French Tech x BASE Bangkok Interview
My name is Jack Thomas, I’m from Bristol in the UK, I’ve been in Bangkok for 15 years. I was first working in clothing export and then I got into the fitness industry about 10 years ago. So in the last 10 years I’ve already seen the fitness industry grow, develop, blossom and I’m very happy to be a part of that. I was working for another gym, another studio until about 5 years ago when I founded BASE we’ve been opened for around 5 years now we have 3 locations in Bangkok and we developed our own technology called Baseline which tracks and records your progress as you go through our group class program.
So we knew when we came into the fitness market like making our own gym building our own concepts that we needed something that helps us stand out, be different from the crowd. When I first got into the fitness industry it was very quiet it wasn’t really much happening on much going on by the time we opened BASE there were a lot of gyms a lot of studio so we knew we needed something that made us really stand out and made us different and one of the big things that we worked on and developed was Baseline because we thought in the group space that wasn’t really the option of the ability to see how much you’re improving see how much fast you’re getting see how much stronger you’re getting so we first did it like manually clients would write down their scores and their stats and then about two and a half years ago we started to develop technology so as clients go through the class they can enter their stats enter their details we have a competitive element so you can see how you can compare with other people but really the main focus of the technology is it’s you against you how much have you improved since you started training at BASE so we knew we needed something different. That was our idea, now that we’ve got it up and running it’s always developing always evolving and we have big plans for the future of the technology
Baseline Technology certainly helps us standout honestly not just in Bangkok for in any of the major fitness markets we have developed this technology in house which has been a great experience for us. We certainly learnt a lot. It’s been quite difficult but we wanted to build technology around our concepts not using off-the-shelf products. And one of the advantages of that for us is it enables us to maybe have a franchise mode down the line it helps us to scale going to bigger markets more easily because no one else has the technology that we have developed. We do a lot on the digital side in terms of marketing so we use email marketing, social media of course. That’s kind of the main focus of our in-house marketing. For fitness and for gyms that’s really the best way to reach out to come up plans to connect and build a community. That’s been our primary focus of our marketing approach
So as with any business in the world it’s definitely being tough for us of course. It’s been very unpredictable it’s being difficult for everybody of course you know not just us at BASE but also for our members and for our clients as well so back in March 2020 when we first went into lockdown I knew it was important to set something up quickly so that our clients can stay fit stay strong and stay connected with the coaches and with the community so we made a switch to digital very quickly. First we started personal training online one to one session on Zoom or Skype then we set up an online training platform called BASE Anywhere and that was a mix of on-demand pre-recorded workouts that you could do anytime and also Live classes as well which we do through Zoom that proves to be very popular but we did find though when we reopened again people couldn’t wait to come back into BASE and I think it’s actually largely due to the experiences we’ve created due to the technology that we created in the branch you just can’t get that experience at home. We found that drops very quickly on the digital side which was fine we were okay with that but it soon as you went into lockdown number two we turned it back on and we found the people are very happy to come back very happy to connect with everybody else so you know it’s good that in this day and age solutions that we can switch to digitally and give our clients option even when we’re closed.
So the big plan in 2020 was to expand internationally to go into one of Asia’s top fitness markets and we’ve been looking at Singapore closely for a long time now of course everything is kind of being pause for now but that’s still the big plan going into 2021 so we know that with the technology that we’ve developed it would really truly help us to stand out in the top fitness market like Singapore you know without the technology without the digital side you know although we have a great concept we got great coaches we have great programming it’s difficult to really stand out without that digital side so we believe that with Baseline we can go into Singapore and then hopefully down the line some of the other top fitness markets around the world so perhaps London New York at some point would certainly be a dream of us.