In Episode 31 of Earned, Conor sits down with Amy Martin, head of marketing at the fast-growing functional fitness company P.volve. Launched in 2017, the brand—which offers its own patented, resistance-based workout equipment, as well as virtual and in-person classes inspired by its functional movement methodology—experienced over 100% revenue growth in 2020. And P.volve is continuing to gain momentum, expanding its paid subscriber base by nearly 100% since August 2020.
We begin the episode by unpacking P.volve’s growth, and explore how the omnichannel brand was well-positioned to weather the COVID-19 pandemic. Next, we dive into the brand’s functional movement methodology and “no injury” promise, and learn how P.volve addresses a “massive gap” in the fitness market by accommodating people dealing with pain and prior injuries. Amy then walks us through her impressive career path, starting out in PR and advertising agencies, before moving in-house and taking on an executive role at a billion-dollar pharmaceutical company at the age of 27. Amy explains why she subsequently spent several years in the non-profit sector, and later transitioned into the VC and startup worlds, joining the P.volve team as the head of marketing in 2018. We hear about P.volve’s ambitious launch plan, and Amy shares how the brand’s co-founder Rachel Katzman changed her “entire perception on fitness.” We end the show by discussing P.volve’s influencer marketing philosophies, including why the brand only works with influencers who believe in its functional movement methodology.
We’ve included a few discussion highlights from the episode below, but be sure to check out the full video above, listen to the podcast below, or tune in on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Google Podcasts!
The following interview has been lightly edited for concision.
P.volve’s Functional Movement Methodology and “No Injury” Promise
Amy Martin: P.volve is grounded in functional training, functional movement. What that means to the average person is we're meant to create stronger stability, mobility, and performance. We're resistance-based, so you're going to get an intense workout, but you're not going to hurt yourself. Everything that P.volve is designed to do is to make your everyday life better. So from posture, standing, sitting, picking up your child, working at a desk, the power of functional movement is working with your body to allow it to perform at its best level.
Conor Begley: That “no-injury” angle is a super interesting one. Where it connects for me is, growing up, I played football and I tore up my body, specifically my knees. So of course my knees don't feel great now that I'm in my mid-thirties. As I was looking at P.volve, I think it’s generally targeted towards women, but there's just such a broad applicability to this training that isn't going to put additional pressure on your body, or that is going to be better for people that have had past injuries. It’s such a cool concept and not something that other brands really push.
Amy Martin: 100%, you absolutely nailed that. When you think about our market fit and where we are, there is a massive market of people who are looking for, let's just say, cardio fitness. I know that on average that gets like 160 million searches, which is pretty high. And that's pretty traditional fitness. But when you look at how many people are searching for ways to live with or deal with pain, it's over 1.1 billion.
So when we brought our methodology to market, we were lean. I'm a lean marketer by trade. When we launched, we were really focused on listening to our customers because we're a “have your cake and eat it too” company. You are going to absolutely see body transformation with P.volve, which is wonderful, but what we can promise is that you are also not going to get hurt. Instead of breaking your body down, we are teaching you how to strengthen your body and get it to the best performance level possible.
Our market fit is people who are let down or don't find a space in traditional vanity fitness. You are going to see the results if you want stronger abs with us, you want a lifted butt with us, you're going to get that. But you're also going to get a stronger lower back, a stronger core. So many people that are training with our on-demand platform are dealing with lower back pain. We're in a lower back pain study right now with the University of Minnesota. So we're really proud of that.
We know that fitness is a very saturated category in the vanity-driven aspect, and we believe that we're coming to market and are serving a massive gap that is almost unmeasurable of people that are dealing either with a previous injury, like you, or a more educated consumer that is growing up now who has seen what their parents have gone through and is doing their best to never go into rehab. We call that “prehab.” Those are very smart, educated consumers who do not want to have knee or hip surgery in their forties, fifties, or sixties.
“We refuse to work with any influencer who is not a believer in our methodology”: P.volve’s Approach to Working With Influencers
Conor Begley: This wouldn't be a podcast from Tribe Dynamics if we didn't talk about influencers. So, what has been your approach to working with influencers more recently? What have you found that works and doesn't work?
Amy Martin: Influencers have been a part of our company since day one, to be honest. Our co-founder that brought our method through, Stephen Pasterino, had been working with models from the very beginning. He kind of caught his break training Victoria's Secret models early on, and that word-of-mouth spread really helped launch us in New York, the power of that was amazing. So, we've always had an influencer side to us.
Where we have gone over the years is we refuse to work with any type of influencer that is not a believer in our methodology. So what we do not do is, we do not randomly pay people to just say that they were doing P.volve. We are a mission-driven company, and we believe we are going to change the fitness industry, turn it on its head for exactly the reasons we've talked about for this past hour: understanding your body, knowing your body, and being able to make it stronger and make pain less of an obstacle in people's lives. And if we just paid young, beautiful models to say that they did P.volve, that's going to backfire in a major way.
We believe in building relationships. Our influencer marketing team is top-notch. [Our influencers] have to do private trainings, we have to talk to them, they have to be able to speak about and understand our brand. We have relationships with our influencers, these are not transactional [relationships]. They are in our studios in LA and in New York, they're reaching out to us when they're launching companies because we're supporters, because they believe in our methodology.
We've worked with some massive names. Naomi Campbell did a spot with us on Instagram Live during the pandemic; we've trained with Kate Bosworth, the Iskra Lawrences of the world. We've been really particular about who we want to work with. We want to work with people that are positive influencers in the world. We have to look at what their platform speaks to as well. So you could have 15 million followers, but you could have a message that doesn't align with what we want, and we're not going to go there. And we're proud of that. We've walked away from a lot of major names and major opportunities that could have probably spiked our growth at three times the rate, and we just collectively said, we're not going to do it. So we're really proud of that.
You can watch the entire interview here, or listen to the full episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Google Podcasts. To catch up on our other 30 episodes, featuring leaders from brands like ColourPop, Gymshark, Summer Fridays, and Ulta Beauty, visit our Earned Podcast page.