Last Saturday, I attended Propel Co:Labs Fitness Festival at South Street Seaport in NYC. If you aren’t familiar with Co:Labs, here’s the skinny: Powerhouse water brand Propel creates an epic experiential mashup of fitness studios, musical talent, and wellness in a large event space. Your (current) $50 ticket price gets you in the door, into up to four workout classes (which you register for in advance), and access to the first-come, first-serve massages/facials etc. Now available in four major cities across the U.S. (one time per year in each city), it’s where fitness influencers are both seen and heard.
$50 is a solid price for four classes, but you’ve got to remember that hundreds of people are going to be working out in the space with you, so the class experience is def diluted. That said, I think $50 is a FAIR price, instead of “solid”.
The other benefit is many of the classes are taught by fitness “celebrities” that own workouts and studios. This absolutely brings the value up, as you get to take from some pretty amazing people. More so, you’re going to be spending the day with other fitness fanatics, so it’s super fun to be in good company.
So that’s the synopsis. Let’s move on.
Starting with the good.
The studios and instructors selected to attend were amazing. I got to take class with Gunnar Peterson, Yoga Girl Rachel Brathen, and try out Box + Flow . I also made sure to show up at 9 a.m. ON THE DOT to get my hair braided at the braid station and sign up for a massage at the wellness station (massage slots were all booked by 10 a.m. so…yeah, there were lots of disappointed peeps. For such a large-scale event, you need more than two massage therapists. Which is how many there were).
Other amazing workout options for the day included NW Method, PVolve, ToneHouse, MNDFL, Mile High Run Club, CorePower Yoga, Fhitting Room, Yoga For Bad People (which I was supposed to take, but went home instead. What can I tell ya? I was over it), and Akin’s Army. Additionally, Harvey Pasternak gave a (reservation only) talk, so between him and Gunnar, we basically had the William and Harry of fitness at our fingertips.
As for other celebs, I def saw a few, but mostly recognized by face instead of name. Lo Bosworth was the only name I could put with a face the entire day. ANYWAY, the classes (themselves) were great, the instructors were even better, and it was fab to network with so many incredible people from the industry.
Although I didn’t stay for the musical event (as mentioned, I didn’t even stay for my last class), Icona Pop was a cool addition to the day. Any time you can get a big name at your event is call for props. But, I do think it was a missed opportunity to kick off the event with the headliner instead of closing. There was like, no one there by the end of the day. If that energy was exuded from the start, I think it would have done wonders. Even a group stretch would have been nice.
The free hair ties, Propel water, and towels were also checks in the good column.
Let’s move to the bad.
- There wasn’t enough to do: South Street Seaport is a beautiful place. Know what makes it less beautiful? A dingy, unlit warehouse where there happens to be a fitness event. There were two immobile photo opp areas (rings and a word sign), but otherwise….nothing. No decorations. No sample stations. Lots of seating…with nothing else. Where were the fitness magazines to read? The influencer books to start? Recipe ideas to peruse through? How about brand info or something to tie back to the hashtag? Where was the photo booth? Like…CMON. So boring.
- Classes ran late: There is nothing more annoying than lateness, especially when it comes to scheduled classes. That’s why mindfulness of time is incredibly important. Also, one class I took cut almost seven minutes early because it was 15 minutes late getting started, which is just as annoying. I paid for an experience. Please give it to me. In full.
- Refresh station: I’ve worked a lot of fitness events in my time. One of the first things we think about is how people can “freshen up” between classes, or after. I was severely disappointed that Propel expected us to take up to four classes between 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and the only “freshen up” items available were ONE pack of makeup remover wipes, ONE can of hairspray, and a bunch of branded hair ties (all located in the bathroom). Hi. What about deodorant? Or body spray? Or face wash? These are things people need. It’s what sponsors/samples are for!
- Food: Speaking of sponsors….oooooooooo….child I’m about to go IN. While I can understand food vendors for bigger meals, I can’t – for the life of me – understand why there wasn’t any free food for attendees. Not even a granola bar in site. It’s just not cute. Email a protein bar company and ask for a barter. Buy a whole bunch of fruit. It’s not that hard. We are at a fitness festival. Give us fuel.
Drum roll, please: Let’s move to the downright ugly. The things that made me say “Seriously? WTF people?”
- They ran out of water: If a brand is sponsoring an event, there is absolutely no way in Hell they should run out of product. Especially when that product is water and it’s 90 freaking degrees out. Not to mention many of the workouts being located on a roof deck. Those bins of water should have been repeatedly stocked and full. Period.
- Trash: Trash was overflowing inside the venue, as well as in the bathrooms. ‘Nuff said.
- Chargers: It’s 2018. Events have charging stations now. Especially for long events. With lots of people. There were no plugs inside the venue. The few that were available were located in the lobby, where NOTHING WAS HAPPENING EXCEPT CHECK IN. No one wanted to sit out there…alone. Pay attention, Propel: If you want people to hashtag and tag the shiz out of things, they need phones. And phones die. You do the hypothetical math. Also, free Wifi? Anyone? No?
- Class locations: While the class schedules were sent individually a few days prior – as was a map of the studio – what was missing was which “studios” our classes would be held in. Attendees found out upon arrival. Meaning me – a girl with a history of passing out and heat stroke – discovered at arrival I had three classes on the roof. In the sun. 120 minutes of working out in the sun. Are you fucking kidding me? I would have NEVER chosen those classes if I knew. And, because so many of the classes were close to full, I certainly wasn’t going to try to switch my whole schedule around on site. #fail.
- The employees: No one knew what they were doing. If you went to the escalator, a dude said you needed a gold sticker. You tried to get the gold sticker, someone said you needed purple. One girl even said – to an attendee who was worried the late start of a class would run into her next one – that they were pushing the classes back to accommodate the lateness (which absolutely wasn’t true; she made it up). Bye.
If a brand is going to put its name on an event, it needs to take the extra step to ensure it thinks of everything that may have a consumer touch point. Nothing will ever go perfectly, but there needs to be effort to try. While this event had many benefits (previously described), I measure the success of an event by how excited I am to talk about it afterwards. For this particular event, I had more negatives than positives. Hopefully this post will take on a different tone next year.
Dear Propel: If you’re reading this…I was also told I had two tickets under my name. One free and one I paid for. Refund pls. K thanks!
Follow me on Instagram @kerryleeinthecityfit.
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