On July 12, Core Collective soft-launched its second location at 27A and 30B/C Loewen Road in Dempsey Hill. While the co-wellness space is new to the
neighbourhood, the space has been amassing a pool of clients who stay nearby.
Operating on a concept similar to co-working, Core Collective focuses on creating spaces for fitness and wellness professionals to collaborate and deliver their services to clients without committing to long-term leases.
“This location caters to a very different market from Core Collective Anson,” observes Michelle Yong, founder of Core Collective and director of property development firm Aurum Land, a subsidiary of construction giant, Woh Hup.
At Anson Road, Core Collective’s flagship mainly caters to office workers in the CBD area, while at Dempsey, families are its main clients. As such, she does not see its Dempsey outlet as a replica of what the brand has done at Anson.
She shares that her family was her source of inspiration for the Dempsey space. “This [place] is for my family who refuse to travel to the CBD. They were [saying], ‘Could you do something closer? I could come out, do a pilates class, or an aerial yoga class. The kids could do the kids classes. My husband can do his personal training. And then we all congregate in the café for lunch,’ ” notes Yong.
Drawing from this idea, Core Collective Dempsey was conceived as a one-stop lifestyle and wellness destination. The site where it is located once housed the Museum of Contemporary Arts. The site was later launched for tender by the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) in May last year. Aurum Land, of which Core Collective is a subsidiary, was awarded the tender after a successful bid rent of $24,800 per month.
“I do keep an eye on the SLA tenders,” says Yong. “[For] this one, actually even if I had missed it,SLA flagged the site to us [as] they thought that our concept would be a really good fit.”
While Core Collective Dempsey is situated at a tranquil corner, the space is abuzz with laughter from the children who are having swimming classes at the pool and upbeat music in the main hall that comprises the gym and rest area.
On the same floor, apart from treatment rooms for chiropractors and osteopaths, there is a reformer pilates studio. A highlight of this outlet is a studio fitted with aerial hoops and aerial silks. There, clients can attend yoga classes with instructors from Yoga Lab or learn aerial yoga with Aerial Fitness Studio, Core Collective Dempsey’s latest partner.
Given the studio’s high ceiling, Core Collective’s partners are able to offer a range of classes and not just standard yoga. “A lot more tricks and drops [can be done, making it] really exciting,” she says.
On the second floor, there is a studio for barre workouts, in partnership with Barre Lab. A room has also been designed for dedicated play therapy with a focus on children’s wellness. Yong reveals that talks are currently ongoing for three play therapists to collaborate there.
Adjacent to the space are a nursing room and a separate staff lounge for partners to take a break. Yong is considering offering a manicure and pedicure service there.
With all these features, Core Collective Dempsey has attracted a host of new partners including the Institute of Functional Neuroscience with its first clinic location in Singapore; All That Jazz Dance Academy, targeted at children; The Movement Factory which organises outdoor bootcamps for corporates, spartan training for children, and personal training; Bodytree Pilates and Centre Stage School of the Arts offering drama classes.
Apart from these, Swish Swimming has partnered Core Collective to offer classes at the pool. Kristen Romain, founder of Swish Swimming, observes that Core Collective Dempsey is “like this breath of fresh air in Singapore”.
Prior to offering classes at Core Collective, Swish has been conducting classes at another pool at 72 Loewen Road. When Yong approached Swish to hold classes at Core Collective’s pool, Romain thought it was a “no-brainer” as it is close to its existing location.
Romain says that on some evenings, her students get to enjoy a view of the sunset from the pool. “Our clients are really happy to be here,” she adds. According to her, what her clients enjoy the most is the mix of lifestyle and fitness options at Core Collective Dempsey. Parents would drop their children off for swimming classes while they attend their own fitness classes at Core Collective or have a meal at Baker & Cook.
In conceiving Core Collective Dempsey, Yong made space for a pool there. “I wanted a ‘Tanjong Beach Club in the city’ kind of feel,” she says.
To be sure, Core Collective Dempsey has the opportunity for further development. The land it sits on spans 140,000 sq ft, inclusive of the new Baker & Cook restaurant. Yong estimates that it has some 100,000 sq ft of additional outdoor space that can be used for sports and activities.
A permanent obstacle course, a bio pond for children to fish at, and a purpose-built outdoor parkour park are among the ideas Yong has for the unutilised space. “We could do so much more, that’s why it’s so exciting,” she says.
Apart from Core Collective, Yong is co-CEO of co-working operator Found8. The brand is the result of a merger between local co-working operators, Found and Collision 8. Yong was the founder of Collision 8. Following the merger earlier this year, Found8 has five locations in Singapore and is about to open its sixth on Aug 22 in Kuala Lumpur (KL), Malaysia. For its first overseas venture, Found8 is partnering Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd, the master developer of the KL Sentral transport hub and business district.
“They fell in love with Core Collective when they came to visit Found8 [in Singapore],” says Yong. “They love the concept, and so they have been asking us to open Core Collective there.”
For now, Yong is in no hurry to expand Core Collective into KL as she wants to focus on getting the Dempsey outlet off on the right foot first. “Most likely in the next year or two, we will have opened one in KL,” she shares.
When it comes to expansion, Yong highlights that it is her intention to bring both Found8 and Core Collective together overseas. “[We could] even have a co-living aspect. A lot of developers are asking us whether we can do all three,” she says.
Found8 has over 1,000 members across its six locations and a network of 22,000 innovation-centric individuals. There is a range of membership options starting from $390 per month.
Meanwhile, Core Collective has a curated community of over 70 professionals offering their services, and membership prices start from $18 per standard class, $100 for a personal training session, and $65 for a chiropractic consultation. For fitness and wellness professionals, in-class support services and facilities start from $500 per month.
Currently, Yong is planning for Core Collective to be in five countries over the next three years, with two locations in each country. Apart from Singapore, the markets she has identified include Malaysia, Australia and India.
“Found8 is also interested in those markets [so] it makes sense for both businesses [to be there],” she explains. Found8 is likely to open one branch in India in 2Q2020.
Yong has no further plans to expand in Singapore. “The intention is to grow internationally [and] regionally, and not [just] in Singapore, because we already have five locations, which we think is strong enough presence and coverage,” she adds.
She is also seeking advice from Enterprise Singapore to develop a franchise model for Core Collective, as she believes this model is “the most optimal way to really scale the business quickly”.
Yong may have big plans for Core Collective, but she still makes time to relax and keep fit at the new Dempsey space, which is within proximity to her current abode at Balmoral. “Core Collective Dempsey is my ‘me-space’, and that’s quite fortunate. I get to have my workouts and see my chiropractor here,” she says.