The heart of Bungee Workout™ is bringing new life to the meaning of having a fun workout.
“We are a bungee family. We don’t compete against each other. We support and help each other,” says Raywadee “Joey” Sereesuntiwong, founder of Ray Creative Consulting and Stories to Tale Theatre – the studio where Bungee Workout™ was first held.
Headquartered in Bangkok, Thailand, Bungee Workout™ is a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercise where participants are harnessed by their hips and a bungee cord are attached to them from the ceiling that allows them to be suspended off the ground.
An avid dancer and a fitness enthusiast, the idea to create Bungee Workout™ came in 2015 for Sereesuntiwong. She says she suddenly wanted to do something different after running her own advertising company for seven years.
She then formed a R&D team and instructed them to look for something unique in the fitness industry. Since she was also running her advertising company hand-in-hand with her R&D team, she took part as much as she can in trying out the ‘new’ workout exercises in the market.
Soon, they came across with a bungee class that offered performance-type movements similar to the ones seen at Cirque du Soleil. But imitating such movements were deemed too dangerous for ordinary individuals like Sereesuntiwong.
According to her, the team had to create a program that provided simple step-by-step instructions.
“You need to build that trust with the customer. How can people like me going to jump and then dive with our head first down to the floor? We had to break down the skills,” says Sereesuntiwong.
It took about three months to create a more simplistic program. With a degree in marketing and advertising, Sereesuntiwong targeted clientele that lived at a premium neighbourhood.
“The product has to be so good. And good enough that customers want to come back,” she says. “We had to find a product that is unique.”
With the aid of her father, she was able to sell a portion of their land to get a bank loan to eventually open Stories to Tale Theatre studio in downtown Bangkok.
Safety was another challenge that Sereesuntiwong had to factor in while incorporating these dynamic moves.
“If they do play-based activities for a while and they get hurt, they won’t come back. This is going to be a bad reputation in the market. In the beginning, we had to invest in safety,” says Sereesuntiwong.
Her equipment is shipped from Europe from top brands that met all of the safety requirements. For one, some studios are in high-rise buildings. And Sereesuntiwong wants to take all of the safety precautions to prevent any mishaps.
By March 2016, Bungee Workout™ was officially launched amidst the presence of Sereesuntiwong’s family and friends. Having coined it as a bungee dance for the following eight months, Bungee Workout™ had been trademarked in October 2016.
Social media played a major role in marketing her workouts. A US-based media and technology company was one of the first ones to document her lessons and soon, millions of views ensued.
Since its launch, Sereesuntiwong and her team has been in a constant learning curve regarding the responses from the Bungee Workout™ — from their customers, the city where Bungee Workout™ is made available, to her international instructors.
Today, Bungee Workout™ is available in 16 countries. In Hong Kong, Grand Jeté studio is currently the only one to exclusively offer such lessons and has just celebrated its one-year anniversary. Two more studios will open in the city in June 2019.
Sereesuntiwong says franchising Bungee Workout™ to other studios is about making them more successful. “I don’t want to take money from them where they cannot make business out of it or that they cannot operate it. So I talk a lot about it with them.”
Since Bungee Workout™ attracts a premium clientele, expectations are higher. Sereesuntiwong says they strive to deliver their customers’ needs. “We try to make them feel that this is a good workout. That you’re special.”
Sereesuntiwong loves seeing people when they are “flying in the air” and their expression when their feet take off the ground for the first time. Participants can also easily burn 500 calories while an instructor burns up to 800 calories for just one lesson.
Copycats are never far behind. According to Sereesuntiwong, she is fully aware of how this type of workout has spread in some countries already.
But Sereesuntiwong is not dismayed. Rather, she takes it in stride.
“The day they stop copying us, this is a bad day,” she says.
With an established curriculum for the past three years, a new one was created last year. As a Bungee Workout™ family, each one provides a set of knowledge. And with that, they bond together to develop their brand together.
“When you start a business, you have got to fight for it. You cannot give up,” says Sereesuntiwong. “Whether it’s business or not, I’ve always been a problem solver. You need to encourage yourself first and then encourage others.”