Bodycraft Fitness - Michael Edge talks about growing his dream business
Michael, who moved to the Isle of Man 10 years ago, left school when he was 16 and trained as a landscape gardener. He always had a love of sport, especially football, and played for Southport FC.
Four years ago, Michael completed his personal training qualifications then went on to gain further qualifications in strength and conditioning. Having struggled to find work as a fitness instructor, Michael, undeterred, decided to set up his own gym. In 2015, in a small unit on an industrial estate, he opened Body Craft Fitness. At this time, he worked full-time as a landscape gardener during the day and ran the gym in the evenings. Within just six months, Michael's gym had outgrown the unit, so he moved to a larger one; within the year, the thriving facility had outgrown this accommodation too. It was then that he decided to relocate to new premises in Castletown, renovating an existing building, and become a full-time business owner.
"I believe that fitness is not just about sport; it's about feeling physical and mentally healthier in your day-to-day life, being able to move more freely, and getting greater enjoyment from your time with family and friends".
"In the beginning, I had no financial backing; I sold my van and my tools to start the business. I then got in touch with Conister Bank who, from the outset, believed in me, understood my vision, and shared my passion. Working with Conister allowed me to develop my business sustainably. I would never have been able to achieve what I have done without the team at Conister and the support of my family."
Body Craft Fitness has come a long way since those early days. The gym has over 500 members, and now includes a hairstyling studio and massage facilities; the development of outdoor fitness areas is the next goal. Meanwhile, the gym team also works with King William’s College and Castle Rushen High School to provide students with sports fitness and training guidance.
Michael is always looking forwards, focusing on ways in which his business could diversify and grow.
"It would be amazing to see Body Craft Fitness develop into a franchise which could be rolled out in the UK. This is certainly something I would like to explore in the future.
“Setting up my own business was challenging at times but the rewards have been immense – not unlike the process of achieving fitness! Every day, I love what I do: helping people to attain their personal goals and to feel better about themselves.
“When I first left school, I couldn’t have imagined where I would be today. The obstacles I met along the way only made me strive harder to educate myself and accomplish my goals.
"The advice I’d like to pass on to other people like me is, if you have an idea for a new venture, are passionate about starting your own business or want to grow the business you have, speak to Conister. They are always there to help, providing invaluable support at every stage of your journey. Let them be part of your team”.