Australia’s Leading Health and Fitness chain

The Business: Fernwood

Fernwood Women’s Health Clubs is recognised as Australia’s leading health and fitness chain with over 50 clubs throughout Australia. From humble country origins in Bendigo Australia in 1989, founders Diana Williams and John Clow created one of Australia’s most recognised brands through a network of company-owned and franchised clubs.

The exclusive women’s only concept was developed around the specific needs of women, through member focus groups and questionnaires to identify what women wanted in their club.On the foundation of mind, body and soul, Fernwood developed an environment that includes fitness classes, FPT ® (personal training), Slimplicity ®, and Life Coaching as part of the club.

Fernwood has been the recipient of numerous awards, which have recognised the company as an industry leader. Fernwood has been listed in the Business Review Weekly TOP 100 fastest-growing companies for several years and is internationally recognised as one of the world’s largest and most successful chains within the health and fitness industry.

The Solution

Fernwood had experienced considerable success as a result of a sustained period of rapid expansion. The desire to leverage the brand to extend the network further was a reality but it was also recognised certain ‘growth’ pains had emerged as a result of the earlier successes.

Entrepreneurialism, the necessary ingredient in any successful business, was creating pressure on the future scalability of the network to support the identified objective of 200 clubs. The core challenge was the evolution of the company infrastructure to support the next stage of growth and successful management of an increasingly large network of franchisees and company employees.

The Outcome

DC Strategy worked closely with the founders and senior management to drive the following outcomes:

  • A restructured head office team including operations, sales, marketing, finance, property, and franchise development.
  • The franchise program was reviewed including the economics, commercial model, and recruitment process. Updates were made to reflect the changing needs of the network
  • The process of opening a new club was structured in a turn key manner to accelerate the timing and effectiveness of the network expansion
  • A board of management was formed which represented the culmination of the new communication and reporting lines in the company
  • The culture transitioned to a more performance orientated environment with a more structured approach to growth
  • The creation of a new team enabled the implementation and refinement of head office processes and systems.

Fernwood Women’s Health Club is well positioned, with a balance of entrepreneurialism and corporatisation, to drive the network towards its goal of 200 clubs across Australia.


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Getting Started

We are here to help you

We help businesses of all sizes, from large corporations to sole traders, through a diverse team and nearly 40 years of experience.