitalized destination in Berlin’s City West, combines the areas of work, recreation, lodging, and entertainment with an unconventional shopping experience. Unlike conventional shopping malls, BIKINI BERLIN defines itself as a concept mall, that is, as a collection of carefully selected and compatible boutiques, concept stores, and flagship stores as well as restaurants and service providers.
Bikini Berlin Is Our Favorite Location for Studio 1
Other Important Facts:
- Central location in an environment where we are comfortable
- Situated in the City West, where there are few yoga studios
- Ample parking available
- Perfectly positioned for our 360° vision of presenting food & products
The current UNYTE expansion strategy focuses on opening studios in Berlin and Munich. Once we have entered the German market, we plan to open at least 20 studios in the DACH countries until 2020.
Until 2020, UNYTE Plans to Open 20 International Studios with 40,000 Members
We first got in contact with crowdfunding and with Companisto in particular through “Meine Spielzeugkiste,” one of the many companies that Paulus Neef supports as an angel investor. Back then, Paulus realized for the first time that crowdfunding can be an exciting alternative to conventional types of financing.
The WEISSENHAUS project also played a major role in our decision in favor of crowdfunding. Jan Henric Buettner and Paulus Neef have been friends for many years, so Paulus witnessed the development of WEISSENHAUS and the huge success of the crowdfunding campaign himself, and he shares Jan Henric Buettner’s conviction that it is high time that new types of corporate and project financing were boosted in Germany.
Our team believes that compared to passive financial investors, an active community – the crowd – is a much more valuable way of financing. Consequently, crowdfunding will play a major role in the financing structure of UNYTE. Funding, however, will not be provided solely by the crowd but by several sources, most importantly by the initiators’ own investments, additional angel investors, and – for expansion over the medium term – by banks and family offices.
Simply Modern and Innovative:
We think it is exciting to go off the beaten path and to enable as many people as possible and the community to participate in our venture and in this large, sensible, and powerful movement. We are frank and fair, and we are taking this share economy approach to keep up with the times in terms of opportunities and community spirit.
“We want to motivate as many people as possible to invest in themselves through yoga & meditation, which may support them in achieving personal and professional success over the long term.” (Paulus Neef, co-founder and managing director of UNYTE)
At the same time, all of our permanently employed yoga instructors will become shareholders in the company, which can be considered another innovation within the yoga market. In this way, UNYTE will take account of the instructors’ importance and performance and retain the best staff and, indirectly, their students.
In addition, we will enable other studios’ instructors or even other yoga entrepreneurs to become shareholders of UNYTE through crowdfunding, that is, to become a partner instead of a “competitor.”
And, most importantly, we want you – the community – to be enthused by our concept and to become our members!
“While yoga used to be something that many people rejected because they associated it with esotericism, it has become a mass movement today.”
Volkssport Yoga – Das Geschäft mit der Entspannung [Yoga as a Popular Sport – Relaxation as a Business]
“Instead of incense sticks and lotus blossoms, today’s business is dominated by a modern and hip scenery.”
W&V Special: Die neuen Yoginis [The New Yoginis]
“Today’s yoga is less about self-awareness and spiritual enlightenment than it is about movement, health, and a reduction of stress.” (Stiftung Warentest)
“Thus, yoga is the perfect sport for urban residents that are aware of the latest trends and attach importance to a certain lifestyle, yet do not want to be superficial.”
Generation Yoga: Wir sehen uns auf der Matte! [Generation Yoga: See You on the Mat!]
|„Yoga is considered trendy, healthy, and stimulating, and it is on its way to becoming a popular sport.”|
Massenphänomen Yoga [Yoga as a Mass Movement]