trapeze rec club founder
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When we talk about wellness, most people would generally associate it with diet and physical health. But wellness is more than that — it’s not just about going to the gym and lifting weights, or taking up some strenuous high intensity interval training (HIIT) classes.

Wellness is a multi-dimensional concept that encompasses physical, mental, emotional, and social health, and not just the absence of disease.

However, is achieving an optimum state of well-being even possible in the fast-paced city of Singapore? The city-state is one of the most overworked countries in the Asia Pacific region, with some of the longest working hours in the world. This leaves little time for individuals to spend on personal wellness.

What makes this problem worse is the lack of integrated wellness products and services in Singapore. Most Singaporeans often need to balance several memberships at different studios to cater to their various wellness needs, including personal training, recovery and mental wellbeing therapy.

Seeking out holistic solutions to maintain your personal wellbeing can be a challenge for many, and it is what prompted GJ Wee to launch Trapeze Group, a wellness-focused lifestyle company, with an aim to build a “portfolio of health and wellness concepts that could help people find and maintain wellbeing in a playful, innovative, and holistic way”.

The first of its concepts is Trapeze Rec. Club (TRC), a space that truly embodies the integration of wellness products and services.

Helping Singaporeans find balance in their lives

Trapeze Rec Club
Image Credit: Trapeze Rec. Club

Launched in 2021, TRC is a four-storey fitness club spanning 8,000 square foot that’s located in a pre-war shophouse at Tanjong Pagar. 

Prior to launching TRC, GJ — who is also the youngest child of UOB CEO Wee Ee Cheong and grandchild of billionaire Wee Cho Yaw — worked as a consultant for Boston Consulting Group for two years.

Things took a turn when GJ was diagnosed with high blood pressure at a routine checkup. GJ’s hectic work schedule required extensive travel and long working hours, which ultimately took a toll on the 29-year-old’s health.

“I had to either make a massive lifestyle change or start taking medication. I was only 25,” GJ told A+ Magazine. This led the entrepreneur to quit consulting a year later to start up TRC, and help people live a life that prioritises wellness.

Trapeze Rec Club
TRC’s yoga studio / Image Credit: Trapeze Rec. Club

The name of the brand was inspired by GJ’s favourite song, The Trapeze Swinger by Iron and Wine — a song that speaks of life, love and loss.

The song came on Spotify as I was hiking through a mountain in New Zealand trying to come up with names for the concept, and it resonated with me. Similar to a trapeze act in the circus — which is all about balance and flow — our ethos at TRC is about helping people find their own balance in their lives. 

– GJ Wee, founder of Trapeze Group

Marrying “accessible” and “inaccessible” forms of wellness

TRC offers 13 types of group classes, ranging from fitness, yoga and martial arts, together with personal training. To ensure its members receive the best solutions for their wellbeing, these group classes are led by industry veterans and professionals.

Trapeze Rec Club
Image Credit: Trapeze Rec. Club

Meanwhile, for those seeking recovery, the fitness studio boasts a comprehensive suite of facilities and equipment. These comprise a thermal suite with a traditional sauna, as well as a cold plunge, infrared sauna and compression therapy.

In addition to these offerings, TRC also provides personalised consultations and recovery services, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), stretch therapy, and mental wellbeing consults.

Trapeze Rec Club
The Canteen@TRC / Image Credit: Trapeze Rec. Club

After enjoying a good workout or wellness session, members can unwind at TRC’s in-house cafe, the Canteen, where they can indulge in nourishing meals, snacks, and beverages.

According to GJ, the Canteen’s menu was curated not only to nourish the body, but also the mind. For instance, the cafe’s Ayurvedic smoothies feature ingredients that contain adaptogens and superfoods such as ashwagandha, reishi and bee pollen.

We’re marrying all your “accessible” forms of wellness like fitness, yoga, martial arts, with more “inaccessible” forms of wellness (in Singapore, anyway) like mental wellbeing therapy. 

– GJ Wee, founder of Trapeze Group

In essence, TRC is a place for your holistic wellness needs and aims to champion fitness, rest, and recovery all in the same space.

COVID-19 had a huge impact on the business

Trapeze Rec Club
Image Credit: Trapeze Rec. Club

When TRC was just launched, it coincided with the height of COVID-19, with Phase 2 Heightened Alert coming into effect just a month after its opening.

This meant that most of the fitness studio’s classes couldn’t take place, and none of its facilities could be used. “It was tough, it was tough on all of us collectively,” GJ admitted.

However, GJ pushed through the tough times and quickly pivoted the business. The team started running online classes, and placed a heavy emphasis on takeaway and delivery for the Canteen.

While the launch wasn’t easy, it taught us to be nimble and more importantly, humble — and that is a learning I’ll always keep with me. 

– GJ Wee, founder of Trapeze Group

In addition to the challenges presented by the pandemic, GJ is also facing the hurdle of finding and retaining the right talent. The entrepreneur said that this issue has definitely been exacerbated by COVID-19 and the “Great Resignation”.

To overcome this and promote team retention, TRC has implemented systems and processes in place such as increased benefits, flexible working arrangements (such as four-day work weeks), performance-related incentives, and clear career progression pathways.

Transforming Singapore into an urban wellness hub

Trapeze Rec Club
Image Credit: Trapeze Group

It has been almost two years since TRC opened its doors, and the business has since achieved a significant number of milestones.

For one, it has built a portfolio of successful corporate partnerships and events that include the likes of Nike, Panerai, DBS Private Bank, and Soho House.

Looking ahead, GJ plans to refine and expand TRC’s suite of wellness services. This includes a partnership with an integrated clinic that will bring physiotherapy, functional medicine, and other recovery services to TRC.

“Eventually, the aim is to open more locations in Singapore, and then in Asia Pacific,” shared GJ.

At the group level, they are currently working on launching another wellness concept in 2024. In addition, Trapeze Group is also in talks with various hotels in Singapore to bring about a hotel with integrated wellness offerings, beyond hotel gyms that provide basic equipment.

Sharing more on this, GJ envisions group class schedules, personal trainers, on-site TCM and functional medicine doctors, and even regular holistic wellness retreats at these hotels.

Ultimately, through Trapeze Group, GJ hopes to transform Singapore into an urban wellness hub.

Featured Image Credit: Trapeze Rec. Club

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© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)