With 17 years of experience in franchising, the San Diego franchisee knew he wanted an experienced leadership team that would support him in every aspect of the business.
When Daniel Castellini attended YogaSix’s discovery day in Irvine, California in February 2019, it was not his first rodeo. He has been in franchising for the last 17 years, owning a total of roughly 50 units across five different brands.
Today, he owns one YogaSix studio in San Diego and another two that are getting ready to start construction, so—spoiler alert—the Discovery Day he attended went well. Very well.
“YogaSix is a brand of Xponential Fitness and I have friends who had good experiences with [Xponential brand] Club Pilates,” said Castellini. “Watching Xpo roll out a brand new yoga product and knowing their background in support and leadership is what led me there.”
Castellini was also drawn to the idea of a nationally branded yoga franchise, as the broader yoga market is quite scattered. “I thought it would be great to be part of a team that could take advantage of that opportunity,” he said.
Attending the two-day Discovery Day
Castellini attended one of the very first discovery days that YogaSix held, so the pressure was on for the emerging brand. And having been to many a discovery day over the years, he knew exactly what he was looking for.
On the first day, Castellini received a tour of a facility, took a yoga class and met and socialized with the leadership team. The second day was devoted to sit-down presentations from YogaSix’s department heads so that candidates could better understand each segment of the business and who was in charge of what.
“They all talked about their backgrounds, what they do, and what systems are in place, from technology to real estate demographics to vendors,” said Castellini. “They were really good about addressing everything on the front end, so I didn’t actually have a lot of questions.”
Castellini was impressed with how organized the team was. “The entire Xpo team is very experienced in franchising,” he said. This was particularly refreshing because of the prevalence of founder-focused teams in franchising, especially when it comes to growing brands.
“You often see a lot of founders muscling their way through the process of being a franchisor in the early days,” he said. “With a new brand like YogaSix to have a strong team front-loaded with strong support in everything from branding to marketing to sales, it blew me away.”
Castellini was also impressed by the brand’s marketing systems. “A brand can have a great product, but if you’re not marketing effectively, it’s just sitting in the sand,” he said. “I often see franchisees struggle to shift from traditional advertising to social and digital marketing. YogaSix already has tons of content out there, and they have only been open for a couple of months.”
The main selling point? The people
The aim of any good discovery day is to allow potential franchisees to interact with the brand’s leadership team in order to assess whether the business relationship is a good fit for all parties. In the end, that was what Castellini was really looking for with YogaSix.
“The leadership is what sold me,” he said. “Lindsay [Junk], the president, has experience with brands in the yoga space. She brought some team members from another company who also had experience in the yoga space and in franchising.”
Castellini was struck by the individual team members’ experience and expertise across the board. “I watched them bring in top talent in every department, all the way down to merchandising,” he said. “All of these things stack up—by bringing in top talent, they are making sure the brand is exactly what they say it is.”
While it was the strength of the team as a whole that convinced Castellini that YogaSix was the brand for him, at the end of Discovery Day, Xponential Fitness CEO Anthony Geisler sealed the deal. “It was a nice touch at the end—he gave his overall spiel on the brand, what his vision was and the overarching reasons why he thought YogaSix, and yoga in general, was a great addition to Xpo’s portfolio,” said Castellini.
Ultimately, YogaSix’s culture was a perfect fit for Castellini. “Franchising is like a marriage. I look to make sure I’m aligned with a brand’s mindset, culture, growth trajectory and how leadership looks at approaching opportunities,” he said. “A good franchisor has to have a solid team and makes sure the support system is there so that they’re ready to scale. I could tell how fast they are prepared to move and it was great to see that. ”
Advice for franchisees going into their own discovery days
Castellini encouraged franchise candidates to go into discovery day(s) with an open mind and lots of written questions. He also emphasized that, when it comes time to make a decision, prospective franchisees shouldn’t have to overthink it.
“Just listen,” he said. “Discovery Day is great; you want to take in all the pieces, so take tons of notes. Go to a couple of discovery days with different brands so you can compare the leadership teams. Do your research before, talk to franchisees and go in with a list of questions. My experience is that 90% of your questions will be answered, and the 10% that aren’t need to be answered before you move forward. You should walk out of discovery day knowing whether if you want to sign or not. If it’s the right fit, you won’t be left with anything to mull over."