How He Built the Wellness Empire— Dinner with Colin Grant, Co-founder & CEO of The Pure Group
Sometimes the most meaningful and inspiring conversations happen over casual meals. The Time Auction Blog is a snippet of our meetings with people who have found passion in their life and career.
Colin Grant started from a yoga studio with only two teachers. Today, he runs The Pure Group, one of the biggest wellness brands in Asia and has branches across Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore and New York.
Over dinner, he shared with us not only his experience but also the passion for tennis. He learned to deal with failure and improve himself by playing tennis.
“You are in control of your lifespan.”
Good health and athleticism have always been a part of Colin’s lifestyle. Having set his eyes on the value of yoga, he established Pure Yoga and invested in staff, teachers and facilities to get it running. This was all before yoga took the world by storm — Pure had managed to establish itself before yoga became regarded as a “lifestyle”.
Who is Colin Grant?
At the tender age of 12, Colin was already an entrepreneur with his own tennis racket stringing business. Having found momentum in those experiences, he founded a number of start-up ventures including Movieland, Mr Bean Coffee, and launched highly successful kiosks in Hong Kong.
In 2001, Colin opened his own yoga studio — Pure Yoga with the help of a very good friend, Bruce Rockowitz. Subsequently, he started Pure Fitness in 2003, launched Pure Apparel and nood food in 2013, and MyPureYoga.com in 2016. Now, Pure Group has grown into the undisputed leader in Asia’s wellness industry, encompassing yoga, fitness, active wear and healthy eating as an integrated community dedicated to helping people lead a balanced 360˚ lifestyle.
The Power of Front-line Staff
Colin considered empowering front-line staff important. In facing customer complaints, he gave front-line staff authority to address any issues on the spot — a feat that requires a lot of trust in his employees.
And it certainly pays off. He told us one of the most impressive things an employee has done: after a member finished the class and left his luggage while rushing to the airport, a front-line staff took the bus and brought the luggage to the airport themselves.
“It’s all about the touch point.”
Colin himself is no exception to this. While most CEOs may stay in their offices, you’ll often find Colin hanging out at the member lounge because he enjoys chatting with both customers and staff.
Apart from his trust in the front-line staff, he also places importance on being humble.
“Behave like a small company.”
Colin told us how he always wants to listen better to learn and grow and reminded us to listen to others despite our success. As companies get bigger, they start to lose their focus, which he said explains why some people make mistakes after achieving success. With this in mind, Colin has been rebuilding Pure to prevent them from letting success get to their head.
The Tipping Point
When asked about which book he would recommend us to read, Colin took “The Tipping Point” out and gave it to every one of us — personalized with a note and everyone’s name inside their own copy (Thank you, Colin!).
“It talks about human behavior and if all of you want to set up a business, you have to get a very good understanding about human behavior.“
One vivid example in this book is the locker system in Taiwan. The old system used a key to open the locker and later changed into a padlock system. At first, there was a concern that people wouldn’t know how to use the buttons. But eventually, the people who knew how to use it ended up teaching those who didn’t how
“Eventually, you reach a tipping point where everyone knows how to use it and that’s exactly what happening now.”
When asked about what lesson that took him the longest to learn, Colin mentioned: Letting go.
At the beginning of starting his business of Movieland, he went from doing everything himself. Later, he realized that trusting others is essential if he wanted the company to grow. He began to let employees make the right calls instead of micromanaging the whole process.
It also took him a long time to adjust to this new way of management and the transitioning to focus on recruiting more good people. Considering all the success he’s found, the approach seems to have been worth it.
Thank you so much to Colin for raising 158 volunteer hours and all the volunteers who dedicated their time for charities such as World Wide Fund, Hong Kong Air Cadet Corps and more! We would also like to thank photographer Janoo from Kachick and our venue sponsor The Hive Studios!
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This article originally appeared on our blog on Medium: https://timeauction.medium.com/how-he-built-the-wellness-empire-dinner-with-colin-grant-co-founder-ceo-of-the-pure-group-ca5d5e26b6d3