Our MoveGB partnership, and those of you who attend our classes through its membership, has been a long-standing part of our Soul family for over five years.
We have been a premium partner of Move and have worked with them from the beginning to find the best ways for you all to move with us on your memberships in every one of our classes. MoveGB members are a big part of our family (about half of you) but there have been quite sudden and impactful changes made at MoveGB that has sadly forced us (and many other studios) to reassess our partnership with them.
We appreciate that many of you use MoveGB not only to attend Soul but also other locations in Bristol. We’ve always wanted to help our clients enjoy all the movement activities they love to do, which is why being part of MoveGB felt like a natural extension of our ethos.
Two days after lockdown began, MoveGB announced a radical and immediate change to the model they use to pay us (and every other Bristol studio) for classes you attend. This wiped out a huge proportion of our income (70% less than what they previously paid us) which in turn has impacted what we are able to pay our teachers. For every class a MoveGB member attends, our teachers now earn less than if that person had booked directly with us.
I cannot tell you how painful this news was. Not only was it a huge enforced change, but one that came with very little notice, impacting not just Soul but also our teachers, all during one of the most challenging periods our industry has ever seen.
Unfortunately, this is not a short-term change for the duration of the lockdown. MoveGB has made this is a permanent change to their terms, which means that it not only affects the current virtual classes, but also the physical studios once we reopen.
In fairness to MoveGB, this change only brings Bristol in-line with the other UK cities it operates in. Whilst the unexpectedness and immediacy of the change has been difficult, I acknowledge that Bristol has benefited for many years from being MoveGB's pilot city and that the original model it has supported in Bristol over that time is no longer sustainable.
The reason I am telling you this now is that in order to keep our physical studios running, our teachers paid fairly and you moving better, there will be changes to the way MoveGB members can access our services when classes resume at the physical studios.
When we reopen the studio spaces, MoveGB members will no longer be able to attend our Equipment or Reformer classes via MoveGB. We pride ourselves on teaching small, tailored classes and their new model simply is not viable for a specialised studio such as ours if we are to be paid less than half of what we previously received per attendance.
For our Mat-based classes in the studio, there will be a limited number of spots made available for certain classes each week.
This means that if you want to continue attending a favourite class, you will need to book directly with Soul when we reopen.
We know this may be a step away from how you're used to accessing Soul through MoveGB, which is why we wanted to give you notice ahead of the studios opening again.
At that point, in addition to our normal class passes, we will be launching a new series of exciting Soul memberships to provide a variety of options to suit different budgets, ranging from £69 to £199. These will enable you to access a range of your favourite classes, supported by our new online offering, and we hope these memberships will allow you to still enjoy your Soul experience outside of MoveGB.
Once we know when our classes can resume we will launch these memberships to buy online. In the meantime, there is no immediate change to what MoveGB members can access whilst we operate an online-only timetable.
Whilst we have been busy adapting, we have also been busy evolving something that I have had in planning for a while. “My Soul Studio” is a brand new online offering designed to help you move more and at more flexible times from the comfort of your own home.
Think more Soul classes, more of your favourite teachers, more movement options and more times to suit your schedules, all combined with access to our physical studio classes.
So watch this space for more information coming very soon!
We have lots of look forward to and I am hoping we can move, laugh and feel great together really soon.